Lost in Room: Mark Perry, Alternative TV and Related, 1977 – 1981 Book (softcover)
Mark Perry is a familiar name from the early punk scene in London due to his having published Sniffin’ Glue fanzine between July 1976 and August 1977. As he became increasingly disillusioned with punk, however, he at least still remained driven by its impetus and started his group, Alternative TV. Sharp yet wrought with frustration, Mark Perry took the group through a more personal space that pre-empted what a short while later became known as post-punk. Whilst sometimes charged with the same energy and anger, the music was more opened out and embraced all manner of different and often disparate areas, from reggae to industrial, improvisation and even brazen pop. Offset by subject matter that likewise often smashed down those borders of expectation, Mark always took his music wherever he felt it should go. Lost in Room focusses on the first four years of his musical path, beginning with Love Lies Limp and ending as the first version of the group collapsed soon after 1981’s Strange Kicks album and Mark’s joining The Reflections. Along the way are tours with Chelsea, Here & Now, and The Pop Group, a huge love of Frank Zappa, a meeting of minds with the late Genesis P-Orridge, the running of Step-Forward Records and working for Miles Copeland’s Faulty Products network of labels, plenty of anecdotes about the world he was embroiled in, and the story behind the records themselves. Broken into two main parts, one concerning the historical development of Alternative TV and Mark’s occasional releases outside the group, and the other dedicated to the ideas that informed many of the songs themselves, this book is centered around a conversational approach to a series of weekly interviews conducted via Zoom with Mark between late 2021 and summer 2022. Deliberately retaining the organic nature of the conversations, replete with tangents that sometimes refer to later work or creep elsewhere completely, Lost in Room is the first book to explore the early years of Mark Perry’s having become one of the most interesting and honest voices to have arrived from the cultural shift of the late 1970s. Including a foreword by Graham Duff, discography, selected lyrics and many previously unseen or hard-to-find photos and images, this book is an absolute must for all of those interested in this period of music and, indeed, those seeking some snapshots of its importance on one of the best groups to have emerged from it that are still active.