PM Press Blog

Book Review: ​Silence Is No Reaction: Forty Years of Subhumans by Ian Gasper

by A. Iwasa
Trial and Error Collective

Ian Glasper is a musician and prolific music writer.  His passion for the Subhumans UK and related bands is almost contagious.  This is mostly an oral history not only of the Subhumans, but also associated acts and all sorts of scenesters.

Coming in at a whopping 573 pages plus 67 more of appendices, it’s a wild ride full of a ton of other bands to look up, photographs, show flyers and original lyric sheets.

Toxteth by Public Disgrace and Restricted Existence by Shrapnel were two of the many great recordings I discovered through reading this book.

I’m not a big fan of the Subhumans, but still found myself absolutely captivated by many of their stories, and those of their peers.  For anyone interested in early 1980s English punk, this is a must read.

Subsequent acts of ex-Subhumans such as Culture Shock and Citizen Fish are not completely neglected, so by the time the book’s narrative hits 1986-’97 it’s still going full blast, with plenty more to read.  Though these years aren’t subject to the same deep dive 1979-’85 got, it’s still cool to at least have a sense of what the Subhumans were up to before their 1998 reunion.