Wednesday, 4 August 2010


I’ve today finished reading two memoirs recounting the 1970s: Nick Kent’s Apathy For The Devil and Vic Templar’s Taking Candy From A Dog. The titles alone suggest two very different beasts. Kent’s is an triple pronged cautionary tale of rock and roll, journalism and drug addiction; the likes of which only seem to happen to other people: flying to America to hang out with David Bowie and Iggy Pop, taking massive lines of heroin and cocaine for breakfast with Keith Richards, and playing in an early incarnation of the Sex Pistols. None of these things happened to me. Templar’s is the everyday heartwarming story of football heroes, boyhood dreams and loving families: travelling to Pontins and Westward Ho! for holidays, eating Count Dracula ice lollies with your sister, and creating major sporting events in the back garden. All of these things happened to me.

Written through the eyes of a frequently bemused and incredulous child/teenager, with the chapters interspersed by the savvy interruptions of a sock monkey, it sounds twee, cheesy and to be avoided but it’s far from it - Taking Candy From A Dog is one of the funniest books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Wonderfully told with keen detail and dry wit, some of the dialogue had tears of laughter streaming down my face. I’ve said before I’m no fan of nostalgia, mainly because of the implication things were better in the past when often it’s the brain’s useful capability to filter out most of the shit, but Templar skillfully manages to plant little seeds that nudge the memory to recall much more than “do you remember Spangles?” I thought of so many things about my own childhood and family and uncles and Grandparents that otherwise would have been lost forever.

If there was any justice Taking Candy From A Dog would fly off tables in Waterstones and you’d see people smiling to themselves on the tube in the mornings. It's a shame there’s more chance of a line off Keith Richards.

Taking Candy From A Dog by Vic Templar is published by Blackheath Books, priced £10.
Apathy For The Devil by Nick Kent is published by Faber, priced £12.99


  1. I see two new additions to my wishlist!

  2. you won't get Taking candy from a Dog in amazon's. Go to blackheath books.

    nice review Monkey. I thought it was a lovely book too.