Tony Fletcher reads from his fast-moving memoir Boy About Town at Hull Central Library this Thursday evening at 7.30. (He'll be talking about the book and his life and times with David Burns on BBC Radio Humberside on Thursday morning.)
In 1977 as a 13 year-old in south London, Fletcher employed a potent mix of adolescent chutzpah and a boundless enthusiasm for the music scene in his own fanzine Jamming! Printing the first few editions on his school's Xerox machine, Jamming! brought Fletcher close to some of the most influential bands of this, and any other, period in the history of British music.
Boy About Town's chart rundown of chapters counts down from 50 to 1 and en-route takes in meeting and interviewing (among others) Paul Weller, Pete Townshend, the Damned, John Peel and Adam Ant. Amid the teenage traumas of busted friendships and drunken fumblings, Fletcher's anecdotes also give us the observer's eye at some of the era's iconic gigs; never shying from the undercurrents of violence and tribalism, the polarisation of politics and the sheer exuberance that comes from being part of The Jam's inner circle.
All these are likely to find their way into our Head in a Book conversation this Thursday evening alongside discussions of his acclaimed Keith Moon biography, Dear Boy; his biography of R.E.M. and his latest biography, A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths - published in September 2012.
I've made no secret of the fact that Jamming! published a couple of my (with hindsight) ropey teenage love/angsty political poems back in 1981. I've recently unearthed Fletcher's handwritten letter confirming the poems were going into the magazine. It reminded me how much it mattered that someone was interested and believed. It still does.