Book: Young Hearts Run Free by Dave Haslam

Book: Young Hearts Run Free by Dave Haslam

The Real Story of the 1970s

What the author wants us to see when writing this book – in case there was any doubt – is the non-rose tinted version of the decade that many of us may have. Particularly if like me you, you were just a child then and the memories you hold are through your older siblings or parents.

As you may know, I will always look on the bright side so for me the glass is half full and the growing up I recall was entirely idyllic. This book serves to tell me of episodes I was too young to recall – strikes, overt racism and football hooliganism or only found about after the event – power shortages, the effect of the miners strikes and three-day working weeks.

Dave Aslam calls my amazing version of the 1970s – well, late 1970s anyway – as Abbafication (my new favourite word), a distorted version where everyone wore platform shoes and danced to the Bee Gees. You mean they didn’t do that?

Like many my age, I only became familiar with punk in the 1980s when I got into music myself, initially via Adam & the Ants. It certainly wasn’t a genre I was interested in as a child or one that was going to come to be via my family. Therefore I loved hearing about characters from the era, both those who became household names like Holly Johnson and those who rode the rollercoaster beside them like Jayne Casey who shares her stories of going to Barbarella’s in Birmingham, famously where Duran Duran played in the early years. The author too comes from Birmingham although he portrays his home city like he does others, the miserable side.

Having been named after one of all-time favourite songs by Candi Staton, the book refuses to go along with the tracks uplifting message but insists on digging up all the bad stuff. So for me, it’s an education in history, which is one reason I picked up the book in the first place – not just because of my love of music.

It’s the ideal read whether you were born too late to embrace the magnificent 1970s or if you’d like to reminisce. Or if, like myself, you’re in-between the two whether you espouse Abbafication or otherwise.

8/10 Because a lot of research went into this book and it provides a fantastic education

Inspiration factor 7½/10

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