[6.3.06] [Andrew Gallix]
Faithful readers may remember that Bertie Marshall used to be one of our columnists a few years ago. When I interviewed this former member of the Bromley Contingent back in 2001, he had already mentioned that he was working on a punk memoir entitled Berlin Bromley which I later had the opportunity to read in its original version. Since then, the manuscript has been doing the rounds, garnering praise from the likes of Michael Bracewell ("Berlin Bromley is an utterly compelling memoir -- had Candy Darling lived in Croydon his experience would have been identical") and Jon Savage along the way, and is finally being published next month to mark punk's 30th anniversary (SAF Publishing, 27 April). Here are a few extracts from Boy George's introduction:
"When I first encountered Bertie Marshall in 1976 I could never have imagined him having an ordinary name or any kind of ordinary life. Reading this book it appears we both had pretty ordinary lives before discovering our sense of individuality or accepting that we would never fit into the regular world. Bertie, or Berlin as he was known when I first spotted him on the dance floor of Louise's a boxy, seedy after-hours nightclub that attracted many of London's premier freaks and Punk Rock stars was a pure legend in my eyes because I'd seen him in magazines alongside the likes of Siouxsie Sioux.
. . . It was years before I encountered Berlin as Bertie and I found him to be charming, witty and cool but not in the way I had imagined. In fact, he seemed like someone I could have been a friend of and I'm glad to say we are now and we even swapped mobile numbers.
This book is written with considered sarcasm, wit and ought to be snapped up by every aspiring fashion student, wannabe outsider or worried mother and it‚s hard to put down. Well, I nearly set fire to it when I realised I had not even garnered a mention but had I been a year a two younger I might have followed Philip to that photo shoot and sneaked my way into this book. . . . There are legends in our midst!
You can read an extract from Bertie's memoir in Spike.