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I was born and raised in the medieval village of Tideswell in The Peak District of Derbyshire, Northern England. Never cared much for regular school but went to Art School in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and in Liverpool. Moved to New York City after extensive travels throughout North America, then to Northampton Massachusetts, where I ran a large music venue/nightclub for five years. I have lived in Northampton with my wife Beverley for more than 25 years and have fronted my band 'Big Bad Bollocks' for over twenty years, writing songs and performing throughout the North Eastern US. My wife and I have two teenage sons - Macklin and Roscoe. I currently teach art at an inner city high school in Springfield Ma.
on Nov. 22, 2013 :
John Allen's coming of age story reads like a loopier, lewder, "Boy" by Roald Dahl. Like Dahl's "Boy", John's book is full of wonderful and weird stories chock full of colorful characters, fantastic imagery, and a whole lot of heart.
(reviewed 84 days after purchase)
on Aug. 17, 2013 :
John Allen is a man of many parts - musician, poet, painter and now author. This, his first book, is a minor masterpiece. He recreates a childhood world of nutters, old bags and various other colourful characters, which transported me back to my own childhood, in urban Liverpool. Like Keith Waterhouse's There is a Happy land, the mystery of all things grown up are perfectly described through the eyes, ears and indeed all the senses of an acutely observant child. We crossed paths, briefly at Liverpool Art School and I share his disillusionment with the crummy intellectual snobbery of the tutors and the rubbish they spouted and made. John had a dream of America and was set on reinventing himself in this new and magical world. Marmite Cowboy describes that journey beautifully and his stories of music, drink and drugs, made me laugh out loud and want to share that journey with him. A charming and funny, book.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
on Aug. 13, 2013 :
Marmite Cowboy is a glimpse into the humorous and somewhat twisted mind of the Johnny Alien -- growing up in Tidza in Northern England, and his journey to the USA to live out the American Dream.
His clever choice of words engages all senses and paints a vivid picture of life's trials and tribulations from his perspective as a young man making the brave choice to leave his valley in England and travel to America, making his new home in the eclectic town of Northampton, Massachusetts in the Pioneer Valley. Northampton is a Mecca for art, music and counterculture, so of course, multi-talented Johnny Alien fit right in!
Tales of becoming a booking agent at a nightclub in Northampton to forming his band “The Big Bad Bollocks” playing Irish rockabilly music in the basements of night clubs, to tossing enormous ladies’ knickers a la the old Tom Jones concerts will have you laughing out loud and wanting more. An entertaining account of a true renaissance man who had the ‘bollocks’ to take risks & achieve his dreams!
(reviewed the day of purchase)