Sunday 19 May 2024

The Return of The Prisoners - New Book "A Taste of Ink", New Album "Morning Star" and Reunion Gig at The Roundhouse in London...

It's certainly a good time to be a fan of The Prisoners - this week sees their biggest gig since the band's reunion - a huge show at London's legendary Roundhouse on Friday May 24th featuring the original line-up of Graham Day, James Taylor, Allan Crockford and Johnny Symons with support from Inspiral Carpets and DJ Steve Lamacq. Talking of huge... there's been a loud thud on the doormats of many households around the world in the past few days (orders have been received from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UK and USA) as the Postman has been delivering the fantastic new book "A Taste of Ink: The Prisoners Sentenced By Their Fans" lovingly compiled and edited by Elinor Crockford, Jeremy Stride, Michael Langer and Thomas Buch. I've just received my huge hardback labour of love and all 385 pages are bursting with every scrap of information you could wish for on the history of the Medway Garage Rock legends. It's mainly a chronological collection of various fan's experiences with the band over the years right up to the recent reunion shows but along the way, there are also hundreds of flyers, adverts, posters, press cuttings, fanzine features, fan's own original photos, illustrations and official promo pics crammed into each page.

There's also a comprehensive gig list and a timeline with a family tree showing the many branches to have sprouted from The Prisoners - the various side projects and new bands that the members of the band embarked on after the initial split. I have an extensive music book library and I can honestly say that I haven't seen many better books on a band than "A Taste of Ink", what with it's wealth of archive material and first hand experiences - it's a fan's dream, and that's basically because it's been compiled by and contributed to by the fans themselves. A fantastic effort and well done to all involved, they must be very proud of the work of art they have produced. I know, I'm very honoured to have some of my photos included and it's great to see them alongside so many familiar names and faces from fellow Prisoners fans that I have got to meet and know since my first Graham Day & The Forefathers Retro Man Blog Night some ten years ago now. 

The Prisoners reunion in Rochester December 2022   

My old Ramones Gig Ticket - The Prisoners as support

My first recollection of seeing The Prisoners was on the classic TV music show The Tube in 1984 and I was hooked ever since - however due to geographical difficulties, I only saw them play live a couple of times back in the day at the much-missed Hammersmith Clarendon and supporting Ramones at the Hammersmith Palais. Fast forward some 30 years and I must admit to having a lump in my throat when I walked backstage at the Half Moon Putney before one of my shows for Graham Day & The Forefathers, and saw the Star Trek outfits hanging up in the dressing room. It made a special event even more special than I could have imagined and I'll never forget it.

Photos above Graham Day & The Forefathers at Retro Man Blog Night

I would go on to put on gigs for The Solarflares, Senior Service and The Galileo 7 and then was in the crowd to finally witness a superb Prisoners reunion show in Rochester in 2022 (which you can read about here), something I never thought would happen. But not only is there the upcoming Prisoners gig at The Roundhouse to look forward to, there's also the superb new album "Morning Star" which is out now on Own Up Records and is a remarkably strong set of brand new material that distills all of those trademark Prisoners elements you love. The stomping Motown beats, immense Hammond organ, fuzzed up guitars, melodic bass lines and instantly memorable, bittersweet harmonies. There's also one of the very best Gerry Anderson TV show instrumental themes that never was in "The Green Meteor" and nods to all the band's influences along the way, some more unsuspecting than you might think such as The Who on "Going Back" and Ramones and Phil Spector on "Go To Him" (I hope they play this on Friday...), it's a surefire classic that will live up to all your expectations.

 You can order "A Taste of Ink" via the book's own official Facebook page here.

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