Book review: A Licence to Rock and Pop

James Fry’s new book is subtitled “a history of attitude” and gives you your own primer to being a rockstar, with tongue firmly in cheek and dripping with insight.

By the time you reach the bibliography at page 228, you will be in full swagger mode and firmly on the metaphorical path to self-destruction with a sense of swear, hair, and wear and tear.

Teenage boys (and some girls, too) invent their own bands in front of their bedroom mirrors in all their spotty glory.

It’s about the image, not the music – although drumners always seem to have more fun back there in the shadows – and a little touch of danger.

Fry will let you in “from spectator to spectacle” through his own experiences as a band member and photographer. Part memoir, part manual, part message, A Licence to Rock and Pop will give you the tools to become famous in your own lunchtime.

Cover of A Licence to Rock and Pop

We have all been fans. We all recognise charisma when we see it (and often when we don’t). We raise up our idols and stick their likenesses to our bedroom walls (the old way) or on our social spaces (nu fangled ways).

A Licence to Rock and Pop considers the power of the image, the pose, the stance, the attitude, the challenge to the photographer’s lens and the boy or girl who consumes the final product.

Often hilarious, always perceptive, this book is about game-playing, choice-making, and identity-fixing, and everything in-between. It looks at politics, substances, gender-bending and class choices.

It’s all about the brand and the intention in this book. Hair, flair, and the stuff of parents’ nightmares. You will get this if you have ever been that impressionable child doing your make-up (badly), singing into your hairbrush (badly), and obsessing over the latest flavour of the month.

Still want to be a star?

A Licence to Rock and Pop by James Fry is published by Slimvolume on 17 October and is available right here, right now, in an initial limited run of 500 copies.