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Publisher: Palazzo Editions Ltd

The ‘Pistol’ TV series was bound to prompt a book or two hoping to tap into the swell of new interest and resultant new market. That’s the key here - a new market. 

The book is a good looking tome with some excellently produced pictures and smart graphics. Within its lavish pages the aim is to tell the story of the Pistols and to touch upon their influences, the musical and cultural revolution they directly inspired, and other contemporary ‘punk’ bands that emerged during the same period.

The author has delved into the written archives and diligently compiled material from a wide range of sources. Using quotes from all the key individual players gives a balance and an air of impartiality. Where it comes unstuck is that some material is taken from back in the day and in other instances, from more recent times. This should be a plus due to the perspective the passing of time allows, but it jars in places. The emotions and feelings of a 20-something caught in the eye of a storm are not the same as those of a reflective 50/60 year old. 

Undoubtably a lot of effort has gone into pulling it together but it all seemed so familiar. And safe. A reliance on already available interviews and documentation is perhaps the biggest disappointment to an old-timer like myself who was hoping for a fresh viewpoint or two, something thought-provoking. Having said that, a new audience could find the book invaluable; it’s easy to read, informative, and there is little it doesn’t touch upon, winding things up as the band splits in January 78. There’s a little bit of ‘what happened next’, but it’s sketchy at best. Paul Cook is apparently “an active drummer… most recently with Edwyn Collins”. Hmmm… 

Basically, if you are new to the Pistols this will hit the spot, you will embrace it, I’m sure. It’s an entertaining accurate history book; the Sex Pistols story in 192 eye-catching pages. Personally, I always use Jon Savage’s England’s Dreaming as the high water mark by which to judge any retrospective. Nothing, I Wanna Be Me included, has yet to touch it. 

Review by Phil Singleton (October 2022)

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©Phil Singleton / 2022
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God Save the Sex Pistols

God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton /