Howling back to the days when we used to pass the Skinhead and Hell's Angels books around school, and watched Hammer Horror films at home on our black-and-white televisions, Tim Wells has written a fiendish tale of a skinhead werewolf rampaging through London in 1979. Being a sharp-dressed lad (still), the clothes and music are spot on. Snap up a copy before it bites your hand off. John King, author of Football Factory, Human Punk, Skinheads, and more.
Skinheads and werewolves and reggae and boozers, lager and kicking in fat city losers, Punk rock and Sta-prest when Lene she sings. Tim Wells has written a novel about a few of my favourite things... You can feel the sticky floors of the gigs and the sweaty menace is tangible as you read Tim Wells’ swaggering prose. This is no rose tinted amble down memory lane. The landscape of his world is a London that was swallowed whole by the eighties. For a book so full of life, there’s a lot of death in it as well. Beautiful. Brutal. Brutus. It’s got the lot! Phill Jupitus
1979: punk, reggae, boots, braces, and button down shirts. The full moon rises, a skinhead’s sideburns grow. Packed full of music, style, and bovver, Moonstomp is the written in blood story of a teenage skinhead who’s also a werewolf. Aggro on the streets of London has never been like this.
The full moon rises and bodies fall.
This pulp novel is in the style of the 70s skinhead/Hell’s Angels books churned out by the New English Library, books that were passed round school such as Skinhead, Suedehead, Chopper, and Speed Freaks.
Tim Wells was a crop headed yoof that saw the bands, bought the records, and looked sharp. He’s still got an overflowing shelf of 70s pulp classics and sports Brutus button down shirts and knows how to shine his brogues.
Film by Guen Murroni
Music by Shocks of Mighty!
“I want all you skinheads to get up on your feet. Put your braces together and your boots on your feet and give me some of that oooooold moonstomping…” the record kicked in. Sprocket stuck through the hole of the rotating yellow Treasure Isle label the disc span on Joe’s Dansette. Reflected onto the deep black of the vinyl, up on it’s left hand side was the moon as it shone it’s light through the bedroom window.
It was a Friday night and Joe Bovshover was back from work, he’d wolfed down the shepherd’s pie at the caff, had a behind the ears and under the balls bath, and was heading out: brogues shined, knife edge crease to the sta-prest, braces over Brutus, and wedge in his bin. ‘Andsome. He was a full of life 17 year old and looking to gain a lot more experience before Monday rolled around again.
I'll be doing a turn at Bloodletting, a night for new writing at the Poetry Cafe on Wednesday, August 15th. I'll be reading from the book. There'll also be some other literary types doing the do.
The Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London.
Kick off is at 7.30pm. No door pressure.
There is a bar. I'm still off the sauce.
Clothes, and more importantly style, are at the heart of skinhead. The fashions change but the basic style remains - more or less. Moonstomp is set in 1979, much closer to original skinheads of the late 60s than we are now to the skinheads and punks of 1979. The look in 79 was much more Harrington, toniks, decent shirt, and looking smart than the scruffs that were thrown up in the early 80s.
The book is set in 1979 and badges were an integral part of 'the look', be that punk, skinhead, reggae, metal, or whatever. The were pinned to the collars of Harringtons, the lapels of leathers, and even on braces.
There's a bit in chapter 7 about how badges played their part in meeting people and sussing them out...
As Joyce came back from the toilet and was strutting it to show off her new…
The second half of the soundtrack to the book.
Danger Signs – Penetration
Wolves and Leopards – Dennis Brown
I Thirst – Dillinger
Mash You Down – Cornell Campbell
Cool Out Son – Junior Murvin
Werewolves of London – Flamin’ Groovies
Groovy Times – the Clash
Barnabas Collins – Lone Ranger
Pressure Rock – Captain Sinbad
Want Fi Goh Rave – Linton Kwesi Johnson
There's a lot of music in the book, mostly punk and reggae tunes from 1979 and a bit earlier. There are quite a few favourites of mine mentioned.
Here's the first part of the soundtrack to the book.
Mucky Pup – Puncture
Bird Song – Lene Lovich
Jilted John – Jilted John
Salvation – Misty In Roots
Lucky Number – Lene Lovich
Babylon’s Burning – the Ruts
Champagne Charlie …
I'm well pleased that the book met 25% of its funding in a fortnight. Thanks everyone who's pledged. The very first person to was the mighty Clare Pollard. Books are going to all the decent London boroughs, oop north, and as far away as Canada, the USA, and Hong Kong.
A big thank you to everyone. Now... onwards!
The novel is set in 1979 and it was an amazing year for music. Punk still had some teeth, reggae was stepping into dancehall and both punk and reggae were in conversation. Dub was showing the possibilities of what was around us could be, 2 Tone was moving, as well as what became known as post-punk throwing up the weird and wonderful; Cabaret Voltaire's 'Nag Nag Nag' was a fave of my sister and me…
During my teenage years I read a lot of New English Library pulp novels. I was a young suedehead giving it the big 'un in button down, Harrington, and brogues. Many of the books were based around youth cults.
The books were pulpand wrong in so many ways but did get teenagers turning pages and they were passed around school playgrounds avidly.
In 2017 I was on a panel discussion with Unbound…
These people are helping to fund Moonstomp.