Richard Searle: The Memoirs Of Damage & Vom

Hair-raising account of Doctor And The Medics’ rise and fall.

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Featuring a scatologically-inclined former scout master, speed-addled (female) backing singers and a psychotic drummer named Mr Vom, Doctor And The Medics were, in many ways, perfect pop stars.

Here bassist Richard Searle (aka Dickie Damage) details their every accident and emergency, charting the band’s improbable journey from cult obscurity to Top Of The Pops with undisguised glee.

The 80s period detail is great – there are shout-outs for everyone from Zodiac Mindwarp to The Enid – but Searle is unflinchingly honest and funny with it, whether detailing the pitfalls of being plastered in gob by Damned fans (“The phlegm rained down like archer’s arrows”) or the intoxicating effects of fame on their frontman (“He became sarcastic, boorish and unpleasant”).

“Like everyone else, I naïvely assumed Number One equals millionaire,” he says, when Spirit In The Sky (a song the band all hated) reaches the top of the charts, only for a tax investigation to leave him penniless. Unputdownable./o:p

Paul Moody is a writer whose work has appeared in the Classic Rock, NME, Time Out, Uncut, Arena and the Guardian. He is the co-author of The Search for the Perfect Pub and The Rough Pub Guide.