By Niall McGuirk and others, edited by Lee Casey.Hope Publications, €8 (€10 online).
A different Dublin. When you mail ordered your records or relied on the taped kindness of others. Where the only place for combats was Capel Street and the prospect of a long walk always meant a run for the last bus home. A time when a punk rock or hardcore gig, no matter how small and dingy the venue, was an event. Pulling the people from all those different scenarios together in word and deed was Hope. A collective who tried to move a very stuck city, Hope put on shows, used whatever money they made from them – if they made money from them - to bring more bands over, staged benefits and gave you something to look forward to on plenty of Sunday afternoons. There were no major label outfits and no guestlists, you paid-in less than you would now for a sandwich and came away with a whole lot more.
Gathering together opinions, reminiscences and vegan recipes from the people involved, and reviews of the gigs staged between 1984 and 1999, 'Document...' fascinates like a diary that a lot of people have in common. It takes the major Hope events (Fugazi in the SFX, Nomeansno in McGonagles) and treats them with the same unfussy recall as the ones where hardly anyone showed (like the 40 who turned up to see a pre-fame Green Day for £2.50 in 1991). It shows just what can be achieved when people try, and how Hope acted as a catalyst for a generation of groups in the city to put out their own records and do their own gigs. Many of the personnel in those bands had contact with Hope either onstage or off and its lasting legacy is a level of confidence which, 20 years ago, seemed like it belonged to other scenes in other places, but never Dublin.
You don't have to have gone to Hope shows to enjoy this book. You don't even need to know about the music played at them. Newcomer or veteran, you'll come away knowing that there's a big difference between resolve and ambition and that the people in this book knew the difference between the two.
A wake-up call, food for thought and one of the cheapest but most valuable lessons there is to learn. Do you remember when? Yeah, so do I.
Available from: Connolly Books, 43 East Essex Street, DublinRoad Records, Fade Street, DublinBooks Upstairs, College Green, Dublin 2 and online at www.thumped.com/hope/