BOOK OF THE WEEK
WIDELY described as ‘punk’s poet laureate’, Ian Dury is a cultural icon. With his band The Blockheads, he exploded onto the television screen in 1978, appearing on Top of the Pops with his hit single ‘What a Waste’, followed later that year by ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’. By now Ian was thirty-six and had worked hard for many years to reach this moment, struggling all the while to find acceptance inspite of the disability he suffered as a result of childhood polio. And yet fame, when it came, almost destroyed him.
This groundbreaking and authoritative book gives the first in-depth and compelling account of the life of this charismatic yet complex artist. Author Will Birch interviewed Dury several times during his lifetime, and has also spoken to more than sixty people who were extremely close to Ian, including family members, fellow musicians, friends, lovers and business associates.
(TEXT COURTESY: Pan Publishing)
‘AS a chronicler of Seventies England, Dury was the bovver boy to Ray Davies’ Wildean fop and Will Birch is adept at tracing both the sources of Dury’s lyrical gifts and the details that made up his evolving Mockney Geezer persona. He emerges as a complex, unlikable man, a portrait endorsed by the new film biopic, ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.’
It is to Birch’s credit that he creates a relatively sympathetic portrait of a man whose psychology was informed by his unconventional upbringing and twisted by his disability. Hampered by a withered arm and calliper-strapped leg due to contracting polio as a child, Dury used language as his weapon of choice, though he was not averse to a physical dust-up on occasion.
It is an ugly, compelling story with last-minute redemption that sees Dury in his final years working as an actor and lyricist at the Royal Court and as an ambassador for Unicef.’