Ticket to Ride by Graham Sclater

Ticket to Ride

byGraham Sclater

Kobo ebook | May 15, 2013

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Ticket to Ride review by Tom "Tearaway" Shulte, inc19.com

Graham Sclater, today a music publisher in England, was active as a musician in the "Hamburg Sound" era when Germany was fertile ground for English "beat groups" plying their trade and crafting their sound and style. Sclater was there as organist of The Wave, The Birds & Bees and Manchester Playboys. With this "ticket to ride," he gained the experiences translated into fiction form in this, his debut novel.

However, I think this rich trove of experiences would be more entertaining in a work of non-fiction, as anecdotes to add color to the lives of working musicians, perhaps easily integrated into the largely known history of Brit rock with some occasionally recognized names, albums, etc. This, I think, would add a depth to the story that is currently lacking.

Ticket to Ride is full of wild tales and outlandish incidents as the musicians become prisoners in a foreign land to tiring and harsh transitions from desperation to decadence. Through this, the characters are remarkably flat, lacking in dimension and emerging at the end of their tribulations lacking in real transformation. Sclater fails to give the characters in his work real emotional depth and believable motivations.

However, do not let my arguments against the book detract from its joys. I myself have walked the streets of Hamburg’s St. Pauli district and eventually met Erin Ross, who designed posters for Rory Storm and Hurricane, The Beatles, and more. I was hoping for just such an encounter to somehow find my own link to this era and place.

So it is quite fun to muse upon Sclater’s book as to what facts and real events are behind the elements of his story. Do we think that we recognize anyone in these scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue? The chapter titles have lyrical references like the book title, do you recognize them? Also, as a former indie rocker myself I feel a connection to the characters in this book. I have gone through and experienced and seen much of what they have and I think any current or former amateur gigging musician will also make that connection.


Link:  Ink19.com


Ticket to Ride - review by Ulf Kreuger (Deutsch), Star Club, Hamburg

Graham Sclater, heute Musikverleger in England, verbrachte mehrere Jahre seiner aktiven Musikerlaufbahn zu Zeiten des "Hamburg Sound" in den Clubs der Hansestadt. Als Organist von "The Wave", "The Birds & The Bees" sowie der "Manchester Playboys" erlebte er hautnah, was er in seinem ersten Roman "Ticket to Ride" so anschaulich schildert:

Vier unerfahrene jugendliche englische Beatmusiker werden in einer unerbittlichen Welt aus Prostitution, Alkohol, Aufputschmitteln und Kriminalität wie auf einem fremden Planeten erwachsen.

Es gibt unzählige Bücher, die die schillernde Karriere derer dokumentieren, die es in der Welt des Rock’n’roll nach ganz oben geschafft haben. Sclaters Roman beschreibt ungewöhnlich realitätsnah das Schicksal all jener Gruppen, denen es nicht vergönnt war, ihre Träume zu verwirklichen.

"Ticket to Ride" setzt all denen ein Denkmal, die es um ein Haar hätten schaffen können, wenn nicht ihr Commer- oder Bedford Van auf dem Hinterhof eines deutschen Beatschuppens endgültig seinen Geist aufgegeben hätte.

Ein sehr empfehlenswertes Buch, leider bisher nur in englischer Sprache erhältlich bei:
www.tabithabooks.webs.com – Republished May 2012

Link:  Center of Beat, Hamburg


Ticket to Ride review by Boycott-RIAA

The Reeperbahn, the notorious red light district of Hamburg, Germany in the 1960s became the veritable porch light drawing bands from England in droves with the promise of becoming the next Fab Four. Ticket to Ride (Tabitha Books), by Graham Sclater, tells the tale of The Cheetahs, a band put together on the promise of a gig in Hamburg. This story is not about the Beatles, this is a story about a band that didn’t make it.

The Cheetahs immediately find themselves awash in the sea of all that the 60s mod scene had to offer - prostitution, drugs, booze, venereal disease and even underground abortion. The band finds their sound and loses themselves in the neon lights of the various towns in Germany where they find gigs. At one point, one of the characters perfectly sums the Hamburg experience up as not being about the music, it’s about the vices of the Deutschland.

Ticket to Ride has a great pace to it and difficult to put down. I had read another review of the book prior to writing this and they had used the phrase "kitchen sink drama" - this is spot on. The book is not high brow grammatical acrobatics, it is just a story seemingly told from the perspective of a barfly observing this band falling apart and getting chewed up by the scene. All in all, the book exudes the optimism and "damn the torpedoes" attitude of any young rock and roller from any era - definitely recommended.

Link:  www.boycott-riaa.com/article/20598


Ticket to Ride, reviewed by Making Time

Graham Sclater’s book reads like an autobiography. He spent much of the 1960s as an English musician playing in Germany and he has written a novel about The Cheetahs on the back of his own experiences. Think of British musicians in Hamburg and you immediately think of The Beatles. This book is set after this period in the second half of the decade. The story is about The Cheetahs, a five-piece band that manages to get a residency at a Hamburg club, even before the group has been formed! Once in Germany the band goes from strength to strength, following the Beatles into places like the Star Club as well as playing further afield in Germany and Switzerland.

Life for a band in Germany was not easy. There was a seemingly endless supply of pills to keep them going for the long hours they spent on stage in the clubs. Alcohol was flowing too. There was also a plentiful supply of girls, many of them prostitutes who formed friendships with the musicians. There was plenty of sex on offer but with this came other problems such as VD. The cold, hunger and poor living conditions were something that the bands had to endure but sexually-transmitted diseases were everywhere too.

The bands dreamed of stardom, after all, the Beatles had made it after learning their trade in Hamburg. The Cheetahs managed to make a record and towards the end of the book it enters the charts. However, for various reasons, the band is no longer together to make the most of it. It is a very sad ending to a mostly uplifting story.

Ticket to Ride is a fun book to read. The fact that it is rooted in reality makes it seem like a genuine biography or autobiography rather than a novel. It is evident that much of it is, or could be, based on actual events. The book provides an insight into the life of a hard-working band in the 1960s.

Title:Ticket to RideFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:May 15, 2013Publisher:Tabitha BooksLanguage:English

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