REVIEWS for Diary of a Teddy Boy by Mim Scala
Scala in the 60s
John Hurt, Actor:
of its time and ours, Mim Scalas memoir conveys like few others
what it was like to experience and propel, the most pivotal decade
of the twentieth century. Mim is one of the great raconteurs"
Marianne Faithfull, singer:
that hinge moment when everything changed from iron-grey to colour"
have been a lot of books about the Sixties but very few have captured
the excitement and uniqueness of the period. The best two, so far,
are Mims book and Stoned by the Rolling Stones first manager
Andrew Loog Oldham. You had to be there to appreciate the best decade
of the 20th. century, and, of course, if you were there you are
not meant to remember it. Luckily, these two do."
By Peter Kavanagh in Punch
full Punch review at page bottom)
of a Teddy Boy by Mim Scala
" During the 1960s, Scala led the sort of high-flying life
that most of us could only dream of, and now he has written it all
down. Diary of a Teddy Boy: A memoir of the long Sixties is his
personal and highly entertaining account of the decade that changed
Anna Carey The Sunday Tribune 16/4/2000
of a Teddy Boy by Mim Scala
"A veritable whos who of the swinging Sixties scene (and
underworld). Scala was more than a bit Player. He had his finger
on the pulse of London in its helter-skelter hey day."
Doctor J. Leinster Express 12/4/2000
of a Teddy Boy by Mim Scala
"ENTER the world of sensational swinging sixties. The drugs,
the desire, the decadence. Deadly. Think of the fashion, the fun,
the fear. Deadly. Think of the music, the mystery, the mayhem. Deadly.
Stage Left 12/4/2000
of a Teddy Boy by Mim Scala
" ..... comes as a refreshing and timely antidote to the deluge
of miserable childhood biographies that have dominated Irish literary
fiction since Frank McCourt introduced us to Angela."
The Sunday Business Post 16th April 2000
of a Teddy boy. Hip before the hippies. Mim Scala. Review Publishing,
#9.99 by Jack McLean
Subtitled ''a memoir of the long sixties'', the period covered is
from the mid-fifties to the end of the seventies and I recognised
it all. I also recognised the author, whom I remember meeting in
various smart pubs and clubs in Chelsea's King's Road when that
was where we swung when Chelsea was swinging. As I remember Mim
he was a wide-boy on the make, involved in the film and record industry,
who dressed like a hippie but who was very good company. For most
of this autobiography he still is. His account of the early years
of rock'n'roll and coffee bars will strike, what else, chords with
those of us who were around when the greyness of post-war Britain
got all shook up and burst into colour. This is not hyperbole either.
I can remember it: suddenly, instead of grim gaberdine raincoats
and short back'n'sides, there were bop hairstyles and drape jackets.
The early fifties had an air of 10 Rillington Place, for heaven's
sake. As John Lennon once said: ''Nothing meant anything until Elvis.''
Scala captures the strange narcissism of the period. All goes well
right through the early days of the Beat boom, characterised by
the young popsters dressing in expensive but outrageous suits and
sharp shirts and ties. Where the period goes off the rails, and
indeed this memoir as well, starts about the time when the hippies
came in and the love generation discovered how to take themselves
seriously, which is far more than they had a right to do. But after
1969 in this account both the book and Mim Scala become very tiresome
indeed. I'd forgotten how much contempt I had for hippies but this
brought it all back. The origins of political correctness and social-workerism
lie with the sad stupidity and rank ignorance of the hippie generation.
The second half of this book contains all the usual nonsense, mysticism,
eastern religions, lots of drugs, travelling in north Africa, Jack
Kerouac, The Whole Earth Catalogue; rubbish, all of it. It's difficult
to see how the author achieves his effects really. Right up till
he encounters the salivating drivel of the late sixties with all
that love going about he writes crisply and with authority. It's
Mile End Road cockiness, sashaying through the spivvery of Soho
and the markets, the gambling club scene of the late fifties and
early sixties before betting was legalised. But later his tone changes
to one of druggy, bloviating bombast. Like any decent reviewer I
tried to put myself in the reader's shoes. I couldn't. I've reviewed
this in my own. In the first half they were elegant winklepickers.
The second half? Tackety boots. But don't let the second half of
the book put you off: the first half is too good to miss.
The Herald (Glasgow) Sat 24-Feb-2001 www.theherald.co.uk
© SMG Newspapers, 2001. Reproduced with permission.
The heady ferment of Sixties culture: the sharp-suited world of
cockney hustlers, the intoxicating buzz of Swinging London in its
heyday - fashion, theatre, film and above all the great pop music,
pulsing through Soho clubs, Chelsea coffee bars, Carnaby Street
boutiques and decadent country-house weekends. In his Diary of a
Teddy Boy: A Memoir of the Long Sixties, Mim Scala the Pied Piper
leads us on a kaleidoscopic dance down the years, from ice-cream
salesman in the East End of London, to gambler, agent, record-producer
and hippie traveller.
Wherever the action was, Mim Scala was there. Riding high on a roller-coaster
of flickering fame and fortune, Mim entertains Diana Dors, hosts
gaming parties with Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, evades the wrath
of the Kray Twins, bumps into Bill Burroughs in Morocco, hires Dennis
Hopper, cajoles Jean-Luc Godard into filming the Rolling Stones,
turns down the musical Hair on the say-so of Salvador Dali, signs
Cat Stevens to Island Records, and minds Marianne Faithfull through
her stunning Broken English comeback.
When his friend Brian Jones dies in July 1969, Mim also senses the
death of an era. He reinvents himself as a psychedelic nomad in
Sri Lanka, explores North Africa in his miracle vehicle Shadowfax,
and in Tangiers records the G'naoua sect of dervish musicians. At
each twist and turn of this journey of survival and redemption.
Mim is forever 'looking to be amazed', constantly finding companions
equally moved by his passion for 'creative hedonism'. Richly anecdotal,
humorous and quintessentially of its time and ours - Diary of a
Teddy Boy: A Memoir of the Long Sixties conveys like few other memoirs
what it was like to experience, and to propel, the most pivotal
decade of the twentieth century.
Mim Scala lives in County Carlow, Ireland
from Amazon.co.uk website:
very enjoyable,funny and entertaining read., 22 February, 2001
Reviewer: john-paul raad(firstname.lastname@example.org)
I'm not much of a bookworm.I happened to be in a bookshop browsing-my
policy being if the first few paragraphs were boring,so would the
book! I picked up Scalas' book and found that I could not put it
down.I must have spent a good 30 minutes going through the first
few chapters,before the position I was in made reading uncomfortable
and I felt that I had to buy the book so that I could finish it.I
was transported to another time-the 50's,60's and 70's,and by the
end of the book,I not only felt that I had lived what scala had
gone through,but also felt slightly depressed as I needed more.All
the stars that scala had the fortune to meet and rub shoulders with(people
like Jimi Hendrixs,Brian Jones)became humans and no longer icons,that
for me was very poigniant as I could relate to these great people.What
fasinated me most about the book and Scalas life was its diversity.His
life and adventures covered all aspects of life at the time.From
rubbing shoulders with teddy boys to mixing freely with gangsters
and gamblers,to becoming a successful agent who handled stars like
Richard Harris and Michael Caine (at the begining of their careers
),to models like Twiggy and rock stars like the Stones(with Brian
Jones)and Hendrixs.The book was not only exciting but also very
funny and several times I found myself laughing out loud.It also
reflected a life that I would loved to have had the opportunity
to live,especially Scalas later adventures in Morroco where he lived
in a specially adapted land rover driving all over the country(and
all around Europe) and in Sri Lanka,where he was in the company
of people like Arthur.C.Clarke.I really found the book timeless
and found myself sharing Scalas excitment as he found himself not
only meeting these great people but also having an impact on their
lives.The other great thing I found about the book was how down
to earth it was and how Scala remained unchanged by all the madness
that went on in his life,especially since he lived at the begining
of the drug culture and partook actively in the experimentation
of what was going around at the time.Since reading the book I've
been telling everyone to read it,as it really is a prelude to what
went on in the 80's and 90's,and of course what's going on now.I
think teenagers now, on the most part, have lost direction.A book
like this really makes one think and maybe it will help young people
to find their way and an understanding of their parents, and maybe
on what sort of journey they they were on.
More reviews here
Memoir of the Long Sixties - by Mim Scala
intoxicating buzz of the sixties: Fashion, theatre, film, and above
all the great pop music, pulsing through the Soho clubs. Chelsea
coffee bars, Carnaby Street boutiques and decadent Country house-weekends.
In his Diary of a Teddy Boy : A Memoir of the Long Sixties, Mim
Scala leads us on a hedonistic and richly humorous adventure down
the years. From ice cream salesman to Gambler, agent, record producer
and Hippie traveller, he goes where ever the action is. He rides
the rollercoaster of flickering fame and fortune with the rock stars,
gangsters artists and icons. He witnesses the death of the era of
Swinging London and journeys into its afterlife on the hippie
trail of Sri Lanka and Morocco.
in-yer-face celebration of all that was excessive, anarchic, socially
disruptive and wildly exciting about the fabled youthquake that
began in the 1950s...You name them, Mim was partying with them...narrated
with breathless pace' Val Hennessy, Daily
a flavour of what it was really like to live through the Swinging
Sixties in London, you could do far worse than dip into Mim Scala's
affectionate memoir of those gaudy, hedonistic days when everything
seemed possible...a charming book' The Times
was a true creature of the Sixties...utterly life-affirming' Evening
the moment when rock'n'roll was discovered, class barriers came down
and a younger, more creative generation took over the music and film
industries in a style that is self-deprecating and crammed with vivid
anecdotes, giving the lie to the old saying: "If you can remember
the sixites, you weren't there" ' Scotland
are shades of Hunter S. Thompson in Scalas helter skelter
journey.... and hints of Kerouac in its wide-eyed abandon....
Scala is utterly irreverent in his treatment of the pillars of 1960s
London - Wealth, sex, drugs, and rock and roll Sunday
Business Post (Ireland)
Val Hennessy Review (Critics Choice),Daily Mail, Fri. 23 Feb. 2001
Authors comment Please note :
The word Bint that I use to describe young females in the 1950s
was as street credible as the word Ladette is in the year 2000,
Val apparently didnt know this. (After 1955 the word does
not appear in Teddy Boy)
Val also refers to the thud, thud, thud, of dropped names, Naturally
I have always known that certain critics might be tempted to single
out this aspect of the book , So I took a view that rather than
refer to the wonderful people and characters that Have shared my
adventures as "this bloke" or "that person"
I should to be fair to the reader use real names, and then only
when I was fortunate enough to be in a one on one situation with
the celeb in question.
Val is quite right I have described my gate crashing exploits in
my youth, and my eager eye for a deal in my working life, and indeed
making the most of my friendships with influential people, Journalists
of course do not do this in the course of furthering their careers.
Apart from these comments, I must thank Val for an excellent summary
of my of "Diary of a Teddy Boy"
in her review. Mim Scala
"His book is an in-yer-face celebration of all that was excessive,
anarchic, Socially disruptive, and wildly exciting about the fabled
youthquake that began in the 1950s"
Val Hennessy Critics choice Books on Friday
The Daily Mail
23 Feb. 2001
of a Teddy Boy by Mim Scala
"It is an unashamed celebration of all that was excessive,
socially undesirable and wildly exciting about the decade:"
Jennifer OConnell The Sunday Business
by John Whelan for:
April 1st 2000
Stepping out of your and onto the pages of Diary of a Teddy Boy
is like getting out of a Morris Minor (no offence Will) and getting
into the passenger seat of a Ferrari, Mim Scala is in the driving
seat, and man What a trip!
Of Italian immigrant stock, Scala's extraordinary story first recounts
how on March 28 his grandfather, Emilo a hardworking but poor artists
model want to watch the 95th Grand National at Aintree with a stub
of a ticket in his pocket for the second Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes.
Bob Lylle coaxed the tired but game Grakle past the wining-post
and he collected first price for £354,724 12s 4d.
The book itself then races ahead through post-war Britain, the ferment
of the fifties, the sensation of the sex and drugs fuelled sixties
and right up to the mid-eighties, when the machine took over from
It's a riveting account of a romp through the craziness which was
the sixties recounted in the style of the raconteur rather than
Mim Scala who left school illiterate, is never pedestrian in his
style as he leaves his passenger breathless and wide-eyed at the
end of this incredible journey.
Scala may not have had a lead part in the sixties script but he
plays more than a cameo role as he trucks on his wit and wisdom
to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. He dives right in to
the heady and hedonistic mix of music, theatre and film to live
the lifestyle of the playboy before coming up for air and respite
as a guru bohemian traveller. This fork in the road takes him in
another direction (for a while) to mingle with the tribes of Africa,
the sun seekers in the as yet unblemished beach resorts of southern
Spain and pot-smoking duels with heavy duty hippies in the jungles
of Morocco. It was magic, manic and madness.
In cockney parlance this book is the Mae West. A veritable who's
who of the swinging Sixties scene (and underworld). Scala was more
than a bit player. He had his finger on the throbbing pulse of London
in its helter-skelter heyday. Always at the heart of the action
he takes his reader for a ride in this weird and wonderful world
of race tracks and revelry, of crime and passion, pleasure, defiance
and decadence on the sixties carousel. It all makes for an intoxicating
mix of rock, rebels, roll-ups and rouge and comes with a stage left
As Jerry Lee Lewis said to Chuck Berry 'Follow that'!
by Andrew Lycett for The Independant, London 8th February 2001
An Irish paper missed the point when it compared Mim Scala's book
about the "long Sixties" with Kerouac and Hunter S Thompson.
Diary of a Teddy Boy, first published in Dublin last year, is a
gentler, more entertaining read. It captures the excitement of a
period, from the Suez crisis of 1956 to the Yom Kippur war of 1973,
when social barriers broke down and confident youngsters such as
Scala, whose family owned an ice-cream parlour, could prosper in
the entertainment and music industries, cavort with fun-loving aristocrats,
take masses of drugs, drop out, and still emerge, tolerably compos
"The Sixties had a rarefied atmosphere," Scala says. "So
much was happening then and I was often there. But I was always
a fringe player; I was never blinded by the dense fog of fame. Some
people had to be there, but I was there because I wanted to be there."
Scala ran a gambling den frequented by the artist Francis Bacon.
He was agent to hell-raising actor Richard Harris. He sent his friend
Patti Boyd along to audition for Dick Lester's film A Hard Days
Night and she ended up dating Beatle George Harrison, one of the
stars. Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix used to jam in his Hyde Park
flat. He arranged Cat Steven's first record deal.
Scala's memoir works, when most tales of rock'n'roll excess are
buried under a weight of their own self-importance, because he told
it for a reason. In 1990, having decamped to Co Carlow to fish after
30 over-the-top years, he became a father for the first time, at
the age of 50. "At that age, you become paranoid that you'll
kick the bucket before your child knows your name," he said
at his temporary base - the west London house of his friend Michael
Pearson, once a high-living film producer and skipper of the yacht
The Hedonist, now Viscount Cowdray, landowner.
Beset by intimations of mortality, Scala wrote his book to tell
his son Freddy, now 11, about his former life-style. "I was
looking for amazement, not like modern kids trying to get blotted
That sense of relating a personal story to his son gives Scala's
book its voice. He eschews self-aggrandisement, grudges, or details
of bad acid trips. Instead, he observes heady social change with
Of course there are rock'n'roll stories, and lots of them. Take
the night in late 1967 when he picked up a beautiful blonde at the
hip club, the Revolution. His friends Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix
and Keith Moon were jamming (as they often did back at his flat).
She was wearing nothing but a mink coat and smelt "irresistibly
of expensive perfume and animal fur". Scala asked her to join
him for the weekend at Aston Upthorpe, the 1,800 acre estate of
his business partner Sir William Pigott-Brown, where cottages were
let out to rock stars, including members of Traffic.
There "everybody got laid, stoned and drunk in the highest
possible fashion". The girl was keen, but intimated problems.
She was staying at Claridges with Huntington Hartford, one of the
world's richest men. Scala picked up her luggage in his old Willis
jeep, followed by Jones, Hendrix and assorted girls in the Rolling
Stone's chauffeur-driven Bentley.
All very decadent, but Scala refuses to moralise. In his book, the
English speaking world was experiencing such beneficial transformation
that even the few casualties (such as Jones, who would hole up in
his flat, eking out his final days on pork pies and drugs) were
excusable. "The whole moral structure was changing. Before,
everything was hypocritical. Once it began to get loose, it became
But wasn't Sixties culture, with its vapid spirituality, equally
hypocritical? "There are always people who are having a good
time, and people who are not and resent it," he replies, refusing
to be drawn.
In the flesh, Scala is not easy to place. The photographs in the
book show him evolving from smart London mod to caftaned hippie.
But these uniforms appear as disguises. Today, he wears an oversize
white shirt with a Utah Fiddlers logo, he has a clipped, greying
beard, and he occasionally dons tortoise-shell glasses that give
him a studious look. Sixty years old and short, he could be a Spanish
hidalgo or, perhaps, a worldly Jesuit priest.
Roman Catholicism was, it appears, an important influence. As a
convent schoolboy, his painting of the Crucifixion won a competition
and was sent to the Hungarian Cardinal Mindszenty, who was charged
with treason by the communists in 1948. Even now, Scala talks about
the importance of the moral sense drilled into him and how this
kept him to the straight and narrow.
ready teddy go, go, go...
by Pete Clark The Evening Standard, London 9th February
More is the pity, but they do not make them like Mim Scala any more.
He was a true creature of the Sixties, hugely skilled in the arts
of creative ducking and diving, making things happen for others
and having the time of his life in the process. Mim knew everyone
in that immensely volatile world, and they all knew him.
He brokered deals in music, film and theatre, having honed his skills
as organiser of illegal gambling sessions. Raised amid the costermongers
of the North End Road market, he brought something of that rough-and-ready
charm to his dealings with a wider world.
Mim has now committed his colourful memories to print in the pages
of Diary of a Teddy Boy. Charmingly, the book first took shape as
a diary for his 10-year-old son. At the age of 60, Mim felt the
boy should know what his dad had done as a youngster. Appropriately,
Diary of a Teddy Boy is utterly life-affirming and free of the bitterness
and spite that so often informs such accounts.
Mim was ready for the Sixties from an early age. Leaning with practised
ease against the bar of a restaurant, sipping occasionally at a
vodka and tonic, he recalls his early struggles to achieve the sense
of style that he instinctively knew would be of the greatest importance
for his future. "I remember living in the North End Road, and
suddenly the peacocks started to arrive in the shape of the teddy
boys. They looked different and they looked beautiful. But they
did hang out in some corny places, like the record department of
British Home Stores. You went into BHS, the counters full of all
this dreary stuff, and there in the middle would be this bunch of
teds rocking away to Fats Domino. As a kid on the outside of that,
it looked like a fairy tale."
The problem for Mim was that he was working in the family ice-cream
shop: the hours were long and the discipline postwar strict. "Of
course, I had to join this gang and, of course, I had to keep it
a secret from my parents. I ordered my suit from the tailor Mr Tobias,
and I bought the shoes, which I hid under the bed. The problem was
that I couldn't put the whole outfit together until my hair was
long enough. So I was letting my hair grow, being constantly told
to get it cut, and pretending all the while it was not growing by
smearing it down with Brylcreem. Then the day came when I finally
achieved the DA, got a bit of a flick going on up top. It all came
together and I looked in the mirror and I was the business."
Mim did not last long as a teddy boy, disliking the violent aspects
of the culture. He was also aware that the teddy-boy lifestyle was
not the only option for a kid with the urge to be different. In
the bits of London that mattered, principally Chelsea and Soho,
the conventions of a grimly polite society were undergoing a tectonic
shift. "Suddenly, in the late Fifties, the clear-cut social
structure began to break down. Aristocrats started to develop strange
cock-ney accents, while cockneys were trying out a bit of elocution.
Suddenly, it was OK for a debutante to have a cock-ney boyfriend,
or for a toff to be a bit wayward and have a bird from Fulham. Just
in time for the Sixties, the barriers had fallen away. In the Sixties,
you were finally allowed to fly."
Mim flapped his wings to great effect. He worked as a theatrical
agent, but his real love was the business of constant socialising.
The worlds of music and film collided in a detonation of maximum
mayhem. Michael Caine, Terence Stamp and Richard Harris crossed
party swords with Keith Moon, Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones. Purple
hearts and black bombers fuelled the frenzy. The settings were provided
by Tramp, the Establishment, Mr Chow, the Playboy Club and any number
of fine country estates. "The Chelsea of the Sixties was a
very small world and everybody seemed to be successful," recalls
Mim. "It was a vortex of very creative people drawn from all
over the country, then all over the world, all of whom had a strong
desire to make it. The whole scene was fuelled by the music, and
wherever the music was played, everybody went, so we were all family."
As we all know now, the beautiful creature that was the Sixties
had a dark underbelly. "Of course there was a downside,"
says Mim. "There were a lot of people who tried to enter this
world and got rejected for one reason or another. You were at the
mercy of this world, because the people coming in had no money and
no job, almost by definition, and therefore had to prove themselves
through strength of personality and imagination. Some people tried
so hard that they burned out - there were awful casualties in the
chase for that dragon. There were shock waves in paradise."
By his own admission, Mim indulged himself as thoroughly as anyone
in the rush towards 24-hour hedonism. "I was lucky to survive
that period," he confesses, "but the bottom line for me
was that I was never looking for oblivion, I had no interest in
that whatsoever. I just wanted to be amazed. What was important
to me was spotting talented kids, making a phone call that mattered,
getting the hustle going. I would ring somebody and say, 'I've this
young guy called Cat Stevens in my office and the songs are just
pouring out of him, he's magic!' I like to think I made a few phone
calls that caused things to happen."
As a parting shot, I ask Mim about that cliché about the
Sixties - if you remembered it, you couldn't possibly have been
there. Mim snorts in derision. "That's an absolute load of
bollocks! That cliché really gets up my nose. The fact is
that if you were there, you remember every f***ing detail."
Diary of a Teddy Boy By Mim Scala published
by Headline Review £9.99
extracts from the critics choice review
by VAL HENNESSY, Daily Mail,femail.co.uk - 23rd February 2001
April 11th. 2001
Reviewed by Peter Kavanagh
Diary of a Teddy Boy By Mim Scala
THE ONLY problem I have with this book is why Mim Scala has
titled it Diary of a Teddy Boy. He and I first came across each
other in 1959 at the
White City Greyhound Stadium. One of the lads he certainly was,
a Teddy boy he was not. Dressed in a City suit and trilby hat he
blended in well with other gambling movers and shakers who hung
out in the tracks restaurant.
The sub title to this book , A Memoir of the long Sixties is OK
because Mim was around for the whole decade, usually on the fringes
of the different social groups that made up the period: First it
was the Chelsea set, a group of
trustaferian toffs who spent their days in the Markham Arms, now
the kings Road Branch of The Abby National, followed by the Debutantes
and the debs delights, of which Mim was one.
Then came the Ronnie and Reggie mob who moved in with the coming
of the gaming act in 1961 that legalised casinos, followed in 1963
by the rock explosion. This was the right time for Mim to become
a rock manager and agent, and for a time he had one of the biggest
agencies, Scala Brown, which was backed by banking heir Sir William
Every year he disappeared for a few months leaving people to wonder
where he had gone. We now know, for the best bit of the book is
about his travels in Spain, Morocco and Sri Lanka. Later he ran
an agency for record producers and for a time "looked after"
Marianne Faithfull in the USA. In the Eighties he packed it all
in and retired to Ireland.
There have been a lot of books about the Sixties but very few have
captured the excitement and uniqueness of the period. The best two,
so far, are Mims book and Stoned by the Rolling Stones first
manager Andrew Loog Oldham.
You had to be there to appreciate the best decade of the 20th. century,
and, of course, if you were there you are not meant to remember
it. Luckily, these two do.
By Peter Kavanagh
..the most comprehensive account on origins of "the 1960's",
22 February, 2001
Reviewer: Mike Ross (mike@theplate,demon.co.uk) from London, England
After reading the book, I wrote to Mim (who I hadn't encountered
in 12 years) and told him that it was "magnificent ... an unqualified
pleasure". Now, I may have been biased reading about and enjoying
what was part of my own history, but I certainly would not have
approved if I didn't feel that he had been truthful and accurate
in his recollections and assessments. He has managed to plumb the
heart of the matter. I am the "Michael Ross" (mentioned
in chapter 11) who lived in the bed-sit room next to Mim's on the
top floor of 11, Tite Street, his first permanent home away from
home. I knew a great many of the characters Mim writes of, and I
was involved in some of his daily enterprises. We ate at the Cozy
Café, drank beers at the Markham Arms, shot pool and chased
the girls in the heart of London's Kings Road where the 1960s began.
I mentioned to him that my pleasure came not just from the personal
nostalgia. His writing is extremely good. I found the entire book
compelling, not least for his daring exploits - and the diary reads
like an adventure - deep into unknown Morocco where he later in
the story was accepted as a soul brother by virtually the entire
native populace. Yet without Mim's love and compassion for people
in general, and in particular the characters that attract his attention,
this diary would have failed to convey the necessary warmth that
makes his recollections of these vital nuggets of history so powerful.
If he was a Teddy Boy, he shed his strides very early on. He is
not judging us. This was the period when the word "Love",
often over-played, also meant acceptance, and was to be transformed
into a principle commodity of the era. In one sense it could be
said that without the alchemy created in A Teddy Boys Diary, from
a flotsam of entrepreneurs, layabouts, debutantes, ponces, aristocrats,
actors, artists, and crooks, the 1960s would still be a figment
of the imagination, a pressman's hype for the many who were not
present at its source and subsequent Kings Road launch and lift-off
into its psychedelic orbit. Mim was there and thankfully as an observer
has given the world what must be among the richest and most comprehensive
accounts of the period written so far.
Mike Ross, London
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