Saturday, April 26, 2014

Barbed Wire Kisses - The Jesus and Mary Chain story by Zoe Howe

I picked this book up in Monorail Records on Monday. I read it within 12 hours. It was great.

I grew up in East Kilbride in the 70s, 80s and early 90s and the Mary Chain just always seemed very big to me. I remember the summers in East Kilbride when I was at primary school in the eighties. I remember it being sunny and green. I remember playing in the parks and the bushes. It as pretty good in many ways.

As I grew older the problems with East Kilbride became more apparent to me. It was full of neds, it was a small town; a bit narrow minded and boring. I got out and moved on but the town is still with me.

The Mary Chain evolved in East Kilbride and soundtracked some of those eighties summers. They made music about underpasses and parks and rain and magic mushrooms. Music that resonates around the South Lanarkshire town.  Barbed Wire Kisses by Zoe Howe captures East Kilbride well. Parts of the book are laugh out loud. The Mary Chain were often cast as arch miserabilists but they come across as funny guys here.

Jim and William Reid conceptualised the band in a shared council house bedroom in the town. I've been in those houses. I've seen those walls. They emerged fully formed and made some bloody brilliant music.

I really enjoyed this book and I would encourage you to check it out. I was a bit let down by the unedited splurge of the Morrissey book and I got much more from this book.