Terry Farley On The Story Of Boy's Own

Terry Farley takes us through the history of Boy's Own - the DIY fanzine that captured the acid house explosion.

As he gears up to play our 25th Birthday party, we caught up with Terry Farley to discuss the story of Boy's Own - the village newspaper of Acid House

MoS: How did the idea for Boy's Own come about? Did you have any literary inspiration or did it all come from music?

Terry Farley: No, Boy's Own was a fanzine that Weatherall and myself (Stevie Mayse as well of course) started as a way of getting a voice in a scene that was dominated by art school kids, The Face and iD.

How did you come to meet the rest of the guys involved?

Maysey lived on my estate (the notorious Britwell) Andrew and Cymon came from Windsor which was a cool place to hang out and the kids were quite alternative in their look and musical taste - as opposed to our lot who were all just Black american music aficionados. It was a great mix which helped us later musically and with the great mix of people who came to our early Acid House parties.

What was the London club scene like before the arrival of acid house?

It was booming.  Loads of warehouse parties going on everywhere, loads of younger kids moving away from hip hop and into the west end's more sexually mixed scene. What was missing was something new. We had got bored with hearing those old '70s Funk anthems and Rare Groove stuff. You also had silly fashions from the 'Flare Groove' offshoot of Rare Groove - it was time to get serious again.

How did the scene change over the course of the fanzine, was it a slow progression or did everything change at once?

Looking back at the charts in the zine from '86 / '87 it was a mix of party Hip Hop / Rare Groove / Go Go and House but once '88 kicked off it became very balearic based - we made a few records up just to piss off people who worked in record shops as we knew they would get asked endlessly for them...

When you read them back today, it’s often hard to discern who wrote which article, was this style chosen on purpose? Did you want to retain a sense of anonymity?

Not really. Oakie wrote the 'Bermondsey goes BALEARIC ' article but asked not to be named as it was about E. It was the first time the Ibiza scene had been written about. I think people quickly started writing for Boy's Own in what they saw as a BO style.

The visual style is very striking, not just the images, but the way the text is printed in several different directions, where did it come from, what was the thinking behind it?

HA HA... it was all cut out and stuck on with paper glue - I did a lot of it at home, it was the best I could do, which wasn't very good but suited the whole ethos - funny how years later you have seen that as 'striking' ... thank you.

Is there any particular feature or interview that you look back on particularly fondly?

The Danny Baker one I like, he hated the fact we called him a Millwall wanker in the headline.

What was the best and the worst aspect of running the zine?

Andrew Weatherall's idea of doing anything on time.

Generally speaking the zine covered music, football and politics. As someone who was born in '89, the worlds of football and dance music have rarely overlapped for me the way they seemed to then, how come there was such a connection between the two back then?

Well Football culture was something huge from the late 70s up to 88 and many of the 'ACID HOUSE' fashions were just football casual clobber rehashes . I think the thrill of being in a gang was replicated by Acid House for a lot of football lads .

I read that you used to write into The Face under a pseudonym to criticise articles in Boys Own, was that intended as a knowing wink to your readers? What was the story behind it?

I did it several times to get publicity for the fanzine... it worked a treat although most of our outside of London sales seemed to come from northern lads in jail .

You only did the twelve issues, do you ever wish you kept it up? When and why did you decide to stop?

We stopped cos Andrew wanted to stop and because the younger Boys Own lot didn't want to take the baton from us. I always thought it was a shame, but there you go we had 12 good uns which is better than dragging it out and ending up like Little Britain Series 4.

The hardback collected book and original copies of the zine are going for pretty big sums on eBay and Amazon, what is it about the zine that you think has kept people’s interest all these years later?

I guess it reminds people they were part of something they thought was special at a time when they had fuck all to worry about apart from the quality of Cali's and Doves

With London’s club scene under so much pressure, people being reluctant to pay for print and a few magazines dominating the market, do you think a modern Boys Own could work today?

Yeah, as long as whoever does it have a good fuck off attitude, loads of mates with silly names and can invent plenty of new slang. 

Could you put together four of five tracks that you associate most with the zine days?

LL Cool J - "Rock The Bells"

Chuck Brown - "We Need Some Money"

Raze - "Jack The Groove"

Paul Rutherford - "Get Real"

You can catch Terry playing records at our 25th Birthday, get your tickets here.

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Danny Rampling's Guide To Acid House

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Written by Matthew Francey

01 Sep 2016