Memoirs of a Geezer, By Jah Wobble

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The Independent Culture

Jah Wobble has lived an eventful life: bass player in PiL, solo musician and influential figure in the popularisation of world music, as well as London Tube driver, warehouse manager, chronic alcoholic and book reviewer for the Independent on Sunday.

He writes without any literary pretensions – the prose is full of filler phrases such as "to be honest" and "to be fair" – but his clarity and candour make this a refreshing read. His caustic view of the music business, and his pen-portraits of characters such as John Lydon, Malcolm McLaren, Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno are entertaining and opinionated. (One often wonders, however, what the other side of the story might be.) The anecdotes are interspersed with his thoughts on music, creativity, God, and the sociological and ethnic changes in his beloved East End.

Wobble (incidentally, he got his name from Sid Vicious's slurred pronunciation of his real name, John Wardle) comes across as talented, thoughtful, honest and idealistic, as well as egotistical, obsessive, driven and occasionally violent. The dichotomy is what makes this such an interesting memoir.