Dickie Felton

I write about music and football

Intimate images of The Smiths at one of their earliest gigs have been unearthed and are given pride of place in an excellent new book.

Grab your anorak and Doc Martens while taking in the majesty of "A Scene In Between" - Tripping Through The Fashions Of UK Indie Music 1980-1988.
Sam Knee's weighty new tome is a beautiful pictorial look at indie music and fashion culture in a golden era sandwiched between punk and baggy.
Smiths disciples will fall in love with Martin Whitehead's photographs of the band's gig at Moles Club, Bath, (September 1983). As only 30 people turn up, Whitehead gets striking close-up images of a band enjoying their innocent first days before hitting the big time.

Image

Accompanying said images is an hilarious story by author Knee who regales a trip to his local opticians in 1984. Knee deliberately fails an eye test to secure the same NHS specs Morrissey was wearing: "The look I had been hankering for was finally complete as I triumphantly promenaded down the high street. The migraine that followed was of little significance as a degree of pain for fashion was a given thing...
"How I looked and the music I listened to was the only thing of importance."

Image

And that quite sums up this terrific book.
It's all about the fashions and sounds of a heady creative period in indie music during a depressing climate of unemployment and Thatcher.
Knee starts us off with promo pic of Orange Juice in 1980. Edwyn Collins and co in floppy fringes and duffel coats. The beginning of the 80s "indie pop" revolution.
Top billing goes to The Pastels (pictured below) from Glasgow who Knee insists are the main reason this book came about: "I felt their music and sartorial style were the logical progression that bridged the gap from post-punk into the new 80s indie era."

Pastel

Reader is taken on a journey of familiar UK indie groups alongside bands hidden from history. So we've Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine then the relative unknowns of Flesh and the Boy Hairdressers. There's the likes of Marine Girls and Debbie Haynes, of The Flatmates on stage in flowery shirt and black Docs.
Then there's the audiences. Two My Bloody Valentine fans look killer cool in backcombed hair and black skirts sat on upturned crates of Holsten Pils.
What Knee has pulled off, with some style, is deliver a comprehensive document of a crucial era in UK music. In some ways this is timely as the looks so keenly favoured by 80s indie acts are making a resurgence today.
This book is to be enjoyed with ice cold Holsten pils (does it still exist?!) surrounded by all your old 80s indie vinyl.
"A Scene In Between" has inadvertently exposed some huge gaps in my 80s indie collection. The Fire Engines!! The Flatmates!! There's no time to lose so I'm playing catch-up immediately.
Now, where's my Doc Martens and duffle coat?

 

"A Scene In Between" Tripping Through The Fashions Of UK Indie Music 1980-1988.
by Sam Knee - published by Cicada Books Ltd.
http://www.cicadabooks.co.uk/a-scene-in-between/

 

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