Exit-Stance – Exit-Stance Records – 1984 / Rema Rema / Door And The Window

Esthetics

Conspiracy Of Silence

Exit-Stance, not the Milton Keynes punk band that released records on Mortahate and supported Conflict from time to time.

The Exit-Stance that recorded these tracks, releasing them on this record via the bands own label, were from Bristol and had a sound reminiscent (actually pretty much a carbon copy) of UK Decay (with added Ritual perhaps). After the recording of the ‘Esthetics’ 7″ single, the punk Exit-Stance, supported perhaps by Mortahate records, forced the Bristol Exit-Stance to change their name after threatening legal action. If this is correct then it’s a pretty ironic situation. Exit-Stance changed their name to Feud.

For the second time in a year*** I get a totally unexpected box of goodies from Mike Clarke, Defiant Pose fanzine editor and owner of Inflammable Material records. This time the box contained three Rema Rema 12″ singles.

Two different sleeve versions of the track ‘Entry / Exit’, a track that Charisma Records rejected during the bands lifetime for “Blasphemous Content”.

The track itself is a six minute slow bass led plodder with some great feedback guitar work from Marco, and a call and response vocal style. And yes, the lyrics might be labelled blasphemous.

The B – side of ‘Entry / Exit’ is a stripped down instrumental version.

I was also sent (of which I am greatly indebted to Mike) the limited edition sleeve version of ‘Entry / Exit’. The record is the same but the artwork for the limited edition is a different design which is screen printed. The quantity of the limited sleeve edition is 50 copies. I was sent number 50 / 50.

The second 12″ single is actually two modernised remixes of the old Rema Rema track ‘Rema Rema’ and is on the band’s record label ‘Le Coq Musique’. Two remixes by Renegade Soundmachine (Soundwave) bringing the track kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Please support these releases if you have any interest in Rema Rema by going to the Inflammable Material website HERE or HERE

*** HERE is the original KYPP post regarding Rema Rema, Defiant Pose and Inflammable Material.

THE DOOR AND THE WINDOW
‘Detailed Twang’
12 track LP only: Label: Overground : Edition of 500
Cat. No. OVER 146LP
Release Date: On sale now

Originally inspired by both the DIY ethic of the punk movement and the likes of Throbbing Gristle and File Under Pop, two friends Nag and Bendle decided to form The Door And The Window in March ’79. Lacking any musical experience, the first thing they did was to book a gig, then set off to a rehearsal studio to record their first single on a cassette recorder.

“Initially we had little interest in making music; we were interested in sound and noise. I had a cheap guitar and a collection of 2nd hand tape recorders, and Nag had a cheap synth. It was an advantage that we couldn’t play anything. When the guy running the rehearsal studio proclaimed that we were the “worst band he had ever heard” we took it as a complement and drunkenly caroled his sentiment back to him and recorded that too.” – Bendle

The first single ‘Don’t Kill Colin’ EP came from the pressing plant in plain white labels and sleeves. The band painstakingly hand-made the labels and sleeves and managed to self-distribute all 1000 copies.

The success led to a distribution deal with Rough Trade. Their next single ‘Production Line’ EP was joint NME ‘Single Of The Week’ with Ian Dury’s ‘(Hit Me With Your) Rhythm Stick’. Inspired by Crass, the ‘Pay No More Than 55p’ on the sleeve caused problems for the distributors, but the single still sold an impressive 2000 copies.

As true exponents of the DIY ethic the band produced a fanzine called ‘Common Knowledge’ devoted to the politics of record reproduction and included the likes of the Desperate Bicycles.

The Door And The Window were becoming more popular and highly respected. They played with the Pop Group, Scritti Politti, Delta Five, Swell Maps and Raincoats.

The line-up of the band was always fluid and sometime members included Fritz (23 Skidoo), Dennis Burns (ATV/Good Missionaries), Grant Showbiz (The Fall) and Giblet (49 Americans). In late 1979, Mark Perry, disillusioned by the constraints and expectations of Alternative TV joined the band as drummer and co-songwriter.

As more bands formed with the same attitude the band toured as part of the ‘Weird Noise’ tour with The Instant Automatons and 012 – a band fronted by Kif Kif and made up of members of that night’s audience.

1980 saw the release of the album ‘Detailed Twang’ which sold 2000 copies at the ridiculously cheap price of £3.00 before the band split up in the summer of ’81, although they’ve reformed on an occasional basis to experiment with new ideas.

The LP replicates the original album but with the bonus of an inner bag featuring a detailed band history and rare photos, limited to just 500 copies making rarer than the highly collectable original!

Track Listing:
Dads/Habits/We Do Scare Each Other/Order And Obey/He Feels Like A Doris/ Part-Time Punks/In The Car/Subculture Fashion Slaves/Sticks And Stones/ Positive/Why Must You Build Walls Around Us?/Detailed Twang

Order from Overground Records directly HERE

Rubella Ballet – Centro Iberico – 2/5/82

Rubella Ballet performance

After receiving a cassette of a Rubella Ballet performance at the Centro Iberico in 1982 from Peck, originally from Colchester but now a long time Ipswich resident along with getting a large box of paperwork and photographs from Tony D to scan in for a possible project in the future, I can now place some of this material together in this KYPP post.

Firstly thanks to Peck, Tony D and Mick Mercer (photograph of Rubella Ballet performing at the Centro Iberico) for all the component parts that make up this post (except the Centro Iberico Punk Lives article that has lain dormant at Penguin Towers for many years).

The recording of the Rubella Ballet performance is recorded on a hand held recorder and is not of the greatest quality sadly, although it is reasonable and does give a snippet of the atmosphere on the night. Rubella Ballet shared the night with Conflict, Assassins Of Hope and Zounds, the other bands performing on the night.

Tony D’s original typed interview conducted in June 1982, part of which ended up included for Zig Zag magazine, and Al Puppy’s article on the Centro Iberico written in 1983 and included in Punk Lives magazine are uploaded in full onto this post. The pages may be viewed via the HERE link below each scanned page. There is a magnifying glass option when the link gets you to the Photo Bucket web page to get a really good quality viewing of the text.

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The Centro Iberico, a squatted school originally housed Spanish anarchists, assumed runaways from General Franco’s four decade rule which started in 1936 and lasted into the mid 1970’s.

Spain was an outsider in Europe due to the totalitarian regime that General Franco led during those years so many Spanish citizens would have tried to get out of Spain as best as they could considering the circumstances. I can only guess that most of these Spanish squatters were illegally based in London and could only claim benefits and British citizenship after convenience marriages to British men and women.

Feel free to correct me on that point.

The Centro Iberico was putting on performances by outsider bands a little before the Wapping Autonomy Centre closed it’s first floor doors. Raped (Cuddly Toys) and Rudi from Belfast, Northern Ireland performed at the squat in October 1978 and Throbbing Gristle performed in January 1979 are two examples of performances that occurred.

The gigs at the Centro Iberico were not exclusive to the peace punk bands of the day. Whitehouse also performed at the Centro Iberico on a couple of occasions. William Orbit had been living at the squat since the late 1970’s and had performed there in the 1980’s.

The Centro Iberico article written by Al Puppy and included in the Punk Lives magazine is important to add to this post. The article gives an overall picture of the venue alongside the autonomy centres prior to the punks descending onto the Centro Iberico for Sunday night gigs, and is a wonderful insight of some of the people involved in these autonomy centres during the early 1980’s era.

Unknown, Wolfen, Val and Greenhair inside the Centro Iberico.

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Screaming Dead – Skull Records – 1982 / Beltane Festival / The Laila Mythology

Valley Of The Dead

Schoolgirl Junkie / Lilith

For this years Beltane I am placing up the debut Screaming Dead 7″single up on KYPP.

Screaming Dead were a band I first read about in a copy of Rising Free fanzine, written, edited, printed and distributed in and around the Welwyn, Hitchin and Stevenage areas. The ‘No Future’ issue of Rising Free to be precise. I was surprised to read about this band as the band came from the other side of the world, well from Cheltenham to be exact, home to the other punk band, the massively fine Demob.

Cheltenham’s answer to the Misfits. That can’t be a bad thing.

The band, named after the English title of Drácula contra Frankenstein, the 1972 horror film directed by Jesús Franco, was formed by guitarist Tony McCormack, who recruited former singer with The Waste, Sam Missile, bass guitarist Mal Page, and drummer Mark Ogilvie.

The band built up a strong local following which spread farther afield with coverage in fanzines such as Gez Lowery’s Rising Free and through sales of their demo tape. They followed their first tape with a more formal release, the Children Of The Boneyard Stones cassette, which came with a badge and a copy of the band’s own fanzine, Warcry.

They then self-financed their debut vinyl release, the ‘Valley of the Dead’ 7″ single, initially released on their own Skull Records label, but when it sold out of its first pressing within a week it was picked up by No Future records. The band’s next release, the ‘Night Creatures’ 12″ single, saw them break into the UK Indie Chart, reaching number 22 in September 1983.

While the band were at times tagged as Goths, the label was rejected by Bignall, who in a posthumous interview stated “Screaming Dead were a punk rock band, there’s no doubt about that! We had a bit of an interest in the horror theme, and that was how we decided to present ourselves.”

For their next release, the band recorded a cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’ which was also an indie hit, and was recorded as a tribute of sorts to Brian Jones who is buried in their home town of Cheltenham. In 1984, taking inspiration from X-Ray Spex, the band recruited saxophonist Nick Upton, the band also signing to Nine Mile Records, who issued their last two releases on the Angel label. The change in sound lost a lot of fans, and with interest in punk rock declining, the band split up in 1985.

The Fire Festival of Beltane

This festival is also known as Beltane, the Celtic May Day. It officially begins at moonrise on May Day Eve, and marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year.

It is celebrated as an early pastoral festival accompanying the first turning of the herds out to wild pasture. The rituals were held to promote fertility. The cattle were driven between the Belfires to protect them from ills.

Contact with the fire was interpreted as symbolic contact with the sun. In early Celtic times, the druids kindled the Beltane fires with specific incantations.

Later the Christian church took over the Beltane observances, a service was held in the church, followed by a procession to the fields or hills, where the priest kindled the fire. The rowan branch is hung over the house fire on May Day to preserve the fire itself from bewitchment (the house fire being symbolic of the luck of the house).

This is a holiday of Union–both between the Goddess and the God and between man and woman. Handfastings (Pagan marriages) are traditional at this time. It is a time of fertility and harvest, the time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that we have sown.

Celebrations include braiding of one’s hair (to honour the union of man and woman and Goddess and God), circling the Maypole for fertility and jumping the Beltane fire for luck. Beltane is one of the Major Sabbats of the Wiccan religion. We celebrate sexuality (something we see as holy and intrinsic to us as holy beings), we celebrate life and the unity which fosters it.

The myths of Beltane state that the young God has blossomed into manhood, and the Goddess takes him on as her lover. Together, they learn the secrets of the sexual and the sensual, and through their union, all life begins.

Beltane is the season of maturing life and deep found love. This is the time of vows, handfastings and commitment. The Lord and his Lady, having reached maturity, come together in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust to celebrate the joy of their union.

This is a time to celebrate the coming together of the masculine and feminine creative energies. Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, he desired the Goddess. They fall in love, lie among the grasses and blossoms and unite.

The flowers and greenery symbolise the Goddess and the Maypole represents the God. Beltane marks the return of vitality and passion of summer. Another common focal point of the Beltane rituals is the cauldron, which represents the Goddess. The Welsh goddess Creiddylad is connected with Beltane, often called the May Queen, she was a Goddess of summer flowers and love.

May Day

May Day has long been marked with feasts and rituals. May poles, supremely phallic symbols, were the focal point of old English village rituals. Many people arose at dawn to gather flowers and green branches from the fields and gardens, using them to decorate the village Maypoles.

The May Queen (and often King) is chosen from among the young people, and they go singing from door to door throughout the town carrying flowers or the May tree, soliciting donations for merrymaking in return for the “blessing of May”.

This is symbolic of bestowing and sharing of the new creative power that is stirring in the world. As the kids go from door to door, the May Bride often sings to the effect that those who give will get of nature’s bounty through the year.

In parts of France, some jilted youth will lie in a field on May Day and pretend to sleep. If any village girl is willing to marry him, she goes and wakes him with a kiss; the pair then goes to the village inn together and lead the dance which announces their engagement. The boy is called “the betrothed of May.”

The Laila Mythology

It is written in Celtic folklore that the roots of the hawthorn tree transcend the two worlds. A factualism that was soon to be realised by a young girl named Laila.

Whilst out on a spring saunter in Epping woods, Laila is inexplicably set upon and despoiled of her treasured necklace by an insane opportunistic magpie. Subsequently she finds herself on a search for its recovery, but soon discovers more than she had bargained for, when the magpie who stole it turns out to be none other than a nefarious shaman named Ibora, who appears to have mistaken her pendant for that of a mythical jewel known as the Brisingamen.

Luring her down through the roots of a gigantic hawthorn tree into the underworld, Laila is inadvertently transported into a magical land where Ogres and Wyvern frequent and where the sanctity of nature is no longer revered by humanity.

Befriended by Jack, a huge Green man who has the ability to converse with trees and with the help of a wise old wizard named Yan Overton, Laila desperately tries to get back to her world, with or without her necklace, but in order to do so she must first find the legendary Omega tree, the last of the ancient hawthorns or ‘world trees’.

But with all ancient world trees condemned by order of Queen Lhanna, a tyrannous sorceress whose lust for power impels her to kill her own sister Isla in order to gain complete total control of the world, Laila’s quest seems almost futile.

But soon she discovers the secret whereabouts of the Omega tree, far away in the Goblin lands and the reasoning behind Lhanna’s condemnation of ancient trees.

It is prophesised in the underworld that Geborga, a gigantic dragon created by the evil Queens sister to protect the forests before she perished would return once more in to the underworld through the portal of a world tree and bring peace into the world and the subsequent demise of her sister Lhanna. With such a foreboding prospect for the Queen, all portals in and out of the underworld are to be indiscriminately felled.

But with her only means of escape under threat, Laila finds herself in a race against time.

Making her way surreptitiously across the treacherous Goblin lands to the Omega tree in the company of the Green man and a Changeling named Lon Attilia, Laila can almost smell the sweet scent of home, but before reaching the town of Puo Landum in the heart of the Grayweald where the mythical tree is said to grow, she is unexpectedly betrayed by her Changeling cohort who turns out to be a servant of the Queen, and had masqueraded himself as her ally in order to discover the location of the tree.

Laila then unwittingly becomes the catalyst to a war between the despotic Queen and the race of Goblins, as Lhanna’s armies invade the Grayweald with the intent of destroying the Omega tree as well as their Goblin adversaries.

A great battle then ensues throughout the forests of the underworld as the Goblin hordes fight for their survival against an unremitting force. But with such overwhelming opposition it is only a matter of time before the last of the world trees is finally raised to the ground and the Goblins are forced to retreat into exile, leaving Laila trapped in the underworld forever.

But Jack, her trusty companion has not lost hope and believes the answer may lie in the place of their first meeting. So immediately they make their way with haste back towards the old wood but are ambushed en route by Queen Lhanna and her forces.

A brief skirmish breaks out as Jack fights desperately to protect Laila but is sadly slain by the powerful sorceress. Overwrought by the devastating loss of the green man, Laila’s sorrow appears to create a huge storm in the skies overhead and the world is cast into darkness. The earth then begins to shake as Geborga the dragon is awoken by his master’s voice and rises up from out of the mountain lake.

Realising that Laila is the reincarnation of her murdered sister Isla; Lhanna attempts to kill her but is beheaded by Ibora, her shamanic servant in an act of retribution for Isla’s fratricide.

In the aftermath of the storm, after the dust had settled, Laila finds herself inexplicably back home in Epping Forest with her pendant in her hand and Yan Overton the old wizard, walking over to greet her. He explains that her journey into the otherworld was predetermined and her purpose for going there, as well as what became of Jack, the green man.

As Laila makes her way home she wonders how on earth she can relate her amazing adventures to her family, but understands that she will never be the same person ever again.

YOU MAY PURCHASE A COPY OF THE BOOK ‘LAILA MYTHOLOGY’ BY VINCENT G LEAROYD FROM HERE – WELL WORTH SUPPORTING.

 

Scientist Meets The Roots Radics – Selena Records – 1981

Jah Army / Flabba Is Wild / Some Dub / Whip Them / Fighting Radics

Kill The Devils Wife / Jah Is Love / Wa Di Is Free / Best Dub On Ya / Forward Dis Ya Dub

Here is a scratchy old record that I have pulled out for today. I actually wanted to share the ‘World At War’ album on Black Ovation records but sadly that was a little too scratchy so I placed it back into the record racks. I have not put these albums onto a turntable for decades so was not sure which one was the better quality.

The ‘World At War’ album had dubs that pointed towards the issues of today, and considering The Revolutionaries (the backing band on ‘World At War’) performed tracks entitled ‘The Invasion Of Iraq’ thirty five years ago and the cover artwork points to Syria and Iraq shows that sadly not a lot seems to have changed in those thirty five years…

The ‘…Meets The Roots Radics’ album is a fine and sturdy excursion into space and time and is worthy of a listen. My copy is in super blue vinyl!

Eventually the members of Roots Radics, when not backing every vocalist in Jamaica, were performing sessions in London at Basing Street and Southern Studios for tracks to be released on Adrian Sherwood’s ON U Sound record label under various ON U Sound band monikers. Adrian had met members of Roots Radics when they backed up Prince Far I (at that time billed as the Arabs) on a U.K tour back in 1978 which Adrian had a hand in organising.

The text below forms part of an essay on the exploration of dub pioneers on the Dread Library website. Thanks to the moderators of that site in advance of my thieving.

The closest that any other dub artist has come in comparison with Tubby’s deity is one of the King’s past apprentices, Hopeton ‘Scientist’ Brown. The two were introduced by a friend of Brown’s who got him a job working at Tubby’s studio in 1978 as a radio repairman.

Brown relates that he had been building his own audio amplifiers, but when he tried to mix reggae beats, the amplifier would over heat, so he would use King Tubby’s mixing board. He contests that Tubby’s were the only ones to comply with his mixes, becoming “fascinated by his (King Tubby’s) exclusive style of mixing and unique sound effects.”

During Brown’s employment at the studio, he would often assure Tubby of his mixing abilities, given the opportunity. As typical of Tubby’s ‘teaching techniques’, he would simply reply that Brown was too young (15 -16 years old) to know his abilities, and that there were plenty of older men who try to mix for years and never get it. Eventually, when Prince Jammy was out of town one day, Brown’s opportunity came when Tubby offered to let him mix in the studio, to which Scientist quickly took him up on.

From that point on, Brown, who took on the name ‘Scientist’, left his work in the repair shop, to mix in the studio. During this time, Scientist further pushed the limits of dub music, taking Tubby’s equipment to never-before-seen levels, surpassing the lengths that his predecessor had reached. By the time he was sixteen, Tubby introduced Brown to his first producer, Don Mais, with whom he would create his first hit, a mix of Barrington Levy’s ‘Collie Weed’.

Brown recalls that of his experience working with Tubby, the most valuable part was the criticism that he received. Scientist contests that he would whittle away at a mix for hours on end, only to have Tubby react with anything but disapproval of his creation. Tubby would persistently assure Scientist that he was young and had much to learn yet, only driving Brown to improve his styles. It wasn’t until years later that Tubby admitted he had merely been pushing Scientist to test his limits, encouraging him to continue experimenting, and that these early versions had really been excellent. Grant Smithies writes: “…of all Tubby’s many challengers, Scientist was the real heir apparent to the crown.”

A few of the Scientist’s trademark techniques include controlled distortion, choppy guitar, flying hi-hats and enveloping horns that reach previously unattainable heights, commanding that the highest respect be given to his works. In speaking of his career as the most prestigious dub technician that Jamaica has seen since King Tubby himself, Scientist writes:

“…when I would mix a record, I would tek it to ‘im and say ‘Tubby’s how’s that sound? He used to say it don’t really sound too good, but his reason for doin’ that is to let you always keep tryin’ harder. Years after he confesses; he said, ‘A lot of that stuff you were doin’, it was good but I was scared at the time that if I let you know how good you doin’, you probably would have gotten swell headed an’ stop tryin’. He was truly a genius.”

At the end of the 1970’s, Scientist (now also referred to as ‘The Dub Chemist’) left Tubby’s to become the main engineer at Channel One Studios, and working with Henry “Junjo” Lawes, cut some best-selling dub albums, only to leave for the greener pastures of Tuff Gong in 1982.

Toxic Grafity: Reflections on Self-hood and Revolution

14th February, 2015

I write this on a significant date. No, not St. Valentine’s day (3id l-7ubb, ‘The Festival of Love’ in the Arabic-speaking world), but the fourth anniversary of Bahrain’s 14th February revolution, a revolution that was suppressed by a lethal combination of Saudi tanks and British political and diplomatic cover. I lived in Bahrain at the time of the revolution, first teaching Comparative Literature at the University of Bahrain, and later Teacher Training at Bahrain Teachers College. Many of the students who I taught between 2007 and 2011 were activists directly involved in the uprising.

The Kill Your Pet Puppy website did a feature on my old fanzine, Toxic Grafity (1978-82), early in 2009. I don’t think I’d quite got it back in 2009, but post 2011 I now see that what the KYPP website was about was a new way of taking Punk seriously.

Of course, Punk (broadly defined) has always been taken seriously in some ways, first and foremost by ‘old’ punks (nowadays ‘old’ in multiple senses) who had always, in one way or another ‘kept the faith’, but also musicological and as a minority interest in Cultural Studies.

But where I think the online KYPP circa 2009 was ahead of the curve was in taking Punk seriously not simply as a ‘counter-culture’, but as a movement which, if not ‘revolutionary’ in direct political sense, was, very significantly, a sustained reaction against and attack on the political-economic phenomenon that would later be called ‘neo-liberalism’. In this regard, Punk was as important as, indeed was perhaps (in a way that we participants didn’t quite see at the time) an extension of the counter-cultural revolutionary movements of the 1960s.

Since the end of the first decade of twenty-first century, the serious scholarly study of the Punk phenomenon has blossomed, in large part through the use of ‘life history’, and ethnographic and auto ethnographic qualitative research approaches. The lazy 1980s and 1990s stereotypes of punks as yobby, mouthy, slightly comical nothings has, I’m sure been laid to rest. In their place, in the second decade of the C21st punks are beginning to re-emerge, I think, not just as counter-cultural figures, but as revolutionaries, of a sort.

In the light of this, I have to revise the glib response I gave in 2009 to KYPP’s feature on TG. Not least of all because of my witness of, and involvement in, a real revolution during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011. In early 2009 I’d just been appointed to a senior position at the teachers’ college, and had been involved in its 2008 start-up. This in turn had been part of a significant reform initiative, the Bahrain 2030 Vision, which was supported by the reformist faction of Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa family, and in extension the Bahrain regime’s British backers.

On 20th February 2009 I wrote some short reminiscences for KYPP to go with their TG feature. However, the version of ‘me’ that wrote that now seems a very distant figure, writing from a complacent middle age how:

“I’ve repudiated so much of what I used to believe in during those days in the late 1970s, but the closing words for Crass’ ‘Bloody Revolutions’ track ‘but the truth of revolution, brother, is Year Zero still appeals to the Burkean in me ….”

I kidded myself that that was a smart thing for me to write at the time, looking back at 2009 me from the perspective of 2015 it just seems smart-arse, smug and deeply reactionary.

But that’s how I was at that time, insufferably smart-arse, smug, sliding into an abyss of reactionary complacency. True, I had to be careful of what I wrote about myself: even before the vicious counter-revolution that murderously suppressed the 2011 uprising, the Al Khalifa family-state in Bahrain was a surveillance state and a police state with a nasty reputation for torture; yet I was, as a well-paid British expatriate professional a beneficiary of that state.

Looking back from the perspective of 2015, the ‘me’ of 1978 or 1979 seems far closer to the ‘me’ of 2015 than does the ‘me’ of 2009. That ‘me’ is no more. I hesitate to say ‘dead’ because I doubt one’s earlier selves can ever really be ‘dead’ to one’s present self. Rather, I see that 2009 self as having been distilled away by a kind of alchemy, as dross burnt away in a crucible, as a fragile construct devastatingly de-constructed, shattered, and blasted across the four cardinal compass points by a tsunami of fire.

Stripped of the façade-like persona I had constructed around the ‘me’ of 2009, I now see a person remarkably like the ‘me’ of 1978, although I hesitate to say that is the ‘real’ me: to what extent can any of our constructed persona’s be ‘real’ in a fundamental, existential sense? Although I have a sense of there being a kind of essential core to my being, I am skeptical about that core being anything at all to do with any of the conscious persona’s I have sought during my life to project into the world.

Nonetheless, the transformation has been remarkable. The immediate question that arises when contemplating that transformation, then has to be ‘What were the factors that brought it about?’ These factors are easy to identify, but hard to write about.

Firstly, there is the experience of revolution. I don’t mean reading about revolution or merely witnessing one, but of experiencing that inexorable movement that draws one – almost drags one, in some ways reluctantly – from bearing witness to a revolution to becoming part of it. In so far as there is any sort of essential essence to ‘me’ (and I’m not sure such a thing exists), that essence found itself yearning to become part of the world of the revolutionary students whom I taught. Perhaps it wasn’t any sort of ‘essence’, but was merely a survival of the ‘me’ of 1978 lurking about unnoticed among the cacophony of conflicting voices that constitute my consciousness.

Whatever it was, it was able, with a daring and disturbing deftness of touch to take over from the more cautious personae within me and direct my actions in the world. As this happened the part of ‘me’ that is supposed to direct my actions in accordance with rational self-interest retreated to the edge of my consciousness, letting the ‘me’ of 1978 (or something very like it) dictate my actions, even though ‘rational self-interest me’ knew in doing so I would be writing the execution warrant for 2009 ‘me’: deprived of the material and professional symbols that announced my 2009 ‘me’ to the social world beyond me, it would wither.

But if such a transformation is to be anything other than a form of neurosis, it cannot take place entirely within one’s self. Rather, the re-emergence of the 1978 ‘me’ was only possible through my interaction with the social and political world beyond me. That this social and political world was the world of the revolutionary students rather than the world of reactionary expats in their exclusive clubs (of which I was a member) is almost entirely a result of my work in higher education.

Specifically, this brought me directly into contact with the revolutionary youth, and that my reflexive philosophy of education meant that I experienced each and every teaching and learning encounter as a co-construction of knowledge in which both myself and my students were active agents, and in which I was learner as well as teacher, and in which I sought to enable my learners to teach. In the context of pre-revolutionary Bahrain, this inexorably meant that my students educated me in revolution, as I educated them in Comparative Literature, Pedagogy, and the rest of it.

When the revolution happened, I was amazed to witness the world I had dreamed about, fantasised about, in the late 1970s actualize before my eyes: the world in which vast numbers of individuals en masse self-organize autonomously of the state and state structures to become a great collective entity expressing with powerfully a collective political will.

Hundreds of thousands of people out of a population of 1.1 million occupied social space and in an atmosphere of carnival-like creativity organizing not only the essentials needed to maintain everyday bare life – food, water, shelter, waste management – but articulated a revolutionary culture and aesthetic of awesome. The state seemed about to wither away before my eyes and the words of the young Wordsworth on the French Revolution ‘Bliss it was that dawn to be alive ….’ hardly seemed to do it justice.

My 2009 ‘me’ had allowed itself to be convinced that these things were merely a whimsical fantasy, a delusion, a platform for the adolescent showing of and grandstanding of the emotionally insecure and immature. This, had I even thought of it in such depth at the time, was probably 2009 ‘me’ critique of the 1978 ‘me’, and perhaps there was validity in that critique. I still see aspects of 1978 ‘me’ as having been hopelessly immature, insecure and perhaps inadequate.

But be that as it may, what I was witnessing in 2011 was something altogether different to immature fantasies of revolution. Rather, it was a people, young and old and of all walks of life making history, becoming the subject-objects of their own revolutionary becoming. This was bigger than ‘me’, of any of the ‘mes’ that have noisily occupied the conscious space of my individuality. I saw how social and political forces flowed through my subjectivity, shaping it and in turn being shaped by it, as a river forms the landscape even as its course is determined by it.

I saw subjectivity not as a stasis, but as a process, that my ‘me’ was a construct that would always be a work in progress, never complete. I further saw how this transformation of one’s understanding of self and society was inherently part of the revolutionary process. That in rejecting the static social and political structures in which both coercion and ideology corral us, revolutionary consciousness, life-as-becoming, is re-initiated.

But I also saw how vulnerable this is. How, its awesome social power notwithstanding, revolutionary consciousness mobilized on the streets was vulnerable to the state’s ruthless projection of military force. I have no desire to denigrate the Western ‘occupy’ movements, but in the Arab world the occupation of social space is a far more dangerous act, and a far more overt challenge to the power of the state than it is in the West. It is not so much to ‘occupy’ social space as to bring social space into being.

As social space comes into being so the space in which the state can ceremonially display its power, a kind of ‘ceremonial violence’ diminishes. When this happens haybat al-dawla, the ‘fear’ or ‘awe’ of the state that maintains unfair power relations vanishes, and if it is to survive the state then turns ruthlessly on its own people.

This is what happened in Bahrain, and this is also what I personally witnessed. No, more than merely witnessed, what I experienced and participated in, most notably on 11th March 2011 when an attempted occupation of the University of Bahrain was viciously crushed by the state’s police, military, and vigilantes.

When protesters oppose live fire with their bodies, or seek to fight off tanks with bricks or Molotovs, they are making a moral case to the outside world, ‘help us’. Yet the ways such messages are mediated in the global media are geopolitically determined, and the Al Khalifa family-state’s status as a regional ‘ally’ of the trans-Atlantic West ensured that that moral case went unheard, that Bahrain’s was the ‘forgotten’ or ‘inconvenient’ revolution, that the tank tracks could roll across blood and brain-soaked pavement with impunity.

Yet the resistance continues, although seldom now is it a contestation for control of the prestige social spaces of the capital, Manama. As the family-state’s forces sought to push into the villages, the heartlands of the revolution, the villages fought back, continue to fight back.

I returned to the UK a shattered, broken person. My wounds opened afresh and salt poured in them by my realization of the sickening extent of Britain’s complicity in atrocity in Bahrain, the bloodthirsty, greedy hypocrisy of its wider Middle East policy, at the realization of the re-establishment of colonial relations in the region: in 2014 Britain announced the building of a new naval base in Bahrain, a drastic reversal of Britain’s 1971 ‘withdrawal from east of Suez’, and the de facto return of Bahrain to protectorate status. But the British public seems hardly aware of this.

The years since 2011 have seem me struggle with mental illness, specifically with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder. I have come close to suicide, but now I now longer see this as illness, although the pain and anguish continue. Rather, I try to feel the pain as the death-agonies of my 2009 ‘me’ as it burns in a hell of its own construction, and as the re-birth cry of the ‘me’ of 1978, but older, more mature, far better educated, hopefully wiser.

The pain of this coming-into-being I am learning to live with, and I am struggling now to see my painful inner experiences not in pathologized terms as mental ‘illness’, but as a form of rage against a gross injustice that is being perpetrated on us by a neoliberal elite in Britain as well as in Bahrain and elsewhere. The 1978 ‘me’ has been reborn in and of fire, and this rebirth is of itself a revolutionary act.

Perhaps I’ve been too harsh on myself, but only on my 2009 ‘me’. And I’ve been a bit critical of my 1978 self, and Toxic Grafity, Crass, and in extension the rest of them. Really, back in the day the whole lot of us were more than a bit virgins-talking-about-sex about revolution. All of us. But my main point in this reflective essay, I think, has been about the shifting nature of subjectivity, and how this relates to revolution, and how the latter shatters and then reformulates the former.

In some ways, 2011, on a subjective level, was about the exorcism of my 2009 self, a persona that led to the embodiment and re-enactment on my part of a whole heap of neoliberal, late capitalist values that have been rammed down all our throats over the past thirty years. As such, I suspect that what I experienced in the Middle East might be some sort of vanguard of a process which, I fear, we might all have to go through in Britain lest we are to fall into the thrall of some sort of fascism.

I have the people of Bahrain to thank for this rescuing of ‘me’ from the ‘self’ I had constructed. Toxic Grafity and Crass’s ‘Tribal Rival Revel Rebels’ – ‘the truth of revolution, brother, is Year Zero’ – were a kind of meditation, a kind of reflection, on revolution, albeit essentially an imagined revolution. There are ways in which I still see both as having been hopelessly ill-informed, but I can no longer ‘repudiate’ them as my 2009 ‘me’ did. Instead, I value that meditation, mistakes and embarrassments of a youthful past notwithstanding, for without them the ‘me’ that writes these lines would not exist.

Although I didn’t understand it as such at the time, the Bahrain 2030 Vision reform movement I participated in 2007-11 was itself a failed attempt to offer ‘reform’ as a sop to buy of an earlier revolution, the Bahrain Intifadha of 1995-2002. This Intifadha had developed into a stalemate between the family-state and the revolutionary masses. In 2002, this reform had had some credibility, when I naively blundered into Bahrain as a professional expatiate, it was morally and politically bankrupted. I got up to speed quite quickly on this one.

While the Bahrain revolution of 2011 may have ‘failed’ in its immediate objective of overthrowing the Al Khalifa family-state, it has succeeded in transforming consciousness. The pre-2011 genie cannot be put back in the bottle, change is coming, big time, not only in Bahrain, but in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region. Punk failed in the sense that bands sold out to major record labels, and punk became a kind of fashion and consumer statement, before finally becoming a kind of safe TV dinner ‘Young Ones’ joke.

But another Punk continued, the counter-cultural, revolutionary Punk that fed into the Western ‘Occupy’ and similar movements. I was involved in the early days of this with ‘Stop the City’, before I became a deluded reactionary. These guerilla-Punk ‘occupy’ strategies and tactics, the occupy asthetics and modes of protest-as-performance were in turn, in far more drastic and violent contexts, adapted in the Arab world, and elsewhere in Greece and Latin America from 2011 onwards. I suspect that in this altered form they will yet return to the UK as the crisis deepens further in this decade.

It was an honour to have been part of both 2011 and 1978, and for fate, in the form of social forces that determine the shape of my subjectivity, to have intervened to connect my youth with my later middle age.
Fuck the system.

MIKE DIBOLL

BELOW IS THE 2009 ESSAY THAT MIKE DIBOLL SUBMITTED TO KYPP RE-PRODUCED.

THE ORIGINAL KYPP POST WITH MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED COMMENTS ATTACHED MAY BE VIEWED HERE 

INDEBTED TO MIKE DIBOLL FOR BOTH OF THE ESSAYS THAT HE SUBMITTED TO KYPP IN 2009 AND FURTHER IN 2015.

CRASS – RIVAL TRIBAL REBEL REVEL -DOWNLOAD

FIRST PRESSING OF CRASS FLEXI

SECOND PRESSING OF FLEXI

HARD VINYL VERSION

This edition of Toxic Grafity was put together while I was squatting in New Cross, south London and originally printed during late 1979, but it didn’t really get into folks homes until early 1980, when a substantial reprint was done. Originally 2,000 came off the presses, quite how many were eventually printed, I am not sure.

Joly from Better Badges (who also printed the first three KYPP’s fanzines, the last three were printed by Little ‘A’ Printers) used to always swing things so it seemed that I owed him lots of money (quite large sums for those days); I’m sure he may well have been diddling me, but that was my fault, because I was very naive in those days and thought that anything do with business, copyright etc, was bourgeois and reactionary, so perhaps I deserved it. *** Also, it must also be added that I was off my head a fair bit in those days, but of course so was Joly! Judging by the number of flexi’s that were sent to Better Badges, I suspect the actual print run was over 10,000, perhaps well over.

A year before the release of this particular issue of Toxic Grafity, in 1978, and also during 1979, there had been some really nasty rucks at Crass gigs at the Conway Hall in Red Lion Square in west central London. These rucks had mainly been fought between boneheads and bikers brought in by the SWP.

I can’t remember what the gigs were in aid of, but it was something the SWP had a hand in. The boneheads were used to pushing punks around, but got far more than they bargained for when taking on the bikers, some of whom were grown men in their 30s and 40s armed with bike chains, knives etc. After those experiences at their concerts Crass seemed to get a lot more edgy than they had been previously about sharing any sort of platform with members of the ‘hard’ left wing.

The lyrics to the Crass 7″ single ‘Bloody Revolutions’ is based on that feeling from the band around this time.

Basically it was the left wing causes that Crass would sometimes support, that seemed to aggravate the boneheads, and of course the boneheads would generally mill around the halls looking dangerous, and on occasions causing some real trouble.

Toxic Grafity didn’t really have those left wing associations, and (luckily) I also knew a few of the bonehead contingent quite well. I had always despised their ideology, but on a human level I was quite friendly with some of them. This I think helped diffuse things when Crass performed at the Toxic Grafity event staged at the Conway Hall late on in 1979.

It was not a violent night at all, which was obviously good news at the time considering the previous gigs at the Conway Hall. There were of course some minor problems, but those situations were quickly nipped in the bud by some friends of my family that had come to witness the gig.

The flexi disc followed on from the Toxic Grafity benefit gig, it was Penny’s idea, he bought it up one evening at Dial House, the Crass commune, way out in North Weald, Essex.

The original Toxic Grafity benefit was staged because of an incident late on in 1978 when I was pulled by the police in Soho, the seedier area of the west end of London. The police stopped me on one of those charges they used to pick punks and other ne’r-do-wells up on, the infamous SUS law.

I had stopped off in Soho on my way back from a visit to Dial House, and had the artwork of an earlier Toxic Grafity on me.

The police found this highly amusing, as you might imagine, destroyed the artwork, treated me a bit roughly, threatened me, and said that they’d put me on some sort of Special Branch terrorist watch list. Looking back on this as a 50 year-old I can see that this was almost certainly bullshit, but I took it seriously enough at the time!

As a result, Crass decided to help Toxic Grafity out (a previous issue had carried one of the first in-depth interviews with them), and the gig at the Conway Hall and the flexi disc followed on from that.

The track on the flexi disc, was not one of Crass’ more in-depth or enigmatic tracks, rather it was what it says it is, a protest against violent political sectarianism screwing up the young. Of course I was extremely grateful never the less.

I’ve repudiated so much of what I used to believe in during those days in the late 1970’s, but the closing words for Crass’ ‘Bloody Revolutions’ track “but the truth of revolution, brother, is Year Zero” still appeals to the Burkeian in me!

Joly at Better Badges did the litho printing for the fanzine and sorted out the badges. Southern Studios took care of the flexi disc by Crass, but I can’t remember where they had it pressed, or how many exactly were manufactured. The Crass flexi discs were written in red for the original publication of Toxic Grafity, others were written in silver for subsequent issues of the fanzine.

There were five Toxic Grafity fanzines that were produced and sold from 1978 – 1981.

Toxic Grafity issue 6 and 7 were planned and in large part nearly prepared, but I became a father in March 1982 (I’m now a grandfather, twice), and ‘reality’ stepped in quite soon after so all those projects were cancelled.

The later Toxic Grafity’s, including the issue above, had dropped the whole band interview thing and had become more like an anarcho-punk agit-art magazine, similar to what Kill Your Pet Puppy would evolve into.

By 1983 I was doing a lot of dispatching and also a lot of ‘white van man’ work until sometime in 1989. While doing these small jobs, a friend of mine, Wayne Minor (from Brixton’s 121 Railton Road bookshop) and myself brought out one issue of “The Commonweal” which was a more mainstream anarchist publication in 1985.

In 1989 I entered university as a mature student. I now live and work in the middle east.

MIKE DIBOLL

*** This statement has been discussed by Mike and Joly subsequently in the comments to the original KYPP post from February 2009 but I feel I should leave that part of the essay in for this reproduction on this KYPP post in March 2015.

Not Just Bits Of Paper – Greg Bull / Mickey ‘Penguin’ – Part 1 – Pictures Of Pain re-release – All The Madmen records

Not Just Bits Of Paper – Greg Bull / Mickey ‘Penguin’

ISBN: 9781505703382

“We have our own words, scrawled on bits of paper smudged with some grimy hope. Angry chords waver out from the broken cassette players – and every now and again a curious prisoner comes out for a look and never returns.”  Tony D.

This volume focuses on the bits of paper we made to advertise our concerts – we called them hand outs and posters and now we call them flyers. Often these bits of paper were drawn with great pride by enthusiastic young graphic designers to be. It is easy to ridicule some of the content and images, but these were sometimes designed by young punks barely in their teens. These same young punks often organised the gigs themselves and put up the bands in their parent’s houses or any other place local. These same young punks would find money for the gig venues hire, for the posters, a P.A and more.

This was a time when nearly everything was done D.I.Y. And the achievements were many. Not huge commercial concerts held at huge venues but real concerts for real people. I hope you will enjoy this mix of gig posters, tickets, hand outs and recollections via some great essays by the contributors of this book.

This is the book that Greg Bull (ex Sedition) and myself (Penguin) have spent dozens and dozens of hours working together on.

We have been compiling contributions, scanning the flyers and posters, laying out all the pages along with many many hours of care shown towards the book in ways that were far less exciting!

If you know me well then you will know that I try to be as thorough as possible in many of the tasks that I take on. This book is no exception.

The book cost £12, that’s four pints of cider in old money.

You will get for the price of the book over 55500 words and over 150 images (hi res scans).

The book is a hefty 227 pages and an A4 size.

A whole load of infamous ‘talking heads’ are on the contributor list, some contributors so infamous that if you mention their names you immediately turn to dust.

Best leave that there!

Please please please order this book!

Greg and myself are not going to get rich off this project so you need not worry about that, but it would be good to pay our way so that more books may be worked on and published in the future.

Thanks.

Known distribution outlets at the moment are;

Rough Trade HERE

Situation Press HERE

La Vida Es Un Mus Discos Punk (Spanish name but based in north London) HERE

Active Distribution HERE

Housmans bookshop HERE

All The Madmen distribution HERE

Out Of Time Records HERE

Amazon HERE

PART1 ‘PICTURES OF PAIN’ LP – ALL THE MADMEN RECORDS – MAD33LP

SIDE 1: POSSESSED / BLACK MASS / PICTURES OF PAIN

SIDE 2: THE CORPSE / INCEST / GHOST / HYMN

This release on All The Madmen Records is a re-issue of Part1’s classic and highly collectable ‘Pictures of Pain’ LP originally released in 1985 on Pusmort Records.

Part1 formed in 1980 and were part of the original London anarcho-punk scene. During the early 1980’s they played a number of gigs, often with Rudimentary Peni, who the band became
associated with, as well as other other bands operating around the London Anarchy Centres of the day. Part1’s final gig (before reforming in 2013) was at the 100 Club in 1983 with The Subhumans.

Part1’s only vinyl release during this time was the ‘Funeral Parade’ EP , released in October 1982. The ‘Pictures of Pain’ LP (featuring 1982 studio recordings originally put out as the ‘In
The Shadow Of The Cross’ demo tape) saw posthumous release on Brian ‘Pushead’ Shroeder’s Pusmort label in 1985. As well as an anarcho-punk classic, the record is now regarded as a
seminal ‘Deathrock’ release – largely due to the dark, heavily flanged guitar work, morbid imagery and anti-religious lyrical themes. Indeed, Part1 have latterly been described as
“England’s ultimate cult Deathrock band” (Oliver Sheppard, CVLT NATION).

With it’s sleeve featuring the fantastic visionary art of Deborah Valentine on the front and twisted outsider view of Rudimentary Peni’s Nick Blinko on the rear, ‘Pictures Of Pain’ has
become legend to those who follow in the mischief macabre.

Now professionally remastered to sonic supremacy by Daniel Husayn and including a deluxe insert booklet of song lyrics and unseen artwork rescued from the Ferelli vault, the initial pressing will come on ‘graveyard grey’ marbled vinyl.

“What’s in a name? Anarcho-punk? Post-punk? Deathrock? Part1 have been called all these and more. The closest is probably Anarcho-punk, if only because they played most of their very rare gigs within that milieu. Viewed in this way, Part1, like fellow travellers The Mob and Amebix, by virtue of their very otherness are one of the best examples of Anarcho-punk you could hope to find. So, how to describe Part1 to the uninitiated? Hypnotic; disturbing; challenging; uplifting. You can hear echoes of Metal Box era P.I.L; early Banshees and Killing Joke, as well U.K Decay in the spiralling FX-heavy, feedback-laden guitar, along with similarities to Crisis and Six Minute War, especially in the deep bass-lines and abrasive, snarled vocal delivery, but that doesn’t really give you the full flavour. Although they are often linked with Rudimentary Peni due to a similarly off-kilter approach and the friendship between Part1’s Mark Ferelli and Peni’s Nick Blinko, in the end they are only Part1… Alone in a field of one.” (Nick Hydra, DSO AUDIO).

In 2013 founding members, guitarist, Mark Ferelli, and singer, Jake Baker, reformed the band with long-time admirer Chris Low (ex- Apostles, Oi Polloi and Political Asylum) on drums; later joined by David Barnett (ex – Adam And The Ants, Guernica, Lola Colt) on bass. Their first reformation show was at the Rebellion festival that summer – thirty years after their last live performance. Since then Part1 have played a number of gigs to great acclaim and enthusiastic response with further releases and concerts scheduled for 2015.

Order from All The Madmen records HERE

Part1 information HERE

Ha! Ha! Funny Polis – Groucho Marxist Records – 1981 / Quango – First World Problem Records – 2013

Defiant Pose – Fight / Urban Enemies – Who Do You Hate?

The Fegs – Mill Street Law And Order / X.S Discharge – Lifted

Uploaded today is a four track E.P from four separate bands from around Paisley, a town slightly west of the city of Glasgow in Scotland.

I do not know a lot about the bands featured on this record, but thankfully Inflammable Material / Defiant Pose main man Mike Clarke does know a bunch, and thankfully wrote out a little of what he knows onto the Shit-Fi blog sometime ago. I am ashamed that I lifted most of the article for this K.Y.P.P post today! Please go to the bottom of the essay for a link to the original Shit-Fi post, and for links to Mike Clarke and Inflammable Material.

Listening to the tracks on this E.P, a set of songs that are strongly anti ‘polis’ (police), I  realise, how truly wonderful the sound of the bands were. I can only assume that these bands did not get out of Scotland that often, although Mike’s article mentions a gig in Leeds during a showcase tour with all the bands featured on this E.P. If you missed these bands in the flesh back at the dawn of the 1980’s then there was at least a handful of 7″ single releases all based around these bands released on Groucho Marxist records to fall back on.

X.S Discharge is the standout track for me personally, and that fact brings me nicely to a band that are only a handful of miles away from me right now, Quango.

I placed the 7″ single by Quango, released on First World Problem records in 2013, for three reasons.

Firstly, K.Y.P.P’s very own Scottish boot boy Chris Low attacks the drums for Quango. Another band name to add to Chris’s rather impressive C.V.

Secondly the three tracks on this 7″ single, in my opinion at least, had the same urgency in 2013 that the four Paisley bands on the ‘Ha! Ha! Funny Polis’ E.P had in 1980, thirty three years later.

Thirdly my standout track for the ‘Ha! Ha! Funny Polis’ E.P, namely ‘Lifted’ by X.S Discharge, has a guitar sound resembling a police siren in parts, which in turn reminded me of the Quango track ‘Fatality’ which has a guitar sound resembling an ambulance siren in parts!

You could, I guess, add a fourth reason. The Quango record is a great noise, and as there was only four hundred copies of the record pressed up originally, the record has already gained a cult status amongst folk who happen to like this kind of noise.

Paisley Punk & Groucho Marxist Records

In the wake of the ‘Ha! Ha! Funny Polis’ furore a similarly titled package tour was mooted (Chik remembers “the four bands cramming into a transit van to play in Northern England, somewhere”; McGlynn recalls it as the Leeds F Club) whilst both Robin Gibson, of local fanzine ‘It Ticked And Exploded’, and Groucho Marxist records funder Wullie Harris managed to blag themselves column inches in London music weeklies Sounds and N.M.E, the latter under the pseudonym Harry Longbaugh (he later quit after several of his articles were credited to fellow Scot Johnny Waller, formerly of Fife’s Kingdom Come fanzine, who served as the current features editor).

This canny bit of self-marketing led to decent coverage of two ambitious Paisley R.A.R events, the first of which was a large open-air festival on the notorious Ferguslie Park Estate, wherein the usual suspects were joined by bands from Glasgow such as Liberty Bodice, The Zips, Alleged, and The Dyelatiks. (A special commemorative fanzine was also produced for the occasion and in the existing photos someone is apparently filming the event). Persistent rumours of both torrential rain and imminent phalanxes of charging riot police thankfully came to nothing (Ferguslie Park later made the news in the 1990s over a series of political scandals involving local gangsters, missing public money, laundered drug-proceeds, death threats, smear campaigns and vote-rigging—all “alleged” of course).

The main gig of the proposed ‘Ha! Ha! Funny Polis’ Tour featured all four bands venturing into the dubious wastes of a youth club on Glasgow’s (equally notorious) Easterhouse Estate. By reputation “a journey to the Heart Of Darkness”, far from being greeted with the sight of grinning skulls on sticks, the bands were instead gleefully booed off stage by an audience of local scallies between the ages of seven and fourteen, hyped up on a combination of Mars bars and Irn-Bru. Sounds: “The Ha! Ha! Funny Polis backdrop was last seen being dragged around Easterhouse by a bunch of kids followed by a police escort at three in the morning.”

The ‘Ha! Ha! Funny Polis’ E.P itself, despite ritual patronizing reviews in the national press and though less gleefully amateurish and individualistic than the debut E.P, wins out through its sheer verve and immediacy. Recorded live in one day again, this time at Sirocco Studios in Kilmarnock, X.S Discharge once more borrowed Snexx drummer Ian Andrews for “Lifted”, the almost endearing tale of police brutality. Defiant Pose shambolically urge local youth to “Fight,” the Fegs posthumously decry the local cop-shop in ‘Mill Street Law And Order”, and Urban Enemies, noted for their on-stage uniform of striped mohair jumpers and ‘the ultimate fat kid street gang member…playing bass’ (Sounds) play a lighter, more melodic punk reminiscent of early Outcasts, with plenty of S.L.F tuneage and plaintive “whoah whoah” vocals, only let down by the painful “because we only wanna rock’n’roll” refrain on the chorus. As with the first E.P there is none of the calculated pretension you might have expected from a similar project originating in London or Manchester. With traditional D.I.Y constraints ever to the forefront, the bands simply plug in and play, first or second take, overdubs / polishing irrelevant. As a whole, the record benefits from a collective theme, and reflects the dynamic, rabble-rousing vision of Tommy Kayes himself. Joe McGlynn remembers driving down to London’s Rough Trade with Kayes and Harris in a car crammed with boxes of the single: “We were stopped and searched in an underground carpark by Special Branch (the I.R.A were busy at the time), they opened all the boxes and I thought our time was up, but they let us go. I don’t know what they were looking for, maybe they didn’t know what ‘Polis’ meant, ha ha! Arriving at Rough Trade, the Spizz Energi single ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’ had just been released: strangely, that was the name of the top cop in Paisley whom our record was dedicated to. Good old Rough Trade, they took every single copy, agreed to distribute them, AND paid us in cash!”

Summed up by Tommy Kayes as “high energy revolt” (It Ticked And Exploded), X.S Discharge remained a core duo throughout their existence, borrowing drummers from Snexx or Defiant Pose, losing others to, variously, married bliss / illness / the Orange Lodge. Barred twice from Paisley Tech, their one concession to political comment on 1980’s “Life’s A Wank E.P” was “Across The Border”, written about Northern Ireland. This, the third release on Groucho Marxist records, evoked a standard, patronizing, N.M.E review: “A stubborn refusal to stray even an inch from the tenets of ’77 has already caused a sell-out of the first pressing…. One day their devotion to dogma will be rewarded with a revival”. Paisley bands were generally dismissed by their Glasgow contemporaries as “trapped in an endless punk time-loop,” but the curious thing in hindsight about “Life’s A Wank” (though this is probably due also to the change in perception over time) is just how little it sounds like a standard ’77 dole-queue rant. Whether down to a more expansive, brittle production, there’s more than an element of the first two P.I.L albums (particularly the second) influencing the crystalline guitars, accentuated snare and reedy vocals of “Across The Border,” “Confessions,” “Frustration,” and “Hassles”. N.M.E noted in the earlier, abortive Easterhouse gig: “X.S Discharge came on and made the event seem even more like entertainment for dissident refugees hiding out in the sewers of a Dalek city. They have the tattered clothes and subterranean-life white skin and though they’re highly derivative of P.I.L, it all sounds bleak and dismal instead of haunted and rhythmic.” In short though, despite a natural progression from their earlier efforts, X.S Discharge simply didn’t take themselves seriously enough to turn the P.I.L influence into some portentous ‘lost post-punk classic’, but legions of younger punks digging in the used record bins in the following years would at least hear something different from the three-chord / fuck-the-system punk-by-rote conjured up by the band name and record title.

The last Groucho Marxist release came in 1981, a double-header from Defiant Pose: ‘After The Bang’ b/w ‘Someone Else’s War’. Coupled with a 1982 practice tape featuring tracks like ‘Day Goes On’,’Hello Boys’, ‘Lookin’ After You’, and a raging cover of the UK Subs ‘Gimme Your Heart’, the two-headed single reveals a tight, punchy outfit, again moving away from standard three-chord punk into a more Jam / Purple Hearts suited ‘n’ booted vintage Who / Mod-stomp, but combined with the snap and urgency of the rockier tracks from ‘London Calling’, This trio of Joe McGlynn (guitar / vocals), Crawfy (bass), and Callum Reid (drums) was the seminal Defiant Pose line-up and followed the single by signing up with Scottish agency Regular Music. Support slots with the Chords, Exploited, Killing Joke, and more followed, but just as they began garnering column inches in the likes of Sounds (they also produced their own, eponymous zine, unrelated to this author’s own rag), Crawfy packed up and left without a word, and McGlynn disappeared for two years to, as he put it, “pursue my criminal career.” Come 1983 he and Reid recruited Davy Cameron of local third-generation punk band Destroy for a new line-up, only for Reid to leave due to that old chestnut ‘”musical differences” (he preferred Rush, apparently). Next to fill the drum-seat was Blair McDonald (aka Preacher) and some recording ensued until Davy took the same road as Callum…. Rush! And in the same band as well! (McGlynn). The next, short-lived, Defiant Pose incarnation was in 1986 but after a less than memorable show at Paisley’s Paris Disco a year later, McGlynn killed the band off. Blair McDonald, whose brother David Tennant is the current Dr Who on B.B.C Television, moved to London and became C.E.O of Sony UK. After a short-lived band called The Uprising, McGlynn put his guitars under the bed and went back to 9–5 work, except for a brief fling doing sound and then second guitar for jangly shoe-gazers The Close Lobsters in the early 1990s.

By 1981 the initial Paisley scene had grown older and begun to fragment. A fifth E.P, another compilation provisionally called ‘Pissing In The Wind’ and featuring Defiant Pose, Fallout, Destroy and Urban Enemies, was recorded but never released, possibly because it was deemed below-par. The Bungalow Bar, as well as a regular platform for local bands, soon became part of the national tour-circuit, hosting everyone from the Skids / Angelic Upstarts / Exploited / Cockney Rejects / Discharge to Wah! Heat / Tenpole Tudor / Theatre Of Hate.

Mike Clarke

The original article written by Mike Clarke on Shit-Fi.com may be viewed HERE

For information on Defiant Pose, the long standing fanzine / magazine written by Mike Clarke please view this K.Y.P.P post HERE or go straight to the Inflammable Material website HERE

Fatality

Living In A Shit Hole / Quick Quid

1. The standard question: how did the band come together, and how does it differ from previous bands you’ve been in? What’s the current line up?

The present line up is –
Richard Lewis – vocals
David Barnett – guitar
Johnny White – bass
Chris Low – drums

Quango first came about through my friend, and original Quango guitarist, Nuno who suggested forming a band with another mate of his, Richard Lewis of Hygiene. We subsequently met up, got along great and at our very first practice came up with four songs, the three on the E.P (‘Fatality’, ‘Living In A Shit Hole’ and ‘Quick Quid’) and another, as yet unreleased, called ‘Viva Il Papa’. We recorded the E.P after only about five or six practices and never even expected it would be released on vinyl. We were amazed by the incredible reaction it got and all the interest in the band it generated. Due to one reason or another we only played a few gigs at this time , originally with Richard also playing bass. Nuno then left the band and was later replaced by my flatmate, and Part1 bassist, David Barnett who joined on guitar, with Johnny White who also plays in Hygiene with Richard joining on bass. So Quango is now 50% Hygiene; 50% Part1. Apologies for it all being very complicated and incestuous! Hopefully this line-up will stay together for a while as it seems pretty solid. So far!

2. Having played in prominent anarchist and political punk bands like Political Asylum, The Apostles, and Oi Polloi, did you feel a need to get away from serious politics with a project like Quango?

Obviously I think punk and politics go hand in hand and can’t imagine it any other way but , after nearly thirty five years of banging on about the same subjects in song lyrics you would think – and hope – bands might think of some other subjects to cover. The Quango songs have themes that are ‘political’ but we’re not about trying to shove any message down anyone’s throat. We like to think people are intelligent enough to interpret the lyrics and any ‘message’ they may have without it being spelt out for them. But to answer your question, it’s not a conscious departure from bands I’ve played for in the past, Quango is just great fun!

3. I had to look up the meaning of a ‘quango,’ as I’d never heard the word before your band. Can you please explain what it is for other ignorant Americans like myself?

A quango stands for a ‘quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization’. It’s not a term you hear much in politics now but you did hear of them a lot in the 1980’s. Quangos basically functioned in the drawing up of government policies and were non-governmental bodies that served the purposes of the government, an example being the prison system. They served a purpose in giving governments a degree of separation from policy and it’s implementation and a get-out clause should it fuck up i.e when there was a wave of prison riots in the ’80s they could blame the quango rather than government and legislature.

4. I can’t help but feel that the demo 7″ sounds so much like a lost Rough Trade release or UK D.I.Y record right down to the older looking layout and cover. How intentional was the sound, premise and aesthetic of the band? Were you consciously influenced by early Rough Trade releases or UK D.I.Y bands like the Desperate Bicycles or Scrotum Poles?

I wouldn’t say those bands you mention, but aesthetically, I must admit the Six Minute War and Fallout 7″s were a bit of an ‘influence’ graphically as I have always LOVED their appearance and that whole early ’80’s photocopied A4 sheet folded round a 7″ samizdat D.I.Y aesthetic. Musically, it wasn’t anything deliberate and more a matter of the songs being recorded in a friend’s garden shed (really!!) on a 6-track Tascam recorder, which is about as basic as you can get other than a ghetto-blaster.

I’m an absolute perfectionist and utterly obsessive when it comes to graphics and typography in particular and it took days of work to get the look and feel of the cover absolutely right.

One of the images used is from a early 1980s photo-journalism magazine about Northern Ireland which, by strange coincidence both myself and Richard found we both had copies of and loved a certain photo. All the elements, images, and even the fonts I used on the cover have a reason to be there and some (hidden) meaning or significance. But more than anything I just wanted it to look like a record I know I would buy were I to see it in a shop myself and have no idea about it other than the sleeve. I’m certainly as proud of the cover as I am of what’s pressed on the vinyl which is something I can’t say for many of the other records I’ve played on.

5. From an outside perspective, British culture seems very forward focused in that retro music is nowhere near as popular as it is here in America. For instance, there’s few, if any, bands from England that sound like Discharge, Sacrilege, or Ripcord, yet there have been numerous bands from the States in recent years citing old UK bands as an influence and emulating their style. Why do you think this is, and what made you want to play a style heavily based on older bands?

Interesting question. Personally speaking, some of the punk bands I have always liked most have been A.T.V, Gang Of Four, Crisis, Joy Division / Warsaw, early P.I.L, Six Minute War, Fallout, The Rondos and other late 70s / early 80’s stuff. Myself, Richard & Nuno all shared many of those influences which is probably why the E.P Tracks sound like they do, but it certainly wasn’t in any way whatsoever a deliberate emulation of those band’s sound. I’d regard that as a very pointless exercise. Love Discharge (who doesn’t??) but sorry to say I don’t know Sacrilege, or Ripcord. And, must admit I don’t really know much about American punk bands as I never got into the hardcore scene, tho I do love Flipper.

6. With (my perhaps naively perceived) less focus in England on contemporary bands so closely resembling older bands, how has the reception been both live and to the 7″?

We’ve only played a few gigs so far. The best ones have been with Irish band The #1’s last year, who we are playing with again this month, and looking forward to, and also with American indie band Howler, who had actually asked for us to play with them on their London date as they had got hold of the E.P in Minneapolis and loved it! They were great guys and that’s probably the best gig we’ve played so far.

7. When reading interviews with old UK punk bands, many mention how difficult it was getting noticed because they weren’t from London or how thrilled they were to finally get their first London gig. Being based in London, do you feel that gives you more exposure or an inherent ‘credibility’ that other bands from less culturally prominent areas might have to fight for?

To be honest, I think it’s possibly the opposite. There are now so many gigs going on in London most of them I don’t even hear of. And also because everyone now seems to rely solely on Facebook to promote events if you aren’t lucky enough to know anyone ‘invited’ to an event there’s a chance it might escape your orbit! I certainly know many other areas in the UK (Not to mention abroad) which have much, much better punk scenes than London and, tho I am only speaking for myself, I wouldn’t say Quango have any great affinity with certain aspects of the London Punk scene and in fact, have possibly had greater support from bands, promoters and individuals which have no involvement with it.

8. Can you please describe what the song ‘Fatality’ is about, and is it based on any actual events, or is it completely fictitious? It’s my favourite song on the E.P and kind of reminds me of Velvet Underground’s ‘The Gift’ with the spoken verses. I love it.

No, the words are recited verbatim from a news story in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that Richard had with him at the band practice where we came up with the song! He just read them out whilst we were jamming the tune and they seemed to fit so well he cut out the story and they became the lyrics to the song. I’ve always liked songs which just have a spoken narrative but hadn’t considered the ‘Gift’ similarity before, though you’re absolutely right. The Apostles had a few songs structured like that too, ‘Last Train To Hellsville’ and ‘A Rebel Without A Cause’ being two which spring to mind. Though I suppose Gang of Four ‘Love Like Anthrax’ would be the best known example, or the part in Joy Division ‘No Love Lost’ – both fantastic songs. And by bands we all love so perhaps it was a subconscious influence that crept in?

9. Are there other contemporary London bands that you feel an affinity with?

Part1…. Hygiene…. We all like Sleaford Mods tho they aren’t from London.

10. Why was the song ‘Viva Il Papa’ left off the 7″ version of the demo?

I think that must have been Tim, the guy who very kindly put out the singles decision. I’m not too sure of the reason it wasn’t included, though as people have described it as being like a cross between Rudimentary Peni & Velvet Underground perhaps it wouldn’t have fitted in too well with the others?

However, if anyone would be interested in re-issuing the E.P they’re welcome to contact us at – quango.ok@hotmail.com – and they’d be more than welcome to add ‘Viva Il Papa’ to the release. It’s my favourite of our songs as well.

11. What are the plans for the future? Do you have any new releases planned?

Nothing at present but now we have a stable line-up we hope to write more songs and gig more. Hopefully if all goes well we will record something in the future.

12. Well, records are what people love to read about and what makes zines sell, so can you please list your top five favourite UK D.I.Y releases?

Ohhhh…… If you mean by ‘D.I.Y’ independently released 7″s my top 5 would have to include – Six Minute War – ‘More Short Songs’, Fallout – ‘Conscription’ E.P, Part1 – ‘Funeral Parade’, The Apostles ‘Blow It Up , Burn It Down, Kick It Till It Breaks’, Ramleh: ‘8 Ball Corner Pocket’. Please note I didn’t drum on that first Apostles E.P or Part1’s ‘Funeral Parade’; I just love those two records and have done since the first time I ever heard them!

For all info – quango.ok@hotmail.com or the Facebook page HERE.

Interview with Chris Low conducted by Erick SN of Negative Insight fanzine and printed over two pages in February’s Maximum Rock And Roll magazine from all decent alternative record / bookshops or have it delivered to you straight from Maximum Rock and Roll HERE.

Photos of Quango by Peyvand Sadeghian and Nikki Barnett.

‘The Truth Of Revolution Brother’ Book Launch December 2014 / Crass Interview 1984 / World Domination Enterprises 1985

ISBN 978-0-9930190-0-5 to order from book stores or buy direct from HERE

During a blustery and wet Thursday night in Brixton south London, a book launch was being held. I had traveled from Dagenham and was rather moist when entering the Windmill pub near to Brixton prison, and a lifetime ago near to where I used to stay in a squat with Sean ‘Gummidge’ and various other kindly folk along Elm Park, the road directly opposite the prison.

The book in question that was being launched (even though I had my copy already sent to me) was ‘The Truth Of Revolution Brother’, the book title lifted from a line from ‘Bloody Revolutions’ by Crass.

Within the binding of this new book there is a lot of recognisable names being interviewed at length about their pasts and the present status that their find themselves in. Seemingly a roll call of the inspirational people in the punk world that I had held in high regard in my younger life.

Vi Subversa, Penny Rimbaud, Mark Mob, Steve Lake, Gee Vaucher, Steve Ignorant, Pete Fender and Sid and Zilla of Rubella Ballet, Mark Stewart of The Pop Group and the On U Sound Maffia are all featured at length.

Our very own Tony D is in the book.

Our United States cousins, Ian MacKaye, Steve Albini and Jello Biafra are also featured.

There are many other names who were interviewed and have inclusion in the book, all wonderful people in their own right.

This is one hell of a publication with some stunning photographic portraits of the interviewees and original artwork from Gee Vaucher. Flicking and speed reading through some parts of the book prior to the launch was a pleasing experience for me, so I was certainly up to attending the book launch. The book launch itself was invitation only and only for one hundred and fifty guests. I was one of those invited by the writing team a week or two prior to this event.

After getting a soaking at the start of my journey from Dagenham and suffering several train delays and cancellations, I was not expecting this night to fully (or even partly) uplift my already dampened spirits.

I was thankfully wrong.

Firstly, and to my surprise, there were people actually there in attendance considering the weather. Secondly a lot of the people that were there were the same inspirational people in the punk world that I have respected for well over thirty years and had been interviewed for this published book. Thirdly the alcohol was free, and lastly The Mob performance backing up Steve Lake (The Zob? Mounds?) was a moment to treasure for many years to come. Sound man on the night, Grant Showbiz, long time associate of The Mob and Zounds.

The Mobs set (without Steve Lake) that followed on in this small venue, was one of the best and most intimate performances that I have witnessed by the band since the reformation, and that is no mean feat.

After my initial reservations of this evening traveling down from Dagenham, I would go as far as stating that this whole evening was one of the best evenings that I have attended throughout the whole of 2014.

I decided to ‘video’ The Zobs / Mounds part of the evening and just take plain photographs of The Mob after that performance. These performances were the last of the evening. There had been earlier (and very solid) performances from TV Smith, Dunstan Bruce, a short Steve Ignorant spoken word section and finally Steve Lakes Slow Erosion.

‘A Little Bit More’, ‘Can’t Cheat Karma’ and ‘Dancing’ were the Zounds songs that were getting an airing on this wet night in this small venue in Brixton. I knew this information in advance so was prepared for the videoing of the performance.

I have never done a video before on a camera (or any thing else for that matter) and the video turned itself off automatically after twelve minutes or so. I guess that’s what it was set to. There was a lead and / or amplifier problem on stage which Grant Showbiz and Steve Lake had to deal with, taking a couple of minutes to solve wasting THAT time that might have been useful. My video stopped automatically right at the very end of ‘Dancing’.

Right at the end. Perfect timing. All well and good you shout.

Well not quite.

As anyone in attendance will tell you, ‘Dancing’ went onto a perfect segue of ‘No Doves Fly Here’ which then went onto another perfect segue of ‘Dancing’ again. A massively special and moving moment, harmonising those two classic songs by those two bands from the very early 1980’s sadly missed due to auto turn off!

What a bummer, I would have loved to have included the whole ‘set’ but to be honest I had no idea what the sound quality of the video would be as I was stuck underneath a speaker, or what the quality would be capturing the images of the band in a dark room with my battered old camera. I paid it no mind for the rest of the night.

The Mob performed a powerful set throughout the rest of the night that was enough for me.

Myself, Mark Astronaut, a pretty drunk Tony D and for a short time TV Smith and Gaye Advert all got on the train at Brixton finally splitting up at various stations along the Victoria line.

When I got home I uploaded photographs and the video and to my surprise the video was not only useable but also very clear both in the images and the audio, this paradoxically made me feel slightly worse that my camera had turned off automatically!

I had no idea how to convert my video onto YouTube, but the next day after some advice I managed to upload my first ever video to that platform and then to share it onto various sites to a very positive reaction.

Tonight, the night of my birthday in fact, I share the video onto KYPP as well as a small selection of photographs I took on the night.

Richard Brigandage and Mark Mob

Tony D

Neil Faction / Blyth Power and Mark

Mick Lugworm, Tony D and Chris Low

Sid Rubella and Vi Subversa

Steve Ignorant

Tess

Tony D and Mark Mob

Richard Brigandage, Steve Ruddle and Chris Low

Steve Lake

Marta and Mark Mob

Tony D and Zillah Rubella

Sean ‘Gummidge’ Wat Tyler / Hard Skin

Tony D and Chris Low

Mark Mob

Grant Showbiz and Mark Astronaut

Steve Ignorant

Steve Lake

The Zob / Mounds

The Zob / Mounds

The Zob / Mounds

The Mob

The Mob

The Mob

Due to now having a workable YouTube account and knowing how to use it, I decided to upload some other videos (actually super 8 footage) onto YouTube.

The first upload was The Zob / Mounds video that I took the night before of course.

The second upload was an intimate interview with most members of Crass recorded on super 8 video in 1984 around the impossibly small kitchen table at Dial House.

How that many members of Crass all got around that table remains a mystery to me!

Possibly the last ever interview with Crass.

The original super 8 cassette was transferred to a DVDR several years ago for £20 by Stanley Production in Soho and now was my chance to share this interview which Penny Rimbaud has informed me “it could have been a Sounds interview because there’s a Sounds article of the time where I’m wearing the same green polo shirt that I was in the film. It must have been one of the few times in my life when I haven’t had sideboards”.

Incidentally Penny Rimbaud was meant to be at the book launch but felt unwell on the day so had to stay home.

The third video I placed up onto my YouTube channel had also been transferred from a super 8 cassette to a DVDR several years ago again for £20 by Stanley Production in Soho. This was a live performance of one of my favourite bands of the mid to late 1980’s World Domination Enterprises.

World Domination Enterprises were a decent night out. I had attended several of World Domination Enterprises London based gigs, and I never once felt that I was not witnessing something special within the venue that the band were performing in. All ‘Dread At The Control’ T shirts and Simonon bass moves.Very loud, lots of feedback, blinding. The band which used to be named 012, included as a member Kif Kif (ex of Here And Now) on grating, scraping guitar and snotty, fuck you vocals.

World Domination Enterprises were part of that whole west London Latimer Road / Freestonia squat / housing association scene. A sort of Mutoid Waste Company backing band, with links to J.B (Weird Tales / Genius Records) and Grant Showbiz (Street Level studios) Meanwhile Gardens and the Idiot Ballrooms.

So I have all those videos up now on YouTube which are now shared onto this KYPP post.

As an aside, one other person that was interviewed for the ‘The Truth Of Revolution Brother’ book and was also at the book launch / gig in person was Graham Burnett.

Graham had his new publication the ‘Vegan Book Of Permaculture’ on the merchandise stall that night in Brixton, so I bought a copy.

A must have book if you are vegan, or thinking of turning vegan, detailing the permaculture lifestyle alternatives and including many vegan recipes all held within the three hundred pages of this book.

Today marks thirty years since Graham became vegan, on the 13th December 1984.

Graham stated; “even as a small child I seemed to make the mental connection between the cows I would see in fields and the meat on my plate, and I became vegetarian when I left school in 1977. By the early 1980s I’d begun to realise that the dairy industry had as much (if not more) involvement in animal cruelty as the meat industry, but it was through meeting a young woman who became a life long friend called Seema Kapoor at a protest in 1984 that I finally joined the dots and become vegan myself”.

Well done to Graham celebrating a ‘milestone in your life choice’ anniversary on the same day I am celebrating my birthday!

ISBN 978-1-85623-201-2 to order from book stores or buy direct from HERE

Finally I have added a documentary film of Mark Astronaut.

Mark Astronaut has links with The Mob also with Steve Lake and Zoundz. Mark also has links with J.B who helped release the debut Astronauts album ‘Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs’ on Genius records in 1980. The person engineering the tracks on that album was Grant Showbiz, The Mob, Steve Lake, Grant Showbiz and Mark himself were all present at the book launch in Brixton. Steve Lake stating from the stage, prior to starting his set with Slow Erosion, that “I feel I am at Meanwhile Gardens in 1978″!

Mark Astronaut sadly never had links with Crass, which is a shame as if he had, The Astronauts could have shared in some of the ‘glory’ of having a 7” single released on Crass records. Probably.

I remember being interviewed for this documentary by Tali at the office of Rob Challice (ex All The Madmen records) in Shoreditch several years ago, and have not thought about the film for a very long time. I assumed the film had been given up on. Been canned.

But… Here it is, found by Robin Basak I believe, who co-incidentally also released an Astronauts album in 1990 on his Acid Stings record label.

This documentary is something special, showing Mark Astronaut at ease and being interviewed with care and consideration by Tali.

The talking heads include Steve Lake, Sean ‘Gummidge’ (ex All The Madmen records), Rob Challice, Joe Davin (The Astronauts / Cravats). Also Alan Clayson and Cowley and Bob Green (all ex Astronauts), Andy Tuck (Idiot Strength / Thatcher On Acid and The Astronauts), J.B, and several others.

I also appear on the film for very brief moments at roughly 3.40 and 37 minutes grinding my teeth!

Hoping you enjoy all the videos.

Brigandage – Gung Ho Records – 1986 / John Peel session – 1983

Pretty Funny Thing / One Touch / Ripped And Torn (DOWNLOAD)

Horsey Horsey / I Need Something Part 1 + Part 2 / Angel Of Vengeance (DOWNLOAD)

Brigandage were a band that I enjoyed listening to from the earlier 1980’s until the mid 1980’s. The Peel session that I had taped in 1983 and the ‘F.Y.M’ *** cassette that was released a year later were never far away from my cassette player. The Brigandage performances were not too shabby either.

*** Not sure if it just a coincidence but the original Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine was going to be called Fuck Your Mother. It might not be as the members of Brigandage would rub shoulders with the Puppy Collective in the early 1980’s. Brigandage also had a track entitled ‘Ripped And Torn’. The moniker for Tony D’s original fanzine from 1976 to 1979.

I waited patiently for this album to be released, and with some anticipation, after I got the vinyl from Ugly Child Records (after Small Wonder Records had left the same premises in Walthamstow) in the mid 1980’s, I played it and ended up having some reservations about the album.

I realised that the band were not a garage band any more.

There was more sensitivity throughout the seven tracks with (in my mind at least) a huge spoonful of Patti Smith circa ‘Radio Ethiopia’ as an inspiration for the sound coming off the grooves stamped onto the vinyl. I heard subtle Velvet Underground guitar styles on several of the tracks, this was no bad thing. It was just a little too different to what I was expecting at that time.

Similar to the Blood And Roses album released at a similar time, I felt that nothing was as good as the cassettes and the Peel sessions, or would ever be.

The Brigandage album grew on me after a few weeks (as did the Blood And Roses album incidently) and both those albums got to sit nicely alongside the cassettes and the Peel sessions by the end of several weeks.

Geoff and his F.O / Gung Ho Records were based on the floor above All The Madmen Records at 97 Caledonian Road in Kings Cross. All The Madmen Records moved into the area after departing from Brougham Road in Hackney. I got to see various members of Brigandage every now and again, going up and down the stairs passing our rather unimpressive office space towards Geoffs rather unimpressive office space.

As an aside, in early 1989 when I started working at the Southern Studios base along Myddleton Road in Wood Green, I used to spend a fair amount of time with Harvey Birrell who had engineered the tracks that appeared on this Brigandage album. This was one of his first ever engineering works that he had applied his attention to he told me. Harvey was engineering full time at Southern Studios after John Loder took more of a back seat in engineering affairs.

Many albums have been released by many bands who had recorded at Southern Studios, that have the Harvey Birrell ‘touch’ stamped into the grooves of the vinyl.

Thanks to Richard Cabut A.K.A Richard North A.K.A Richard Kick for supplying the two essays below and for the transcript of the N.M.E article from 1983. Thanking Richard also for supplying some of the scanned material. I supplied other bits and bobs.

Thanks to Paul May for supplying the Brigandage John Peel session in a rather roundabout way. My original copy got lost one sad day, some decades ago.

PRETTY FUNNY THING

Ciao Brigandage! Pretty Funny Thing was Brigandage, or at least the Brigandage that I was a part of disappearing into the night like the detail on a fading picture. But what a vivid picture it had once been!

Full of cocky swagger, spunk and self-regard – all very appealing I know.

We had successfully fended off approaches from a succession of record companies that we felt we were far too cool for. We made the common mistake of believing time to be imaginary. One year was like another. Eventually everything would fall into place. And in a way, I suppose it did.

I had close ties with Geoff Pitts at F.O Records who, prompted by the relative success of our cassette only release F.Y.M, insisted that we record an album. He even paid for it.

The Pistols’ punk that had characterised the tone and lustre of the band’s former incarnation (circa the John Peel session and, to a certain diminished degree, our very own FYM cassette) was gone. Pushing out the Steve Jones chord progressions had, by the mid-80s, become a little too embarrassing even for Michelle, although these things go in cycles.

So, before recording the tracks that eventually appeared on the album, we asked guitarist Glen Cahalin to play in any way he liked, as long as it didn’t sound like Steve Jones and The Sex Pistols.

Besides, Michelle and I had new loves and obsessions that fuelled our rock ‘n’ roll dreams. Namely, Warhol’s Duchampian or Baudelairian sensibilities (yeah, well…); the Velvet Underground archetype that spoke of viciousness, lust ‘n’ hate and leather (a fantasy of style); life as film noir, existential, nihilistic and a little apocalyptic, I guess; silver art; white heat; pale, frail glamour; the sheen of squalor that spangles; downtown slow dive lowlifes; and other cheap throwaway thrills.

You get the idea. It was bound to end in tears. But before that we had an album to record.

This was the Uptight Brigandage. Clean, hard and laced with layers of acerbity and disdain, although not to be mistaken for some sub – Thunders wasted glam crew of the time. We had a clear understanding of the here and now, and a desire to get out of it. Rather than just get out of it.

We cared with unflinching sincerity.

The album was recorded in some toilet (literally – great acoustics) called Globe Studio, and mixed at Terminal 24 near the Elephant by Harvey Birrell, a nice guy then and now.

I mostly remember the anxiety and paranoia, the speed, suspicion and delirium, the insomniac insouciance, the psychic fallout, the melodrama and the mania. Sophisticated cool well and truly blown, and ‘the buzzerama and the acrylic high’ (quote from Edie Sedgwick that we nicked for the sleeve notes).

Yes, it was all fun and frolics!

In this light, and listening almost thirty years later, the resulting vinyl seems weirdly commonsensical, slightly frigid (that’s speed for you I suppose). But it does have blood and bones and enough emotional jolts and poetic suss.

There’s some small sparks of beauty and genuineness, and perhaps a few little blazes of spectacularity to boot. Even if I do say so myself…

Unsurprisingly, the band split shortly after the album was released. The magic was elsewhere, but some of it remains here, in this vinyl, too.

RICHARD CABUT – NOVEMBER 2014

Mint copies of the Pretty Funny Thing album are available directly from Richard Cabut. £3.99 each plus 3.75 postage. Orders from outside the UK, please contact for postage rates.

Paypal is good – payable to richard.cabut@btinternet.com

Richard is also contactable via twitter @richardcabut

INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD CABUT – FEBRUARY 2014

Q: Could you tell about the bands with which Brigandage made the “scene” in the early 80’s? How did you all feel about the situation around punk at the time?

Richard Cabut: I liked the punk scene in the early 80s. I liked it in the mid Seventies, too. The late 70s, though, were like the third Monday in January, officially recognized by the medical profession as the day on which more UK citizens wake up depressed than any other. The reality of another grinding year kicks in, the horror of the Christmas credit card bill bites, and the misery of another rain dashed day dawns. It was like that.

But the early 80s were another punk Spring. Punk at that time became a way of life for an increasingly large and motivated group of people. Moreover, folk were, to paraphrase Malcolm McLaren, creating an environment in which they could truthfully run wild. We were making scenes that took people away from the confines of school and work. Instead of just listening to records in isolation and going to the odd gig, people were having life adventures.

Obviously, Brigandage and positive punk inherit a lot from the anarcho punk scene and shares a lot with the Batcave scene. But positive punks didn’t do much drugs and alcohol whilst, for example, we can read about Crass’ Autonomy Centre that “the place quite rapidly became a drug haven where the majority of people would just get pissed, stoned or worse” and on the other hand, contradictory to anarcho bands, you did cared about the image, but seems not to the extent of creating your gigs “glamorous art-house events” as Andi Sex Gang described the Batcave gigs.

Q: So what ideas you shared with anarcho and gothic scenes, and what ideas made you different to them?

Richard Cabut: Funnily, and from an objective viewpoint, the original Brigandage (before I joined), seemed to offer an instant nostalgia. Their musical references harked back only four or five years to the rot ‘n’ roll of the Pistols. Stylistically, the focus was Johnny Rotten and other 76ers – check drummer Ben Addison (later Boys Wonder and Corduroy) on the NME Positive Punk front cover for instance. A great look. I suppose Brigandage appealed to those punks who wanted a link to a mythologized recent past, and a sense of authenticity. Also some sort of purity, panache and bravura in terms of their punk culture. I was a fan, but it was a very niche audience.

Q: Even though Brigandage is quiet now, it seems to be the longest living positive punk bands. 1983 saw the end of UK Decay, Southern Death Cult, Blood & Roses and The Mob. By 1984 there was no original Sex Gang Children any more. Brigandage (though in varying line-ups) survived until 1986 so it’s extremely interesting to hear your thoughts about positive punk whether it died by 1984 or survived and evolved (and may be still does well nowadays?).

Richard Cabut: Well, I wrote the Positive Punk article for the NME in January / February 1983. At that time there were three distinct groupings in the punk scene. The Oi-sters and Herberts, who were basic and gumby-ish punk music, fashion and behaviour. The anarchos, who were like a mass of black, in terms of clothes and demeanor. And then you had a loose, nameless collection of punks and former punks who were colourful, and full of, it seemed, vim, dash and go-ahead spirit. These folk tended to go to see roughly the same bands and attended the same sort of clubs. I wrote about many of the bands and places, ranging from the Batcave and the Specimen, to the Mob (who were sort of anarcho-plus).

It was obvious that something was going on, and the NME asked me to write a piece about it. Originally, I didn’t use the name ‘positive punk’, or any umbrella term. But the paper needed an easy hook to snag readers. Positivity, I suggested when asked, was a common denominator, so hey presto… a little alliteration goes a long way. Of course, Positive Punk was a disaster. As soon as something is named, people have a target to attack. Also, factions within the scene quickly appeared.

The style magazine The Face, for instance, did a Positive Punk piece, but the Sex Gang Children refused to become involved – because they couldn’t control it. Their noses had been put out of joint. The big wigs in the scene, your Sex Gangs and Southern Death Cults, had suddenly been usurped, or so they thought, by upstarts like Brigandage and Blood and Roses.

Overnight, the atmosphere changed from togetherness to suspicion, jealousy and loathing. This would probably have happened in any case, but the Positive Punk article greatly accelerated the process. As far as I am concerned, Positive Punk described the ‘Passage of a few People (wearing makeup and top hats) through a Rather Brief Moment in Time.’ I think it was accurate. In hindsight, the music wasn’t great, which was probably the real downfall. And then it turned into goth, with even worse music.

Q: Could you tell more about the band’s attitude towards politics? On one hand your sympathy to anarchists and situationists is obvious, but on another you always underlined that you don’t want to be locked within one particular conception like, say, Crass were.

Richard Cabut: None of us were activists, as such, or intellectuals. I think we were interested in the fantastic slogans, ‘They said that oblivion was their ruling passion. They wanted to reinvent everything each day; to become the masters of their own lives.’ That kind of thing. We didn’t give a damn whether or not the Situs were a distillation of Hegel’s abstract universalism into a totalising critique, or whether they were a mere echo of Adorno and the Frankfurt School. Or, whatever. And I don’t recall attending any marches or political meetings of any sort.

I guess, in my time, the band was probably more influenced by someone like Richard Neville and his ‘Politics of Play.’ In his 1960s book, Neville stands aside from the straight Left. The straights are about working hard and supportively, while for us there was no wish to work at all. The straights wanted work for everyone (and this was a time of mass unemployment) whereas we shrugged off the very thought of routine to focus on the exciting stuff, and somehow managed to get by.

We were like kids (hence the idea of Playpower). I was positive that self-empowered, autodidactic, spiky guttersnipes were an upsurge of the future, certain to overcome the old political order – the RCPs, the SWPs, the stolid Left, the more traditional anarchists, even. I remember sneering at the people who supported the Miners Strike. Why would anyone want to work underground? I regret this attitude now. We should all have stood firm.

Perhaps I was, I hesitate to say ‘we’ in case it offends, arrogant with a sense of entitlement. My impression, to quote from a piece I more recently wrote for 3ammagazine, about Brigandage life at that time, ‘We were certainly not poets of the dispossessed. We strutted our Billy-the-Kid sense of cool — bombsite kids clambering out of the ruins — posing our way out of the surrounding dreariness. We were living in our own colourful movie (an earlyish Warhol flick we liked to think), which we were sure was incomparably richer, more spontaneous and far more magical than the depressing, collective black-and-white motion-less picture that the 9-5 conformists, or those that stumbled around with their booze-fuelled regrets, had to settle for.’

Have you ever seen the old TV show Bewitched? In one episode, the character Endora, a witch, says of humans, ‘they all look the same to me, noses to the grindstone shoulders to the wheel, feet planted firmly on the ground, no wonder they can’t fly!’ She adds: ‘It’s fine for them but not for us. We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound that has no boundaries through which we can’t pass. We are found in music, in a flash of colour, we live in the wind and in a sparkle of star…’ Which is, with tongue slightly in cheek, kind of how I thought of Brigandage, at that time.

Q: Did you face aggression from skinheads and orthodox punks? Was the scene strong enough to resist the violence? Did you adhere to the “fight back” approach or preferred to solve the situations in a peaceful way by any means?

Richard Cabut: I have been badly beaten up by skinheads on a couple of occasions, but not in the context of Brigandage. The Skinhead Terror at the time was very real. But they didn’t really go to the gigs we played at or went to. However, if you were unlucky enough to be caught out on the street, you could come away with a hiding. It was difficult because most punks didn’t move in big gangs. Skinheads often did. The sense of punk individuality, as has oft been pointed out, was both its strength and weakness.

Q: “Brigandage support any politics that DOES, that stands for individuality, humanity, rebellion” – that’s what you stated in your fanzine that came with FYM cassette. Do you still adhere to this idea? And what do you think about the political situation nowadays?

Richard Cabut: These days I still like the slogans. I like the poetry of that sort of politics. I once wrote a sort of verse, which talked about the Romance of Anarchy becoming Reality. I still believe that the romance is grounded in a reality that makes clear that, on all levels, the process of daily life is based on a trade of humiliations and agro, as the Situs said. I still think that ‘alienated work is a scandal’, that so-called ‘leisure’ is an affront, and that ‘real life is elsewhere.’

Where? Well, the pertinent questions, I still think, are not about restructuring economic systems, although I admit on a day-to-day level that helps, but about how quickly the underpinnings of society – all the givens, great unmentionables, so-called axioms – the fact that it is a closed-loop feedback system which easily sops up and throws back challenges and critiques – can be dissolved. I demand that this happens. And I feel, to paraphrase the Situ slogan and Malcolm McClaren’s shirt, I am entirely reasonable in my demand for the impossible.

POSITIVE PUNK N.M.E ARTICLE WRITTEN BY RICHARD NORTH A.K.A RICHARD CABUT – FEBRUARY 1983

Brigandage John Peel session: Let It Rot / Heresy / Hope / Fragile (DOWNLOAD)

PART ONE

“Don’t dream it, be it.”- Rocky Horror Show

The boy sits before the staring mirror and ponders his clean-shaven reflection. Smiling, he selects a carefully compiled tape and slots it into his machine.

‘Fatman’ is the first track: Southern Death Cult excites him and he dances in his seat while unscrewing a tube of foundation cream.

He’s got to look good tonight and it’s becoming every night because he’s off out to a gig. He’s going to see one of his bands, one of the groups he regularly sees. Brigandage, Southern Death Cult,
Danse Society, Ritual, Rubella Ballet, Virgin Prunes, Specimen, The Mob… They’re the only ones that mean anything to him anymore.

Tonight it’s Blood And Roses at London’s Moonlight Club and all his friends will be there. One of their tracks, ‘Your Sin Is Your Salvation’, comes up on the tape and the boy remembers the last time he saw them.

The blur of colour, the heady atmosphere, the fun, the collective feeling of motion – forward! It made him feel alive, positive, and then he formed a group the next week.

Finishing his make-up the boy turns his attention to his dyed blue hair, carefully back-combing it into disarray. Last week he’d been beaten up by some skinheads because they didn’t like the look of him. He remembers their fury but shrugs: he enjoys his appearance and is proud to look different. In a way he’s almost glad that his clothes and attitude had provoked the attack-their mindlessness wrapped in a dull, grey, lazy uniform of bitterness gives him a reason to be their opposite.

He feels bright and optimistic about the future, slipping into a pair of leather trousers, noticing he’s only got a few quid left in his pocket. It doesn’t matter though, the dole gives him time to do things, like his group.

A Brigandage number blares out: ‘Hope’, it seems to sum things up for him. With its message on his lips the boy half-dances across the room, through the door and out.

PART TWO

“I don’t like the word movement, but there’s now a large collection of bands and people with the same positive feeling.” – Andi, singer with Sex Gang Children, speaking on the opening night of Son of Batcave.

HAIL ERIS, Goddess of Discord, and pass the ammunition: as the heavy drumbeat rolls and the harsh chords crash and sometimes even tingle, it’s then that the boys and girls come out to play. Playpower!

With wild-coloured spiked hair freezing the eye, and even more vivid clothes to spice the imagination – faces, thoughts and actions – the atmosphere’s infused with a charge of excitement, an air of abandon underlined with a sense of purpose.
Something stirs again in this land of fetid, directionless sludgery, this land of pretend optimism and grim reality. Theory and practice are being synthesised under the golden umbrella of a 24-hour long ideal.

Welcome to the new positive punk.

Although it’s not the purpose of this article to create any kind of movement or cult, any easy or accessible bandwagon to be tumbled onto, it is indisputable that a large number of bands and people involved in the culture called rock, have sprung up at approximately the same time, facing their lifestyles in the same direction. Maybe unconsciously so, it’s a huge collective force that we can call the new positive punk a re-evaluation and rejuvenation of the ideals that made the original outburst so great, an intensification of and expansion of that ethos of individuality, creativity and rebellion. The same buzz that burned our streets, hearts and minds in ’76/77 is happening again.

The Industrial Revolution is over, a new era has begun, and the current mood is an affirmation of that point. The natural energy that for over 200 years has been poured into the physical, the rational and the materialistic, has now all grown crooked. The mental/magical power has been lost: it was simply not needed – steam engines, radios, electricity were so much easier and they worked.

But now the glamour is wearing off; we can see the strings and wires, the clockwork squeaks…the radiation is beginning to corrode the pretty box.

All the darkness and light, all the forces are still there deep underneath, bubbling, steaming, and fermenting. The instinct, ritual and ceremony are rising again in everyday life; many people are starting to use the tarot and l-Ching. And the new punk groups are a reflection of this feeling; their use of mystical/metaphysical imagery and symbolism is a striking common denominator. Not in the way of dumb-dabbling and superficial posturing of, say, a Black Sabbath with their (gasp) black magic kicks.

Nor is it a silly hippy Tolkien fantasy joyride, or even a Killing Joke stench-of-death gloomier-than- thou slice of fanaticism. lt is, instead, an intelligent and natural interest in mystery, rather than history, that is a sign of an open mind.

These groups are aware: UK Decay (positive punk forefathers), using the dark to contrast and finally emphasise the light; Sex Gang Children taking us into the sub-world of the Crowleyan abyss; while Blood And Roses are pushing the symbols a whole lot further, their guitarist Bob being a serious student of the Art.

The mystical tide we are talking about here refers, if nothing else, to the inner warmth and virtual energy that human beings regard as the most favourable state to live in. The new positive punk has tapped into this current.

And if all this sounds a touch heavy, let’s consider the humour, style and inherent fun that are essential parts of the movement. Let’s look at groups like Specimen, who are more Rocky Horror than Aleister Crowley, preening themselves in a glam-soaked traipse among the ruins. Or The Virgin Prunes’ cheeky onstage oral sex send-up. The real humour is intermixed with the sheer sense of joy de vivre present at such gatherings.

Here is a glow of energy and life that overcomes the need for artificial stimulation. Unlike the heroin or barbiturate sodden club scene or the glue-swamped Oi / punk arena, the emphasis here is not on drugs. Although illicit substances are not unknown, the desperate desire to nullify boredom is not present, and therefore there is no narcotic edge to the scene. Members of several groups (such as Southern Death Cult, Sex Gang Children and UK Decay) do not even drink.

For perhaps the first time, an active and flourishing dissenting body will not go down with its hind legs kicking as the drug takes over.

Money and time are tight: so both of them are being spent on something far more enjoyable and important: style. There’s a veritable explosion of multi-coloured aestheticism. So different from the bland, stereotyped Oi boot boy punk fare of jeans, leather jacket and studs, this is an individualist stance even if it tends towards a common identity. A green-haired spike-topped girl wearing a long black pleated skirt, white parachute top and bootlace tie passes a tasselled, black-haired mohawk in creepers, white socks, red pegs and self-made, neatly-designed T-shirt. Something clicks. They smile in acknowledgement.

We are fireworks.

PART THREE

“I think that our influence comes from the fact that there are so many negative bands around. We’re not – so away we go!” – Bob, guitarist with Blood And Roses, Stoke Newington

If the bands absorb, reflect and present (not necessarily in that order, it’s a give and take thing) the attitude of their fans and the tone of their surroundings – and I think that the important ones do – then we can trace the whole thing back to its roots, travelling through the erotic politics of the influential Doors and the tense dusky danger of The Velvet Underground, then we come to The Sex Pistols, who operated under a vicious amalgam of style and direction.
Projecting a perfect combination of distorted but relevant aesthetics, music and suss, their all-important effect was the provocation of thought.

Then, veering away from 1002 misdirected cardboard copies, we come to the Banshees and the Ants. These two are important to the new positive punk: the Banshees because of their sheer power of imagination, and the Ants because of their promotion of sensuous ‘black’ style.

Both had an adventurous and rebellious air about them that cut through the regressive dross. Their outlook, musically and in angle of thought, went beyond the proscribed boundaries of behaviour at the time. They explored the edges of light and dark and some of the areas in between. They were a progression and they are the two clearest reference points to this recent outburst of energy.

Back at the tail – end of ’78 and beyond, punk spun into a tail dive of Tuinol-dazed tiredness. A pause.

Trends came and went: dead ends such as mod, new romanticism up to and including the funk craze all took their toll on the vital energy. And those who stuck with the essence of their punk were faced with the development of Oi. Punk, under the guidance of certain lobots, gathered itself around a banner of no brains, no style, no heart and no hope. Heads buried in the glue-bag of dejection and floundering away under a barrage of three-chord rubbish this was, and is, no way to lead a life.

Some drifted with the anarcho scene which at the time (1980 / 81) was the only worthwhile concern going. But by 1983, when everything is said and done, that angle seems too flat and puritan to be of much inspirational value. Crass, although anti-sexist, were and still are extremely sexless: a stark, bleak Oliver Cromwell new model army, who have sense but no sensuality.

At the opposite end of the scale, inspired by the feeling of the Ants etc, come the two groups who are the immediate forerunners of today’s flood. They are Bauhaus and, later, Theatre Of Hate, both of whom capitalised on the idea of style and, what is more, a ‘dangerous’ and sensuous style that attracted more and more fans who were sick of the bleak and macho Oi and the shallow cult with no name.

It’s these fans, reacting against the devaluation of punk, and fired by the spirit of the above mentioned mentors, who are acting now. They’ve created a colourful and thriving nationwide scene resplendent in their individuality but still linked by a progressive punk idiom, one that says go instead of stop, expand instead of contract, yes instead of no. A new positive punk.

PART FOUR

“Stimulating thought, bringing people together, entertaining people, creating an atmosphere of sheer exhilaration and enjoyment. These are the main things.” – lan, singer with Southern Death Cult.

Andi Sex Gang twitches in the spotlight, the beam reflecting his harsh features and closely-cropped hair. He clenches his fists and spits out ‘Into The Abyss’.

lan Southern Death Cult flails his arms and chicken-war dances across the stage, a sharp youthful figure with black be-feathered mohawk. His song is ‘Moya’, the words and the power behind the words providing an insight into cultural stagnation. He howls and shrieks in defiance.

Mark from The Mob, an anarcho-renegade, with his bleached dread hair stands up straight before the microphone, growling “Still living in the English fear, waiting for the witch-hunt dear.”

All this and more as Michelle Brigandage leaps onto the amps, top hat at a rakish angle. “As we walk in the sunlight honesty protects our eyes” is her cry.

And Bob Blood And Roses, he just grins, he knows… “Love is the Law”, their tale underlining the truly optimistic undercurrent to this mood.

And the fans, bedecked in sparkling, inventive garb, they kick, they jump, they scream.

“A night for celebration, a night to unwind,” repeats the diminishing echo from the ghost of UK Decay. “For celebration, celebration, celebration…”

PART FIVE

“There’s nothing else. Everything else has been stripped from us. So now we’re just gonna do it. There’s no other choice.” Michelle, singer with Brigandage

So here it is: the new positive punk, with no empty promises of revolution, either in the rock’n’roll sense or the wider political sphere. Here is only a chance of self-awareness, of personal revolution, of colourful perception and galvanisation of the imagination that startles the slumbering mind and body from their sloth.

Certainly this is revolution in the non-political sense, but at the same time it’s neither escapist nor defeatist. It is, in fact, “political” in the genuine sense of the word.

Individuality? Creativity? Rebellion? The synthesis comes at the moment when you do the one thing, the only thing, when you know you’re not just a trivial counter on the social chequerboard. Here are thousands doing that one thing: merging an explosive and cutting style with a sense of positive belief and achievement, and having fun while they’re doing it.

The Oi-sters and their ilk may have taken punk a few millimetres to the right or a centimetre to the left, but not one damn step forward.

This is punk at last built on rock and not on sand.

THE END

SEXY HOOLIGANS CLOTHING

Michelle fronted the band Brigandage and lived amongst the Puppy Collective in and around the squats of Hampstead.

Michelle’s band, Brigandage, was a firm favourite of the Puppy Collective and to a much younger Penguin.

Previous to forming Brigandage in 1979, Michelle was in the band V.D.U that put out one 7″ single ‘Don’t Cry For Me’ on Thin Sliced records. Sadly I do not own this artefact but if and when I do I will place it up on KYPP.

Michelle is still involved in the scene in no small way after all these years. She has never really been away. Brigandage have not reformed (although that might be nice at some point in the future).

What Michelle has been doing for several years now is to create lovingly screen printed replicas of some of the original Seditionaries stock, original stock long gone now.

Michelle also creates her own clothing inspired by the Seditionaries brand from 1977 which are equally beautiful and well made for both men and for women.

These are just six examples of a huge range of Sexy Hooligans clothing for men and women, all top quality material.

Please go and check out the Sexy Hooligans website for more details HERE.

HERE for the Sexy Hooligans Face-Book page.

MANY HAPPY RETURNS TO RHIAN D WHOSE BIRTHDAY IT IS TODAY FROM ALL AT KILL YOUR PET PUPPY ONLINE.

Crass / Poison Girls – Manchester Mayflower – 17/10/80

Uploaded this November 5th is an exclusive Kill Your Pet Puppy post helped along perhaps not by a cast of thousands, but certainly by the following kindly folk.

Pete Millen who during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s recorded many Crass and Poison Girls performances with the use of several microphones hanging strategically around the halls that the two bands were invited to perform in.

Lee Gibson who got most of the original cassette tapes (and reel to reel tapes) from Pete Millen and then sent three of the cassettes to me here at Penguin Towers. Thanking Lee also for allowing the use of one of the Crass / Poison Girls extracts from his book ‘A Punk Rock Flashback’ which is well worth getting hold of (details below).

Pete Fender for professionally restoring and remastering the audio in his home studio to a quality that is worthy of sharing this cassette to the Kill Your Pet Puppy browsers.

Joseph Porter for allowing the use of one of the Crass / Poison Girls extracts from his book ‘Genesis To Revolutions’ which is well worth getting hold of (details below).

Richard Famous, Penny Rimbaud and Pete Wright for sharing a few stories with me on the Manchester Mayflower and  Middlesbrough Rock Garden gigs, and for the permission to use the Poison Girls and Crass audio.

Craig Hornby for the original 1982 Crass Middlesbrough Crypt flyer.

Bradley Hall for the scan of the Crass patch below (still attached to a pair of trousers he found in a box recently) and for the Poison Girls flyer. Found in another old box.

These two recordings from the Manchester Mayflower were the best of the three cassettes that were recorded by Pete Millen that I was sent by Lee Gibson as a ‘taster’.

I was sent Huddersfield October 1980 and also the Isle Of Wight July 1981.

Sadly the Huddersfield recordings of both Crass and the Poison Girls suffered massively from recording cut outs due to, I can only assume, a dodgy lead in-putted into the recorder on that night. Shame.

Even worse, the Isle Of Wight recorded performance by Poison Girls was split in two (although reasonable quality) and the Crass recorded side was mainly the interlude after Poison Girls and a bit of Annie Anxiety. The Crass performance that made it onto the cassette tape lasted four or five tracks. Shame.

Never mind that though. The Manchester Mayflower audio from both bands is clear and has also been professionally restored and remastered by Pete Fender, making the audio sound wonderful.

If you listen carefully you will hear the grim sounds of smashing glass throughout various parts of the Crass set. Hope those pint glasses were not being thrown towards the stage but instead just falling off tables with the amount of heaving sweating bodies flowing back and forth throughout parts of the Crass performance.

Both sides of this cassette tape gives a decent account of both Crass and the Poison Girls at the top of their game. An excellent and intense listen that’s for sure.

CRASS – MANCHESTER MAYFLOWER OCTOBER 1980

FROM ‘A PUNK ROCK FLASHBACK’– BY LEE GIBSON.

There were three bands, apart from the Sex Pistols, who gave me a kick start in my teenage rebellion years; The Fall, Crass and Poison Girls, all discovered at random.

On the rather desolate upper level of Stockton’s indoor market, a friendly hippy guy ran a little store called Green. He sold T-shirts, booklets on anarchism, vegetarianism and hippy comics like ‘The Freak Brothers’. He got a bit of hassle from the cops. I liked the guy, and when I wrote a poem about the bombing of Hiroshima (which I wrote in Stockton library one rainy afternoon when all my mates were glued up and not really worth talking to), he pinned it on the wall.

It was at the Green store that I noticed the first single by Crass ‘Reality Asylum’. Noticeable in the shop due to the iconic Crass symbol, designed by Dave King which displays the Cross entwined by a two headed serpent, Ouroboros, suggesting that all power will eventually consume and destroy itself. Ouroboros is traditionally depicted as swallowing its own tail. I picked it up for (pay) no more than 45p. Shortly afterwards, I also bought ‘The Feeding of the 5000’ an eighteen track, 12 inch 45rpm vinyl EP. I bought it by mail-order from Rough Trade Records in London. A few months later, I started writing to Crass.

The first time I saw Poison Girls and Crass play was at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, October 11th, 1980. I was keen to attend the gig and through mail correspondence I’d arranged to do an interview with Poison Girls after the gig was over.

Things didn’t quite work out as planned because that particular gig was even more violent than ‘The Fall bloodbath’. As usual, it was the skinheads knocking fuck out of people.

As always with the Rock Garden I attended the gig alone. I got there early and chatted briefly with Vi Subversa before the gig started. Vi was friendly, witty and somewhat culture shocking to me, she was about the same age as my mum! That night, both bands received a hostile reception from the mass of skinheads who frequented the Rock Garden. Poison Girls managed to get through their set, but when Crass started playing all hell broke loose. Due to their stance as anarchists, the neo-nazi contingents made every effort to disrupt Crass gigs and to intimidate and assault Crass fans. The skinheads tried to storm the stage and I recall Pete Wright, bass player with Crass, jamming the end of his bass guitar straight into the chest of a skinhead, sending him flying.

It was a very scary gig and I’d had enough. I eventually kicked open the emergency exit doors just to get the fuck out of there in one piece. Stockton is only a few miles from Middlesbrough, but sometimes it could be a long walk and felt light-years away.

Afterwards, I wrote a letter to Poison Girls explaining why I wasn’t around at the end of the gig. They wrote back to me and suggested that I send them some written questions in the post, which I did. At their house in Leytonstone, East London, they recorded their responses to my questions and recorded them on tape cassette and sent the tapes up to me. I always thought that was a very generous act, plus the fact that they took me seriously, despite my young age and my relative naivety. I published their interview over two issues of my fanzine, the first part coinciding with the second part of my interview with Mark E Smith in Protesting Children Minus The Bondage #2, and in Anathema #1.

After the violent gig at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, I also wrote to Crass and arranged to visit them at their communal headquarters in Dial House, Epping Forest, to do an interview.

As I was skint and on the dole, I couldn’t afford a train ticket or a National Express coach ticket, so I decided to hitch down to London, a journey of about two hundred and fifty miles. I only had a few quid in my pocket – not the best way to go travelling around the country – it was a shit or bust situation.

When I arrived in London, after a fluid six-hour sequence of lifts from complete strangers, including a stoned, long-distance heavy-goods vehicle driver who was actually driving barefoot like some kind of hillbilly freak, I was dropped off near Oxford Street in central London.

I then realized that I should have paid a little more attention to planning my route. I was about twenty miles from Epping. I only had a few quid in my pocket. I rang Dial House and was advised to just ‘bunk’ the tube, and so I did. I just jumped the barrier and when I got to Epping, the station was unmanned.

I stayed with Crass for a few days, half mesmerised; it was like a different world and made quite an impression upon me. Crass were very organised and focused on what they were doing, whereas I was still making things up as I went along. The people in Crass treated me so kindly, without any fakery or bullshit, I felt like I’d stepped into an alternate universe. It kind of flipped me out. It was the first time that I really glimpsed the possibilities of alternate ways of living, something different from the usual family set-up and all the restrictions that invariably come with that package.

I did the interview with Penny Rimbaud, Andy Palmer, Eve Libertine, Pete Wright and Steve Ignorant (who only made one comment, although it was a humorous one). Eventually, it was just me and Penny chatting as the other band members drifted away to get on with other things. Recorded on a cheap cassette recorder, we talked for over two hours – Penny talked a whole lot more than me, I just threw him the odd question and he would get right in depth, and we kind of worked it from there. If anything, I was young, naive, curious and questioning society and I found his conversation enlightening. After that, I started following them all over the country whenever they did a tour – often going from one gig to the next, all over the UK, sometimes on the road for a few weeks at a time.

In total I only ever did five interviews for my fanzine; Mark E Smith, Poison Girls (once by mail, once face to face), Crass, and Andy T. Looking back I see that I only wanted to interview people with integrity; people who might teach me a thing or two about a thing or two. Though I wish I’d interviewed The Mob as well.

I hitch hiked all over the country to see Crass and Poison Girls play. Places like Leeds, Bradford, Wigan, Swansea, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Cambridge, Liverpool, Nottingham, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Irvine on the West coast of Scotland and across to Perth on the East side. I always hitched alone, usually carrying little coin in my pocket, with a rucksack full of fanzines (actually getting by from selling them in order to buy food and beer), a small tent and a sleeping bag, a bit of food, and, of course, a pen and a notebook. I loved arriving at a strange town and finding somewhere to sit down and write.

Irvine was my favourite trip. I got there several hours before Crass and Poison Girls were due to play and walked out of the town. I found a crumbling, rickety-old timber built pier, and settled down, the waves beneath my feet, the sun in my face, writing whatever popped into my head. The coast of Irvine used to get a warm oceanic drift from the Gulf Stream; it had palm trees growing along its shoreline – Palm trees in Scotland, how weird and wonderful is that? Man, just sitting there on that ramshackle pier, it was so much better than writing on toilet paper in the crummy toilet cubicles of the scummy Factory. Yes, I was skint, so what? I was about to see two bands that I really dug. I felt free…like time had stopped…time was irrelevant and I totally got the Zen flow of the whole moment. I sucked it deep into my soul and because of that solitary, magical afternoon, writing, with the gentle wind, the warm sun and the lulling waves for company, I will always love the Scottish town of Irvine.

After the gig in Irvine, people who were hitching on the tour made their separate ways across Scotland, heading for Perth. I had some difficulty hitching all the way to the east coast and had to take a coach for some of the journey.

The Crass Perth gig is as infamous as ‘The Fall Bloodbath’ at Middlesbrough Rock Garden. It took place at the Lesser City Hall on July 4th, 1981.

Trouble started almost as soon as the gig began when about thirty NF skins turned up with nothing but confrontation and physical violence on their minds. I recall that there were at least two police officers standing at the back of the Hall, ‘keeping an eye on things’. Yet when the skinheads started wading into the crowd, kicking and punching men and women alike, the police did absolutely nothing to intervene. I recall me and Andy T asking the police to leave, saying that we’d take care of it. The officers were only too happy to oblige. Talking to Andy recently (June 2013) he said he recalled the fact that their leader wore a red Harrington jacket. I don’t remember that specific detail, although I’m sure it’s spot-on. I recall seeing Nil (Poison Girls) sat on the edge of the stage with a bloody, broken nose. I recall seeing young punks getting punched to shit. I recall seeing punkettes getting nutted. Andy T and I decided to take some direct action.

The atmosphere was very heavy, and very threatening. Crass repeatedly asked people (the skinheads) to stop fighting. In reality it was more of a co-ordinated gang assault than a fight.
By the time Crass started the second song of their set ‘Nagasaki Nightmare’ things really exploded (excuse the pun). Eve Libertine halted the song and shouted ‘Stop it!’ Steve Ignorant said ‘Stop fighting, please, stop. Stop fighting. Stop fighting.’ The song resumed for about fifteen seconds before the band stopped playing for a second time.

Steve Ignorant shouted ‘Stop fighting. Stop it. You’ll ruin it for everyone.’ The song resumed for a third time but again it was stopped after about twenty seconds. ‘Pack in the fighting or this gig’s gonna get stopped,’ said Steve, ‘I don’t want that, you don’t want that. I don’t want the police, you don’t want the police. So let’s just have a good time, hey? For fuck’s sake.’

NF skins were shouting ‘You want anarchy.’ Steve replied ‘I just want a gig, alright? Let’s stop fighting, fucking hell, for like, an hour.’

The fighting continued. Penny Rimbaud grabbed a microphone, ‘If you want anarchy, mate, go out on the street and start it. We’re in here for our form of anarchy; you go outside for your form of anarchy. Now fuck-off out of it. Just look at what happened in London last night, mate, if you want anarchy, just you wait for to come to you and then you’ll learn a little bit of what the word means, wise guy.’ A riot had taken place in London – riots also happened in Birmingham and Liverpool. The NF kept shouting and Penny continued his outburst, ‘Mouth and trousers will get you nowhere, so fuck-off out of it.’ One NF guy in particular was very vocal, and Penny concluded with ‘Ah, balls you twat! I’ve got a feeling these guys have to go.’

Eve Libertine shouted ‘Those that don’t want the gig, get the fuck out!’
The punks who’d turned up to see Crass play started chanting ‘Fight war, not wars’, then Penny started drumming, the chant grew louder and then Crass finally managed to finish playing ‘Nagasaki Nightmare’.

Crass played a seventeen song set, but trouble was still happening by the twelfth song, ‘Big A Little A’. Steve shouted ‘Pack it in. Pack it in’ Then he started to sing ‘Fight war, not wars’, joined by the crowd and then the song got underway.

Andy T and I set to work from the back of the hall and slowly but surely worked our way toward the stage where Crass were playing. Every time we saw a skinhead hitting someone we stepped up behind them, and then punched them in the face from two sides at once. Generally they dropped like the sacks of shit they were. We hit a lot of NF guys that night and handed out black-eyes like they were free fanzines.

After the gig, when we’d kicked the NF out, they were waiting outside for us, ready to fuck us up, knowing that we were a long way from home.

I remember helping Poison Girls to dismantle their gear and then help to carry out their equipment. When I reached the back door, a gang of about fifteen to twenty skinheads were lurking, waiting for their moment. They all had at least one black eye. I might have seen the glint of a knife, but I can’t swear on my oath that I did. I nipped back inside and explained the situation.

Poison Girls saved a lot of people from getting a serious beating, or stabbed or even killed, that night in Perth. They got each person who had travelled to see them and Crass who didn’t live in Perth, to carry various items of equipment into their tour van (the old white ambulance), and then to remain on the van.

They filled the van and stacked us in like sardines, and then they drove us safely out of Perth, denying the battered NF skins their vengeance and retribution.

The Poison Girls drove us down the A90 for about thirty miles and took us across the River Forth on the Forth Road Bridge, and then pulled to a halt. We all piled out of their tour van before a police patrol car caught them severely overloaded, and we made our way toward the next gig, cloaked by the stars and safe in the distant light of an Edinburgh night.

In 1982 I decided to organise a Crass gig in Middlesbrough to compensate for their last violent gig at Middlesbrough Rock Garden. I wanted to create a better scene. Crass were keen to return to the area and I maintained phone contact with Andy Palmer as I started to set things up. I have to say that Andy was a chilled out guy and he really helped me to get things organised. He knew that I’d never done anything of this sort before, on such a scale, and he really walked me through it. He never laid any pressure on me and when I needed to front money to book a place he sent it straight to me – all based on pure trust – I’m glad to say that I didn’t let him down. It did feel strange receiving a cheque from Crass to pay to Middlesbrough town hall Crypt to book the gig, but everything about that gig played true; for me, that was what the whole anarchy-scene was about.

I was determined to set-up a Crass gig that was the very opposite of the bloody Rock Garden fiasco. I wanted it to be a safe place, not just for the band, but more-so for the people who wanted to see them play, and I wanted younger kids to be able to experience Crass as well, stepping beyond the bogus twenty one year old age restrictions of the Rock Garden, without people getting head-butted in the face because they wanted to see a band play live or because they were cursed to come from the wrong impoverished estate.

I had to find a suitable venue that was controllable, but without bouncers. I had to find a decent sized PA system, and I had to find somewhere for Crass (eight of them), D.I.R.T (five of them), and Annie Anxiety (just one of her) to stay after the gig. Set that little lot up, and then all I had to do was publicise the gig. The latter, I knew, would be the easiest part, word of mouth would quickly see to that. A lot of kids wanted to see Crass, and other bands, but many of them were too young to get into the Rock Garden with its twenty one year old age limit.

For the venue, I needed somewhere that could hold up to three hundred people and give access to kids from the age of fifteen upwards. I decided to approach Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt. I found out how much it would be to book the Crypt. I didn’t have that kind of money so Andy Palmer, sent me the money in good faith. I booked the Crypt, along with a PA system. I didn’t make a single penny out of that gig, nor did I want to. The gig was my mission, my simple goal.

Fuck the violence; let’s have a rocking gig where people can be free to switch on.

I then held a little group meeting with my friends who lived at The Gables, some of whom were not overtly keen on Crass, although Andy M. And Pete M. had already travelled all over to see them. They were carpenters so they could afford to travel, not hitch, but they were totally into Crass and Poison Girls. Anyhow, despite musical / political differences, everyone in the house agreed to let Crass, D.I.R.T and Annie stay over for the night and invade our space. Once that was settled, we arranged to have plenty of hot food prepared for them for after the gig and everyone got involved in trying to make it a comfortable and welcoming stay for them. It was a strange time for us all.

As for advertising, I designed simple photocopied A4 flyers that I photocopied at Stockton library and stuck them on a few walls, in Green (thanks to the hippy dude who first displayed my poem), and in the local HMV, thanks to Blank Frank out of Blitzkrieg Bop.

Word spread quickly. Tickets were only £1.25. Half price compared to any gig that was taking place at the Rock Garden at the time. This was deliberate. In my view, the Rock Garden was wrong all over the place. They allowed rampant violence and they over-charged. Stockton and Middlesbrough were in real need of an alternative, safer venue, although most people didn’t know it. I thought I’d put on one gig as a light in the right direction.

The gig took place on April 29th 1982 and sold out, thus all the overheads were covered and the bands got paid for their fuel costs and everything else it entailed getting them from London to the Middlesbrough. We had no security, I just picked out a handful of pals who could look after themselves, pals who were secure enough in themselves that they didn’t need to step-out and prove anything, guys who knew how to play it cool and calm things down should anything happen.

The crucial thing about the gig is that I opted to have no bar, that way we reduced the chances of sporadic violence, and more importantly, younger kids could get in to see the bands play and pogo to their hearts content.

For me, the fact that there wasn’t a single fight or act of violence throughout the entire gig made it a successful venture. All those phone calls to Andy Palmer on a pay phone and the basic energy it took to make it happen made it worthwhile.

I’ve never organized many gigs, but usually when I’ve made the effort, they have rocked.
After the gig, when Crass, D.I.R.T and Annie piled into The Grange there were people everywhere. We had food prepared for them and it was a fun and friendly night, if a little chaotic, especially in the morning as we only had one large bathroom.

The next morning, the band’s drove off to their next gig, no doubt also organised by someone else like me. That’s how Crass tours worked; it was the only way that they could happen.

Lee Gibson

A few memories of Middlesbrough Rock Garden from Penny Rimbaud and Pete Wright:

The Rock Garden was a dump, very dark and intimidating. There were large glass doors near the stage and a small dressing room at the side of the stage.

Some of the violence on the night was directed at Crass due to a Crass follower who was from Middlesbrough died. His name was Melvin. He was found drowned in the river Thames. Incredibly tragic. He had a Crass symbol on his jacket and the local boneheads used it as an excuse to start trouble at the gig.

There were chants of “You killed Melvin, you killed Melvin”.

I remember Melvins mother being there at this gig standing behind the stage near the dressing room. This was very upsetting for her and for Crass.

Pete aimed his guitar at some bonehead who had clambered onto the stage trying to get to Vi Subversa and Eve Libertine who were at the side of the stage. Pete fortunately missed the bonehead by inches with the bass guitar (fortunately as Pete might have seriously injured this stage invader who fell off the stage in any case) and hit the wall instead, bending the headstock completely. He then had to buy a new headstock. Pete was seriously reprimanded by the rest of Crass after this incident on stage after the performance.

After the gig, Phil Free was sitting in the van alone for a moment and a bonehead punched him through the open window and run off. Phil started the engine immediately and drove the van after the bonehead who we can only assume had fears for his life with this van driving so close to his heels. Phil Free had made his point, slowed the van down, turned the van around and returned to the venue with a sore face and with the bonehead, again, fortunately uninjured.

POISON GIRLS – MANCHESTER MAYFLOWER OCTOBER 1980

FROM ‘GENESIS TO REVOLUTIONS – THE CURSE OF ZOUNDS DYMYSTIFIED’ – BY JOSEPH PORTER.

The first of the three shows took place at an unlicensed community centre in Winsford. The sight of spiky-haired anarchists, some of them surely as young as eleven or twelve, doing the conga round the hall to the malevolent strains of ‘So What’ and ‘Banned from the Roxy’ remains one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. This to me was typical of Crass’ approach to anarchism and music: taking pains to play to the under sixteens, in a venue where glue and brew were not on hand to disrupt the proceedings. The atmosphere was considerably more pleasant as a result, and I was able to enjoy my first live impressions of Crass without fear of being knocked into a puddle of sick by the ‘grown up’ anarchists.

They looked and sounded like La visage de la Guerre: stark, black and white, flanked by video monitors showing scenes of oppression and atrocity and looming large with menace in front of the collection of flags and banners,. Everything was perfectly stage managed; everything was just right – they were even more daunting onstage than on acid at Camden market!

The banners were particularly imposing: the all-powerful cross-and-snake symbol predominated, sitting in the middle like a fat black spider in the web of subversion; ‘Man made power Man made pain’, ‘Fight war not wars’, ‘Anarchy Peace and Freedom’. Poison Girls’ black and red crow flew proudly, like the sail on some ancient dragonship, and heroic demands to ‘Abort the System’ and ‘Take the toys from the boys’ hung alongside. High up and to the right of these battle flags, painted in black Dulux on a pink fitted bed sheet was Zounds’ contribution to the show: incongruous but impenitent; Mickey Mouse caught in the crosshairs of a gun sight.

I thought he looked rather cool up there myself.

Crass always hired in the same P.A. company on their British tours, and so in Winsford we made the acquaintance of Alex, the monitor mixer, who shared our allegiance to a combustible god and was otherwise oblivious to the great affairs by which he was surrounded. For this leg of the tour, all the bands, the sound engineers, and sundry camp followers, stayed in an empty house in Sale, Manchester, that belonged to the brother of one of Crass’ guitarists. Late that night, in the privacy of our allotted chamber, Alex introduced us to his ‘portables’ – a sawn off milk bottle, a tiny camping stove, and two dinner knives, blackened with use. We consumed ‘hot knives’ far into the night, in the company of certain furtive Poison Girls, while downstairs in the drug-free atmosphere of revolution, the talk was no doubt of anarchy.

By contrast to the Winsford gig, the following night in Manchester was a seething pit of all the worst aspects of the punk scene at the time. The Mayflower was a vast old cinema, and on this occasion was filled with a brutal heaving mass of humanity bent on both inebriation and destruction. By the end of the night the toilets were demolished, and three feet under water; people were standing on the top step and peeing into the dark interior, into which the occasional lost soul would trip with a splash and an oath. When Crass played I got the impression of seeing human bodies piled up towards the front of the stage to an impossible height, breaking in waves and crashing down in tangled heaps of thrashing limbs.

And they gobbed! Oh how they gobbed! This media-inspired innovation of the 1977 punk explosion was still revered by the arse-ends of punk in Manchester. Zounds walked on stage to a furious shower of phlegm, and were bombarded throughout their set with snot of a greenness and elasticity that I have never since encountered. Drumming at the back, I was more or less protected. Only those hurled with considerable projectile force reached me. Of course any lumps that did make it that far were generally pretty big, and the drumkit became festooned with great dangling ribbons of the stuff; it would glance off the cymbals and ricochet off into the wings to my horror and appalled fascination.

Up front, Steve had it pretty bad. Grolleys scored constant direct hits on his face, his hair, his guitar, and even in his mouth as he sang – an inevitability in the face of such a sustained fusillade. We walked off the slippery stage after forty five minutes disillusioned and disgusted with our supposed comrades in the great struggle.

“Never mind blowing up the houses of parliament,” grumbled Steve, wiping the slime from his bass strings. “I wish they could learn to blow their noses in a nice hanky like normal people!”

I hope that night had something to do with anarchism. I was just intent on survival. Somehow one of the girls from Crass sustained a black eye, the place was trashed and the whole event seemed to me to be a pointless, nihilistic exercise in futile vandalism. Manchester null point!

Crass shunned the use of drugs – although alcohol in moderation seemed not unacceptable – so we tactfully confined our smoking excesses to either the upper reaches of the house, or outside ‘behind the bike shed.’ Lawrence, emboldened one evening, skinned up in the living room in which the twenty-five or so members of the entourage were gathered drinking tea, smoking roll-ups and talking sedition in the aftermath of the Manchester gig. True to the demands of dope etiquette, Lawrence smoked his share and then shuffled round the room on his knees offering the fuming reefer to the whole company in turn. Fully twenty times his offer was politely declined until he returned, abashed, to where we crouched, below the salt, in the corner of the room nearest the door. Shamefacedly and treacherously, myself, Steve and the secret dope-fiends in the Poison’s camp declined to smoke in the presence of our masters. No one bogarted the joint, and Lawrence was obliged to smoke it down to cardboard.

Shortly after we slunk guiltily upstairs to reacquaint ourselves with Alex’s portables.

I myself had committed a similar gaff that afternoon. Huge quantities of tea were consumed in that great circle of black-clad dissidents, and to this end a teapot of daunting capacity was employed. To my terror, Penny announced to general approbation that “It’s Joseph’s turn to make the tea,” and my doom was sealed. Being then a coffee drinker, I knew little of the ways of tea beyond an old adage which claimed one should employ one spoonful per person, and one for the pot.

Weighing up both the size of this vessel, and of the thirsty company, I decided to err on the side of caution, and applied eighteen generous spoonfuls of tea, plus one for luck, to the king-sized china kettle.
Crawling around the living room in a series of hectic manoeuvres I eventually managed to furnish all twenty-something persons with a cup of tea, correctly milked, sugared and stirred. There was an expectant pause as Penny, undisputed master of the tea ceremony and chairman of the board, lifted his cup to his lips and sipped at the steaming treacly brew.

“Joseph”, he pronounced. “This tea is undrinkable! What on earth do you think you’re doing?”

“I did put in one for the pot…..”

“Take him outside and shoot him!” decided Penny, to general assent. “I forbid you ever to make tea again!”

The entire company threw their tea away, and I, to my immense relief, became the subject of an ordinance denying me further access to the teapot. The mental scars have never healed.

The last of the three shows was in Liverpool, and passed off comparatively peacefully after the shameful scenes at the Mayflower. For me, one of the most interesting and ironic spectacles was that of the audience fighting for badges at the end of the night. After their final song, members of Crass would return to the front of the stage and, like medieval sowers of seed, throw out handfuls of slogan-toting pin-on buttons to the frenzied horde, who would scrabble and trample on each other to collect this largesse.

Zounds woke up to find themselves alone late the next morning. Crass and Poison Girls had set off early to cross the Pennines for the next gig. We ate a leisurely breakfast, smoked a few guilt-free spliffs for the road, and set off back to London.

Joseph Porter

A few memories of Manchester Mayflower from Richard Famous:

This gig was part of a “Northern Tour” (7th – 19th Oct) with Crass that took in Rochdale, Halifax, Hull, Huddersfield, Middlesborough, Bradford, Winsford, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Cleator Moor. Both bands were based in a house in Manchester.

From the gig diary:

Friday 17th Oct Mayflower Manchester

Nice place, good sound but since the last time we were here it’s obvious how vulnerable the stage is. Large gobby crowd, very brat boy – with lots of little fights and a very violent atmosphere all through the evening. We played really well but were disgusted by the gobby brats at the front. Do they really think we like it Joy and Nil get hit by bouncers for trying to break up fights! Zounds played and were disgusted by the gobby brats too. Set list: Waves (Promenade Immortelle), State control, Persons Unknown, Old Tart, Bully Boys, Hero, Hole in the Wall, Other, Daughters and Sons, Polly, Dirty Work, Alienation and Cry

Interesting that I noted that we all got throat infections during this tour. All the dates have ‘fights broke out’, and there was an undercurrent of violence at all these gigs. Seemed to be par for the course in those days. Also seemed to be the height of the ‘gob’ era (which was disgusting).

Richard Famous

A few memories of Manchester Mayflower from Penny Rimbaud and Pete Wright:

There was a short ‘matinee performance’ for the persons in the hall who did not want to be filmed as a documentary film crew was in attendance. A few songs were performed by Crass and then the cameras were turned on and the whole set including the earlier songs were repeated.

Steve ‘playfully’ dived at one of the cameramen filming at the side of the stage. The cameraman fell off the stage as he avoided Steve! That was not the only injury of the night. Penny was testing a light socket and foolishly fiddled with the light socket a little too roughly and was thrown twenty feet across the stage prior to the Mayflower opening to the public. Joy was punched in the face by a Mayflower security guard so had a bruised eye. After the performance was finished Penny got up from his drum stool and managed to bang his head on one of the metal screen support bars.

As an aside Irish Ray who lived in the same village as Phil Free had done some years prior to Crass forming, was enlisted as security for Crass at many gigs across the country after the situation at Middlesbrough and Joy being hit at the Manchester Mayflower. Previous to these gigs in 1980 there was also violence at the Conway Hall, Aklam Hall and in Waterloo the year before.

Irish Ray was a large man who had several fingers deep into the London gangster underworld. Few people in their right mind would dare take Irish Ray on. In the 1960’s Ray had driven a car through the window of the Soho cafe that the Krays owned to make some sort of a point. On another occasion Ray had entered a cafe in Kings Cross that owed someone that Ray was ‘working for’ a fair amount of money. There were plenty of customers in the cafe at the time. Ray went in and demanded the money owed to the pleas of the cafe owner. “What you going to do about it? There are customers here hearing you threaten me”.  As one, all of the customers got up off their seats and destroyed the cafe. The customers were there with Ray as back up.

Ray being pushed around by teenage boneheads was not going to worry him too much and he tended to calm things down a little if any trouble was brewing at any of the venues that he was in attendance at.

The book by Lee Gibson, ex Brougham Road resident, writer / editor of Anathema fanzine and contributor / editor to many others.

Lee moved in the same circles as The Mob and the Kill Your Pet Puppy Collective for some years. Here in black and white print throughout this immense 214 page A4 book are memories of Lees early years from 1976 all through to around 1986.

Lee takes the reader though countless Crass and Poison Girls gigs, some pretty rough nights along with various visits to both Crass and Poison Girls HQ’s. There seems to be dozens of pages relating to The Mob, Brougham Road and various houses that the Puppy Collective would be just about surviving in. Lots of squat horror stories, Stop The City runabouts, drug abuse, The Apostles, Crowley magick and plenty more.

As an added bonus some of Lees original interviews from his fanzines are carefully reprinted half way through this book, massive texts of the thoughts and feelings of The Fall, Crass, Poison Girls and Andy T from the very early 1980’s.

This book seems to be the real deal for anyone who may be interested in reading one persons account of the early anarcho punk culture which was an important, and sometimes scary, time for many of the young people involved.

Absolutely insanely cheap at £8.50 – but having the quality of a £20 book.

A must for anyone interested in this era of the anarcho punk scene.

You may purchase Lee Gibsons book HERE

Downwarde Spiral in association with Bedsit Press present this tome by Joseph Porter ‘Genesis To Revolutions – The Curse Of Zounds Demystified’.

This beautifully presented book is an excellent read.

The book is  Joseph’s story from growing up in the Somerset countyside, getting into punk rock, the Yeovil scene with The Mob, Stonehenge, joining Zounds and stories of touring in the UK and in Europe. There are stories of various recording sessions, Crass, the Mob, Brougham Road, Rough Trade and the Black Sheep housing co op – It’s all in the book.

It is an extremely well written book. It is also one of the most amusing books I have encountered.

You can get the book by sending Joseph £10 (UK orders) via paypal to the following email address 56134@blythpower.co.uk.

The cost of the book is a little more to send to places not in the UK. £13.62 (Europe orders) and £16.06 (other parts of the world).

There is a kindle version from Amazon for £5.13.

Purchase the officially sanctioned Poison Girls ‘Hex’ album HERE

Or from All The Madmen distribution while stock last HERE

Purchase the officially sanctioned Poison Girls ‘Chappaquiddick Bridge’ HERE

Or from All The Madmen distribution while stock last HERE

BUY BUY BUY THE DAMNATION OF YOUR SOUL!

And again thank you Pete Fender for the patience and the offer to restore and remaster the original cassette tape exclusively for Kill Your Pet Puppy!