Human Punk

Finished reading Human Punk by John King (you might know him as the author of The Football Factory) yesterday. Absolutely brilliant. The story follows the narrator who grows up in Slough, over about 20 years, from 1977 when he’s a 15 year old punk to about 2000. It’s full of great social commentary, über-British pisstaking and references to almost forgotten punk bands like Slaugher and the Dogs, Magazine and the Adverts.

In sense King kind of follows in the same vein as Irvine Welsh or Niall Griffiths but seems more grown up, more clever, somehow. Although books like Trainspotting or Grits do have a social undertone, the main focus is on the drugs. King’s main character, on the other hand, is always thinking, moving forward, trying to make sense of things, seeing through the bullshit that we are fed on a daily basis:

The ordinary person is isolated,  told they’ve never had it so good, and too many of us bend over and touch our toes as the Establishment’s best-dressed nonce applies lubricant and gently slips in, fucks us on the sly, moves on to the next starry-eyed punter. We get this inflated sense of our place in society, accept the state’s values, believe we are better than our neighbours, that we’re a social class up the ladder with an extra tenner in our pocket and a house that belongs to a bank instead of the council. The East End has moved out to Essex and the peasants are all tuning into digital tv. Your everyday man and woman are described in terms of failure, whether it’s the Left slagging off the boring conformity of the masses or the Right busy highlighting the anti-social behaviour of a minority.



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