‘Still Suitable for Miners – Billy Bragg’ review

by Andrew Collins

It’s not often that, halfway through reading someone’s biography, you end up in a field canting with them. It happened to me whilst reading this.

I informed Billy that I’d got to the bit where he’d just joined the army and he assured me that it got better. My friend commented that the thing that she’d liked about this book is that it’s not a fluffy fan thing: ‘In fact, during the early chapters, you were a bit of a twat.’ Billy said that that was why he wanted Andrew Collins to write this book, because he did tell it how it was. And he agreed that he’d been a bit of a twat in his youth.


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I’m glad he went for Andrew Collins too. I can’t claim that me and Billy are bosom buddies – I doubt he even knows my name – but I have had a couple of long conversations with him now; and I’ve seen him up on stage several times more. My personal impressions of the bloke correspond completely with how he’s portrayed in this book.

It’s great for Bragg fans; but it’s also great for anyone who’s been on the left of the political sphere anytime during the past 20-odd years. There are several trips down memory lane then (‘I remember that protest march…’ ‘I remember when the Tories got kicked out/wall came down…’).

Originally appeared on
Today I Have Mostly Been Reading…
reproduced by permission.

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