There’s a very easy way of reviewing In The Crowd: Images of The Jam 1979 – 1982 by Derek D’Souza. But I’ll try and go further than just a single paragraph.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not having a go at the book, which is a very nice piece of work. But here’s the bottom line. If you love The Jam, you’ll love this book. If you don’t…well you’ll not.
It’s a fan book. Indeed, the whole concept is based on being a Jam fan. As we mentioned when we flagged up the exhibition some time back, Derek D’Souza used to photograph the band as a hobby as a kid. Those photos eventually came to the attention of the band, who took Derek on to take photos for the Absolute Beginners single session in 1981.
The book expands on that, bringing in Derek’s photos from both sides of that photo shoot, the original Absolute Beginners shots and some memorabilia shots too. It’s very much a book by a fan for a fan. Which is why I made the initial point about the review pretty much writing itself.
There are some superb photos in here though, many of which are in full colour, with the passage of time punctuated with Derek’s commentary on the gigs he attended for background, kicking off with the Setting Sons tour of ’79, ending in Brighton in 1982.
No offence to Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, but Weller is the focus here. At least it is for someone like myself who is a fan of The Jam without ever crossing the line to an obsessive. His clobber is always worth checking out in pretty much every photo. You can tell it’s a man who thought long and heard about what was on his back whenever he was out in public. Just like he does today, in fact. That’s mod for you.
Saying that, the latter shots are of the band in the ‘Bikini’ t-shirts worn by the band on the farewell tour, which are perhaps the band’s least stylish moment. Although interestingly, there are a number of those kicking about somewhere if you want to recreate the look. Someone from that band got in touch recently and said he’d just found a stash of them!
Anyway, back to the book itself. It’s a well put together items, with some great photos and a very personal commentary combining to create a great record of an era. If you like The Jam and enjoyed the Thick As Thieves book, you’ll definitely love this too.
It also says a lot about The Jam too. Taking on an untried photographer and fan for some ‘proper’ photography work with the band is something almost unheard of then and definitely now. A band in touch with its fans – which is perhaps why the band are still held in such esteem today.