I previously looked at the legendary Boots Sex Dread record with my “Keith Allen in Gay Rasta Scandal” piece. Thanks to all the lovely people who left comments, especially Bryon Coley for clearing up the details of how Sex Boots Dread ended up in the film “Bully”.
That left a few loose ends open, which the nerd in me still felt a need to eliminate.
Ray Roughler Jones – Drowning On Dry Land (Bone/Tangent Books, 2010)
I covered The Roughler fanzine (and the West London eighties counterculture it was part of) in the previous post. Ray’s autobiography is an OK read, charting his working class upbringing in Swansea and involvement in the Ladbroke Grove scene of the eighties and beyond. He’s been through the mill a bit and has a nice line in self-deprecation, especially where his drink problem and mishaps with the ladies are concerned. Mr Roughler is an accomplished storyteller, a skill obviously picked up from spending so much time in the boozer. There are a lot of guest appearances from various personalities like Joe Strummer and Class War’s Ian Bone. Indeed, Ray even gets involved in their infamous “Rock Against The Rich Tour” in 1988.
There is perhaps a little too much on being dysfunctional (which is at least entertaining) and the ins and outs of the Warwick pub (including its cricket team!). But Ray is eminently likable and the book is a page turner as well as being an interesting document of (ahem) anglo-welsh working class culture throughout the last half of the twentieth century.
Oh yes, and he also definitively names Keith Allen as being behind “Sex Boots Dread”
“Drowning on Dry Land” is available direct from Tangent, who also published Ian Bone’s autobiography “Bash The Rich”. I picked up my copy from Housmans, one of London’s few remaining independent/lefty bookshops.
Keith Allen – Grow Up (Ebury Press, 2008)
I said I couldn’t be arsed to read this last time, but then I spotted a copy leering at me on the shelves of my local library, so I gave it a shot. I’ve skipped through it but ended up reading a whole lot more than I intended to. Yes, Keith Allen is an egotistical cock, but he doesn’t pretend to be anything else here and he’s pretty funny with it.
Gems include getting nicked for rioting at the Notting Hill Carnival and then returning home to be ignored by his middle class socialist flatmates while they discuss the finer points of revolution, slagging off various alternative comedians, shameless affairs, smashing up a private members drinking club (he wasn’t a member), and pissing into a coffee cup whilst onstage (with his Mum and Dad in the audience) – and then drinking it. And that’s just a few highlights from the late seventies and eighties chapters.
A full account of “Sex Boots Dread” and its origins as a character of Breakfast Pirate Radio is given. I won’t spoil it for you (it’s pages 256-259 in the edition pictured above) but it includes a hilarious account of the tracks being played to a bunch of black yoot in the Rough Trade shop. Keith also reckons the tune sold 8,000 copies in San Francisco which I think is suspect (where are they now?).
And finally, some good news for vinyl fetishists whether straight, gay or whatever:
Someone has taken it upon themselves to bootleg the record on a pink vinyl 7″.
I’ve not been able to get hold of one, so I have no idea about the quality – given its illicit nature I think the best to hope for would be a recording of the original record, but the worst case scenario is that it’s been ripped off an mp3 or youtube or something. If you find one, let me know!
Pseudo Gay Rastas Part Three will appear in the fifth issue of Woof(t)ah.