Jewish Book Week: Old Punk Prepares Reminiscences, Rants And Anecdotes

CSM HamHigh

A little while back, I was delighted to receive — and eagerly accept — an offer to join a panel chaired by my old friend and eternally ageless sistren Vivien Goldman on The Jewish Roots Of Punk as part of Jewish Book Week, taking place on Saturday March 1 at 9pm, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. Also on board will be Geoff Travis, Daniel Miller and Toby Mott, so a good time should be had by all, awreddy. (Incidentally, the event immediately before us will feature Mark Lewisohn talking about his rather impressive new Beatles book Tune In, the first volume of the massive eventual trilogy All These Years.)

We haven’t (yet) done anything as grownup and efficient as pre-planning an agenda, but I assume that we may be talking about what it  means to be Jewish, what it means to be punk and how these two states of being might conceivably intersect. I also assume that, old and dignified as we all now are, there will be little or no spitting, kicking over of microphones, shaking up beer cans and popping them in the general direction of the audience or, for that matter, mass chanting of Hava Nagila.

Nevertheless, whilst engaging in preliminary thinkage concerning Malcolm McLaren, Joey Ramone and many more (not to mention Bob Dylan and Marc Bolan, though I suspect someone will), I was reminded of a favourite adage of my late sainted father: “If I ever find out that the Worldwide Jewish Conspiracy really exists, I’ll be furious … because I was never invited to join.”

Incidentally, the above ridiculously flattering portrait may seem like an outtake from my failed audition to become the next Dr Who (damn you, Peter Capaldi!) , but it was in fact taken by Nigel Sutton on behalf of that august periodical The Ham And High on the occasion of my being Cover Boy t’other week.

It only remains to animadvert that while the next session of my Hothouse Project: Journalism As Craft And Art course (commencing February 20) is filling up nicely, we still have a few places left … so don’t be shy. I’ll be gentle with you … maybe.