It is a massive undertaking to attempt to document the history and cultural relevance of cassette culture in the pre-internet age. Although it was something of a boom in home made music at it's peak in the mid 1980's, it was a largely disparate network with small pockets of cohesion and countless small hubs of bedroom labels connected by ad hoc fanzines many of which barely made it into double figures in terms of published issues and seriously underground pirate radio stations. It was a network that relied heavily on the postal service and word of mouth, long before the internet was a reality. Most of us worked from typewriters. I am not aware of anyone working with word processors or computers at that time.
Falling A were relatively high profile in the UK and well connected across the globe but the landscape was forever changing and completely unpredictable. What Jerry has achieved with this book is really quite remarkable. The story has been told in a way that bears pretty good resemblance to what we actually experienced.
History in general and cultural history is a fragile story to tell. It is never as concrete as we might imagine. It largely depends on who is telling the story and for everyone who has a voice in the narrative of history there are thousands who played a part who have no voice or were not consulted. This has been pointed out in very poignant and sobering ways over the last year or so.
Jerry has managed to reach and interview those of us still around and still talking about cassette culture but there were plenty from the period who were significant at the time who we don't get to hear from. To say it is the definitive history of cassette culture would perhaps be a stretch, but that is not Jerry's claim. However, the book does give a window into the world of cassette culture and it's significance. It does give insight into what was behind it, how it functioned and the legacy of a very exciting and interesting time in the history of one of the most prolific and creative periods in underground music. It is by far the most authoritative and comprehensive account I have read of this rather obscure but not insignificant strand of music history.
The 320 page book is a beautiful work of art, it comes with a 2 CD set loaded with 160 minutes of cassette culture recordings. If you were there or have an interest in this elusive period then I highly recommend the book.
Available from: VOD