The punks are on the march - and the Teds are out to nobble them ...
An odd one. Truth be told, the Punks and Teds are pretty much peripheral figures, with only their sporadic skirmishes on the Kings Road to justify the title (and even then, it might as accurately have been called TEDS).
Much of the story is given over to the relationship between reporter Raymond Kerr and his new girlfriend, the mysterious, hash smoking Vi who can rustle up a mean omelet. The story has more to do with publishing and music industry corruption, with much being made of the money-grabbing and hypocrisy of rock stars, as personified by Johnny Reb, who despises punk but still markets himself as it's figurehead. The power-struggle this time centres on the takeover battle at Spins magazine, and it's such a bloodless coup you wonder why Allen devotes so many chapters to it.
On the product placement front, it's utterly lame. Several contemporary bands are name-checked - The Sex Pistols, Adverts, Eater, The Saints, Demis Roussos and Des O'Connor among them - but that hardly counts. I'm taking it that Allen had stocked up on enough Haig and Seagrams 100 Pipers to last him a lifetime and we are getting very close to the end of the series with this entry?
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty. - Christine Campbell Thomson
Read this next to Gideon Sams' The Punk and it's like seeing two equally clueless extremes - the old git and the schoolboy who was trying to fit in.
I have to admit, this is the only Allen that I've kept. It is completely clueless, but treminds me so much of the newspaper coverage of the time that made me have to hide my Saints and Damned records from my mum (I was only 12!).
If you're looking for serious music and accuracy from this, then you won't get it. But is that patented sleaze-with-prurience that makes Jim Moffat so fascinating. And you whiz through it quickly, which is more than can be said for his Etienne St Aubin incarnation!