by Andy Tolson
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Pub Date 01 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2023
Inspired by the sonic anarchy of The Clash and The Sex Pistols, teenager Billy Stamp flees a chaotic family life in Halifax to drum his way to superstardom in punk-era London. But Billy is woefully unprepared for a city populated with tattooed skinheads and violent thugs, rock wannabes and, worst of all, universal indifference to his talent. As Billy stumbles through the music scene, playing punk clubs and dank pubs, his search for the perfect groove forces him to choose sides in the battle between art and commerce.
Part ghost story, part fictionalized memoir, Noisemaker is a love letter to when thrashing guitars, pounding drums, and the three minute pop song ruled the world.
"Andy Tolson has written a remarkable novel about a remarkable time. London's punk scene at the end of the '70s was a maelstrom of music, rebellion, sex and drugs. The perfect place and time for a young Canadian drummer to come of age. By turns hilarious and moving, Noisemaker skillfully weaves a tale as tumultuous and triumphant as the era. Brilliant." – Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
"Punk rock, piss-stench pubs and post-adolescent turmoil collide inside 1979 London. Tolson captures the turmoil, the excitement and the uncertainty of a turning point in both musical history and one boy's life." - Michael Barclay, bestselling author of The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip
"I loved following another kid from Atlantic Canada chase his fantasy...as he bobs and weaves his way through the London punk scene. This book is great when he dodges a few smacks, and even greater when he doesn't." - Alan Doyle, musician, actor, author
"Catcher in the Rye meets the Sex Pistols in Noisemaker, a funny and frenetic coming-of-age story that will leave you wanting more." - Laura Churchill Duke, author of Two Crows Sorrow
Andy Tolson has pulled off a truly remarkable feat. He has endearingly captured a unique moment in time (the punk rock years of the late 1970s) and place (London, England) within the context of the folly, passion and ambition of youth. An Atlantic Canadian's viewpoint of this halcyon era ensures a narrative and insight unlike any you have previously devoured. And devour this I did. Tolson's profound talent for believable dialogue and vivid descriptions ensures a rollicking read from beginning to end. Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are all delightfully present and correct, but also are an abundance of laugh-out-loud moments, moments of genuine poignancy and dramatic tension. An essential read." - James Mullinger, journalist, filmmaker and comedian
"Bouncy and delightful, Noisemaker is a joyride that sounds the clarion of humour, light and pathos that lives knee-deep in all good rock and roll books."- Dave Bidini, author of Midnight Light and On a Cold Road
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 8 members
There was something about this book that made me go, “I need to read this!” And other than Billy telling me he was “punk” every few lines, I think I was right.
This is a coming of age story but a much grittier and dirtier coming of age story than I’m used to. It felt real, honest and didn’t sugar coat ANYTHING. It is set in London as the punk era is dying out and those with a little grunge in their heart try to find a space in the world. It follows a young Billy Stamp as he comes to London to find a place for his music and learn that reality isn’t always what you imagine.
One thing I did find challenging was that I didn’t like the majority of the supporting characters. Other than Boz, (I LOVED Boz!) they weren’t people I wanted around Billy. And while he had his teenage moments, Billy was a character I wanted the best for.
Overall, I really loved the journey I went on with Billy. Even if there was a random dead drummer along for the ride. The Billy Stamp at the start of the book was not the same Billy Stamp on the last page and I really loved that.
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