Reviewing Pete Paphides’s book, Broken Greek

Broken Greek

When Jenny, the protagonist of track three on The Velvet Underground’s Loaded album, was just five years old, she put the radio on and her life was saved by rock ’n’ roll. A similar thing happened to music journalist Pete Paphides.

This time, however, the saviour was pop music. Having been displaced from Cyprus to Birmingham as a nipper, Pete was a shy, anxious kid (he was convinced his parents wanted to swap him for Jimmy Osmond) who didn’t speak to anybody other than his family from the age of four to seven.

In his withdrawn world, the pop songs blaring out of the radio and the bands singing them took on a heightened importance.

Meaning that at various times, Pete was in total thrall of Brotherhood Of Man, Lynsey de Paul, Wings and, even, The Barron Knights – convinced that their songs were talking directly to him. So, if you’re in the market for a wonderfully written, deeply touching, pitch-perfect childhood memoir laced liberally with 70s nostalgia, then you need look no further.


Gary Tipp