Another Kind of Concrete

Another Kind of Concrete

9781913090081
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“The three ‘R’s: Routemasters, Reading, Rioting.  Intoning this mantra, K., a bookish young boy, learns to duck the fare but not the issues in this darkly comic coming-of-age tale which largely unfolds in a city (London) and an era (the 1970s) where everything, from the culture, to the people, to the buildings themselves, seems to be in open revolt.  Punk – good.  Partition – bad.  Polyester – ugly.  That’s the other mantra K. carries around with him.  This is the story that joins those dots.  It’s the Silver Jubilee of 1977 and, along with the pomp, it’s punk that’s in full swing.  South of the river, the polyester clad natives are in uproar, the new sights and sounds an affront to their dignity.  They don’t like the kids with streaks in their hair, and they most certainly don’t like the ones with colour in their cheeks.  K. is one of those kids, marooned with his family in a sea of hostility.  But they’re no strangers to adversity, outsiders long before punk.  His parents, both refugees, view that as a small price to pay for starting over after the mayhem of Indian Partition.  But when bricks start to fly, and threats are made, the long buried demons of the past resurface.  And as summer wears on, things will reach a head in a grim local dance of law and disorder.  If England was dreaming, it’s wide awake now.  Festooned with streamers and safety pins, while in its shadows something primal has begun to stir.  London in extremis.  Just below the surface, and sometimes not even that far, Another kind of Concrete.”