Published in 1978, it is a real-time account of Punk as it happened. As a newspaper columnist, Val Hennessy presented a series of TV shows which were labelled as a “chaotic disaster”. Entitled “Punk and Acne Go Together”, his iconic programme encapsulated the anger and the pathos of punk. ⁠⁠ The book drew on that programme and Hennessy to describe the punk movement, often through the words of the “punk fans”. 

What is so exceptional about In the Gutter by Val Hennessy is that it was written and published at the time of Punk’s giddy ascendency to the top in 1978. The contemporary nature of the book ensured that the contributors were the genuine Punks of the time – the originators and the creators rather than, as can be the case in later books, fringe participants who staked the claim to be at the very heart of the movement. 

In the Gutter by Val Hennessy references the disdain of Punks towards the music establishment of the time.  Mick Jagger gave plenty for the Punks to rally against, interviewed in the NME in October 1977, “If you don’t go for as much money as you can possibly get, then I reckon you’re just stooped […] Don’t you think the Stranglers are the worst thing that you ever heard? Christ, I do. They’re hideous, rubbishy, so bloody stupid.” 

Val Hennessy manages to get hold of “punk fan, Don Letts, the DJ from the Roxy Club “and records him saying “Let’s get this over quick, right? I ain’t got time to waste talking on TV. The reggae thing and the punk thing, it’s the same thing. We’re just regular kids. It’s the street culture, the black version and the white version. We’re angry people. We want change, we want opportunities. Something’s gotta happen “ 

RARE BOOKS SELECTION – Please note that this book is from our rare books selection which includes limited editions and hard to find prints. This particular book is preowned but in great condition.

For more information read the review here. 

Punk had burst onto the scene with its aggressive raw energy, confrontational lyrics and rhythm guitars spewing out arrangements that were just unorthodox. It was that moment of revolutionary art, overturning what had gone before.

Our vast selection of Punk books reflects the importance of that subculture from the early 1970’s in New York, through London, The US West Coast, Riot Grrrl through to the current day.  The curated selection includes the photography of Dennis Morris, Kevin Cummins, Sheila Rock and Janette Beckman, biographies of The Undertones, a history of The Roxy club and a good selection of women in Punk including Poly Styrene, Patti Smith, Jordan and Kim Gordon.

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