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Barry Cain

Barry Cain

I was born on a Monopoly board square: Pentonville Road, near Kings Cross. My secondary school, Dame Alice Owens in the Angel, Islington (another Monopoly board square), was also attended, amongst others, by the boys from Spandau Ballet and a Madness.

I started my journalistic career as a trainee court reporter at Marlborough Street magistrates court opposite Carnaby Street (Monopoly has played a major role in my life) working in the same office as Charles Dickens (who was dead at the time). I completed my indentures on the Evening Citizen newspaper in Gloucester, where I started a music column called "Pop Pourri", ouch, and got to interview Edwin Starr, KC of Sunshine band fame, Mud and Paper Lace.

I then went over to the dark side, South London, and became the entertainments' editor on the South-East London Mercury in Depford before joining Record Mirror at the start of the punk explosion. Over the next year I toured with the Clash, the Jam and Johnny Thunders, accompanied the Damned on their first trip to New York, saw the Pistols play in America and travelled around Japan with the Stranglers (with whom he is pictured, above, in 1978)

After a brief stint as PR for Blondie, the Buzzcocks, George Thorogood, 999 and Generation X, I returned to journalism and ended up writing the pop columns for the Daily Record, Daily Star and the London Evening News. During that time I interviewed, amongst others, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, the Stones, Bob Marley and the Beach Boys. My experiences are recorded in the books 77 Sulphate Strip and the sequel, 57 Varieties Of Talk Soup (a phrase John Lydon used to describe Sulphate Strip). 

But I was still hopelessly devoted to punk, so much so that Malcolm McLaren asked me to ghost write his autobiography. Due to various legal reasons, it has yet to see the light of day but hopefully that situation will be rectified in the near future.

In 1980 myself and writer Tim Lott launched Flexipop! magazine which featured a flexi disc on the cover of each issue exclusively recorded by artists like the Jam, Blondie, Madness, Boomtown Rats, the Cure, Motorhead and even Genesis. Alas, it was banned three years later after the police seized copies from WH Smith in Blackpool (long story). I started Pop Shop magazine in 1988 (which ended up in the hands of Robert Maxwell, although rumours he was clutching a copy when he was eventually washed up are unfounded) and 18-Rated magazine in 1992, again banned by WH Smith for showing a man's bare arse on the cover made up to look like Elvis Presley.

I continued to publish a string of official, and unofficial, pop magazines throughout the '80s and '90s before publishing a magazine about (ship) cruising and becoming a travel writer.

A few years back I resurrected Flexipop! on line – flexipop.com – and did a Best Of book featuring a brand new double-sided flexi disc by Marc Almond and Spandau Ballet.

My debut novel, The Tapes Of Wrath, a psychological thriller, came out a few years ago. I'm married to Dina and have three sons and one grandson. I still live in North London but, alas, nowhere near a Monopoly board square.

27 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

AC/DC: Hammersmith Odeon, London

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 20 November 1976

Just acting satchelly ...

Blondie, The Shangri-Las: Blondie and Beyond

Report and Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 18 November 1978

BARRY CAIN threads his way through the decaying labyrinth known as New York, finds the other faces behind Debbie Harry, unearths two of the 'fabulous' ...

The Buzzcocks: Buzzcocks: Rafters, Manchester

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 10 September 1977

BUZZCOCKS — a Manchester miasma causing GBH to the nostrils? Or one of the best damned bands the rainy city has ever produced? ...

The Clash: The Clash (CBS 82000)

Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 9 April 1977

Clash lead black vinyl riot ...

The Clash: Coliseum, Harlesden, London

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 19 March 1977

THE CLASH Somewhere west of Karachi ...

Crown Heights Affair: Vice on Ice

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 28 October 1978

Drink, drugs. Who needs them, say Crown Heights Affair ...

The Damned: Damned, Damned, Damned (Stiff Records)

Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 19 February 1977

LADIES AND Gentlemen — welcome to the world's first 78 rpm album. At last, a recording that gives credence to the claim that punk does ...

The Damned, The Dead Boys: The Damned: The Fantastic Four versus the Big Apple

Report by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 23 April 1977

The story so far: Barry Cain and The Damned have journeyed to New York in pursuit of the evil CBGB... ...

Ian Dury: Hats off to Ian

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 18 August 1979

A spiv, a brat, a clown. No we're not talking about BARRY CAIN. That's Ian Dury's own description of himself. ...

Earth, Wind & Fire: How does he do it?

Report and Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 18 February 1978

Barry Cain doesn't know either ...

Earth, Wind & Fire: Earth, Wind and Fire: When you feel the feeling you're feeling

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 29 September 1979

BARRY CAIN gets that feeling when he meets Earth, Wind and Fire's Maurice White ...

Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers: Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle: National Stadium, Dublin

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 12 November 1977

COUNTRY SINGERS make me puke. ...

Dan Hartman, Edgar Winter: Hartman's Heartland

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 18 November 1978

BARRY CAIN meets former Edgar Winter Band member Dan Hartman — the man who made 'Instant Replay' one of the most instant of this year's ...

The Jam: The Roxy, London

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 2 April 1977

OBVIOUS BAND for the slag-off merchants this. ...

New Hearts, XTC: XTC: Hope and Anchor, London; New Hearts, The Models: Speakeasy, London

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 3 September 1977

Is this what was intended? ...

Public Image Ltd: Images of Public Image

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 4 November 1978

Donning his sardonic mask, BARRY CAIN lurches into Sloane Ranger territory (Chelsea to you) and tracks down one J. Lydon and his mate Jah Wobble; ...

Sex Pistols: The Great South-East Music Hall, Atlanta, GA

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 14 January 1978

Johnny leaves his heart in Finsbury Park Barry Cain reports on the start of the Sex Pistols' American tour ...

Sex Pistols: The Sex Pistols: Magical mystery tour

Report by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 21 January 1978

BARRY CAIN goes to America to say hullo to the Pistols. They say hullo back ...

Sex Pistols: The Sex Pistols: Notre Dame Hall, London

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 26 March 1977

CRUCIFIED! High priest Rotten takes up the cloth ...

Sham 69: Roxy, London

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 10 September 1977

SHAZAM 77! The antediluvian ideals of the pig-gutted swirl are in the process of a distortion that any bleach-eyed chameleon would be proud of. Like ...

Siouxsie & The Banshees, Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers: Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers: Thunders and Lightning

Report by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 29 October 1977

BARRY CAIN gets struck down by the crazy past and present of THE HEARTBREAKERS ...

Bruce Springsteen: Capital Centre, Largo, MD

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 18 November 1978

Listen and be born again ...

Sylvester the slinky cat

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 7 October 1978

I THOUGHT I TAW A PUDDYTAT A creepin' up on me. I DID! I TAW A PUDDYTAT As plain as he can be. ...

Sylvester: Hammersmith Odeon, London

Live Review by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 16 December 1978

WHAT A DRAG ...

Television: A Bite At The Big Apple

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 28 May 1977

FIVE FLOORS above the deranged contours of Glasgow a dismembered light in the three am thickness. ...

Bert Weedon Is God!

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 26 November 1976

The guitar hero's guitar hero ...

X-Ray Spex: Poly Puts The Kettle On!

Interview by Barry Cain, Record Mirror, 12 November 1977

IT WAS just another press conference. Poly Styrene looked surprisingly radiant, showing no signs of the traumas she had suffered over recent months. ...

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