Sunday, 13 June 2010

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Last Mad Surge of Youth' Mark Hodkinson out now on Pomona

Originally posted June 4 2009:

The bitter world of the British music industry is brought to life brilliantly in Hodkinson's depiction of the fictional, uber famous punk-rock star John Barrett.An extraordinarily powerful imagination has created a loveable, yet deeply troubled lead character, contained within a tale that is nigh on impossible to put down - as all good stories should be.

Do not however expect the usual rock clich├ęs or platitudes. This story is not simply about the trappings that come with a music celebrity lifestyle. Yes, there is plenty of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but there is a lot more going on in the life of Barrett than he wants to admit to himself, let alone any one else.

The story switches constantly between the 1980s, focusing on the teenage trials and tribulations of Barrett and his soon-to-be band mates, and the present day where we see, first hand, the consequences of two decades of alcohol abuse on Barrett as he tries to deal with his COPS (Cult Of Personality Syndrome - see Living Color's 1988 music video below too) and a spectacular fall from grace in the full glare of the media spotlight.

The crisis comes whilst trying to get his personal and professional life back on track and reconcile a relationship with an old friend (and former band mate) Dave Carey. Whilst it deals with some hard hitting issues, this book is not the 'depressathon' you may be expecting. The tale is littered with laugh-out-loud funny moments and the structural engineering of the story (no chapters and the constant switching of time and place between the past and present) makes for a thrilling read that it is as fast paced as it is addictive.

5 / 5

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