Meadows writes a gripping yarn about post Quadrophenia Jimmy, characters leap off the pages with valid description.
By Irish Jack (Pete Townshends role model for Jimmy)
To Be Someone is written in Jimmy’s voice; instantly recognisable from the amphetamine fuelled sleeve notes of The Who’s 1973 Quadrophenia album. The inherent ‘incorrect’ sentence construction and flaunting of grammar rules is grating unless the reader grasps that construct and as with Alex’s slang filled spoken word narrative in A Clockwork Orange this can take a few pages to ‘get’. The relentless stream of consciousness flow is uninterrupted by chapters and covers the passage of 30 years at breakneck speed in just 191 pages. It is appropriate that the title is a song by The Jam because the world created between the covers is more Burning Sky and Thick As Thieves than The Kids Are Alright. Time has moved on and Jimmy has some catching up to do. The pace is fast while the plot performs racing turns, quickly becoming a prison and crime caper akin to The Italian Job – with scooters instead of Mini’s – whilst at the same time snatching at elements of all gangster films, the Peter Seller’s films ‘The Smallest Show on Earth’ and (bizarrely) a side order of Scooby Doo. These are all cinema references (not books) and that underlines the ‘movie-feel’ of the text, directly derived from the idiom filled spoken word tone. This is not a book covering the expansion and splintering of the rapidly changing 1960′s mod scene; in fact the mod aspect is underplayed – there is no detailed description of how many buttons a suit-jacket should have or the length of the side vents and no gratuitous mentions of the word ‘Vespa’ every other page, nor intricate detail of the goings on at a Scooter Rally. Several characters from Quadrophenia ‘the film’ are recognisable but renamed, however there are not many names in the album sleeve notes so any perceived inaccuracy may be misplaced. Also, possibly the avoidance of complexity arising from copyright infringement on the ’79 movie’s script may account for this. There is no party-crashing, chemist-burgling or scooter trashing. Instead Jimmy’s continued story involves reconciliation, estrangement and once again profound naivety. Yet in the same way that the slowly fading final chord of Love Reign O’er Me resolves the original album, the last sentences of this prose sequel see Jimmy find himself and come to terms with the world around him. On a negative note – the Bellboy/Oddjob events are divergent and out of sequence with the original album (if this is seen as a separate encounter it can be forgiven) but the ghost sequence just doesn’t quite fit and appears shoe-horned in. When I first saw To Be Someone last year I read the back and left it on the shelf, I shouldn’t have done that; not just because of the current price of 1st editions. Give it a bash and hope the film turns out to be well done; it should be because of the cinematic nature of the book.
By John A
Only bought it two days ago and I’ve read it already. I don’t usually write reviews but felt compelled to after reading this. Being a massive fan of Quadrophenia I was very interested to see what Jimmy does next. Not a direct sequel as such, you know the characters well enough from the film to know that these are nods to the characters in the book. For example Bunny is Steph, Jimmy’s love interest from Quadrophenia. All his old mates are in there including ace face (bell boy) who plays a big part in the book. The whole thing is really well written, as the other review says, it’s all written in Jimmy’s vocabularly. Some of it slang but if you’ve seen the film you know how he talks and it works and only adds to the feel of the book. It’s like Jimmy’s talking to you personally about his life. With great twist and turns I really enjoyed this and looking forward to it being made into a film. I just hope it does it justice. I can relate to Jimmy in the book and it’s believable. You always think you’re going to win the lottery or to become a pop star or movie star when your young but the sad truth is most of us don’t. It’s just the same drill day in day out, you get a job, house, wife, kids etc. I don’t want that either so reading this book, I could relate to it even more. Anyway without giving too much away, Jimmy has many interesting twists and turns. If you like Quadrophenia you MUST read this book, if you haven’t watch the film then read this book. You won’t be disappointed! Highly recommended!
By Tony Montana “Nogstar” (Hull, UK)
There has been rumours and questions flying around The Mod/Rock and Roll world for decades now, concerning that cult classic that launched a thousand faces for want of a better phrase. So when I was approached by Peter Meadows, to peruse my eye across his interpretation of what may have been for Jimmy the Mod (To Be Someone, which Peter had written and of course inspired by Quadrophenia) I was some what sceptical and yet intrigued.
It is very clever what Peter has done here, by intertwining the familiar characters in great detail, it is how you would have imagined the next chapet to be, spooky!
A terrific edge of the seat story line that keeps you captivated right to the end. What you get here is not only a great story that we can all relate to but also laugh out loud humour with some unexpected twists and turns, an on going journey into the unknown world of that troubled teenager we are all so familiar with.
Peters enthusiastic style of writing has that driving raw energy that keeps it fresh and simply oozes character, I can safely say, it’s a must for everyone, from that I mean those who are familiar with the history attached to this piece, and for those who are not.
By Wolfy (Scootering magazine)
I enjoyed the book a lot, it is well written with lots of depth to the characters and plot. I really liked the beginning (sucks you in) and the overall Quadrophenia feel to the piece. I see it could make a film or even a TV series.
By British Film Producer/Actor Ray Burdis (The Krays, Love Honor and Obey etc)
I ordered this book with great delight and high expectations, especially with the impact Quadrophenia has had on my life (Scooters, Mod, The Who, Keith Moon and Drumming addictions!).
The book arrived through the post in time before I left for work on another continent (Angola) so I had the perfect opportunity to get stuck into the book with the expected long waits in airports and long flights.
I was instantly drawn into the book, it caught me immediately, I was hooked!
The author done a great job and certainly done justice with Jimmy, again he was his likable self and shown same character as in the film (Quadrophenia).
I thought I might be biased with the book as I knew Jimmy’s routes, but I’ve just gave to someone who has never heard of Quadrophenia, Mod and thinks my Scooter obsession is strange, (he’s a South Africian Biker) and he too is hooked into it!!!
This book certainly has the basis for another great British movie with a Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch feel to it …
To be someone must be a wonderful thing….. it certainly is!
By Shaun Baird
It seems that the reason why it took so long to get this book published was because there were a number of potential copyright issues with The Who Films Inc, who own the rights to the film Quadrophenia. The way the film copyright has been navigated is by changing the author’s original story a little – it now is based on, and starts with, the opera ending (approved by Pete Townshend) and not the film ending – and the names and backgrounds of many of the characters have been changed a little. Two key characters remain – Jimmy as Jimmy and Dave as Dave. However, those that know the original film well will be able to work out the ‘who’s who’ of the rest of the characters. My obvious guesses:
Bunny is Steph
Ken is Kevin
Rudi is Ferdi
Charlie and Ron are Chalkie and Spider
Judy is Monkey
To try and break the other obvious links The Ace was not a belloy at the Brighton Grande but was a handyman and Steph didn’t work in a supermarket she worked as a pub barmaid. To make sure it is seen as a sequel to the rock opera, rather than a sequel to the original film, the story starts with Jimmy recalling how he nicked a boat, headed out to sea towards the rock just off the south coast, and sat on it drunk from gin considering what to do with his life. He decides not to drown himself and “to be someone”.
The book then summarises, in Jimmy’s own words, what happened to him during the next eight years 1964 to 1972 but the story really gets going from 1972 onwards. It is then largely the same as the original manuscript I read and is just as good a read.
It is a really cracking read and I recommend it to everyone. I won’t spoil it by summarising the story but to tempt you:
1. There are plenty of recaps linking everything back to the early Jimmy years and 1964 in particular.
2. It has both ‘mod’ and ‘scooter’ content.
3. It clearly covers the mod revival period and Jimmy liked the new mod sounds (there is reference to The Jam) and was still into the mod fashions.
4. A lot of his life is centred on pubs, and more specifically clubs, so it creates the image we would have expected of Jimmy.
5. It has a great, climatic ending that will appeal to all middle aged scooterists.
6. You will how it is written.
7. You will be intrigued by the many twists, turns and revelations.
8. You will smile (maybe laugh out loud on occasions) at some of the humourous bits.
9. You will definitely like the images of clubs, clothes, music and scooters that you will picture in your minds.
10. You will be amazed at some of the things that happen and how Jimmy deals with them.
11. But most of all you will see how Jimmy’s life and love evolved and you will be left wanting to learn about the next chapter in his life.
Pete Meadows, in my opinion, has done a remarkable job and I truly believe that all Quadrophenia fans, all middle aged mods who fondly remember both the 1960s and the later revivals, as well as many of toay’s scooterists who love the scooter scene, will all find this a tremedous story. Even if you don’t fall into any of these categories I believe you will find the story fascinating.
Hopefully it will not be too long before the filming starts. When it does there will clearly be another opportunity for us middle aged mods with scooters to once again sign up to participate in its making and to star in its end result. There ….that’s another clue!
By Gary (Middle Aged Mod)
Without a doubt, the most enjoyable book I have ever read. Simply outstanding. It is as if you are there with characters. Could not put it down. A MUST!!!!
By Dom Ritchie
Have to say this book is fantastic, took me on a roller coaster ride eith Jimmy and the gang, cannot wait for the film…
By Neil Rhodes
I just spent 8 hours reading To Be Someone and it’s the best 8 hours I’ve had without beer or sex- and a great ghost story-congrats fella.
By Paul Vespa Bloom
Thanks to Gary (Middle aged mod) for highlighting why the names & start of the book were changed, I must say it got up my nose to start with given the authors history, but once I read the reasons I can now see why it had to happen.
For this that have not read it yet, buy it.
I bought my copy online & it arrived to my house in Australia yesterday, I read a few pages last night & took the day off work today to finish it off, read it from cover to cover in a few hours, could hardly put it down to have lunch!
Can’t wait to see if they make a film out of it & I hope all the original crew can come back for it, although “Dave’s” character looks more worn than the rest of them.
I felt it could have used a professional editors cut & paste here and there as I felt like I was reading a teenagers attempt at there first novel, but it was a great read.
By Barry (Sydney, Australia)
Remember the climax to the film Quadrophenia, where Jimmy the mod rides the Ace Faces scooter over a cliff?
Slightly altering the scenaria, this book picks up from Pete Townshends rock opera. Jimmy has stolen a boat and finds himself washed up on a rock off the coast, coming down from a blues and gin-induced high. He is rescued and deciding on a clean break, takes off to Manchester where things go from bad to worse. He spends the rest of the swinging sixties in Strangeways and back down in London in the Scrubs.
The story briefly follows Jimmys spell at Her Majesty’s pleasure but starts in ernest on his release in 1972 and his efforts to be someone, as told by Jimmy himself.
In a similar vein to Richard Allens Skinhead series of the 70′s, it’s not only one for fans of the Mod era of the 60′s and the later revivals, but it’s a gritty tale that relates to the youth of any era.
By The Comet (Newspaper)
Just finished reading this great book, once you start you can not put it down! Well done Pete! I’m sure this book will go far! Brilliant
By Tim Sullivan
Well worth the wait, completely sucks you in from the word go, couldn’t put the book down. The only criticism was……I wish they had used the characters nick names from Quadrophenia….ie Chalky Monkey Spider and Steph instead of changing their names.
Bring on the film
By Natalie of Forresters scooter club
Can’t wait for a film
By Martin Roscoria
Great story, very clever how the author became Jimmy, it has a lot of dialogue so it is easy to visualise a film.
Enjoyed the book, can see it was written with a film in mind, I agree it’s a shame they didn’t use the characters names from the Quadrophenia, I wonder if this is a copyright issue but it didn’t detrat from being a great read.
By Pamela Taylor
I read it months ago before it went to print, it’s fantastically absorbing and full of twists and turns (a right page turner). I like the Lock Stock feel to the book and the way Pete has written them all in to it, with characters in early chapters re-emerging in later stages of the book to tie it all in. Escapism at it’s highest level, it’s a great read with plenty of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and scooters thrown in for good measure!!
By Mark Smyth
Jimmy returns to Brighton, after originally dumping Ace’s GS Scooter off the white cliffs in the film, and pinches the Ace Face car before heading North to start a new life. Characters Jimmy meets later in life from his “Quad” days aren’t familiar to the film apart from Dave and a couple others. I am unsure how Jimmy turns out in the book and the relationshios he has with his mates, Mother and Father, compared to his character in the film. Thing is we all liked Jimmy so we wouldn’t want anything real bad to happen to him.
A good book based loosely on Jimmy in the film Quadrophenia.
This was very enjoyable. References to Quadrophenia film, are different ie Jimmy stole scooter whereas in the book Jimmy stole a car.