I loves a book, a real book with pages and everything especially when it’s about Rock n Roll and its excesses be it 100% honest or half honest and half bullshit but a good yarn all the same, I’m in. Come Join Del Greening, aka Del Strangefish, on a soul-destroying, ill-fated, near-100% real, everyday tour through the depths of rock ‘n’ roll without the private planes and seven-star hotels.
A chaotic 45-year ‘mission’, playing guitar, singing and producing records for iconic punk band Peter and the Test Tube Babies and his seven-year glitch sliding further down the slippery walk of shame with legendary rockers Flesh for Lulu (A band I happen to love). A bit harsh that Flesh For Lulu were a great band and featured the talents of One-time Urban Voodoo Machine six stringer Nick Marsh. Anyway, Let’s not get side-tracked.
He might well be misunderstood, Del turns his hand to touring the world, working with outrageous chart-toppers such as Ian Dury and the Blockheads and Lily Allen, until his sordid world of misadventures
is brought to a grinding halt by the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. This book is an unadulterated page-turner, over 300 pages of tales with pages of colour pictures from Del’s own archive. It’s 40 Chapters! either dive in from start to finish or dip in here and there its an easy read that lends itself well to the latter.
I recently giggled my way through Dwarves infamous drummer Vadge Moore’s autobiography and kept looking over my shoulder wondering if and when the taste police were going to show up and feel my collar so to speak. Well, Dels might not be quite as depraved, but it is certainly a page-turner. Lily Allen and Tony Hawkes are written about as is Lemmy. Del dishes the dirt in a funny engaging way that is a must-read for anyone who – like me loves a good Rock n Roll read. Its like the geezer sat in the pub telling stories tall or not I can turn page after page of this fluff.
Peter And The Test Tube Babies might not be a household name but fuck me sideways they had a laugh. Riots, punch-ups and everything in between. I never thought West Brom would get mentioned along with the odd arrest here and there but they are. Del doesn’t dress his tales up and there are no big words to bamboozle you with to give off the impression he’s a clever chap – far from it. It’s like a chat in a pub with a top bloke who knows he has a story or ten to pass the best night out away in a memorable fashion.
His early years seem quite normal and unspectacular and he lays his childhood out in unspectacular facts. Lucky Del I guess. He writes about early punk and how the Test Tubes came into being and tales of harassing John Peel without a care in the world. There are plenty of recounted stories from people who were there as some sort of legitimacy tactics from Del and maybe on times a way of passing the buck of responsibility for what went on but it works well and does indeed add weight to some of the tales. Christ, I wouldn’t remember what happened last week sometimes let alone decades ago. Girls for a pound wouldn’t happen today, would it? Look I don’t want to spill the beans on this mighty tome I’ll just let you know that it’s well worth the read and once again Those Tome & Matter boys have delivered a mighty fine read for the discerning punk rock reader. ‘Jinxed’ is right up there with the best of ’em – really well written and funny as hell. I highly recommend this book and like me you’ll be checking out the Del catalogue of work and appreciating some fine music from over the years.
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