Happy Birthday Kenney Jones, born OTD in 1948. As drummer with the Small Faces, Faces and later The Who, Kenney Jones’ unique sense of rhythm was the heartbeat that powered three of the most influential rock bands of all time. Beginning in London’s post-war East End, Kenney’s story takes us through the birth of the Mod revolution, the mind-bending days of the late-60s and the raucous excesses of the ’70s and ’80s. In a career spanning six decades, Kenney was at the epicentre of many of the most exciting moments in music history and has experienced everything the industry has to offer.

He jointly created some of the world’s most-loved records, hung out with the Stones, Beatles, David Bowie, Keith Moon and … More

Born OTD in 1961, British musician and artist, best known as the lead singer, lyricist, and guitar player for the anarcho-punk band Rudimentary Peni, Nick Blinko. A Gothic Horror novel about severe mental distress and punk rock. The novel is written in the form of a diary kept by a psychiatrist, Dr. Rodney H. Dweller, concerning his patient, Nathaniel Snoxell, brought to him in 1979 because of several attempted suicides. Snoxell gets involved in the nascent UK anarcho-punk scene, recording EPs and playing gigs in squatted Anarchy Centers. In 1985, the good doctor himself “goes insane” and disappears…

This semi-autobiographical novel from Rudimentary Peni singer, guitarist, lyricist, and illustrator Nick Blinko, plunges into the worlds of madness, suicide, … More

Born OTD in 1939, DJ, radio presenter, record producer and journalist, John Peel. John was one of the first broadcasters to play psychedelic rock & progressive rock records on British radio, and he is widely acknowledged for promoting artists working in a multitude of genres including dub, reggae, punk, post-punk, electronic music, dance music, indie rock, extreme metal, and British hip hop.

Through nigh-on forty years of laconic brilliance on Radio 1, a musical taste which defined a culture and his wildly … More

How does a government steal a child and then imprison him? How does it keep it a secret? This story is how. At the age of seventeen, after a childhood in a foster family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.

This is Lemn’s story: a story of neglect and determination, misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph. Sissay reflects on his … More

Born OTD in 1922, American historian, playwright, and socialist thinker, Howard Zinn. For anyone who grew up in the 20th century, this book is a must read. This autobiography chronicles the life and times of Howard Zinn, America’s foremost social historian. From his days growing up poor in New York to his service is the Second World War to his work with the SNCC in the Civil Rights movement, Zinn tells the story in a personal fashion with poignant detail and antecdotes and tales that will make you laugh and make you cry. This is one of the best autobiographies of the 1990’s, and is a must read for all fans of history, Howard Zinn, and the human bonds that bring us all together.

Available in store and online.  

From the late, great, Ranking Roger of The Beat, comes his autobiography from the same name of their album – ‘I Just Can’t Stop It : My Life in the Beat’. This is the story of one of the UK’s biggest 2-Tone bands, The Beat, who at the height of their fame in the early 80’s, had three top-selling UK albums & like The Specials, epitomized the 2-tone multi-racial approach to music & life in urban Britain. The story begins in 1979, when 16 year-old Birmingham school boy Roger – a punk fan – was invited to appear on stage at a local pub with the newly formed ska band, The Beat.

Roger’s energetic style and Jamaican-influenced vocals, paired with Dave Wakeling’s angelic pop vocals, immediately distinguished the band from the other … More

Available now in paperback, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah. Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art & his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 80s when punks & Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness & the National Front, Benjamin’s poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations & on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, & to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books.

His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the … More

“In ‘Why I Write’, Orwell entertainingly declared: “All writers are vain, selfish & lazy, & at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.” He divided reasons for soldiering on into “sheer egoism”, “aesthetic enthusiasm”, “historical impulse” & “political purpose”. Like Orwell, Levy is entertaining & makes his categories her chapter headings. But, unlike Orwell, she is not steadily organised. She is a maker not a clearer up of mysteries. And she is fugitive. It is this that gives the book its subtle, unpredictable, surprising atmosphere.”

The opening line hooks one instantly: “That spring when life was hard and I was at war with my lot … More

Born OTD in 1889, English comic actor, filmmaker, & composer, Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin’s childhood in London was one of poverty & hardship, as his father was absent & his mother struggled financially, & he was sent to a workhouse twice before the age of nine. When he was 14, his mother was committed to a mental asylum. Chaplin began performing at an early age, touring music halls & later working as a stage actor & comedian.

Social commentary was a feature of Chaplin’s films from early in his career, as he portrayed the underdog in a … More

Pre-order Benjamin Zephaniah’s autobiography out soon in paperback, here. Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art & his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness & the National Front, Benjamin’s poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations & on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, & to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books.

His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the … More