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Whatever Happened to the C86 Kids?
Whatever Happened to the C86 Kids?

Whatever Happened to the C86 Kids?

An Indie Odyssey



416 Pages, 6 x 9.25

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $18.99 (US $18.99) (CA $24.99)

Publication Date: May 2024

ISBN 9781788705608

Rights: US & CA

Bonnier Books UK (May 2024)
Nine Eight Books

Sorry, this item is temporarily out of stock


Shortlisted for the Penderyn Music Book Prize
A Rough Trade Book of the Year
A Resident Book of the Year
A Monorail Book of the Year
A Virgin Radio Book of the Year

A unique journey into the legacy and afterlives of the artists who featured on the legendary NME C86 tape.

In 1986, the NME released a cassette that would shape music for years to come. A collection of 22 independently signed guitar-based bands, C86 was the sound and ethos that defined a generation. It was also arguably the point at which 'indie' was born.

But what happened next to all those musical dreamers? Some of the bands, like Primal Scream, went on to achieve global stardom; others, such as Half Man Half Biscuit and the Wedding Present, cultivated lifelong fanbases that still sustain their careers thirty-five years later. Then there were the rest, who ultimately imploded in a riot of paisley shirts, bad drugs, and general indifference from the record-buying public.

Now, thirty-five years on, journalist Nige Tassell tracks down the class of C86, unearthing members of all twenty-two bands and sharing the stories, both tragic and uplifting, of these long-lost musicians. Told with warmth, compassion and humor, this is a very human account of ambition, hope, varying degrees of talent and what happens after you give up on music - or, more accurately, after music gives up on you. It's a world populated by bike-shop owners, dance-music producers, record-store proprietors, ornithologists, driving instructors, solicitors, caricaturists and possibly even an Olympic sailor. And let's not forget the musician-turned-actor gainfully employed as Jeremy Irons' body double...

More than simply the tale of the tape, Whatever Happened to the C86 Kids? is an exploration of C86's wide-reaching and often surprising legacy.


"Twenty-two tales of youthful anger, innocence and indolence, filtered through almost forty years of regret, melancholy and, occasionally, dogged resistance. Nige Tassell . . .  spins gold from their grab-bag of agendas, musical politics and effects pedals and creates something that is frequently more impressive, entertaining and enjoyable than the music itself." —Bob Stanley, author, Let's Do It: The Birth of Pop Music

funny, sad, gorgeous and beautifully researched book about the most influential loser tribe in the history of British music.' -- David Quantick, author, Night Train

'Who, of a certain vintage and a certain propensity for hoarding things in lofts, including cassette-tape compilations sold via a weekly music publication, wouldn't want THIS BOOK?' -- Andrew Collins, author, Billy Bragg: Still Suitable for Miners

'Absolutely fantastic.' -- Sian Pattenden, Culture Bunker

'Often funny, sometimes poignant ... [a] candid, evocative snapshot of a scene that is fondly but scarcely celebrated. 4/5' -- Classic Pop

'A valuable preservation of faded networks and forgotten ways to belong.' -- The Wire

Author Biography

For the past twenty-five years, Nige Tassell has written about music, popular culture and sport for a range of titles, including The Word, The Guardian, the Sunday Times, The Independent, Q, Esquire, GQ, Rouleur, the New Statesman and The Blizzard. A highly experienced interviewer and author, Tassell has received admiration for his writing from the likes of Ian Rankin, Adam Buxton, Danny Baker, Steve Lamacq, Janice Long and Lucy Porter. Whatever Happened to the C86 Kids? will be his eighth book.