In Echoed Steps

‘Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed’

I was pleased to read in his opening blurb that photographer Derek D’Souza
needed to be convinced to do another book on The Jam using his now iconic photos of the band taken in the grounds of Chiswick House in 1981. After all, it would be very easy for him to do a ‘cash in on the band’ job with them.

But we can all relax as his new book ‘In Echoed Steps’ is definitely not that.
No. This is ART. Writer Simon Wells and art director and designer Paul Skellett
join him here to compliment and enhance the photos to a level they have long deserved. This combination of the photos, the design and words simply belong.

I have known Simon Wells for over 20 years and he has always been an ‘influencer’. He popped into the clothes shop I ran in SE5 way back then and picked up my love of all things 60s and came back shortly after with a VHS bootleg copy of ‘Bronco Bullfrog’; a film I had known about but hadn’t never seen. I then discovered his book ‘Your Face Here’ and he brought alive the locations of many of my favourite films within that.

I have also been privileged to have been invited along on his many famous ‘Beatles’ related London walks and that education has stood me in very good stead over the years.

In this book, Simon describes Paul Weller discovering early on books and films that later fed into his lyrics and music which in turn would captivate a generation and therefore provide an education they themselves hadn’t received. In my experience, people like that cannot be thanked enough.

The overwhelming thoughts looking at page after page of photos were of the memories that came flooding in and the realisation that at the time, you either GOT this, or you didn’t. If you did, and I mean REALLY got it, you tended to be in for the long term. That is why it all meant so much.

Reading Simon’s history of The Jam, makes you feel he was embedded within the camp at the time. He wasn’t of course, but has spoken to those who were like Steve Carver – Tufty to all that have the pleasure of knowing him. So the research is top notch and written with a flow that is irresistible.

I also found the book visually engaging and hats off to Paul Skellett for that. There is so much to take in on most of the pages, and that can only be a good thing. Honestly, the presentation is of a very high standard and that deserves to be applauded.

As for Derek’s photos, they are the ones you WISH you had the talent to take yourself. The gig shots capture the general excitement and ‘buzz’ that came off that stage when The Jam were in their pomp.
But it is his Chiswick House photos that stop you in your tracks. Derek was personally invited by Paul Weller to take the shots, after seeing the work Derek had sent in to band’s fan club offices. The access Derek got on the day he took them wasn’t wasted for one second. The fact that in real terms he was virtual novice at the time is startling.

As the PW man himself said in 1982 when breaking up the band ‘I want this to count for something’

Well, with this book, Wells, Skellet and D’Souza have achieved just that…

The Pledge campaign for this book is has now closed any remaining books will be available from http://www.skellett.com/ and you can order direct along with the Folios.

The Mumper of SE5