Book Review: Robert ‘Nelly’ Hunter – For Fuck’s Sake!

  • Phinky posted
  • Reviews

Robert 'Nelly' Hunter

For Fuck's Sake - Mauli Books

For Fuck’s Sake” is the diaries of Robert “Nelly Hunter, a man who has spent a lifetime with “one foot on the bottom of the rock ‘n roll ladder”, this is not tales of TV’s being thrown from hotel windows, expensive cars being driven into swimming pools mountains of cocaine or having to sort the brown M&M’s to pander to the ego of bloated rock stars, you are more likely to encounter broken tour vans, alcohol, cancelled gigs and incidents that make you wonder how some people survived these tours. “For Fuck’s Sake” catalogues the life, so far, of Hunter in 102 stories, which are spread over 228 pages, that contains the highlights, as well as a fair few lowlights, of the experiences, pitfalls and the utter chaos that this lifestyle involves. and roughly how he ended up here. I remember reading some of the posts that inspired the existence of this novel, when he published a few of the choice stories on his Facebook. When I encountered the first post I had to stop and re-read parts, and I wasn’t alone, the positive reaction to these posts, and the suggestion by many that he should write a book, along with the complete absence of live music and distractions since last March, seems to have energised Hunter. 

For Fuck’s Sake” catalogues live experiences, from both sides of the barriers from the late seventies onwards, but the majority of the tales come from Hunter’s time on the road with the numerous band’s he’s played in, The Lurkers being the pinnacle of ‘fame’ but also notably in the excellent Hi-Fi Spitfires and Loaded 44 from the UK’s DIY scene. One of the surprising things reading through “For Fuck’s Sake” is that I found our paths had unwittingly crossed on numerous occasions, something that I’m confident that anyone of a certain age who has attended live shows regularly in any capacity in the UK and Europe will find. Another appeal of Hunter’s memoirs is that he is completely candid about some of the bigger names, as a result you get an insight into the egos and attitudes of a few of the more well known names from the punk scene, no surprises that the late Mark E. Smith of The Fall doesn’t get fondly remembered, on the plus side there’s the likes of the Moby and the late Pete Shelley to restore your faith, all three of whom I have personally encountered on tours and can echo Hunter’s assessment.

How Hunter has recalled these events in such detail is a complete mystery to me, although it must be said that many of events described in “For Fuck’s Sake” would tend to lodge themselves in your mind. Many of the gigs and festivals I have experienced over the decades, and definitely those from the 90’s and 00’s, are nothing but vague blurs for various reasons that I won’t go into, but this book makes me wish that I had made a record of them in some way. With “For Fuck’s Sake” Hunter has captured the ups, downs and the memorable incidents that go hand in hand with the chaos of touring and being in band. A sad note that lingers after reading “For Fuck’s Sake” is that tales like these, and nights like those described in the book, will be far fewer in number post Brexit, the short sighted impact of that ridiculous act of self harm will impact on bands from the UK’s ability to tour Europe and vice versa. Hopefully sanity will be restored one day, or at least a concession to restoring musicians ability to tour Europe and add to the kind of folklore that “For Fuck’s Sake” catalogues so perfectly.

Details of how to order “For Fuck’s Sake” can be found on the Mauli Books Facebook page here