The remarkable part about Cummings' depiction of those early years is how absolutely unremarkable they were.  You get the impression that here was another average suburban kid, born to working class parents who had aspirations for their offspring who got a kick along because he happened to grow up in Melbourne rather than anywhere else.

As a kid from the same era who read the same magazines (Cummings namechecks Go Set), saw some of the same movies (If...) and loved some of the same albums (Jeff Beck Group's Truth) much of Cummings' story seems rather familiar, although he's talking inner Melbourne, rather than any of the other Australian capitals or major regional centres.

It was a time when (apparently) virtually every suburban church hall or other suitable venue boasted a dance featuring one or more of the endless succession of groups you glimpsed in the pages of Go Set

Occasionally they ventured further afield, and I remember marvelling that someone like Mike Furber might appear at a teenage dance in Townsville when the reality was that he was just doing a variation on his regular thing, but doing it a couple of thousand miles away from home base.

Cummings, from the age of twelve, criss-crossed Melbourne, checking out bands and trying to avoid the Mod/Stylist v Sharpie brawls that erupted from time to time. From there, Cummings runs through his early years in the business with the Pelaco Brothers, the rise of The Sports and the reasons they failed to make it on the international stage (a mixture of Cummings’ neurotic ego, bad luck and the usual hurdles that get placed in the way of anyone who looks promising).

It’s hard enough to hit the big time as it is, and the historic  landscape of rock music is littered with performers who could have been huge yet somehow failed to deliver on the promise that prompted someone to label them possibly the next big thing. One would suggest there’s not a lot of mileage to be had out of such stories.

Given the fact that The Sports split up back in 1981 and Cummings has maintained a reasonably low- to medium-profile career over the intervening twenty-eight years you could be forgiven for thinking that, really, there isn’t all that much to tell. Nevertheless Cummings manages to weave enough threads together to produce a book that’s easy to read, chatty in some places, catty in others, and while you’re not likely to learn anything of earth-shattering importance, it’s an interesting enough read.

© Ian Hughes 2012