"Boy's Own", the Complete Fanzines 1986-92
Acid House Scrapes and Capers
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There’s a moment in Jack Kerouac’s 1962 autobiographical come-down novel ‘Big Sur’ where ‘the King of the Beats’ (a term he hated) comes face to face with “some sort of Beat Jesus”, an 18 year old proto-hippy “with a beard and crazy hair”, in San Francisco a good eight or nine years before Woodstock, and a forbearer of a subcultural, generational shift that arguably changed Western culture for good.
Boys Own, the Complete Fanzines, 1986-92, has Big Sur moments peppered through the 1986-88 issues, as a small crew of West London football lads, clubbers, music freaks and blaggers start to realise that they’re not just near the centre of Acid House as it starts to emerge from the primordial soup of mid 80’s UK subculture, they and the faces around them are helping create it.
Just as Kerouac refused to be dragged into the patchouli scented embrace of the idealistic movement he helped create, by Autumn 1988 the Boys Own central committee were already kicking back against the commercialised explosion in Acid House culture : The TV documentary crews lurking around raves were mocked, the first wave of mass market ravers in Top Shop bought smiley t shirts were famously branded ‘Teds’, the plain clothes coppers in bandanas and day glo laughed at.
But whilst Kerouac’s bitterness against the hippies he’d helped create solidified into a destructive, reactionary, booze fuelled hatred, the Boys Own lot carried on throwing parties, dj ing and making records, always ready to have a laugh from the side lines at the assumed self-importance of those same activities.
The Boys Own Fanzines, like Oz and International Times for the hippies, or Sniffing Glue and Vague for the punks, remain an invaluable collection of first hand accounts and sharp witted commentaries documenting the pre-history, moment of inception, and after-shocks of Acid House, one of the more exciting and important moments in our modern subcultural history.
(This enhanced version comes with links to 15 audio playlists compiled from the individual fanzines ) .