Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jah Wobble's "Memoir of a Geezer"

Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Mayhem, Life Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Mayhem, Life by Jah Wobble

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Public Image Ltd has hooked me on Jah Wobble when I first heard “Public Image”. Johnny (Lydon) Rotten’s band right after the Sex Pistols. Punk was moving to another world, and Wobble and his bass was taking me to another part of the neighborhood. Also being aware of the visuals of the bands and artists (which for me is extremely important), Wobble had a great look. A two-day beard, a suit, and strong facial features. He also seemed to have a wild sense of humor.

30 years later he wrote his first book, a memoir that is both culturally interesting as well as a personal statement on a life that is well lived. The cultural aspect is the first thing that got my attention in this book. The title says it all “Memoirs of a Geezer.”
A geezer I presume is British slang for a man, who is basically a good fellow. Wobble is obsessed with fellow citizens who were raised and went to public schools. Which is a high-class world of privilege. Wobble, by his nature, and being a hardcore East London mentality – hates that world. And this is one of the many things that make him interesting as well as a good document how the British see other English people.

Wobble strikes me as a personality, a character and at times a slightly dangerous man. Especially under the spell of alcohol. Jah Wobble hasn’t drink since the 80’s and through out his career he has made a series of great recordings. So what we have here is a musician struggling in 20th Century London. Of course the main interest is in the Public Image years, and they are fascinating. But equally fascinating again, is his take on being British and the class system. A really good read, and I think a must for those who are interested in the music world circ. 1970’s/1980’s.

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