Book review – Rave on Scooterboy | FEATURE
Here’s an interesting book that ‘kinda sneaked out’ in 2016 when it was released, according to its author Craig Brackenridge. It is one of very few fictional books covering the Scooterboy scene (others including Birth of a Cult by Bill Mac) in accurate, gritty detail in very much a pulp-fiction style.
The plot centres around a scooter club called the Enfield Beasts at the tail end of the 1980s. Lead character Terry, after getting a kicking from casuals in a late-night petrol station, notices a group of strangely-dressed individuals dancing around a car stereo.
Through his workmate Stevie, Terry discovers the emerging illegal warehouse rave scene, ecstasy and a sexy blonde called Charlotte. The pair are catapulted into organising their own ever bigger raves while at the same time Terry steadily burns his bridges with the Enfield Beasts by trying to bring ravers and electronic music to their scooter club do; which ends in disaster. Oil and water don’t mix.
Following Terry into this new world is Scootergirl Jeanette; working the door at their raves before being drawn ever further into a spiral of drug abuse.
Calling time on all the fun is local gangster Harris who quickly spots Terry and Stevie’s raves as a perfect place for business. Predictably, it all goes wrong leaving Terry with nobody to turn to but the scooter club he abandoned.
Brackenridge’s easy writing style is a joy. He doesn’t just tell you what the characters are doing, but also how they feel about their interactions.
What drew me into the story was that it was written with so much grounding in reality. Craig – from Glasgow – bought his first scooter in ’87 and clearly understands the scooter scene well, despite his main interest being Psychobilly. More than that, the book is accurate about a period that I remember clearly.
We used to ride across London from the South East to scooter club dos at Windsor in the West and sometimes ride home again afterwards. Stopping at Blackheath tea hut we’d sometimes see lines of cars full of party people waiting to discover the secret location of an illegal rave somewhere inside the M25 orbital motorway.
Many scooterboys were pulled into the blossoming rave scene in that period, not least of all A23 Crusaders No.1 Danny Rampling – who opened the club Shoom in London – as well as members of the original VFM promotions and Martin Dixon of Scootermania fame. It would be very easy to transfer the skills learned via promoting on the scooter scene to running raves so the story has a solid foundation.
What is also true is that it would eventually go wrong for most of the entrepreneurs operating on the hippy basis of community spirit. Warehouse raves were still illegal and so were the drugs that fuelled them, so trouble with gangsters and police were never far behind.
If you are into pulp fiction with lashings of sex drugs and violence then this is a recommended read. Anyone who ventured into the rave scene will find the descriptions familiar. From a scooterboy perspective, it’s easily the best fictional depiction of the pros and cons of life in a ‘80s scooter club. Do the Enfield Beasts SC come to the aid of their prodigal son like the cavalry? You’ll have to read it to find out…
Getting a copy
Rave On Scooterboy is available directly from SLUK by clicking this link, or from other good booksellers. RRP is just £8
New products always in development…