A terrific memoir by Martin Newell, the greatest living Englishman. This wonderful 260 page book contains describes Martin's life from childhood to the mid-1970s and the end of his Colchester glam rock band Plod.
Who is Martin Newell you may be asking? He is a musician, singer, guitarist, songwriter, poet, author, gardener, and all round good guy.
His "career" from when this book ends to the present day probably warrants another book. It includes making music as Gypp, The Brotherhood of Lizards, The Stray Trolleys, Cleaners From Venus, and as a solo artist, in addition to his poetry, and all on his own terms. Anyway I digress, back to This Little Ziggy...
Martin Newell was born in 1953, the child of a British Army family, who moved around extensively and included stints in Hertfordshire, Hampshire, London, Cyprus, Dundee, Chester, Singapore, Malaya and Essex This made for an interesting childhood and some incident-packed teenage years, many people go a bit off the rails as a teenager but Martin's experience really is something else: drugs, overdoses, arrests, busts, bikers, violence, sex, indeed it wasn't until he joined Plod, the aforementioned Colchester glam rock band, that things started to settle down, and as he ruefully observes, there's not many people who get into a rock n roll band to settle down and get away from drugs.
This Little Ziggy is compelling, full of great anecdotes, interesting social history and some hard earned wisdom. It perfectly captures the 1960s and 1970s, and the highs and lows of life in a band. In short, it's splendid and you should read it. I don't keep many books but this is a keeper - and I am already looking forward to a re-read in a year or two.
As he states at the end of this book, in the music industry, where lack of success is not necessarily the same thing as failure, he and his Colchester glam rock band Plod had done alright really. Too right.