Tales From The Ghost Town: The Conventry Punk Fanzine Revolution 1979-1985
Following Alan Rider’s Adventures in Reality book collecting each edition of his own fanzine and its spinoffs, published by Fourth Dimension in 2021, comes this new compendium of his devoted to Coventry fanzines. Lovingly put together and comprising original page reprints, interviews with some of the fanzine editors, and other bonus material, Tales from the Ghost Town focusses on the vibrant ‘zine scene that exploded in Coventry as punk and its cousins in electronic and industrial music continued to inspire. Of course, Coventry was central to the Two Tone scene as well (itself likewise a by-product of punk), being the birthplace of The Specials, but that’s only a part of the whole story. Nestled amongst these fanzines is a vivid depiction of a time when there was an incredible local music circuit, a choice of hangouts for the punks and misfits to converge, and a few venues good enough for touring bands to stop by at. There were also so many fanzines and groups that youthful rivalry even played a significant role. It’s a time now lost and never to be repeated, hence Adventures in Reality and Fourth Dimension coming together for this limited edition documentation of it perfect for those with an interest in this incredible period in modern culture.
As Alan Rider himself puts it:
“The period 1979-’85 (usually referred to as the ‘post-punk’ period) witnessed an unprecedented and never-to-be-repeated explosion of grass roots musical creativity across the country and internationally. That, in turn, stimulated a plethora of fanzines of all shapes and sizes to spring from bedrooms, dining room tables, and even school playgrounds. Nowhere was that urge expressed more prolifically than in Coventry, England. Galvanised by the energy created around Two Tone, but extending far beyond, over 50 fanzines were produced in Coventry and the surrounding area during that brief time.
Examples ranged from scruffy, faintly photocopied efforts that blinked into existence for just a few issues, to more polished productions that ran for several years. From the tongue in cheek style of Ded Yampy, to the politically aware polemic of Issue, the in-depth local coverage of the front runner Alternative Sounds, to the confrontational design lead stylings of Adventures in Reality, the teenage anarchist diatribe of Antisocial, to the barbed commentary of Private Enterprise, the diversity of views and styles on show was almost endless.
With a foreword by The Specials’ Horace Panter, Tales From The Ghost Town collects together rare copies of every fanzine produced in Coventry at that incredible time. With an in-depth review of each, accompanied by covers and inside pages alongside exclusive interviews with their original creators tracked down from across the globe, it is THE definitive record of this unique, punk inspired, explosion of grass roots creativity expressed in cut and paste form.”
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