SWEPT AWAY BY A TIME MACHINE ROLLERCOASTER
From Andrew Landström, Sweden
From page one of Justin’s book “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer” I was swept away by a time machine rollercoaster that took me back to an age past re-discovered. It seemed as if I had lived in parallel universe to Justin, yet on the other side of earth, simultaneously, going through versions of the same kind of events. I have to admit that I myself was not a nostalgic of too much music from the past, but was swept up into the synth-pop era of the ’80s. The effortless journey that kept me going up and down and throwing me sideways made every page a cause to chuckle and smile and laugh and cry. Justin, you created a very effective mirror that made me look back at my own ’80s adventures with crystal clarity. For that I am not sure if I should thank you or give you an outright bollicking but… a joy to read regardless. I have to add that it is not every book that I bother to read every single word between its cover. With this book I did and wished it would continue. Here’s to you Justin, hat’s off, eight gun salute and thank you.
MOMENTS OF COMEDIC BRILLIANCE – FOR ANYONE WHO IS YOUNG AT HEART
From Suzy Lee, Sydney, Australia
“Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer” by Justin Sheedy is an autobiography written as a light-hearted yet intelligent account of the author’s adolescent years in the 1980s in Sydney, Australia. Sequel to Justin’s childhood story, “Goodbye Crackernight”, “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer” has something for the teenager in all of us! Justin writes with clarity and unique metaphor, providing the reader with moments of comedic brilliance. A sense of warm nostalgia is never far away. Justin takes us on a candid and intimate journey through his education and his creative and exciting extracurricular endeavours, also his relationships with family, teachers, close friends and early romantic liaisons, always told with integrity, respect and sensitivity. Justin’s eloquent description of his beautiful and loving mother, for example, is heart-warming.
Justin shares many wonderful anecdotes: from his role as a singer in Sydney bands, Go-Go dancing in Melbourne with beautiful girls, his hitch hiking adventures, roller skating as a means of transportation and presenting a radio program. All of this is set on a backdrop of iconic places distinctive to 1980s Australia such as ‘The Oxford Tavern’, Newtown, and ‘The Groove Tube Café’ in Melbourne. The scene is set to the soundtrack of the likes of then Sydney band ‘The Psychotic Turnbuckles’ and Justin’s own band, ‘The Voodoo Rockets’.
The tumultuous world of the teenage Justin involves many triumphs, disappointments, joy and the occasional heartbreak, with Justin always reflecting with intelligence and that marvellous wisdom of hindsight. Growing up as a teenager in 1980s Sydney myself, I could relate easily to many aspects of Justin’s story and am happy to say that I loved reading this book. By the final chapter, I felt as though Justin and I were old friends. I recommend this book to anyone who is young at heart.
PUTTING THE READER IN THE MOMENT ON A TRIP BACK IN TIME
From Martin Zitek, Sydney, Australia
The 1980s were a unique time in the evolution of mankind. Growing up in your formative years in this time meant you had only three options: 1) To live in constant fear of being immolated in a nuclear war. 2) To live in fear of catching AIDS and dying (unless you did absolutely nothing). 3) To Dance! It is most fortunate for his legions of fans that Justin Sheedy chose to dance. In his latest book, “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer”, Justin shares with us so much that we may have forgotten of that era. He brings it all back to mind so poignantly and enthusiastically, with good timing and great humour, a true hallmark of a great story teller and great writer. Some scenes describing songs are truly poetic. Reconstructions of dance moves actually made your limbs feel it. The reader is there and sharing the moment so convincingly.
This book can easily be devoured in one sitting – or small bites if one is able to actually put the book down! For anyone who remembers the 80s it is a rolling romp through the fog of time. Making it as personal as Justin does is a real treat for us, the readers. We gain not just an insight into a boy becoming a man, but also of the times through which he lived that so influenced this progression. We learn that despite the political, apocalyptic and contagion-related tensions of the world, people could still live! I thank Justin for taking us on this ride and sharing with us his portrait of the 1980s which is “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer”.
A FANTASTIC READ: ENGAGING, INTELLIGENT, FUNNY, UNSETTLING (!)
Review by Karen Carpenter, Sydney, Australia
The eighties was a difficult time to live in, yet alone a time to launch on the journey of self discovery. “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer”, Sheedy’s sequel to “Goodbye Crackernight”, reads more like a counselling session with the reader as the counsellor. Here, young Sheedy is exorcising his teenage demons, ready to open up the next chapter of his life. It is, for the most part, an unsettling read. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a bad thing. Again, Sheedy has managed to effortlessly transport us in to his world. The world of the 1980s, an uncomfortable decade wedged in between the safe seventies and the naughty nineties.
The author is once again in front of you, talking to you alone, yet rather than on a comfortable bike ride, it’s in a noisy, overpopulated student bar. Teenage angst hits you full blast and for those of us who were teenagers in the eighties, the memories and feelings which are evoked throughout “Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer” are bittersweet. I did find this book vaguely unsettling, but only in so much as, if I was a boy, this would certainly have been my life. The places mentioned, we could have crossed paths without even knowing it. A strangely familiar story, likes and dislikes, thoughts and feelings… all very familiar, but for me a fantastic read. As always an engaging, intelligent, funny, slightly self-effacing, warm and loving account of the more difficult years of late childhood and early adulthood. I would recommend this book to anyone, no matter where they grew up.
5 Star Amazon Review by Yasmine Wick-Kopita, Texas, USA
This is the long-awaited sequel to “Goodbye Crackernight”, Justin Sheedy’s first book about growing up in Sydney in the ’70s and the long-lamented loss of the traditional Aussie Crackernight. In his new book we find Mr. Sheedy attending private school and receiving his introduction to the music that would shape his life forever; first in the form of the groundbreaking compilation ‘Ugly Things’, and then in his own band with fellow school-mates and music devotees. His daily struggles with high school and girls are all told with a quick humour and great style. His story is told with many cultural references to the era that I had forgotten, so I did a lot of “Oh, yeah, I remember that now…” while reading. As a person who lived through those years in Sydney, and met the author back when he was in his band ‘Atlantic Moose’, this was a fun trip down Memory Lane. I never did dance at The Plastic Inevitable, but in my mind I was go-go-ing in a cage as I read this book and saw the photo of “those” trousers. This is story telling at its finest and the sort of book that will stand up to many re-reads. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.