Books - T

TOO OLD TO DIE YOUNG: Paranoid Visions, Punk Rock And Me - Peter Jones {302 pages, Rotator}
Everyone has a story to tell and all too often the autobiography is the territory of the self-aggrandising superstar. And then there is the likes of Peter Jones, founder and guitarist of Dublin Punks, PARANOID VISIONS. There’s no massaging of one’s own ego here, no any highfalutin self-therapy and you know what? It’s a great, honest and occasionally brutal autobiography that has sincerity dripping off every page.
Peter takes us back to 1966 when he was born and sets the tone perfectly with a heart-wrenching piece of a tortured upbringing - before dismissing that and retelling it correctly - that he is from a humble, working class background, most likely akin to many of those reading the book. He was born in Surrey, spent some of his early years in Sunderland and then moved to Ireland in 1973.
From there, it’s the discovery of Punk Rock, picking up a guitar, forming PARANOID VISIONS and their ensuing saga - all the while keeping it genuine, sincere and very readable.
Along the way there has been riots, violence, a lot of alcohol, international gigs, record releases and dedication to that cause of both Punk and PARANOID VISIONS that is endearing and admirable. Along the way we get Peter’s explanation of the band’s dislike of U2 (although, Jones does admit to being a fan of their early material), recording with the likes of The Shend, Zillah Minx, TV Smith and, most significantly, Steve Ignorant which blossomed into an entire project and touring unit, hanging out with John Lydon, joining THE LEE HARVEYS, a neat run down of Peter’s favourite PARANOID VISIONS songs and more band members (many of whom seemed rather erratic and complicated souls) than most football teams have players (and I mean first team, reserves AND juniors!). The Sealink Ferry Charity Event chapter makes fantastic reading too.
Jones writes very clearly, is not adverse to some self-deprecation and, even given the opportunity that his own book offers, rarely criticizes those who clearly deserve it - although LEFTOVER CRACK come in for some justified disparagement for refusing to pay PV for a gig. He states early on that this book is his take on things, from his perspective. The writing is spirited, reflective, wise but also forward looking and filled with a joyous obsession of all things Punk that could be matched by any youngster who’s just discovered the joys of two-fingers in the air, three chords and songs that last two minutes.
John Robb (MEMBRANES) provides a foreword, there are a heap of photos from all eras of the band and it closes rather poignantly with the arrival of COVID-19 giving the whole tome a time and place in these crazy, epoch-making days.
If you’re looking for scandal, back-biting, sensationalism or egotism you’d better look elsewhere. If you want to read the story of a man and his band who literally battled through the Punk Rock Wars and came out victorious, creating some of the best Irish Punk Rock ever, that’s an honest and engrossing read and reminds us all of the exact reasons we all got into this Punk Rock thing in the first place, then look no further. Life affirming and reaffirmation that Punk Rock is still (and always has been) exciting and exists outside of the careerists - and is all the better for it. (26.02.21)