Friday, 6 March 2009


Radio One was never the same after John Peel passed away. This rather special DJ was responsible for turning thousands of ears towards some of the great bands that few others would give airtime to. I'll always remember one particular show when John read out a letter from one of his listeners who declared he listened to 'Peelie' every week night. John thanked him for his support, but gently took him to task, stating that he should be out and about at gigs checking out some of the terrific music on offer. Johnny Vincent has similar views, and decided to write and publish a book which captures some of his experiences of the music scene in Derby, bringing back memories for those who shunned the sofa and actually got out there in the thick of it.

Here, Johnny looks back at the venues, some of the bands who played there and an array of colourful local characters. New Order at the Blue Note, The Fall, UK Subs at The Ajanta, The Smiths at The Assembly Rooms, the Sex Pistols debacle when the council banned them from playing the Kings Hall, The Damned at The Assembly Rooms... great gigs from way back when are discussed with real love here, together with valuable input from ex members of local bands such as Anti Pasti and Avoid. Johnny also holds forth on his own musical experiences; the pitfalls associated with gig promotion and various life experiences that often made me laugh out loud. 'An Alternative Derby' is written with an enormous amount of passion,humour and humility and Johnny Vincent has a happy knack of being able to paint pictures of moments in time that will leave you nodding your head as the memories come flooding back, or cursing the fact that you weren't there to experience some truly golden times.

'An Alternative Derby' is published by Lulu and you can purchase a copy by clicking here
I may well read a more enjoyable, evocative and consistently moving account of life and music in the next few years but, to be honest, I doubt it.


  1. I definitely wouldn't mind checking this out. Good to see some new posts from you. I was wondering if something was wrong or you had just been busy. Take care. Have a great week.

  2. out of interest, how much of this is devoted to the local scene and how much is bands that passed through(eg smiths)? Will it resonate with those from outside the area who may not know the characters or venues involved? just wondering

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  4. Thanks, Keith. Not had a lot of time to blog recently. My wife has to take a test to stay in the UK so we've been going through the official course book which contains a lot of stuff that many folks who have lived here all their life would not know. Should be back on things after the weekend.
    Nigel, the book is well worth reading, even if you're not familiar with the area. There's an awful lot on the local scene, with venues that, for one reason or another, I didn't get to visit and bands I never got to see. Captures the era beautifully. Unfamiliarity with the area should not prove to be a barrier.