The cover is adorned with candid Polaroid photos of Brit-pop’s biggest stars (Liam, Damon, Jarvis, Justine…etc.), and the book’s subtitle promises a Britpop history, yet Lunch With The Wild Frontiers is both so much more and so much less than that. If you’re looking for a comprehensive history of Brit-pop, this ain’t it. The book is really Phill Savidge’s (now Jane Savidge after transitioning in April of 2019) memoirs from her career in music PR. Her public relations firm, Savage and Best, counted many of Britpop’s biggest bands as clients at the height of their popularity: Suede, Verve, Pulp and Elastica to name a few, but Savidge also handled PR duties for many decidedly non-Britpop artists like Roy Orbison, Andrew Lloyd Webber and A.R. Rahman, and they play just as big a role in the book as anyone else.
Luckily Savidge – a flamboyant rascal with a flair for style and the fantastic – is herself as colorful a character as anyone she writes about. She’s got a never-ending well of great stories to draw upon and an inviting writing style to tell them with. The latter is the key here, as it keeps readers equally engaged regardless of whether Savidge is talking about securing magazine covers for your favorite ’90s act, or taking a disinterested Lou Reed on a tour of The Hospital – a failed attempt at creating a modern day artist’s space similar to Warhol’s Factory. I actually liked the sections on Savidge’s late-’80s rise through the world of music public relations the best, as she recounts less than world-beating experiences attempting to sell the music press on GG Allin, Suicidal Tendencies, Gaye Bikers on Acid and Savidge’s first client at Virgin Records, The Wild Frontiers, a band featuring Marco Pirroni of Adam and The Ants who broke up a few weeks after their initial lunch with Savidge, and are now only remembered for giving this book its title. There’s literally no other mention of the band’s existence anywhere on the internet.
Whether having lunch with a practically non-existent band, or hanging out with Bowie, Strummer and Jagger, Savidge’s wild adventures keep you turning the pages to see what comes next.