Original Rockers By Richard King
Faber & Faber, hardback 356 pages, April 2, 2015
Review by Ben Myers
Nostalgia, so the saying goes, is not what is used to be. Though judging by the growing cultural fondness for all things pre-digital nostalgia is in fine fettle. And isn’t it a natural human conceit anyway to indulge in sights, sound, tastes and scents of one’s formative years – to seek solace in the artefacts of times gone by? It’s just possible that nostalgia can be a celebration without ever once feeling the desire to re-visit them and, similarly, without ever disparaging the modern world. Nostalgia is only poisonous when it forgets that the mind consistently edits, censors and re-shapes memory and instead blindly leaps to the false assumption that things were better then.
There’s certainly a strong nostalgic tone to Richard King’s Original Rockers, a warm account centred around rogue Bristol record shop Revolver, but which frequently spins off on tangents on all manner of related subjects including various musical obscurities, the many graduates of the varied Bristol music scene, the obsessive nature of collecting, and the author’s own life. Here, like a spinning piece of scratched old vinyl, life revolves the shop – around music itself. Original Rockers is not just about the auditory experience of music either, but music as a lifestyle decision, a philosophy, a design for living. And, in some cases, an entire reason to be.