XTC Bumper Book Of Fun For Boys And Girls: A Limelight Anthology - book review

Mark Fisher's Partridge-packed annual for Skylarking diehards

XTC Bumper Book Of Fun For Boys And Girls: A Limelight Anthology - book cover

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It might be hard to appreciate exactly how rabid XTC’s global diehard fan base can be unless you subscribed to Mark Fisher’s Limelight fanzine in the early 80s. But those people are out there, and every one of them will be buying this. A sumptuous compendium of highlights from the zine, The XTC Bumper Book… could easily have been an inessential scrapbook, but thanks to the unique way that the prog pop titans’ fans pore over every last detail with joyous intensity, this is more of a treasure trove than a toilet book. With extensive interviews with all the key players and numerous revealing snapshots from important moments along the band’s early journey, not to mention a tricky crossword, this arguably amounts to the most comprehensive and incisive book about XTC yet published. And if you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about, the brilliant Kevin Eldon pops up in a fascinating feature about British comedians and their love for XTC and says this: “So many of their songs… have a sort of fountain ideas and feelings and imagery, thick and fast. It’s why you can listen to an XTC song for the 500th time and still hear something for the first time.” Nail/head, sir.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.