Perry Boys Reviewed on ZANI

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As stated in the prologue of The Perry Boys, author Ian Hough, ‘was not a gang leader or a glory hunter’, therefore, Salford Lad, Ian Hough, gives his narrative of being a member of a football firm in Manchester and beyond.

It has been a long time since I have read the memoirs of a football fan, yet I didn’t stop reading this genre for any reason other than my choice of reading has changed over the years. Yet, sometimes a major or a minor incident may occur that rekindles a former interest. So, when Perry Boys appeared in my browser whilst I was looking for a book to purchase on a well-known website, I decided to read the description and the reviews, and I thought, why not, and I am pleased that I did.

Perry Boys begins with a detailed prologue in which Hough gives a brief history of British youth culture, the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester, that developed well before the birth of football, and a personal introduction. Perry Boys is broken down into four parts, Part 1 – The Thing is Born. Part 2 – The Fall, Part 3 – Reasons to be Cheerful and Part 4 – The Boys That Got Away.

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Part 1 and 2, is Hough’s candid account of his family, who occasionally turned to petty crime to put food on the table, his love for music, and then fashion. All these factors give Hough a purpose in life at an early age. Moreover, when the snotty-nosed and scruffy Hough sees a bunch of smartly dressed kids strutting around the centre of Manchester in the late 1970s, Hough wants to be part of this gang, and this gang was The Perry Boys. A collection of smartly dressed teenagers and men in their early 20s, who are regarded as one of the pioneers of the football casual look that emerged from the late 70s. There is an ongoing debate that the Liverpool fans were the first to become casuals, and Manchester followed, but that is a debate for them and them alone, and Hough certainly with wit, puts in his two pennies. Yet there is no anger, no boasting or sadness in this section of Perry Boys, other than an insight into the casual movement, which is called the nameless thing in Perry Boys, and life in a Northern Town for a kid, who is savouring the moment, yet yearning to escape and see the world. In addition, that is the underlying theme in Perry Boys, Hough’s desire to get away to find adventure.

Part Three of Perry Boys is about the club scene and Acid House. Hough covers with sharpness and sincerity the positive aspect of coming together, and behind the love and peace, lurks the dealers, that make everyone happy, as well as making themselves a nice tidy sum. Hough gives a balanced account of these colliding worlds that still exist today, not out of harmony, but out of necessity.

I liked these three parts, as the content, structure and deliverance are intelligent, witty, absorbing, authentic and at times, poignant, with the odd historical fact thrown in for good measure.

Yet Part 4, I thoroughly enjoyed, as it covered something, that is seldom covered, even these days, the British working-class kid of any origin, male or female, going on a working holiday with the ‘best-laid plans. Prior to the 80s, the idea of working in Australia, USA, Israel and much more, was the thing of dreams, for a kid from Salford, Hackney, and such like. Then by the droves in the 80s, how and why, is another subject, working-class and lower-middle-class youngsters were flying out of Old Blighty, to work on Camp America, do an Auto Driveaway in the USA, breaking a sweat on a Kibbutz, picking fruit in Australia and much more. Kids wanting to get away from the rain, the football terraces, the pubs, a mundane job, or whatever, they just wanted to get away and at last, Hough had fulfilled his early teenage wish of escaping and seeking new adventures.

There is a vibrant and chaotic feel to Part 4, as travel is exciting, because the chance of experiencing something new, good or bad, is much higher than staying at home, and the experience will always leave a lasting effect on you, which, if you are wise, you learn and develop from. Moreover, in Perry Boys, you can see Hough and his peers developing, with a tad of a Brit aboard, from drinking to chatting up girls. Putting that aside, there is an adventure element here, that is pleasing to read.

Perry Boys will remind a certain generation of their youth, give the younger generations a raw account of yesterday’s subcultures, and for every generation, Perry Boys will give them a desire to purchase a one-way plane ticket, and see what happens at the other end. Furthermore, if Lockdown reaches a favourable conclusion, then we will certainly witness the return of ‘mad travelling’, as I like to call it.

Perry Boys is Available on Amazon 

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Read 709 times Last modified on Monday, 31 August 2020 11:48
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