Oi: A View from the Dead-End Of the Street By Garry Johnson

13 Aug

Oi: A View from the Dead-End Of the Street
By Garry Johnson
Babylon Books

I had been a fan of British Punk and Oi for a little while before I came across this book at Moby Disc in Sherman Oaks one Friday evening. This was the first time I was able to see pictures of what these guys looked like, prior to this book I could only get a glimpse of these bands under two conditions:

1. If they put their picture on their singles/albums (many did not) or . . .

2. They played locally, and Flipside reviewed, and photographed them.

The writing is decent, it’s along the lines of the old Flipside reviews, and the photography is fantastic. The pictures are all in black and white, but you couldn’t get clearer close-up live shots if you tried. This book was the first time I ever saw a photo of Blitz, and the first time I heard of, or saw Wattie.

Gary Bushell, contributor to this book, has been called the Godfather of Oi, and in some cases the creator of the genre. He is an interesting character, who has been around for a long time. In the mid-1970s, at the age of 18, Bushell wrote for Temporary Hoarding, Rebel, and his own punk fanzine, Napalm. From 1978 to 1985, he wrote for Sounds magazine, covering punk and other genres such as British Heavy Metal and the mod revival. Bushell was at the forefront of covering the Oi, also known as real punk or street punk. During his time at Sounds, Bushell was mentioned in songs Hurry up Garry by Crass, Press Darlings by Adam and the Ants and I Wanna Be a Star by Cockney Rejects

After he quit The Sun, Bushell wrote for The People and left that paper on February 18, 2007 to work on books and screenplays. He announced his resignation as a TV critic, stating that he was becoming depressed at the state of British television. Bushell co-wrote the book Cockney Reject (about the punk band Cockney Rejects) and has written a film script for Join the Rejects – Get Yourself Killed. In May 2007, Bushell’s column returned to the Daily Star Sunday. Bushell explained that he “missed the pressure of a weekly deadline. As of 2007, he has been presenting a monthly punk and ska podcast show on Total Rock.

If you get the chance to nab this book, grab it. It’s a great snap-shot of a great time in punk rock.

Rating: *** three out of three stars

On to the story . . .

I know you always read stories about people getting cold feet before getting married. Reality shows are full of people having meltdowns. Well, I had a major one myself.

When I met my wife she told me that while engaged, in her culture, the engagement ring was to be worn on the left hand, not the same hand as a married woman. And being an understanding guy, I pretty much said that’s bullshit, do it my way. Eventually I relented.

Now I understood the tradition of not seeing the bride on the day of the wedding, I actually didn’t want to see anyone, so this was OK with me.

But in my wife’s culture you can’t see the bride the day before the wedding either. I may have been told this, but after months of wedding planning my brain shutdown.

So, the day before the wedding I called my soon to be wife and said, “Let’s go to Starbucks.” She said, she’d love to, but can’t – yet.

Seems simple right? I lost it. I told her the wedding was off, I was taking all my money and moving to Mexico and I was going to find a woman that looked like Salma Hayek and get married and live like a king, goodbye.

Five minutes later I was packing and calling the Greyhound Bus.

Within ten minutes of me hanging up with the future wife, her father calls. He says, “Hey Mike, why don’t you come over for a cup of tea. We can hang out for a bit.” Now, my father-in-law is a pretty good guy. Mellow, down to earth and one of the few people I’ve ever met that only speaks if he has to. Not the typical, I love my voice kind of guy.

So, I stuttered and stammered, Salma Hayek is waiting for me, Mexico. But ultimately I went over.

Surprisingly, he didn’t lecture me or say anything. I had some loose leaf tea, and watched an old movie. And when I left, I was calm.

The future wife didn’t trust me still. At 8:00 am the day of the wedding her brother was at my door with a grilled pita-bread ham sandwich. He hung out at my place for a few hours. Then my dad showed up right as my brother in law was leaving.

My dad sat down propped his feet up on my table and said, “So, Mexico, huh?” And you know what? Hearing my dad say that made me feel so stupid.

Good times, bad times and everything else. The wife has kept me from Salma Hayek for seventeen years.



Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb

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One Response to “Oi: A View from the Dead-End Of the Street By Garry Johnson”

  1. 1
    eddie cook Says:

    mike~ never seen the book before, but I love the story ~eddie

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