I’m sure many on here are familiar with the work of music journalist and radio broadcaster Pete Paphides. This delightful book tells the story of his childhood years in Birmingham after his parents moved there in the nineteen sixties from Cyprus in search of a better life for their family. It’s a catalogue of fond (and sometimes not so fond) childhood memories of growing up in a strange country with an alien culture and a language he and his parents could initially barely speak. He was a very shy and introverted child – indeed he uttered not a single word other than to close family between the ages of four and seven. As his parents both worked full time in their fish and chip shop business, he found both a safety net and an outlet for his feelings in the pop music of the seventies and eighties, firstly through Top Of The Pops and the joys of the Dial A DIsc service (remember that?), then later from buying carefully selected singles with his pocket money. Sugar Baby Love and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart were early favourites, then along came The Brotherhood of Man, Abba, The Bee Gees and later The Police, UB40 and The Jam. This is a rite of passage story of growing up from a small boy into adolescence, and to be honest every single page is a joy to read, entertainingly but unsentimentally written and beautifully capturing his heartfelt love for his parents, elder brother and close friends, all soundtracked by the music he was listening to at the time. This is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read for a long time, a coming of age memoir that manages to be simultaneously tender, heartbreaking and laugh out loud funny – do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy without further delay!
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Pop music of the seventies and eighties, autobiographies, chip shops.
One thing you’ve learned
Nothing quite evokes memories in the way music does.