But I’m Different Now: Pete Eastwood
But I’m Different Now: Pete Eastwood
Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd
“I’ve always felt like I’ve had a very eventful life so far, I love life and enjoy every day. Friends tried to convince me to put my stories to print in the past , but I always laughed about it. But when we found ourselves in our very first lockdown, I ordered nine Pukka pads, a large quantity of pens, and sat in our garden summer house every days and scribbled down my lifetime memoirs, as best my 57-year-old memory would allow.Yes, this book is about my weird obsessions, my deep love of music, and the unusual situations I’ve always found myself in. But overall, it’s about the lifelong friendships of a band of northern folk growing up in the 1970s and beyond Life-changing discoveries in my pre-teens to making life or death decision in my final years, the crushing conclusion to my story e st that I am truly blessed and even though things in my life have not always gone to plan, I am blessed” – Pete Eastwood
At nearly 700 pages, it’s one hell of a book. Thicker than your average old-fashioned phone book, it could cause serious damage if intentional and forcefully propelled. It’s a heavy tome, befitting an autobiography of someone who has lived a life and who, thankfully, is there to tell the tale. Whether you are of a “certain age” (like me) or not, I’d say it relates to most people reading this review.
I owe Pete an apology. But I’m Different Now was published in January, but it took me until now to finish the book and condense the many notes I took while reading it. I guess it’s his fault for having such a good memory and being able to fully engage the reader! I am 5 years younger than the author yet there are so many memories, especially in his formative years that could be mine. I realized that I was literally just lifting sections of the book and summarizing what Pete had written, which defeats the purpose of a review; and really should be read “first hand”. That said, it contains impeccable accounts from elementary school and childhood; the strong Nordic traditions of visiting the Blackpool illuminations and Doctor Who exhibition in the 1970s parallel mine. Things really start (no pun intended) when Pete starts looking at his beloved Blackburn Rovers and discovering music and fashion, especially The Beatles, The Jam, The Kinks and Mod culture; as you would expect from the cover. In fact, all but one of the first 12 titles of the 45 chapters are taken from Weller’s first two groups.
The stories come quickly and well, the clarity with which they are relayed puts you “in the moment” to the point where you can imagine being there; for example, being struck by a misdirected drumstick thrown by John Mather of Buzzcocks; wearing a faulty dive jacket when trying to get an 18 certificate film or hosting impromptu parties that lead to unexpected guests and stolen documents/goods. If you haven’t been there, you surely know someone who has. You’ll laugh one minute, cringe the next. For my part, I will no longer be able to listen to one of my favorite albums of all time; Everything But The Girls, Baby The Stars Shine Bright; without thinking about how Pete “raised” the funds to buy his copy. At this point, when Pete is rightly 20, we’re only a third of the way through the book.
After the first whiffs of youth, life becomes more real with a more “adult” tone. I guess that’s the trickiest thing, I could go on to give you a breakdown of Pete’s life, but I don’t want to wrap up his story in a review. Obviously that wouldn’t do the book justice and it’s not my story to tell. What I can say, however, is that it’s a rollercoaster ride, a tale of incredible experiences, family “dramas,” and relationships with life-threatening illnesses along the way. Reading it, you’ll feel like you’ve known the author most of your life. It’s written in a friendly, conversational tone that leads you to believe you’re just listening to casual conversations on the dining room table or in the pub.
One of the things I particularly like about But I’m Different Now is that Pete comes across as “everybody”. As his career has taken him from the local factory to becoming a successful ‘learning mentor’ and a highly respected face in the local/regional music industry with an all-consuming passion as a promoter, event manager and occasional artist manager, he remained grounded. There are so many magical moments recounted (Pete Doherty and Paul McCartney to name two) that any music fan would give their right arm for, but at no point will you blame the author. It’s not a book screaming “look at me”, courting a celebrity, it’s more like “this has been my life (so far)”; and is presented in such a way that his daughter, Emma Leah, and all subsequent generations of Eastwoods will have a lasting memorial of an honest and hardworking man.
They say everyone has a book in them. Pete has more than one. It’s a must-read, one that will have you laughing, crying, and punching the air.
All words by Iain Key. See his author profile here author archive or on Twitter like @iainkey.