Absolute Beginners, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)

Description

'I swore by Elvis and all the saints that this last teenage year of mine was going to be a real rave.

Yes, man, come whatever, this last year of the teenage dream I was out for kicks and fantasy' London, 1958.

A new phenomenon is causing a stir: the teenager. In the smoky jazz clubs of Soho and the coffee bars of Notting Hill the young and the restless - the absolute beginners - are revolutionising youth culture and forging a new carefree lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.

Moving in the midst of this world of mods and rockers, Teddy gangs and trads., and snapping every scene with his trusty Rolleiflex, is MacInnes' young photographer, whose unique wit and honest views remain the definitive account of London life in the 1950s and what it means to be a teenager. In this twentieth century cult classic, MacInnes captures the spirit of a generation and creates the style bible for anyone interested in Mod culture, and the changing face of London in the era of the first race riots and the lead up to the swinging Sixties...

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by
5

A classic and rightly so. It's in the same league as the Catcher in the Rye and similar too in many ways. Yes the characters are transient but so are people in real life- friends are transient and the people that we know, we pick apart and examine through our own eyes and mind. The main character here has some shrewd observations on the development of London, generational differences, the economy and the disappearance of British culture and in a sense reason. Yes it is a look through the some might say naive eyes of a teenager but then the clue is in the title. This book brings a town alive in a very real sense. Every encounter we read about has something to show us about its people or nature and the book never outstays its welcome. An excruciatingly engaging read!

Review by
4

published-1959, london, lifestyles-deathstyles, britain-england, winter-20132014, racism, radio-4, fradio, cults-societies-brotherhoods, music, recreational-drugs, art-forms, prostitution, gangsters, glbt, under-500-ratings, young-adult, casual-violence, period-piece, bulliesRead from January 12 to 19, 2014BABTColin MacInnes's cult classic about teenagers, style and racial tension in 1950s London.Description: London, 1958. "I swore by Elvis and all the saints that this last teenage year of mine was going to be a real rave." The eighteen-year-old narrator of Colin MacInnes' cult classic is determined to declare his independence from earlier generations, as he roams the city with his camera and a sharp eye for the stylish and the subversive. In the smoky jazz clubs of Soho, the coffee bars of Notting Hill and the cheap rooms of Pimlico the young and the restless - the absolute beginners - are revolutionising youth culture and forging a new carefree lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Meanwhile the Teddy Boy gangs are staging internecine battles, and a generation of Black immigrants is struggling to make a life in a hostile city. The definitive account of London life in the 1950s and what it means to be a teenager, this account of a young man's coming of age captures the spirit of a generation and the changing face of London in the era of the first race riots and the lead up to the swinging Sixties.Read by Joel MacCormack Abridged and produced by Sara Davies.Theme tune: Laurie London - He's Got The Whole World In His Hands - 19581. Last year as a teenage for our protagonist, and in Notting Hill too.2. Mr Cool reports trouble brewing on the streets, the Fabulous Hoplite brings news of a party at Dido Lament's, and Suzette won't be persuaded out of her impending marriage.3. The teenage narrator of Colin MacInnes's cult classic sets about making some serious money in an attempt to win back the love of his life, and there's a worrying visit from Mr Cool.4. The teenage narrator is still shocked by Suzette's marriage to Henley. Determined to try and woo her back, he takes the opportunity of a boat trip up the Thames to pay her a visit.5. The teenage narrator finds himself caught up along with his friends in the violence that erupts on the streets of his home patch in Notting Hill.Unsuprisingly, because of the parentage, MacInnes is at home with his subject matter and the writing is accomplished.

Review by
2

I am sorry I didn't like this book at all I finished it though. The main character who takes photos (you dont know his name) is so un appealing, the way the book is written bore me aswell. I wanted to enjoy this book as its about a long lost London. The only good bit was the way this book described the Racial tension of the late 1950s

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