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Various Artists - Flexipop! The Book book review

2017’s best pop annual

Flexipop! The Book cover

Despite punk being the most cartoonish genre of all, its immediate wake saw the rock media embrace worthy earnestness like never before. Blame Thatcher, if you like, but the post-punk inkie intelligentsia were po-faced, doom-watching miserablists who favoured stiff-arsed and insipid indie funk acts and (for obscure political reasons that now escape me) absolutely hated rock.

Maybe it was a reaction against Smash Hits, or maybe the fools actually took John Lydon’s Pistols-era rhetoric seriously but, for whatever reason, the music press suddenly seemed very old and very boring indeed, especially compared to Flexipop!.

Founded by ex-Record Mirror punk specialist Barry Cain and Tim Lott, Flexipop! was the first glossy music mag to give away recorded media with every issue (a flexidisc, Einstein), and during its three-year run (‘80-83) pushed the envelope for what was deemed suitable for its largely teenaged constituency.

Here, then, is this year’s must-have annual for all fans of Weller, Siouxsie, Bauhaus, Killing Joke, Meteors, Cure, PiL, Furs, Ants, Damned, Upstarts et al. Marvel at the mayhem Art Editor Mark ‘Zodiac Mindwarp’ Manning managed to get away with, and wonder why so few bought the only pop mag to ever put Aleister Crowley on its cover.

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 19 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.