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Alternatives to Valium

How Punk Rock Saved a Shy Boy’s Life

by Alastair McKay

£9.99

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ISBN: 9781788854948
Published: 07 Apr 2022
Format: E-Book
Extent: 256
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: Polygon , Polygon
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About the Book

“A few years ago, I asked Tom Petty how his songs had been influenced by his life. As a rule, songwriters aren’t keen on unpicking their work, and Petty was no exception. He didn’t want to get into specifics. ‘Life is so difficult,’ he said. ‘And easy. It’s just a chain of spontaneous events.’”

Alastair McKay grew up in the fading Scottish seaside town of North Berwick in the 1970s. The cinema and outdoor swimming pool were closing, there were boot boys in the park, and excitement was scarce.

An exceptionally shy boy, Alastair found his voice through the punk explosion: the ethos that ‘anyone could do it’ prompted him to start writing, largely because it was easier than talking. He also sang in a band that was tipped by Sounds magazine to be ‘big in 1982’. It wasn’t.

From these hesitant beginnings, he went on to an award-winning career in journalism that included meeting Iggy Pop at the Chateau Marmont, being led astray by Tilda Swinton, corresponding with Mark E. Smith and shooting the breeze with Dolly Parton.


The Author

Alastair McKay

Alastair McKay is a journalist living in London. He grew up in North Berwick, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. He currently writes for the Evening Standard in London, and Uncut magazine. He has worked for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Black Book, Out, Blah Blah Blah and The Independent. He lives in London.