DESTROY : The Definitive History Of Punk
by ALVIN GIBBS
This book came out at about the same time as the SEX PISTOL'S FILTHY LUCRE reunion tour and also as a crop of other punk books. It seemed that all things punk had finally got down on its knees and was happily chomping on the corporate cock, or was it? Maybe it's just a bunch of sad old forty-somethings trying to earn a few extra bucks and promote some back-catalogue sales. And in doing so, hoping to breathe some well-needed life into their ever dwindling royalty payments. All of the above may or may not be true. Although this hasn't stopped some of the written work I've read on this subject from being really quite enjoyable. I'd cite: John Lydon's No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish.; Jon Savage's England's Dreaming; and Mark P/ Erica Echenburg's And God Created Punk [for it's Photograph's] as great examples. These books aren't punk in themselves; they merely report it. They are a symptom of our times. A retrospective for those that weren't there and a journey down memory lane for those that were.
Having recently read the above titles, I'd passed over Destroy and written it off as yet another cash-in. Fortunately, a few month's later it was bought for me by someone who doesn't suffer from my preconceptions.
This book could act as a dictionary of punk with most of the mover's and shaker's covered. Each is given a header, enabling you to scan through and read up on the bands of your choice. There is not loads written on each with some only getting a paragraph or two. I was impressed with the definitive side of Destroy. It starts in the early seventies with the New York Dolls, The Stooge's and The Velvet Underground; touches on all bases; and finishes with Gibbs' appraisal of punk's influence on life in the nineteen nineties, such as Tank Girl and Jean Paul Gaultier.
To sum up, I'd say if you want your punk all Westwood and Gaultier then get that awful pink leopard-skin coffee table effort. But if you have a genuine interest in the subject, its icon's and effects, then make it this one. I for one will be looking out for more work by Alvin Gibbs in the future. Bimble x