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Bertie Marshall was one of the key players in the early punk scene when under the name Berlin, he was part of the ultimate pop art inner circle the Bromley Contingent.
His recent revealing punk memoir from the period ‘Bertie Berlin’ recounts the period and offers a glimpse of a very different time when the freaks came out to play and boring Britain recoiled in horror. (buy the book from Amazon).
According to Amazon ‘Bertie ‘Berlin’ Bromley cuts to the core of the 1976/77 punk sensibility, recounting his own adventures as a ubiquitous scenester and rent boy. The Bromley Contingent included Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Severin, Billy Idol and Jordan. Marshall, as a pivotal member of the Contingent, views the scene and its stars with the intimate eye of an insider, offering a vivid picture of the most important British music movement in the 20th century.’
If you want to understand what punk really was an not one of the myriad of versions that came later then this is, perhaps, the book to read recounting an era of powerful personalities, fluid sexuality, fantastic clothes and a great musical soundtrack.
Currently he has a new book ready to go, Pete’s underpants which is looking for a publisher.
And a new play in development at Kings head theatre, London.
Mr. Marshall sent us his top 10 favourite albums which in themselves go some way in explaining this sliver of time when anything was possible.
1. Kaleidoscope – Siouxsie and the banshees. 1980.
Particularly the song ‘Hybrid’ Siouxsie wailing about finding a fellow misfit – its the only ‘dreamy’ Banshees album.
2. Approximately infinite universe – Yoko ono. 1973.
Bought this at Bonaparte records on market square Bromley, Loved Yoko since I was 9 yrs old- would play it really loud to piss my parents off…
3. Radio Ethiopia – Patti Smith. 1976.
Patti’s most experimental album and a mess, but doing what she does best… poetic rants …always loved the poems and scribble on inner sleeve …
4. Nico – The End. 1974.
With Eno and john cale playing on it- one of the most original albums ever …makes you feel like you’re lost in the black forest and may never get out…
5. Kid A – Radiohead.
Simply a soundtrack album of when I lived in N.Y in late 90’s.
6. Heijira – Joni Mitchell. 1976.
I like this as an antidote to all the 1976-77 punk bollocks and Joni’s poetic images and all pervading melancholy.
7. David Bowie – Heroes. 1977.
Joe the lion and blackout –darkly glamorous.
Musical snapshots of an imagined Berlin life…
8. Eno – Music For Film.
Soundtrack for sleep.
9. Sonic Youth – A Thousand Leaves.
Again conjures up NYC– ‘Karen Coltrane’
Late night cab rides uptown, prescription meds …
10. Bjork – Vespertine.
Because because because……