Coming of Age
By Danny Ryan
About the book
He began writing novels and poetry at the age of twelve, but it was to take him a further forty-eight years to realise that he wasn’t very good at either. Consistently unpublished for all that time, he remains a shining example of hope over experience...’
This is a memoir from someone you have never heard of - but will feel like you have. A Catholic education abandoned at the end of the Sixties and a naïve, delusional dream of becoming the next Beatles throughout the Seventies proves to be the perfect apprenticeship for reluctant survival in a local authority and its Alice-in-Wonderland environment of social care where; ‘In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.’
Along the way, as a member of what must surely be the most dysfunctional ‘pop group’ of all time, faithfully adhering to the bizarre commandments of a mythical Hindu Godman, he performs on national television, hunts down the primeval forces of Lucifer and tours behind the Iron Curtain during the last decade of the Cold War.
In this true story of broken dreams, disillusionment and an uneasy accommodation with mortality and utter failure, some names have been changed to protect the incompetent. You couldn’t, as They say, make it up.
Author’s note: The Soundcloud links below are intended as an adjunct to Coming of Age. I suggest that you will get the best value from the links if you read the book first.
Chapter 9. ‘Hearing the demo for the first time in Mama’s kitchen amid the acrid
aroma of burning cake was one of the most depressing events of my life . .’ .
Chapter 9. ‘An even worse song called Marianna, penned by Don Jones, went on the
B-side for services rendered. (His pen-name was Freeman Hardy after the
shoe shop. Don’t ask).
Chapter 11. ‘Napoleon and Josephine . . .was released on 27th March 1973. Sean and I
went personally to the United Artists offices to pick up the record. Nobody
there had heard of it. Finally after waiting two hours . . . a leaning tower of
ten cardboard boxes was located in a neglected, dusty corner . . . We were
nothing more than a tax loss.’
Chapter 19. ‘We recorded our own single, High Time, and laid the plans to release
it on Sky-Hi Records. The Russian story secured a feature on BBC’s daily
current affairs programme, Nationwide.’
Chapter 21. ‘Harlequin was about a sad, pathetic clown. It turned out to be the best
performance Tony ever gave. Who’d have thought it?’
Chapter 21. ‘My abiding memory of Gold’s Soviet Revolution, captured in sound for
posterity and to be heard even today if you listen closely enough . . . is an
extremely loud voice shouting, nay screaming psychotically, over the music; YOU CUUUUNT! It is my voice and one thing of which I remain most proud.
Chapter 24. ‘ . . . this time we had work waiting for us on our return from the USSR.
Unfortunately, it was a summer season at Seawick Holiday Lido, an obscure
little holiday camp that made Pontin’s look like The Alhambra.’
Chapter 24. ‘The end came at about thirty minutes past midnight on the twenty-first of
September 1981. . . Our plans were already well advanced. Sean had put
down the vocals for Nora the Neuro and the cover for the single was already
at the printer’s. We were putting it out under our new record company – Sour
Grapes. We were going to be Slutz.