Punk of 1977 inspires author to go back in time

Neil Rowland
Neil Rowland

A writer and journalist has delved back into the Punk era of the Seventies in a story reflecting the music scene of the day.

Neil Rowland, who lives in Bedford, once wrote for Melody Maker and other music magazines, and has now published Punk Story.

He said: “My novel describes in an amusing and authentic way the punk and postpunk music scene of Bedford, Luton and Dunstable in 1977.

“It was a great period of young people making their own ‘scene’, when women and girls found their voice. Young people of different races and backgrounds were making and enjoying music together.”

The story is based around a battle of the bands competition, inspired by the real one that had its final at St Albans Arena.

Neil added: “It is a nostalgic book of those times, yet 1977 reminds of 2017 in many ways - a time of upheavel and political change.”

After divorce two years ago, Neil decided to look to the past, to find happier and more exciting times, when The Clash and the Buzzcocks as well as a host of local bands, were on the Punk scene.

Neil said: “I lost somebody I loved, so writing the book was fantastic therapy. It put me back in touch with the humour and joy of life. I had to go back in time, to discover the future. So it had to be a funny book, but also authentic about the music. “The local music scene was every bit as exciting and character full as that in London or New York. That is one point of my book.”

After gaining a degree in English literature Neil worked in Bristol, to research and write articles for inclusion in programmes for major theatrical productions, both in London and touring. Several years later he studied for an MA in Commonwealth Literature at the University of Leeds.

Neil now works as a teacher for gifted kids, SEN and refugee kids, plus other children who are not in school for various reasons, and contributes articles to Time Out and The Irish Post.

Punk Story is published by Acorn Books and is available through Amazon and Waterstones.

Visit www.neilrowland.com