BOOK REVIEW: A Taste Of Ink! The Prisoners sentenced by their fans...

BOOK REVIEW: A Taste Of Ink! The Prisoners sentenced by their fans…

When contemplating composing a book on a band that have a particular place in the heart of their followers you have to have certain components, these often include reviving certain feelings/memories from bygone years/events that are often lost in the eons of peoplesminds plus enough visual aids to stimulate the sight and finally a dash of personal anecdotes stoking emotions regarding flashes of musical brilliance.

This is often hard to achieve and sometimes many miss the mark, dividing readers opinions with a collective cry of missed opportunities. Never fear, A Taste Of Ink! The Prisoners sentenced by their fans… compiled and edited by Elinor Crockford, Jeremy Stride, Michael Langer and Thomas Buch is a full on blockbuster personal account by fans, friends and musical associates that followed Allan Crockford, Graham Day, Johnny Symons and James Taylor from their humble working class grass rooted beginnings to headlining Camden’s Roundhouse in 2024 as the legendary mod garage quartet The Prisoners.

The book starts with Elinor Crockford speaking emotively about how the book came to fruition, with the advent of social media, innocently sharing a photo sparking a movement of fellow fans rummaging through draws, cupboards, attics and garden sheds for a photo that was taken on a instamatic camera with the results coming out slightly blurred, but nevertheless a dream for fans to look at or a gig flyer ripped of a 80’s beer stained wall that’s seen better days or a set list drawn up what looks like a 2 year old, all of these items and much more have been included in this highly engrossing book. Elinor’s brother Allan, bassist in the band also adds his 2p worth of glittering praise for the book along with further treasures of knowledge that can only come from someone that has carried The Prisoners torch right from the first get ready go whistle.

Whilst the book is not an official account by the band, it might well be the closest fans will get to a book on the bandand I doubt no one will be disappointed with the final mammoth 356 pages on offer for the softback, hardcover version adds an additional 30 pages of memorabilia. There are some heavyweight names adding their lovingly devoted wordage including Eddie Piller, Will Hodgkinson (The Times), Nitin Sawhney, Billy Childish, Ted Kessler. Furthermore a marathon amount of bands and outfits many might have forgotten The Prisoners were lined up with, including The Ramones and Martha Reeves plus fellow mod favourites Makin’ Time and The Milkshakes amongst many. It’s interesting to read the account of The Ramones guest slot, imagine being Crockford, Day, Symonds and Taylor arriving on stage  belting of their exceptional medwayfreakbeat mod anthems to an army of rockers, with Day saying mid set ‘this song will be hard for you to listen to, it has a melody’, fortunately the band made it out alive as did their fellow modernist supporters championing their heroes on the night.

There are plenty of these personal charming anecdotes probably taken from cherished diary entries, but for many the true highlight will the barrage of photos on offer. This is where the aforementioned Boots throw away cameras were probably employed to do a job, an excellent job they did do, showcasing the band in different murky, dank, dark pubs/clubs wearing the sort of attire you could expect, neck tie a plenty, white jeans, desert boots, Carnaby Street tailored shirt. There’s also an array of wonderful professionally taken photos; Eugene Doyen’s black and white montage with the foursome looking a dream in dangerously snug fitting trousers, sharper than sharp shirts and peacock haircuts, their look is on point; Per Ake Warn photos showing a sweat drenched band at the peak of their powers in 1985 with the closing chapter unveiling the present day wider in the waist band members on stage at their celebrated Royal Function Rooms, Rochester gigs photographed by David Clarke, the affection from the fans is heart warming and the bands members passion for playing is not lost and looks as exciting and dangerous as they ever have been.

With a gig by gig guide, line up chronology including The Numbers, Shout, James Taylor Quartet and many more plus a life sentence showing significant chapters throughout the bands timeline, this book certainly chapters pretty much everything, including the kitchen sink. A tireless unprecedented effort bringing back the good times for a band many have championed and still few have discovered.

A Taste Of Ink! can be purchased via the following link 


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