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

November 5th, 2014

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).

Penny Rimbaud and Pete Wright for sharing a few stories with me on the 1980 Middlesbrough Rock Garden and Manchester Mayflower gigs and for the permission to use the Crass audio.

Richard Famous for the permission to use the Poison Girls 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 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!

HALLOWEEN by P W Barnabas / PART1 album re-issue on All The Madmen records

October 31st, 2014

Firstly I would like to thank P W Barnabas for allowing me to place the Halloween story onto the Kill Your Pet Puppy site exclusively.

P W Barnabas sent this story to me originally on the evening of Halloween 2012 and I now have the great pleasure in placing the story onto this post so that browsers may read it.

Thanks to Ferelli for the use of his art on this Halloween post.

INTRODUCTION

There are no ancient witches casting spells in fire and darkness. Their screaming hatred does not crackle among the night-time, scarred black trees.
There are no madmen, indestructible and merciless, standing in the broken midnight door, and their breath clouding white in the cold moonlight, their wicked eyes searching the horrors scratched inside their solitary skulls.
There are no ghosts waiting the long years, with bony fingers feeling out to grip, with steely knives flashing out to slash the bubbling life from the hated living.
All there is, is three University Professors trying to solve the problem that has puzzled the highest and the lowest since time began.
‘What happens when we die?’

IN THE BEGINNING

“Otto, we can’t make this change. I know the danger of the new heresies, and even the possibility of the Pagans gaining more power. I know all this, but we can’t make a change of this magnitude, Otto. The Bishops will never accept it…”
The man sitting at the table lifted a heavily ringed finger to silence the speaker. When he was sure the other man was listening, he spoke.
“My friend, if you are going to disagree with me, I suggest you address me as ‘Your Holiness’.”
“But…but…”
Pope Otto raised his eyebrows at his friend, the Bishop.
“Julian, let me make this clear: the thirty-first day of the month of October is perhaps the most important day in the Pagan calendar. The energies that it inspires must be used for the purposes of Mother Church. We must take this day from the enemies of Christ. Yes?”
Julian realised that Otto’s mind was made up. Otto was a clever and resourceful man. He intended to leave his mark on the Christian calendar. Julian might voice his objections in private, but he was not going to stand against Otto, the most powerful man in the Christian world, and the direct representative of God on Earth.

The Christian world at this time was a mess of heresy. Groups led by madmen, priests, soldiers, ambitious rulers and all sorts, were springing up. The Holy Mother Church was losing the struggle for the souls of the people. The last day of October was the end of the Celtic year. It was the Feast of the Dead. The sun entered the gates of Hell on this day of the Celtic calendar. Evil spirits could escape, and roam the world doing mischief.
“Julian, my friend, sit down, please sit down. I will tell you what I propose to do. I will make an order allowing three Masses to be said on this day, the same as on the Day of the Birth of Christ. There will be a special Mass said for the dead. It will be a day of prayer for the souls of the Saints and Martyrs. The people will forget that it was ever a part of a different calendar. This is what I will do. Will you stand by me?”
The Bishop drummed his fingers on the table, thinking hard. He feared for the souls of God’s children on earth. Did the strength of Mother Church lie in its stability, or in its flexibility? He did not envy Otto. The Church was weaker than most people realised. The massive walls of the Abbey were only walls of stone. The wealth of the Church was only as safe as the strength of those to whom it was entrusted. The Authority of the Pope rested on the support of the Bishops.
“What will you call this festival, Your Holiness?”
“Please, Julian, call me Otto. It will be the Festival of All Saints. It may also be known by the Hallowed Names of the Saints and Martyrs. Yes, ‘All Hallows’ Eve’.”

“We are tampering with forces we do not understand,” thought Julian. His fears would echo down the centuries. Difficult and dangerous was the world of God’s children.
The two men sat in silence.

THE DISCUSSION

“We are tampering with forces we do not understand!”
There was silence in the room.
The three people sitting in the warm, subdued light looked at each other to see who would break first. The silence lengthened.
Professor Sarah Goring was the first to give in.
Her burst of laughter echoed round the room and set the whisky glasses on the tray ringing in sympathy. Her companions collapsed in helpless laughter. They each sat in their comfortable armchair, the firelight shining on their faces, unable to get the hackneyed phrase out of their minds. No one could remember which particular ‘Frankenstein’ film the line was from, but the more they thought about it, the funnier it seemed.
Finally, the three friends fell again into a silence, disturbed only by the crackling of the fire, and an occasional giggle which threatened to set them all going again.

Despite the laughter, there was an atmosphere of tension between them. Professor Goring’s ideas might have come from one of the flood of cheap horror movies which filled the cinemas in the 1960’s, and not from the mind of a respectable university Professor.
But, somewhere, a nerve had been touched. The room was full of ghosts – full of possibility.

“Sarah?”
“Yes, Paul?”
“What is Halloween? I mean, what is it apart from that dreadful American habit of encouraging kids to dress up, knock on doors, and risk my boot up their backsides…?”
“And that oppressive series of films of the same name, which” interrupted Professor Ketley, “even on my loneliest Saturday night, I manage to avoid!”
“Spoken like true Protestants,” laughed Sarah, picking up her glass and watching the swirl of alcohol above the surface of the pale liquid. She filled her mouth with whisky. The fumes, evaporating in the warmth, caught at the back of her throat, and threatened to start her coughing. She waited. The feeling subsided. The taste of moorland and granite rock, and the hint of a warm Highland fire on a cold, rainy night filled her with a sense of well-being. She settled deeper into her chair, in no hurry to speak and waste the pleasure of the fine spirit.

“Halloween, my dear Paul, ignorant as you are of all the finer points of Catholic theology, is the shortened form of ‘All Hallows’ Eve’.”
“That doesn’t make me any wiser,” said the engineer.
Sarah snorted, and continued her explanation in her favourite, and most annoying, teaching voice.
“We poor Catholics believe that the souls of the dead go to Heaven or Hell…”
“Or some place in between…?”
“Yes, Paul, Purgatory. The sinners, who haven’t condemned themselves to Hell for all eternity, go to Purgatory, where they are not lost, but are not saved. They suffer, but they have the hope of finally being released and going to Heaven…”
“I don’t believe in Heaven,” interrupted Professor Ketley.
Sarah looked across at the mischievous twinkle in the Professor’s eye, and said,
“George, can we limit the conversation to Christian theology? If we have to explore the finer philosophical points of your Jewish fore-fathers, we’ll be here all night!”
“We’re here all night, anyway,” said Paul, smugly.
“You know quite well what I mean, Paul. Listen: once a year, all the poor souls in Purgatory are freed for one night to wander the earth. Prayers for mercy for these tormented souls, made by the living, may be heard and may shorten their suffering. The souls of those in Purgatory have a chance of eternal bliss if only one of their living friends or relatives – or some other generous person – prays for their salvation. Haven’t you ever heard of the phrase, ‘don’t speak ill of the dead’? Halloween, and the possibility of the wishes of the living being able to affect the dead, is where this saying comes from.”

Paul looked out of the un-curtained windows at the night. The firelight sometimes caught on the branches of trees near the house. He moved uncomfortably in his chair. His whisky glass balanced, swaying and forgotten, on one of the padded armrests. He felt a chill run down his spine. He did not know why, but Catholicism always managed to strike a raw nerve in him. It was as if his own liberal, ‘Church of England’ upbringing had allowed him to play at religion, to convince himself that God, if he existed, was like a kindly, retired Colonel, sometimes indulging in fits of irritation.
Catholicism was altogether more dark and serious, more sensual, more hellish. The Protestants looked after the consciences of the middle classes, while the Catholics inhabited the land of the sick and the dead.
Sitting there, safe but uneasy, he imagined a night populated by desperate spirits, hearing their wailing, whispering voices in the wind and the rustle of leaves.

THE PROPOSAL

“Paul. Paul. Hey, Paul, pay attention,” said Professor Ketley, in a theatrical whisper, winking at the woman opposite him. “I think you’ve done well to start daydreaming. You’ve missed most of Sarah’s ‘tale of terror’. However, it seems to me that she is finally going to tell us precisely what is on her mind. Sarah will explain the mad project she has invented, and say how she needs our help.” Ketley sank back in his chair and adopted a pose of intense readiness.

The fumes of alcohol had not clouded Professor Goring’s mind. She judged that the time and the tone of the conversation were just right.
“Gentlemen, I want to hold – to trap, if you like – the soul of a dead person. Not for ever, but just long enough to prove that the spirit survives the body.”
Neither man was foolish enough to show his surprise. Sarah might be a little mad, or even just enormously bored with academic life, but she was a powerful force in the life of the university. Her mix of theology and philosophy had won her the respect of many of the great minds in her college. Ketley’s own speciality in the area of probability mathematics, and Paul’s brilliant work in the creation of remote electrical fields, meant that all three were working at some frontier of thought or science.
Ketley took a deep breath.
“How?” he asked.
“George,” replied Sarah, sitting forward on the edge of her seat, “If I wanted scientists to invent an anti-gravity machine, the first thing I would do would be to fake some film of one working. Once people believe that something is possible, they stand a better chance of inventing it. The same here. If I free my mind from the impossibility of doing what I want to do, I might find a way of doing it.”
“You mean like the Zen idea of ‘each journey starting with the first step’,” said Paul, realising immediately that she hadn’t.
“Meaning that each journey starts with the idea that the journey is possible!”

Sarah looked at each man in turn to make sure she had their full attention, before continuing.
“There is one month to go before the night of November 1st, Halloween. In that month, I want to create with you two gentlemen, a machine which will attract, hold, and make visible, the soul of some dead person in Purgatory who is allowed to roam the earth on that night each year…”
“What do they get out of it?” asked Paul, a little facetiously.
“I will pray for their salvation,” replied Sarah, simply.

Both men experienced the same thing at the same time. There was no escape. Sarah might have wild ideas, but her grasp of psychology was perfect. The word, ‘NO!’ screamed in each man’s head, but the damage was done. Like great engines starting to turn, their minds engaged. There was no stopping them. If there was a way to create such a machine, they would find it. The search would fill their dreams and their waking days. The desire had been born.
After all, what more original work could they do than help prove, once and for all, the existence of an afterlife?

THE MACHINE

Paul worked swiftly in the weeks that followed. Professor Goring was right. Once the mind was free from the sense of impossibility, a whole landscape of possibility started to grow. How could a soul exist, once you assume that it did exist? Where does it live and move and have its being?
It would not be true to say that Paul had any definite idea in his head. It was more a feeling, a sense that an area where he already worked had a quality that might be worth exploring. He smiled. The accuracy of his intuitions was legendary in the small, enclosed world of the university, and perhaps in some other centres of specialised research.
“Better to be born lucky than rich, they say!”
The figures pouring from the neat point of his pencil onto the notebook looked cramped and tense. He spun the pencil up into the air and caught it absentmindedly, before jamming it behind one ear and walking over to the blackboard which covered one wall of the room. He picked up a piece of chalk.
His equations and sketches wandered erratically over the wide expanse. Many of the equations had a terribly strong desire to vanish to zero, or to explode uselessly to infinity. Determined, he wrenched them back from the brink, substituting and modifying, trimming and persuading. After hours of intense work, the flamboyant expressions tailed off towards the bottom right hand corner of the board.
Paul snapped a piece of chalk between his fingers and flicked the ends away with a grunt of disgust. White chalk-dust hung in the air, lit by the sunlight streaming through the windows. Paul watched the particles suspended in light. He blew a sigh of fatigue. The dust cloud suddenly tumbled and whirled. The scientist saw and didn’t see. He could almost hear the click in his head as the thought formed. He had spent days looking for some way to attract Dr Goring’s ‘ghosts’, knowing nothing about what they might consist of. Then he realised what the dust symbolised.
What if…? What if…?
Paul allowed himself the pleasure of reasoning out loud:
“Forget ‘attraction’. Think about ‘repulsion’! Only specific things are attracted by other specific things. It’s too ‘specific’! If you want to hold something in, you build a wall round it. The wall will hold many different sorts of things in – from microbes to elephants, from air to heat to light, from pigs to protons.
“Don’t worry about what a ‘spirit’ might be made of. Just erect an enclosure that will repel and contain as many different ‘essences’ as possible! That’s why my equations were trying so hard to disappear to nothing. The amount of energy involved with a ‘ghost’, ‘spirit’, or whatever these things are, must be tiny, almost nothing. I was looking for the solid chalk ‘ghost’. I must look for the ‘ghost’ of chalk-dust!”
The engineer let go a string of expletives in the best possible humour. A class of particle-physics students passing in the corridor were shocked. They wondered whether their parents, who had spent so much money to have their precious children educated at the great university, would really approve. They hurried away like a flock of startled geese.

THE TELEPHONE

“George?”
“Paul.”
“Look, George, I don’t know if you’ve made any progress.”
“Progress?” Professor Ketley felt a shade of resentment pass through him at the thought that Paul might have found some way of dealing with this crazy problem, which had haunted them both, day after day.
“You know that I’m a ‘nuts and bolts’ man, George. I was so busy thinking about how to attract Sarah’s ‘ghosts’, that I’ve only just realised that a better way might be to think about holding them in, and concentrating them into an enclosed area. If I tried to create a machine that would throw an ‘energy fence’ round a specific area, the energy force which would repel and contain things that science already knows about, might also have the same effect on things that science doesn’t know about.”
There was a pause. Paul could hear the other man breathing at the end of the line. He sensed that George was trying to digest the implications of what his friend had just said. The pause went on.
Finally, there came a single word, “Right.”
“Right what, George? ‘Right’, that’s a brilliant idea, tell me more? Or, ‘right’, this man is crazy!”
“The former.”
Paul always had to work out the ‘former/latter’ thing from first principles.
“Right.”
“Right what, Paul?”
“Professor Ketley, I would like you to give some thought to the probabilities and possible energy balances of these imaginary ‘ghosts’. I would like to make our machine as effective and tuned as possible.”
“That goes without saying, my dear chap!” said George, in the tones of a British fighter pilot in a world war two film. “I’ll get back to you.”
“George?”
“What?”
“What do you think?”
“What do I think, Paul? I think it’s fucking brilliant!

SOULS AND ENERGY

Ketley sat at his desk in his rooms at college. Outside, the ancient stonework shone grey or sand coloured in the cold light of the short afternoon. Soon, the light would go from the sky. He would feel that brief but deep depression which always came at the end of another day. He picked up a dart from a multicoloured collection in a large jam jar, and flung it at the circular target hanging from the back of his entrance door. His students were always a little afraid, when they entered for a tutorial, that they might be stuck with a dart. George made no attempt to put the dart-board anywhere safer. Eccentricity was expected, almost demanded, from the higher ranks of the teaching staff.
The Professor hardly noticed where his dart landed. Two words kept bouncing around in his brain. They danced and swirled, played and fought, like two nymphs from a particularly syrupy section of Disney’s Fantasia. ‘Soul’ and ‘energy’. Energy and souls.
The problem that Paul had set him was not to find the energy form that a soul might have. No one had ever got close to doing that, although some colleagues from a certain disreputable Californian university had boasted that they had succeeded – he doubted it. The West Coast was where all the US lunatics came to rest before they fell into the sea! His problem was to find what the energy form probably was.
Piled on a table were stacks of books about the Occult. George had hoped for some clue, some starting point from which to predict the possible qualities that ‘ghosts’ or ‘spirits’ might share with the more measurable world.
George knew that most of the material world followed the play of possibility and probability. On the level of ‘real’ matter, nothing was absolute – it only looked that way to the untrained observer.
The minutes ticked by. With a sigh, George swung his chair round to face a decidedly ‘untraditional’ computer. It was brand new, powerful, and still smelled of new electronics and plastic. It blinked to life. With the unexpected dexterity of a ‘touch-typist’, George set up a simple but very specific mathematical expression, and sent it to play in the mysterious digital world of electrons.
“Time for tea,” said Professor Ketley, strangely tired by the afternoon.

THE PRIEST

It was the evening of the next day. Earlier on in the day, Professor Ketley had enlisted the help of several of his students to take all the books on the Occult back to the college libraries from which they came. He offered no explanation for his strange reading matter. The students talked quietly to each other and shot him meaningful glances when they thought he wasn’t looking. Ketley smiled, and remembered how conservative he too had been when he was their age.
As he drove through the clinically bright streets, under the expensive street lights, he thought how easy it was to miss the obvious solution to a problem. His race to the Occult libraries in the university was like a man with an illness going straight to the faith-healers, rather than visiting his doctor.
Ketley had phoned an old friend from his student days. The man was now a priest attached to one of the largest Catholic churches in the area. He had made an appointment to meet him that evening. Ketley crossed the old town. He thought about this friend, John, and about their time as students. It was an unlikely friendship, the intense religious belief of the short and dark-haired son of a factory worker, against his own glib and self-satisfied wanderings, fuelled by whatever drugs he could get his hands on. Ketley smiled to himself at a thought that had just occurred to him.
“We were a bit like George and the Dragon: John was Saint George, while I was definitely behaving like a dragon, gobbling up maidens and setting fire to my college rooms.”

The church stood tall and massive in the distance. The priest’s house next to it was a ghastly Victorian monster. Professor Ketley swung into the drive and pulled up before the porch, which was lit only by a weak and dusty bulb. A bell rang shrilly in the distance when he pushed the brass button. Footsteps approached, and the hall light came on. Ketley thought to himself how he hated the government campaign to ‘switch off’ unneeded lights to save energy. His own rooms blazed with light, night and day.
“George, it’s good to see you. Come in!” The man who spoke was even shorter than George remembered. The priest stared up at him as he took his hand and shook it warmly.
“It’s good of you to see me at such short notice, John. I have to confess that this isn’t a purely social call. I need to see a ‘specialist’.”
The priest glanced searchingly at his old friend, looking for signs of illness. People like Professor Ketley only felt the need to involve themselves in religion if something terrible was occurring in their life. He saw nothing. He shrugged and led the way into his study. The smell of old leather-bound books and wax polish filled the room. A bottle and two glasses stood waiting on a side table.
“Sit down, my friend. I hope you don’t mind me sitting at my desk. I have to confess that it’s the most comfortable seat in the house. What can I do for you?”
George paused, before deciding to get straight to the point.
“What can you tell me about souls in Purgatory, John?”
A slight smile appeared on the priest’s lips.
“Is this a personal enquiry, George?”
Both men burst out laughing.
“No, no. I’m not checking up on my future accommodation! Do you know Dr Sarah Goring of the university?”
George noticed a troubled look, almost of shock, appear for a moment on the priest’s face.
“Yes, I think I met her at one of those interminable college suppers. She seems very … bright.”
“John, she is. You remember Paul too, that crazy engineer who was always inventing things? Well, Sarah has asked us to help her with a little experiment.”
“Yes?”
“She wants to prove the existence of ‘souls’.”
The priest paused, leaning back in his chair and twiddling his thumbs with his fingers locked together.
Again, George thought he saw some intense emotion in the other man.
“And how does she propose to do this?”
Father John was quite accustomed to the occasional studies being undertaken at the university theology department, and in the groups of strange and/or mad people who always seem to gather on the edges of the great centres of learning. But he was also aware that Paul, George and Sarah did not quite fit into this category. He did not know why, but he was suddenly filled with a deep sense of trouble ahead.

THE LESSON

“Well, John, as far as I understand, Sarah wants to prove the existence of the ‘soul’ by – how can I put it without sounding callous? – by capturing or holding a soul – this is mad – by trapping a soul on the night of Halloween, when she believes – and you probably believe – that the souls of those in Purgatory are free to roam the earth. I know it sounds stupid. When I put it into words, I feel like someone in a cheap horror film!”
Father John said nothing for some time. Ketley sensed the unease in the other man, who stirred occasionally in his seat. The glass of brandy before him was left untouched. Finally, his old friend sat forward and placed his hands flat on the worn, polished surface of his desk.
“George, we’ve known each other for a long time. You’re a liberal, educated man. You’re talking to a man who believes in many things that you find ridiculous. But you should understand this, before we talk any further: my faith requires me to believe certain things. You have the privilege of being able to pick up and discard ideas as you wish. You are safe in the all-embracing arms of the university. You can … er… experiment with belief.
“I am different. Not only does my faith require me to believe, but my whole life is structured around these beliefs. People on the outside do not realise the consequences of this. Not only are these beliefs very real to me, but they bring me in contact with energies – with forces – of which most people know nothing.
“You say you want to ‘trap’ souls. I don’t believe you have thought about what it means if this is actually possible.”
Ketley felt as if the air in the room had cooled suddenly. He realised that his own easy-going, academic world did not hold true here. In some ways, this was the real world.
The priest saw his discomfort.
“Let me tell you a little anecdote, which I think is true, but even if it’s not, it’s a good example of – how can I put it? – of different levels of reality.
“You like classical music, don’t you? Beethoven?”
“I prefer Mozart, but yes, I listen to Beethoven.”
“Beethoven was sitting in a field one day. He had just invented a little sequence of four notes. Nothing special, but the notes just kept running through his head. At that moment a friend of his came up to him in the field. It was a nice day. He was out walking. Now, this friend owed Beethoven some money. Beethoven said that he thought it was time his friend paid back the money. The friend asked, ‘Must it be?’ and Beethoven replied, jokingly, ‘Yes, it must be’.”
Father John beat a short drum roll with his fingers on the surface of his old desk in a way that George knew well, before continuing.
“Beethoven thought about this incident. He thought about the little question and answer. From this tiny seed, from this idea and the four notes, Beethoven created one of the most profound and moving pieces of music ever written about the nature of life.”
Ketley sipped his drink. The priest’s words were not lost on him. The parallel was obvious. His own question and answer were, ‘You want to trap a soul?’ ‘Yes.’ The talent at his disposal was three of the most acute minds in the university. All at once, the comfortable, middle-aged college professor was filled with fear. For the first time in his life, Professor Ketley sensed the nearness, the presence, of death.

OCTOBER

How did they do it? The time was so short. Fortunately, the university allowed plenty of space for academics who were suddenly caught by a new idea. They could pursue it without having to worry about their college commitments. New ideas were the life-blood of the university. The teaching duties of the two men were picked up by their colleagues. They were free to work on their new project. Rumours sped round the ancient buildings. The one most believed, was the idea that there was an attempt being made to ‘raise the dead’. This speculation brightened the life of many a bored, tired academic.

They were lucky. Paul found that most of the equipment he needed was already available in one form or another. He and Professor Ketley worked long and hard trying to ‘tune’ the equipment, to focus on that strange, elusive probability barrier between existence and absence.
They slept little. They grew close through the long hours. Often, they would be found deep in hushed conversation over a table loaded with empty beer glasses in one of the town pubs. It might be ten o’clock in the morning, or midnight, with the landlord waiting patiently to lock up. They had lost all sense of time.
Attempts by their fellow professors to get information out of them, were met with resolute silence. They oscillated between moods of elation and depression, depending on how the project was going. So unpredictable was their reception of their colleagues that they were finally left alone. College life moved about them, as water about a rock set in a stream.
The month of October was nearing its end. The weather had been fine. Some of the tourists were still seen in shirtsleeves or light summer dresses. The bright, warm days followed each other calmly. Each morning, faces were turned to the sky and scanned the horizon for any sign of the weather breaking. Only a slight chill in the air at dawn and after sunset betrayed the lateness of the year.

THE TEST

At the time the machine was ready for testing, restoration work was going on in one of the college refectories. Layers of grime were being cleaned off the wood panelling on the walls. At night, the workmen went home. The huge hall was deserted. Old dust and new mingled in the smell of turpentine and varnish. The portraits of the past heads of college were all put in storage, and the pale patches left behind on the oak panelling began to look darker than the cleaned areas.
This was the place where the two men chose to set up their equipment. No-one would disturb them after ten o’clock at night when the college gates were locked. There was a good power supply from the cleaners’ equipment. The old wiring of the hall, dating back nearly fifty years, could never supply the current required.

Most of their equipment was unboxed, a mass of trailing wires and exposed circuitry. Several pieces refused to function when they were turned on. Patiently, Paul worked away, replacing, reconnecting, and sometimes even thumping, until there was a uniform glow of indicator lights and a quiet hum from each of the linked parts. The machine formed a circle of ‘nodes’, each joined to the next by heavy, black cable. From the top of each node projected two thin, parallel, glass rods, rising up more than two metres into the air. At the top of each rod was a complex prism of glass from which flashes of light, reflected from the workmen’s lamps, shot out in narrow beams. Although the prisms were stationary, the direction of the reflected light beams changed suddenly and randomly.
Professor Ketley dismissed the first idea that came to his mind, of the refectory looking like a ‘high tech.’ disco. No, the play of light was altogether more subtle, more purposeful. George had no idea what was going on in the network of machinery. He watched Paul’s face carefully to see if he could detect any sign of elation or disappointment.
“Is it working, Paul?”
“It’s just warming up. I haven’t activated all the fields yet. I think we must try to introduce them a little at a time, and see what happens. I don’t want to set it all in resonance at once, until we have the full-scale layout of the nodes at Sarah’s place. My resonance calculations are all to those dimensions. The ring here is less than a hundredth of the final size. We must be careful. It wouldn’t be difficult to do several hundred thousand pounds’ worth of damage to this little lot!”
“‘We are tampering with forces …’”
“George, we are tampering…etc. etc… that no-one understands!”

THE EDGE

Ketley noticed it first. Paul was busy watching the behaviour of his precious machine. There was no spectacular change in the equipment. The glass rods didn’t glow. There were no pyrotechnics. Somehow, this was more disturbing. He knew that most of the fields which the machine was generating worked even below the lower threshold of particle physics.
He felt a prickling on the skin of his face, like a million gentle flakes of snow brushing past all at once. He heard a low sound. It took a moment to realise that it was Paul calling his name repeatedly.
“Yes…yes, what is it?”
“George, move a little to your left. I think you are making that node opposite you oscillate. It’s unstable. Can you move?”
Ketley stepped away as he was told. The prickling sensation stopped.
Suddenly, the space within the circle of nodes seemed to come unhinged. Ketley glanced at the beams of light. His heart missed a beat.
In places, the beams from the prisms appeared to stop dead, and then continue from another place at a completely different angle. In other places, the beams seemed to duplicate, as if the space had suddenly become two layers of reality. Quickly, and with surprising self-possession, Ketley put a finger to the side of one of his eyes and pushed gently. The image wavered and overlapped. What he was seeing was definitely happening outside his head. It was not an act of imagination. The simple rules of stereo optics still applied.

Paul froze, half bent forward. The numbers on the display of the main controller’s sequencer changed and flashed at a furious pace. But that was not what worried the engineer. His whole body throbbed, it ached, with the sense of a presence in the ancient room. It was not even a uniform presence. It was legion. There was a feeling of untold essences filling and churning in the space. Nothing was visible. It was all instinct and intuition. The experienced and practical man felt a ball of blackness grow within him. It was not a void. It was the very essence of blackness, starting from the small ball and threatening to fill him, posses him. He was paralysed, bent forward. The numbers on the display were slowing. He felt a fear, a growing terror, that they might stop altogether. But he couldn’t move. He was on an edge from which there was no return.

A hand pushed the main power switch. The room cascaded into darkness.

The sounds of the streets in the town came faintly through the high, arched windows, distant reminders of the normal world.
Slowly, the eyes of the two men became adjusted to the dimness.
Professor Ketley’s hand still rested on the switch.

“What have we made, Paul? What have we made?”

THE INSTALLATION

“Where is Sarah. She said she would be here!”
The two men waited outside the house, which stood at the end of a lane, between fields and a wood.
George was annoyed. The change in the weather had set everyone on edge. The clear skies of the past weeks had given way to a poisonous and threatening dullness. The sky above their heads was a depressing, brown colour. The calmness and warmth through the month of October had been bought at a price. There was an aching tension in the air. Something was about to happen. The air was charged and close.
“For God’s sake, Paul, what are you doing?”
His friend was busy turning over the corners of the doormat outside Sarah’s front door. Sudden flurries of wind tousled his hair. He bent to look under discarded flower pots, and stretched to run his fingers along the ledge over the front door. George knew he was looking for a key. Paul’s calm and thorough hunt made George feel like an intruder.
“Does Sarah have a burglar alarm? Can you remember seeing one? George?”
George tried to picture the walls of the hallway in his mind.
“I can’t remember any alarm boxes. I never saw Sarah use a key inside the house. But, we…”
With the calm detachment of a thoroughly practical man, Paul took the hat off George’s head, placed it up against a small window pane beside the door, and punched out the glass. He reached in and unlocked the door.
His friend watched, open mouthed.
“We haven’t much time, George. Tonight’s the night!”
The phone started ringing in the hallway. The two men stepped inside and carefully wiped their feet. The answering-machine took the call automatically. A woman’s voice buzzed from the tiny speaker, “… Paul, I hope you’ve had the good sense to find a way in, and that you aren’t still standing outside waiting for me like a pair of lemons. I’m afraid I’ve been delayed for a little while. I’ll be with you as soon as possible, but do please set everything up without me, just in case I’m hours late.
“Switch off anything you like in the house to make sure you have enough power for the machine. There’s food in the fridge, and everything else is where you’d expect it to be. Don’t worry about walking mud into the house. Let’s make this work!…..”
The machine fell silent with a hollow click.
“I’ll start bringing the boxes in, shall I?”
“No, George. We’ll leave them in the van for now. I’ll set up the main controller in the shelter of that fence there. That way, our circle of nodes will enclose the house, part of those two fields, and the section of wood right down to the road, including the bridge over the stream,. It’s lucky that there’s a bridge there, otherwise I’d have to run cables over the road. We’ll have about a kilometre of cable running between the nodes, and we’ll enclose almost eighty thousand square metres of land. That should be enough, hopefully. Come on, let’s get it all set up and tested before the light goes!”

It was hard work. After an hour or two of strenuous labour, running out cables and carrying the boxes that contained the equipment for the ‘nodes’ from the van, both men were beginning to wish that they had recruited a couple of strong students to help with the lifting. It was too late now. They had to work on alone.
They sweated and swore, slipping on the leaves in the wood, tripping over tree roots, catching their clothes on barbed-wire fences, and filling their shoes with muddy water as they ran the heavy cables under the bridge. The van emptied. The circle was nearly complete. They arrived back at the house, but there was still no sign of Sarah.
“George, be an angel, and make us a sandwich and a cup of tea while I set up the sequencer, will you?”
“Paul, given the nature of the project, can you really see me as an ‘Angel’? However,” he added with a broad smile, “your wish is my command!”

READY

Paul had taken his power supply straight from the main switchboard in the house. Theoretically, the power should be adequate, but he was a little worried that there might be sudden fluctuations in the current taken by the equipment.
Sarah’s house stood alone in the countryside. Not many cars passed on the lane crossing the river. The equipment would be safe from interference by humans, but, if a large animal, like a deer, wandered too close to one of the ‘nodes’, it might make the whole system unstable. There was nothing they could do about that. It was a risk they would have to take.
Paul was pleased with himself. The links between the nodes were working perfectly. It was a tribute to his engineering ability. He set a small signal running through the ring, just to keep the electronics warm and dry. The device was far below the level of resonance. That would come later. The displays flickered. The numbers stabilised.
Paul unwound the cable from the sequencer’s remote-control unit back towards the house. The little black box worked all the functions of the machine. The sequencer would be drier and safer in the house, but Paul had decided that if anything went wrong with the experiment, he did not want to be anywhere near the sequencer. He had no illusions about the power of their machine. Sarah and George were relying on him for their safety, whether they realised it or not.
The sky was unnaturally dark for the time of evening. Clouds came to hang over the earth. Sudden, sharp winds twisted the branches of the trees. The earth waited.
It was the night of Halloween.

THE NIGHT OF THE SPIRITS

Father John sat at his desk and gazed out over the skyline of the old university town. He was a deeply troubled man. What was worse, was that he didn’t have any clear idea why he should feel this way. There was nothing unusual about the Mass he had conducted an hour earlier. The few people who bothered to attend had hurried away afterwards, frightened of being caught in a downpour from the threatening clouds that filled the sky.
No, his fears were not out there in the city. They were here inside him. He felt vaguely guilty. Weeks ago, with George, his old friend from his student days, he had felt too embarrassed to speak his mind directly. He regretted only giving that stupid ‘parable’ – Father John blushed at the thought – about Beethoven. What he wished he had said, was that he thought that the trio of university professors were playing a very dangerous game. The damage they could do could be permanent and devastating – he believed.
What could he do in these modern times, when belief had no real authority. Even in the Catholic Church, John’s views were seen as being a little irrelevant and old fashioned.
The priest fingered the beads of his rosary. His mind wandered. Purgatory: a place without God. John had often thought that this must be worse that Hell itself. He didn’t know if there was any real truth in the idea that those poor souls roamed the earth on the night of All Hallows. What he did know, was that the image of tormented beings, flying desperate and hopeless about the land, tortured forever by the nearness of life, was the saddest lesson to the living he could imagine. Yes, Hell was better – more definite.
Somewhere, deep inside him, John believed that sooner or later, he would know Purgatory. The formulas and rituals of his Catholic religion could not release him from the hopelessness of his hidden and terrible sin – the sin of the flesh, the forbidden love.
There was a knock on his door. It was Sarah.

THE HOUSE

The phone rang again. George picked it up.
“Hello, George?”
“Sarah?”
“Yes it’s me. Look … I’ve had to visit someone. I won’t be long, perhaps an hour and a half. I’m very sorry. Did you manage to get everything set up?”
“Yes, we did, but I’m still picking pieces of glass out of my hat…”
“What?”
“Never mind. Everything’s ready.”
“Great! Thanks. Can I speak to Paul, please?”
“Sure. Here he is……. Paul, it’s Sarah for you.”
“Hello Sarah. When does the wanderer return?”
“Paul, I’m really sorry. I know I’m late, and that I’ve left you both to do all the hard work. I’ll make it up to you somehow. Listen, Paul, I don’t know why, but I have an intuition that the machine should be started at sunset. Can you do that? I’ll be back as soon as possible. All the video, sound, temperature and pressure recorders are in the cupboard under the stairs. I think the whole lot will fit on the kitchen table. In fact, the kitchen is the exact centre of the ring, that is, if you’ve managed to get the ‘nodes’ set up in the positions we marked.”
“OK, leave that all to me, Sarah, but hurry back. As soon as the machine is started up, I’ll have to concentrate on keeping the circle stable – you know what George is like with anything technical. We need you back here to look after the sensors.”
“Yes, the ‘Professor of Probability’ will almost certainly wreck anything he touches. He’s just not a practical sort of man!”
“I’m listening to you two, you know,” said Professor Ketley.
They laughed. Paul put the phone down, and turned to his friend.
“Sunset. We start at sunset. These are good sandwiches, George, and there’s a lot of them!”
“It could be a long night. There’s also plenty of strong coffee on the stove to keep us awake. By the way, where is Sarah?”
“She didn’t say. Perhaps she has a secret lover. Perhaps she’s confessing all her sins. She takes her responsibilities very seriously!”
“Fine woman,” said George, wistfully.

SUNSET

The dark clouds seemed to meet as one with the ploughed fields in the distance. Paul looked at his watch. Suddenly, he felt a gentle glow of warmth on his skin. The sun cut a horizontal slash on the horizon, rich and yellow. Bright rays lit up the underside of the clouds. It was like a scene from a Renaissance painting, forming a perfect backdrop for the start of their strange and disturbing experiment.
The bright bar of light began to shrink as the sun sank lower. Both men stood outside the kitchen on the west-facing side of the house. Paul held the remote-control unit in his hand. At the moment the bar of sunlight shrank to nothing, leaving only a reddish glow behind, the engineer set the machine running. The lights in the house dimmed momentarily as the power surged through the cables between the nodes, and the nodes themselves started to hum with life.
It had begun.

WAITING

Nothing happened. The two men stood in the growing darkness, like children before a firework which refused to go off. Neither wanted to be the first to move.
“Do you feel it, Paul?”
“What?”
“It’s difficult to say. I feel as if all the ‘dust’ in my mind was being cleared away. I feel somehow more concentrated, more alert.”
“If you say so, George. Perhaps the charge we have put into the space within the circle has ionised the air here at the centre. That would certainly make you feel more awake.”
“Do you think it will work?”
“I hope to God that it doesn’t! There’s nothing more disturbing to a Agnostic, than the idea that there might be an ‘afterlife’.
“What do you think happens to people when they die?”
Paul looked out into the darkness of the night. He had not thought about these things for a long time. He smiled at his friend.
“Nothing is lost. And nothing has any meaning.”
“Nothing has meaning?”
“No meaning. Only value!”
Professor Ketley thought about this answer. He thought about the machine, and about what it was designed to do. He thought about the world that this night’s work might change forever. A sudden sadness filled him, clear and bright, and complete.

WITH THE PRIEST

“You’re angry, John. Why?”
Father John leant back in his chair, and stared at the telephone on his desk.
“For an intelligent woman, Sarah, you can be very unperceptive.”
He looked up, and saw the pain in Sarah’s eyes. The patience which his profession had taught him, was dangerously near its end.
“Why are you here, Sarah?”
“I felt I had to come. I wanted to see you before … before tonight; before the experiment.”
“Are you looking for an official referee from the Catholic Church?” asked the priest, a little sarcastically.
“John, please don’t be like that.”
“You don’t understand what you’re doing, do you? You have no idea of what is resting on this experiment of yours?”
Sarah’s heart ached. She couldn’t bear it. The love she felt for this man consumed her. It filled and blinded her.
“Sarah, priests study psychology. I am fully aware that the reasons people give for their actions, and their real motives are often worlds apart. Can’t you trust me in this?”
Sarah said nothing.
Father John looked into her eyes. He couldn’t hide what he felt – not from Sarah. He certainly couldn’t hide it from himself. No words of love were ever exchanged, no physical tenderness was ever shown, but they both knew. The priest feared for his soul, or rather, he felt that he might be lost already. He was helpless and resigned.
But, there was more depending on the experiment than the welfare of one man.
“Why, Sarah, why? Why must you do this? Please tell me how it can possibly be worth the risk?”
“Risk?” Sarah looked round the room. She examined the rows of religious books. She glanced at the crucifix on the wall. Finally, she turned back to face the priest.
“John, I must know! I must find out if the soul survives. The thing I want most in life – the thing I’ve wanted for most of my life – is out of my reach. I feel cheated. Perhaps in the next life …”
John listened to his breath going in and out. His mouth hung open. He felt the pricking behind his eyes, but he would not give in to the emotions raging within him.
“Love is a terrible thing, Sarah. The love of God is the only safe love. The love of man is capable of destroying everything.”
“But …”
The priest continued. His heart was open. He must speak.
“With certain and exact knowledge, there is no faith.
“Without faith, there is no salvation.
“Think, Sarah. If you prove the existence of an afterlife by science and measurement, where is the virtue in believing in God and following God’s commands?”
Sarah saw the tears of anguish in the man’s eyes.
“Sarah, your work tonight can strip the world of belief. You can destroy my life. You can make meaningless the lives of millions!”

PARTING

There was no sound in the room apart from the insistent, metallic ‘click, click, click’ of the priest’s cheap wrist-watch. The room was filled with pain and longing.
John slipped in and out of small prayers. He was powerless. All that remained to him, was the endless burden he had chosen to take on with his vows as a priest.
All he had was trust. His whole life was based on trust. He could not stop now. He must trust in God’s infinite mercy.

With a great effort, he managed to smile at the woman who stood clasping her hands a few feet away from him. He held up his palms.
“Peace!” He had become lighter, more businesslike. “Perhaps I’m attaching too much importance to the work of three ‘mad scientists’. The Church has survived for nearly two thousand years. Why not another thousand?”
John, I must tell you …”
“No, no, no,” interrupted the priest, standing up, “Tell me later. There will be plenty of time later on.”
Sarah allowed herself to be led out through the church. Someone was at work repairing the organ. A single note sang out in the space, sounding, at the same time, both melancholy, and patiently hopeful.
“John.”
“Sarah?”
“Goodbye.”
“God be with you too, Sarah, whatever happens.”

THE STORM

The threat was carried out. The storm broke. The sudden gusts of wind became more frequent, until they formed one continuous blast, wrenching at the trees, spinning leaves into the air, and upsetting the neat order of the garden.
George and Paul sat on chairs beside the laden kitchen table. They saw the tops of their heads reflected in the window panes, and beyond the glass, the turmoil and chaos of nature gone mad.
“Do you think the ‘nodes’ will stand up to this beating, Paul?”
“Well, if a tree doesn’t fall on one of them, the tripods should hold steady. The legs go at least two feet into the ground. The cones at the end of each leg will stop them being pulled out easily. Even if one of the nodes fails completely, there is a good chance that the circle of energy will hold. Whatever we had in the ‘net’ when we turned the system on, should still be inside. Whatever enters later will be held too,” he added.
“And?”
“As I said, whatever is inside will be driven towards the centre, eventually.”
“Eventually?”
“George, you weren’t paying attention when I told you all this, weeks ago! I’ll repeat: The nodes are generating electric fields at different times, and at different frequencies. It’s not the fields themselves which are important. It’s the relationship and timing between them which will drive Sarah’s ‘ghosts’ inward. The choice of time and frequency for each node is generated by the sequencer. It works – as you know – with some rather elegant probability calculations that you provided yourself. Remember?”
“You said, ‘eventually’?”
“Oh, yes. The energy structure of a non-physical entity, or even a dispersed physical entity will only coincide with the repelling force from the circle of nodes for a brief….”
“Paul?”
“What?”
“Thanks!”
“Anytime!”

SARAH ARRIVES

“Hello, you two. Thank heavens the rain has held off. It’s a wild night out there; trees down; tiles stripped from roofs. I’ve never been so glad to get home. How is everything going? I smell coffee!”
Both men noticed the flushed cheeks and the subtle lines of strain around the woman’s eyes. Both wondered where on earth she had been for the afternoon, especially since it was really her project.
“Anything to report?” she asked.
“Not a sausage! George thinks his ‘mental catarrh’ is better, but I wonder if it’s because he never stopped using those illegal stimulants from his student days!”
“Paul, please!” exclaimed George in mock indignation, “I’m a respectable college professor now!”
Paul smiled. “The words, ‘respectable’ and ‘college professor’ go together less often than most people think, my serious friend. Sarah, have a sandwich. Have a coffee.”
“I’m too excited. I’ll wait until later. What a filthy night! You could believe anything on a night like this.”

WAITING

“Are you sure that nothing has happened?” asked Sarah, after a long hour of waiting had passed uneventfully.
Paul looked at his notes. “Nothing. There was a power drop a while back, but that was probably an overhead cable damaged by the wind, and the power station having to re-route the supply. These things happen in weather like this.”
Professor Ketley stretched back in his chair, and looked in turn at each of his companions.
“Sarah, Paul, something occurred to me when I set up my original equations.”
“What was that?” said the pair in unison.
“I had to make a certain assumption right at the beginning. I won’t bore you with the mathematics, but the design of the field generator means that the forces are concentrated in a flattened ‘bubble’ of energy lying on the earth. The field reduces quite sharply above the upper level of the nodes, and it doesn’t go below ground level at all.
“I know the assumption that Sarah made, was that, if the souls of the dead do return, there will be a large number of them. This may be true, but if these ‘souls’ travel higher up in the air, or even below ground, we’re not going to ‘catch’ one. I’m sorry, Sarah. I know this experiment is very important to you, but for me, the whole project has been the challenge to create a sustainable field of this nature. The least I get out of the work we have done, is a substantial research paper. The same is true for Paul. Yes? No?”
Reluctantly, Paul nodded his head.
Sarah breathed a deep sigh. Why was everything so tied up with practicalities? She wanted answers. She didn’t want more problems. Why was her life so difficult, so hopeless? Why was the man she loved most in all the world, and had loved since her time at college studying for her first degree, unobtainable?
She swore under her breath, but the words offered no relief. Finally, she grinned at her two friends, and shrugged her shoulders.
“The night is young. Will you stay and see the experiment completed, even if we get nothing for our trouble? And…”
Sarah’s request was interrupted by a furious hammering. Their hearts skipped a beat. They turned and looked through the kitchen doorway, down the hall towards the front door. Even from that distance, they could see it shaking under the pounding. Sarah was the first to react.

THE MOTORIST

“Paul, you stay here and look after your machine. George and I will answer the door. The hammering continued without a break. The door rattled under the force of the blows. George felt his stomach lock in fear. Sarah went ahead and opened the door. It flew back with a violent scrabbling of desperate hands.
The man almost fell into Sarah’s arms. He was covered in mud, panting, red faced, eyes wild. Blood trickled steadily from a line of cuts across the side of his face. George felt an instinct to attack the madman and free Sarah from his clutches. Sarah saw it differently. She helped the man into the hallway, and pushed the door shut with her foot.
“You’re all right now. You’re safe. Sit down here. George, get come brandy. Bring the first-aid box from under the sink in the kitchen. Come on!”
Professor Ketley obeyed without thinking, pleased that someone was taking responsibility. The man was hoarsely gasping the same word over and over again. Finally, he understood what the man was trying to say: ‘telephone!’.

THE CAR

“You’re OK, you’re safe now. What’s happened?”
“The car! The car! The bridge! Down by the bridge! The crash! I saw the light here, through the trees. I ran as fast as I could. We must get help. Where’s the telephone? We must phone at once! Now!”
Sarah stopped bathing the cuts on the man’s face, and turned to pick up the telephone. She lifted the receiver and put it to her ear. There was no dialling tone. All she heard was a faint, crackling hum. She pushed down the button to close the circuit and released it. The same hum. She did this several times.
“Paul. Come here for a moment. Listen to this. Come here. It’s important. Tell me what’s wrong with the telephone. There’s been a crash. We must phone for help right away. Hurry up!”
Paul ran through from the kitchen carrying a small test-meter. He took the receiver from Sarah’s hand and listened, working the button up and down. He unplugged the telephone from its socket on the wall, and pushed the probes of his meter into the socket. After a few moments, he looked up at Sarah.
“It won’t work. The wires aren’t damaged, but the telephone-exchange won’t give us a line. I don’t know why.”
The man was calmer now. His breathing had steadied and lost its rasping quality. He took a deep breath and looked up at the three standing over him.
“We must get help. There’s been a terrible accident. I was driving back from work. I took this back road because I know how people drive on the main road in this awful weather. Everyone is in a mad rush to get home. I saw the rear lights of a car. Then I saw the tree down across the road – just by the bridge. I stopped, of course. I had to stop. The road was blocked. There must have been a crash. The car had driven into the tree, or the tree had fallen on the car. Terrible! We must get help!”
George put his hand on the man’s arm to get his attention.
“Someone is hurt? The person, the people in the car? Is someone hurt? Do you know how?”
“Of course! Because they hit the tree. They were hurt because they hit the tree!”
“No, no,” George persisted, “In what way are they hurt? Do you know how badly?”
The man looked up helplessly into Professor Ketley’s eyes.
“Too badly! I think … I’m sure they’re dead. Terrible! Twisted! Blood! We must … we must……”
“How many?”
“I’ve told you! There was only the driver. Terrible!”
“You’re sure that the driver is dead?”
“The eyes! The neck! White….white…”

The three experimenters moved away from the man and spoke together softly. Paul turned his back to the poor motorist and said hurriedly,
“One of us must go down to the bridge. George, if you are prepared to do it, we can give what help is necessary without having to turn off the machine. Do you understand? Sarah can look after this man. I can look after the equipment. We only need to run a few more hours.”
“It sounds a bit heartless,” said George after a moment’s thought, “But I suppose, if the driver is dead, we won’t help by wasting our night’s work – and all the weeks before. Don’t worry. I’ll go.”
“Thanks,” said Sarah, a little ashamed all the same.

George took a waterproof coat down from a hook by the door. It was a tight fit, but it was better than nothing against the scouring wind. There were no rubber boots his size. His wet shoes were cold on his feet. Sarah found a torch for him. Paul went into the kitchen and returned with a large battery lantern.
“It was for lighting up the nodes if anything went wrong in the dark,” he said, holding out the powerful torch. Professor Ketley took it, and went out through the front door, closing it behind him. The curtain beside the door flapped as the wind blew in through the broken window.

THE POWER OF THE MACHINE

“Sarah, bring him and the bottle through to the kitchen. It’s warm there. He’ll be all right.” Paul led the way.
“Poor woman,” muttered the motorist.
“What? Sorry. What did you say?”
“Poor woman. In the car: poor woman.”
Sarah felt a stab of sympathy for the driver, dying – if she was really dead – all alone on the wooded road.
“Perhaps it was quick. Perhaps she didn’t suffer too much.” The words sounded hackneyed and glib in her ears as she spoke. But she meant them, all the same. What more could we say about death. What words had not been used countless times before. They found their way onto thousands of different lips – always meant, never enough.
“Damn!” Paul swore quietly to himself.
“What is it, Paul?”
“I’m stupid. I should have realised. The phone. Of course, the phone. With all the energy we’re putting out, I’m surprised all we get is a hum, and not Mahler’s third symphony!”
“What are you saying?”
The motorist looked from one to the other. He did not seem to have noticed all the equipment piled on the table, the winking lights, the mass of cables running here and there in the comfortable country house.
“The machine! The energy fields are stopping the telephone from working properly. Sarah, I’m afraid we must turn off the device. We really must get help. Even if the woman is beyond help, we can’t leave her trapped all alone in that car for the whole night. It’s not right. Anyway, someone else may drive right into the back of her car. It’s not safe. We must turn the machine off! At once!”

THE MACHINE STOPS

Sarah stood back against the wall. She felt alone and confused. Her mind flew in every direction at once, looking for a way out.
But, underneath it all, she knew that Paul was right. It was selfish to continue the experiment if there was any chance that the phone might work again if the circle of nodes was switched off. George was not a trained medic. Even if the woman could be helped, he would not know what to do. He could only run back to the house, and the problem of the phone would still be there.
“I’m sorry, Sarah. Perhaps we can do this again next year.”

“Yes, Paul. Thank you. Turn the machine off.”
Paul paused for a moment, before reaching for the remote-control unit. The display glowed full of mysterious numbers. His finger hovered momentarily. He took a deep breath, and pushed the red button.

FADING

Sarah watched the screens and lights go blank. Immediately, as the life left the electric circuits, the room went from looking like a laboratory, back to being an ordinary kitchen, cluttered with strange bits and pieces of equipment. She felt a little faint.
“It must be the strain.”
The brightly lit room seemed to become less well defined. The edges of objects took on a vague halo, and were, somehow, insubstantial.
Sarah leaned back against the wall. The wall felt ‘soft’, as if her back was becoming numb.
“God,” she whispered to herself, “What a day! Still, it’s almost over.”
She experienced a little stab of surprise. Was she ill? The kitchen was now even hazier. She could not see along the hallway at all. Everything was hazier, dimmer. The light was going.
“What is happening?” She spoke out loud to the men sitting at the table. They did not seem to hear.
“It’s getting dark. What is happening to me? Paul. Help me. I can’t … I don’t … Call John. I want to speak to John.”
Sarah felt her mouth working, but no sound came out. The light was almost gone.

Sarah Goring faded from view, leaving the motorist and the scientist alone in the bright kitchen.

George looked at Sarah, sitting, dead, at the wheel of her car.
His tears fell on the corrupted and distorted metal panels, which were crushed beyond recognition by the great tree.
Professor Sarah Goring had the proof she wanted.
Either way, she had the proof.

P W Barnabas – October 31st 2012

Copyrighted – Ask Kill Your Pet Puppy for permission – Ask Kill Your Pet Puppy for permission – Ask Kill Your Pet Puppy for permission – Ask Kill Your Pet Puppy for permission

Artwork – Ferelli

An officially sanctioned reissue of the classic and long deleted PART1 mini album ‘PICTURES OF PAIN’ will be released soon on the All The Madmen record label in a suitably dark and moody coloured vinyl pressing. The sleeve will be adorned with the original artwork by Deborah Valentine and Nick Blinko that has been stored safely in the dark vaults of Mark Ferelli since the original release.

This mini album will also include an eight page lyric booklet with unpublished artworks by Mark Ferelli.

The original copies of this mini album were released on the Pusmort record label in 1985.

This reissue on the All The Madmen record label will celebrate thirty years passed.

More details may be gained from these sources very shortly:

PART1 FACEBOOK PAGE

ALL THE MADMEN RECORDS

ALL THE MADMEN FACEBOOK PAGE

 

Tony D interviewed for Noisey (Vice) / Doomed To Extinction / Maximum Rock And Roll

September 9th, 2014

Tony D (Mick Mercer collection)

1/

I’m an intern at Noisey France (Vice magazine musical platform) and I wanted to write an article about Kill Your Pet Puppy. At first because I’ve been following you for ages and discovered loads of punk and gothy bands, and also because I truly believe KYPP delivers the best snapshot of the whole British punk generation.

I’d like my piece to demonstrate how a 6-issue fanzine from the early 80s redeveloped into an ultra thick database on the Internet, with pictures, scans, videos and plenty of incredible (and touching) stories.

For that purpose, I’d really appreciate if you could answer a couple of questions for me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Here are my questions. I look forward to hearing for you and reading your answers.

Sarah: KYPP turned into a website in 2007, how did you come up with this idea? How did a six issue fanzine end up to be one the major showcase of an entire subculture and music of the ’80s era ?

It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. The story begins with the Kill Your Pet Puppy page on MySpace, started in March 2007, and grows from there. The MySpace project was sparked off as a response to Ian Glasper’s book on anarcho-punk, ‘The Day The Country Died’ which was published in late 2006.

Glasper only concentrated on the music, doing interview after interview with bands. I thought Glasper missed the main point of anarcho-punk, which for me was life-style, so the original focus of the MySpace page was on the culture and life-style of anarcho-punk.

This page attracted a lot of attention as loads of photos of punks and gigs from the time were uploaded and each punk was named and the location was noted. This was radical for the time, when normally a punk picture in the media would have a caption along the lines of, ‘some punks’.

The naming of people, because they were known and the situations they were in were known gave the site an immediate authenticity; this led to more photos and stuff being made available for the site.

There wasn’t a lot about anarcho-punk on the internet at the time, it had been virtually scrubbed out of history, and a lot of people from the time were delighted to see it being recognised – their past being given a validity if you like.

We quickly outgrew the space limitations on Myspace (at that time – there is now no limit on photographs uploaded, but there was in early 2007) and set up a photobucket site for the ever-expanding photo-collection.

Gerard (Gerard collection)

This inspired the move to our stand-alone website / blog, Gerard of the band Flowers In The Dustbin offered to help me set it up and it was launched in October 2007.

The focus was initially on the life-style and culture of anarcho-punk, what we felt was an untold and important story. However when moving to the site it was decided that some of the cassette-only releases from the time would be a good part of this forgotten history to start with, and went about tracking them down and putting them on the site to download.

Gerard was an inspiration behind this as he had started putting Flowers In The Dustbin tracks on his own site from old cassette tapes. Two other people were involved in setting up the site, Al Puppy and Penguin.

Al Puppy (Mick Mercer collection)

Al wrote analytical pieces about the era, putting them in context of the times.

Brother Rob and Penguin (Penguin collection)

Penguin took charge of adding music –he had the technical skill to do this having just starting doing it for The Mob and All The Madmen Myspace sites.

So as you can see it was never intended just to be a site about the fanzine, but about the culture of the time. The name Kill Your Pet Puppy was used for the site title because that’s what I was doing at the time we were going to be covering, and those around at that time knew the name so it would help them discover what was going on.

Sarah: KYPP has a really human feature, it’s not solely about known or rather unknown bands, but also about people. There are loads of personal stories, squatting experiences, birthday wishes, and sadly obituaries. Could you comment on that human and very authentic nature?

Calling the site Kill Your Pet Puppy, and being written by myself and other people known from the time, certainly helped others know this was as authentic as you could get.

It struck a nerve in a lot of people; who liked the open, frank and non-judgemental way this era was being opened up. The more tales of life we got, the more that followed – sometimes as posts but more often in long comments. Each post would often result in a hundred or more comments underneath.

I think people want to tell their story, and say, ‘yes this really happened, I didn’t imagine it’. Reading other people’s version of events also contributed to jogging memories, ‘ah yes I remember that gig / squat / event’.  When this started happening the ball really began to roll and I realised how much people wanted this story needed to be told.

Tony D’s typewriter (Mick Mercer collection)

Sarah: Politically, your fanzine (and website) clearly advocates for anarchy. It was founded in 1979, the year when Thatcher came into power and imposed tough and quite reactionary politics. As the regime get more radical, people (especially young people) gathered and created communities on the fringe of society. In today pretty troubled situation, deadly final cuts on NHS and Euro scepticism, could a second wave anarcho-punk happen?

There is a lot of opposition today, better organised and more determined than I ever was. It was a conscious decision not to use the site for commentary on current issues, as that would take more time and commitment than I have at present. Politically Indy Media do a far better job of it than we could ever do.

A ‘second-wave’ of anarcho-punk as in the music and bands may well be happening, there’s certainly a thriving live scene as illustrated by the gig guide on the KYPP site. You’d have to ask the bands themselves if they considered themselves anarcho-punk.

Sarah: What I really enjoyed about KYPP is the whole bunch of anecdotes and facts about bands I went through. Is there one anecdote about that period that you particularly like?

Bob Short’s (from the band Blood & Roses) writing about the time is second to none: the tale of a Friday night attack on his squat by drunken scousers has to be read to be believed. It was printed in his first book, ‘Trash Can’, and also extracted for the site HERE

This post on the KYPP site has since generated 555 comments. Bob’s account of meeting a goblin whilst squatting a hospital is another really good anecdote of the time, and can be found in his second book, ‘Filth’, both books were published by Independence Jones HERE

Sarah: You uploaded plenty of records (from your personal collection?), and made it accessible to your readership thanks to Mediafire. Is that the climax of fanzine, providing directly music while reading a paper or maybe it encourage laziness and people digging less ?

Penguin (Penguin collection)

During the discussions with Gerard about the construction of the site, it was agreed by both of us, that I should ask Penguin who had previously helped out at the All The Madmen record label, and who was now creating interest in that label and interest in The Mob on the internet, whether he would be prepared to sacrifice some time helping us start up the site with uploading his collection of old cassettes and rare vinyl.

Penguin agreed to be part of the then embryonic site, and stated that he was happy to do whatever it is he does to put the posts with up loadable material onto the site.

All musical uploads on Penguins posts are from original vinyl or cassettes recorded onto his hard drive through his stereo system. Penguin has informed me in the past that he has not listened to these rare tapes or dusted off some of those rare records he uploads onto the site for many many years! The material is mostly from his personal collection but if a cassette or vinyl is lent to him, then the donor is mentioned in the post.

As the music started appearing we had lots of offers from bands to put their material up, and soon it was becoming a major focus of the site; all this unimaginably rare music being available to interested parties in digital format for the first time for decades.

Whether this has encouraged as you say, ‘laziness’, or begun people on a voyage of investigation and discovery – as they follow up from an upload – it’s probably a little from column A and a little from column B.

The long and informative essays Penguin often adds to his download helps I think, in inspiring further discovery and knowledge of these uploaded bands. It also helps the bands; It has certainly helped the revival and reformation of some of these bands, such as Part 1, the Mob, Hagar The Womb amongst others.

Being a font of obscure punk music wasn’t part of the original plan but it has really helped shaped the character of the site. It is impossible to give too much credit to Penguin for his contributions to the site and it’s best to see the music as less the ‘climax of a fanzine’ but as adding interest and contributing to the whole thing.

Sarah: Interviews, music downloads, pictures, flyers… KYPP is a really opulent database for the 1980s punk period. Is there even more to be uploaded, or did KYPP reached its stability as a well-documented punk platform? Do you have any upcoming project ?

You never know what’s out there. The ultimate project is to gather all that’s happened on the site and publish it in book form, but there’s still new stuff being unearthed or being written, such as this recent post from Del Blyben called ‘Degenerate’ HERE

Meanwhile Penguin continues to source new sounds and words, it’s not over yet!

Sarah: KYPP also features more gothy bands like Blood And Roses, Sex Gang Children or Current 93 and Coil, did you witness the arrival of goth among punk communities? Did they stirred together with punks and hung around, or rather stayed with their likes?

The two most common names on leather jackets were always Crass and The Ants; the two went together for most people with out a problem. As well as the Ants, bands such as the Psychedelic Furs and Bauhaus were also highly regarded. Of course this was pre-Kings Of The Wild Frontier Ants; after Adam went mainstream a surge of bands moved in to fill the vacuum.

These took on aspects of The original Ants and became, to cut a long story short, the Goths: I’m thinking about Theatre Of Hate, Southern Death Cult, UK Decay, Sex Gang Children and Blood & Roses. As Goth became bigger and evolved into the ‘Batcave scene’ it became more of a one way street with anarcho-punks liking goth more than goths liked anarcho-punk.

Bands like Coil and Current 93 came on the coattails of Genesis P. Orridge’s post Throbbing Gristle project Psychic TV and it’s accompanying Thee Temple Ov Psychic Youth.

The rear of 50 Beck Road Hackney – Base of Psychic TV and thee Temple Ov Psychic Youth (Penguin collection)

Brougham Road Hackney (Penguin collection)

Genesis hung around the anarcho-punk scene; in fact he lived in a house only a few streets away from, and had regular interaction with, the notorious anarcho-punk squatted street Brougham Road in Hackney.

Psychic TV swept through the anarcho-scene, this brought in more occult overtones and from this mix grew two new branches which can be linked to anarcho-punk: industrial music and Chaos Magic. Penguin and Al Puppy occasionally discuss either or both of these offshoots in their posts on the site.

Sarah: Squatting is an important topic in KYPP, what was the importance of places such as the Centro Iberico and the Autonomy Center? Which kind of role did you play there?

The importance of places such as the Centro Iberico and Autonomy Centre were that these were extensions of people’s squatted life-style, ‘Squat gigs for squat’ people, as Adam never said. It also helped that there was no charge to put on bands at these places so we could just go ahead, experiment and do it. If the gig was a disaster it didn’t really matter, it was just a laugh.

There was an eight month gap between KYPP4 and KYPP5 as the Puppy Collective (as we had become known) were involved in put on weekly gigs at the Centro Iberico. A quote from KYPP5 explains, “that centre is the reason for Pet Puppy not appearing for so long – too much was happening to capture the mood. The mood was ‘Do It’ not ‘Write About People Doing It’ so we were doing it.”

Large parts of London were empty at this time, so squatting was rife and not just limited to punks or hippies. Often councils turned a blind eye to mass squatting in their borough. Squatting was a way of maintaining a very low-income life-style as there was no rent to pay, the only cost being very little security. It became an integral part of the anarcho-scene, as often gigs were in the basements of buildings squatted briefly for the gig. The rave scene developed this philosophy with ‘warehouse parties’.

Sarah: KYPP seems to have a pretty intimate relation with band The Mob. Do you think anarcho-punk (and other kinds of music tackled by the fanzine) maybe had a more human approach, far from the big venue first wave punk finally reached?

We saw The Mob by accident at a free festival in Hampstead Heath, having gone to see a band called King Trigger. The Mob blew us away, and became a sort of figurehead for anarcho-punk as they both played lots of squatted and impromptu gigs and their sound / lyrics caught the mood of the moment. And became, as you suggest, ‘the human face’ of the scene.

Tony D, Tai Chi and teepee (Mick Mercer collection)

Not long after that festival members of The Mob and The Puppy Collective formed a housing co-op and moved into a big house together, 103 Grosvenor Avenue Islington.

It was all about the human approach. Anarcho punk evolved as a way of bringing together punks who felt disenfranchised by the original bands such as The Clash and the Banshees. People had moved to London to be part of the punk energy, then when they found there wasn’t any began to make the energy themselves. Some of this new energy became anarcho punk.

Sarah: I saw you have delivered talks at various events such as at the ICA, for Toby Mott’s exhibition ‘Loud Flash’, and answered questions at a South Bank event based around Jon Savage’s book “Punk: An Aesthetic”. Do you see yourself as a kind of punk sociologist, a true and trustworthy observer from the past generation?

Author Teal Triggs has done pieces on me at various times and invited me to the launch for her book called ‘Fanzines’ . At the launch I spoke to Malcolm from Housmans bookshop; he was putting on a discussion at the ICA, and asked if I was interested in being one of the speakers. Thus started my career as a ‘punk spokesman’.

The launch event I covered on the Kill Your Pet Puppy site HERE

I’ve found amongst music historians and even the standard ‘punk’ observers there is still a lack of understanding of anarcho-punk; so feel I have to go along and do my bit to re-introduce this era to history. The comments below that piece show the same feeling of resentment to so-called ‘punk sociologists’ such as Peter York who, as one commenter points out, pushes a philosophy of ‘punk ended the day I lost interest in it.’

Stewart Home was at the ICA talk, and he seems to have made a career out of going from talk to talk around the world. I admire his enterprise but only do the odd ones myself; where is the time to do everything we want to do? That’s the question.

I don’t know if this covers your brief to, ‘demonstrate how a 6-issue fanzine from the early 80s redeveloped into an ultra thick database on the Internet, with pictures, scans, videos and plenty of incredible (and touching) stories.’  But I hope it helps explain a bit about it.

Questions for Noisey / Vice collated by Sarah Mandois - 2014

Tony D (Mick Mercer collection)

2/

Tony thanks a lot for taking time to answer my questions.

Kuurschluus: When did you first start Kill Your Pet Puppy? Did it originally start it as a fanzine, concert organizing crew, squatting collective? How many of you were involved?

It started as a fanzine. There were about nine people at the formation stage which whittled down to five as the project developed; some of those nine were in a band called The Last Words and concentrated on that instead.
The other areas you mention grew from being in the Ants / Crass punk scene at the time, we may have got involved with them anyway but certainly it helped having the fanzine as a focus for action.
Squatting: we were living in a squat at the time; in fact we were living in one room at the time, and only gradually took over other parts of the building later. We were taken on as tenants by West Hampstead Housing Association, who owned the building, and from our experiences with them developed the ‘punk’ housing co-operative known as Black Sheep.

Concert organising crew: when the Anarchy Centre began putting on gigs we got involved. Andee Martin was in charge of bands and the stage whilst we brought in food and drink as there was nothing there (Brett Puppy used to make veggie curries in the morning and we’d transport them to Wapping on the tube in the afternoon. A friend with a car used to buy crates of beer and drive them to the Centre).
When the Centre was closed down we were instrumental in opening up Centro Iberico to weekly punk gigs / events and transferring the name ‘Anarchy Centre’ to this school in West London squatted by Spanish anarchists. It was here we got more involved in organising the stage side of things, though Brett continued to make his veggie curries for this new venue.
Puppy Collective numbers: from the nine to the five to by Centro Iberico fifteen. The word ‘collective’ was used because a lot of people were involved but didn’t write anything for KYPP.

Kuurschluus: How many issues of the fanzine did you release? How many copies per issue did you print? Was it focused on politics as much as the music?

There were six in total over three years. How many were printed is a mystery, three different companies were involved in the printing at different times and each had their own way of doing things.

KYPP 1, 2 and 3 were printed by Better Badges. They had an agreement where we would only have to pay for as many or few copies off the fanzine as we wanted, at about 50% of the cover cost, rather than a full print run cost. What  Better Badges got out of it was they could print as many as they wanted and sell them at their stalls, via mail order and other methods they could devise.

KYPP1 (Penguin collection)

KYPP1 was a bit different to the following issues and was an experiment for both Better Badges and KYPP. The Ants were going to be doing a new years eve concert in London, and as matters progressed with the fanzine it was agreed that concert would be a fine time to have it ready and on sale at the Better Badges stall at the venue. Adam was in on this, and he rushed the front cover picture direct to Better Badges so it would be ready; 500 copies were finished in time and the Better Badges stall sold the lot that night! Luckily a copy was saved for me or I would have missed seeing it on the launch.
Some of the experimental printing in that first run was a bit too hard to read because of the yellow ink on white paper (!) and so it was agreed to tone down the yellow for the next run of that issue. At that point I have no idea how many more were printed, I used to go up to Better Badges and buy fifty or a hundred at a time to sell at gigs and sold about a thousand more before it was time for the next issue a couple of months later.

KYPP2 (Penguin collection)

KYPP3 (Penguin collection)

KYPP2 and 3 were produced by Better Badges under the same agreement, again I sold about a thousand of each and Better Badges sold whatever they sold. Joly of Better Badges later told me when Better Badges did a mail order offer of ‘10 mystery fanzines for whatever’ – I can’t remember the price they charged – there was always a copy of KYPP2 in the bag as it was such a good fanzine in terms of content, style and production no one could be disappointed when the bag arrived. How many went out in these ‘mystery bags’? I have no idea.

KYPP4 (Penguin collection)

Big A Little A printed KYPP4 and 5, which was an anarcho publishing company down the road from the Anarchy Centre in Wapping. We ended up here under the influence of Andee Martin who worked here. Ironically these anarchist printers were more hard-nosed than Better Badges and wanted set print runs for set amounts of cash.
To this end KYPP4 was definitely a print run of 1,000 and without the fancy colours all over the first three. There was a bit of colour on the front and back and the middle page spread on the Associates. Interesting fact: the gold on the words Kill Your Pet Puppy were handwritten with these new-fangled gold felt pens – in a session at Big A Little A one evening by several Puppies.
This edition sold out very quickly, at least 500 were sold at a festival called Days Of Future Passed.

KYPP5 (Penguin collection)

KYPP5 was printed in a run of 1,000, again little extra colour than on the cover. That’s all we could afford.

KYPP6 was first printed at a place called The Bus Company in Islington. It was hand printed on an old litho machine by myself using cardboard originals and a lot of grease as I remember. About 100 were churned out this way with red ink on gold paper and taken to Stonehenge festival in 1983.

This grand/cash-strapped gesture was a fiasco as of course with the low light levels at a festival red on gold was effectively invisible writing. But the 100 were sold (probably on a sunny afternoon!) I do not have a copy of this edition, but I remember it looked great.

KYPP6 (Penguin collection)

KYPP6 was reprinted in normal colours (plus a splash of colour on the front) in a short run of 500 or so and sold only through myself at gigs.

Kuurschluus: Was it focussed on politics or music?

That’s a different question and I’ll try and keep the answer brief. The music press and record companies had started to separate the music from the politics of punk, so Kill Your Pet Puppy had the intention of bringing both together again. ‘Politics’ in the shape of life-style and culture and thinking – we wanted to give as much space to what punks were doing in-between listening to their records.

Kuurschluus: I know you were based in various squats in London. How difficult was it to squat back then? And, are you familiar with current squatting movement in London, and the UK?

In 1977 when I moved to London I was lucky enough to be invited into a squat near Ladbroke Grove in West London. This was an area full of houses that had been ‘compulsorily purchased’ by the Council for a traffic scheme. The scheme was abandoned so the houses in this area were quickly squatted, and became known as ‘Frestonia’ after one of the main roads – Freston Road.

A lot of London was like that in the later part of the seventies, large areas of empty properties in good condition that no one really cared about. I remember after one Antz gig at the Roundhouse in 1978 walking a load of punks down to Central London and opening a series of squats for them in a big block of flats off Charing Cross Road.

Neighbours came out and offered us assistance in the form of light bulbs and toilet paper, these were amazing times; London was really run down and neglected. After I left Frestonia in February 1979 I moved into a squatting community opposite Covent Garden tube station on James Street and Long Acre – a complex of houses with internal links of staircases and strange hallways: with the ground floors old shop fronts.
There was a guide called ‘The Squatters handbook’ which had a page of the legal rights to squat which could be photo-copied and stuck to the front of a building when occupied. Just the sight of this on a door or window was enough to turn away any policeman or official.

Tony D’s room (Mick Mercer collection)

This was the golden squatting time for me; things got worse when empty buildings were deliberately vandalised on the orders of the council or whoever, to make them unpleasant to live in. This vandalisation was most apparent in the trend to pour concrete down the toilets. The houses remained unused by the official owners but now instead of squatters doing up the place and living in it, the buildings were only used as refuge by the tramp community.
Interestingly, organised squatters I knew moved into non-commercial buildings, where this vandalisation was yet to happen. In this period I lived in abandoned Fire Stations, Churches, Hospitals and Museums.

I am a member of several squatting groups on Facebook, some looking forward some backward. I admire those who attempt to squat nowadays as the legislation in Britain gets more brutal every day.

Kuurschluus: When and why did you decide to start KYPP as a blog / internet site? How different is it from the printed version of the fanzine? Would you ever consider doing another printed fanzine?

The Apostles room 108 Brougham Road Hackney (Penguin collection)

The rear of 108 Brougham Road Hackney – Base of The Apostles (Penguin collection)

The blog / site was started in response to what you got if you typed ‘anarcho punk’ into a search engine in 2007. There was one result, a sneering piece written by Andee Martin from the Apostles for Stewart Home’s Smile magazine. It was shocking that this whole era was being air-brushed out of history, so myself and Gerard of Flowers In The Dustbin decided to do something about it.

Gerard and Billy (Gerard collection)

We wanted to record the history of the punk that time forgot – yet which was very important to Gerard, me and everyone I knew who was around at the time. It was different from the fanzine as this was looking back and illustrating the era with people’s memories, photographs and long lost recordings of treasured bands.

Brother Rob and Penguin (Penguin collection)

Penguin was asked to join in the fun and was in charge of the music download posts.

Al Puppy (Mick Mercer collection)

Original Puppy Collective member Al came back to the fold and dealt with a lot of the writings relevant to the era.

From this enterprise the scene took off again, and many of the old bands have reformed and are now doing tours around the world – such as The Mob, Hagar The Womb and Hysteria Ward (who have just performed in Paris).
When I go and see bands like the Hagar The Womb or The Mob there’s members of new bands such as The Pukes there, and they carry the flag. I love these new bands and people too, for their enthusiasm as much and as anything. But I wouldn’t consider doing another printed fanzine to sell at these gigs – because the internet has taken over as the medium of choice now.

Kuurschluus: On your internet site you post a lot of interesting stories, photos, flyers, music. It’s like a huge collection, like a punk wonderland. I’ve noticed that besides anarcho-punk you post all kinds of music and articles. I’m wondering how similar or different are / were all those synth bands from Poison Girls, experimental bands from No Defences, how different PIL was from Smartpils? Where do you see connection between those bands, and what, if anything, sets them apart?

The connection between the different styles of music on the site is a certain spirit that comes through in the music and attitude, that is what sets them apart but also sets them together for us as a true Puppy band! At the time we saw no conflict of interest between Soft Cell, Crass, ABC, Throbbing Gristle or indeed Conflict.

Kuurschluus: What I didn’t find much of on your site are more hardcore /thrash /crust bands. Is that because these bands are not something you are personal into, or because you see them as something completely different from punk / anarcho-punk?

I remember being impressed with the live performances of bands like Antisect at the time, if that’s what you mean. This seemed to be a direction Crass’s record label was headed after they released the band D.I.R.T.’s stuff. This was powerful stuff but standing back it was re-introducing the guitar-solo and long pondering songs which punk had first set out to counter-act.

There was a whole wave of crust / hardcore bands based around Hackney’s Blue House such as 10,000,000 Dead Cops or something that I failed to connect with. Every time I went to gigs, in squatted basements it seemed like the last days of the Roxy Club – bands and fans with no spirit or aim apart from getting pissed and destroy themselves. But others loved it, so maybe I went to the wrong gigs.

Kuurschluus: For me, besides reading amazing stories from people who were directly involved in anarcho-punk back in the late 70’s / early 80’s, one of the most exciting things on your site is how diverse your music taste is. I love most of the stuff you upload. Reggae / dub has always been something I enjoyed a lot and have always found it very closely connected to punk (which not many would agree with). I first got exposed to it when as a young punk kid a friend lent me a tape by Misty In Roots- Live in Yugoslavia (part of the same series of live show tapes recorded in Yugoslavia were Poison Girls, Government Issue, Amebix, Swans and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds). It was released by the Borghesia guys, on their FV Zalozba label (they organized concerts in Yugoslavia, did video production, recorded and released many influential tapes and records, including Hardcore Ljubljana LP). At first I was surprised to hear reggae band on the label which I knew for releasing punk bands but the more I listened to the Misty In Roots tape the more I liked it, and it opened a whole new world for me, world of reggae / dub / ska / bluebeat… Please tell me about your experience and exposure to reggae music. How relevant and political was it (I’m asking about political side of it because nowadays reggae songs are often about Sun, beach, weed, girls, dreadlocks)? Why so many punks in England liked and were influenced by reggae? What are similarities with punk?

A lot of punks would be living in parts of London where West Indians were also housed and we would naturally catch a vibe of reggae music from the streets and markets, specifically Brixton, Dalston, Hackney and Ladbroke Grove. A lot of Rockers Reggae would be protest music, just as punk music would become. Rough Trade records, Greensleeves and Daddy Kool all sold reggae records to the young punks. There was not a lot of difference between young black men being picked up late at night by the police than young punk rockers. A lot of pushing around, searching for drugs and so forth. A night in the cells would be the worst possible scenario. Most punks started off speeding, but a large amount would also like to get hold of ganja when possible, and to get ganja you would need to know a few faces to get it off from. The West Indian doormen and bar staff of the Roxy club in Covent Garden during the few months that was open in 1977, would supply already rolled up reefers to punks unsure of how to roll them. DJ Don Letts would play reggae records for the night between the punk bands performing. If you wanted the ‘real deal’ in sound system, you could enter the Four Aces club in Dalston as Joe Strummer, Paul Simineon and Johnny Rotten would or Tottenhams Club Noreik. The Clash and PIL (Metal Box period) would deeply influence the young punks with different textures and tempos to some of the tracks produced. The Ruts and Basement 5 would also be popular choices for a bit of punk and reggae crossover.

The National Front and British movement were huge in the UK during the late 1970’s, and the punks arm in arm with the young rastas, students and trade unionists would all be on the other side trying to disrupt marches and so forth. The Rock Against Racism gigs in 1978 and 1979 would have punk bands like X Ray Spex, The Ruts and The Clash performing alongside Misty In Roots, Steel Pulse and Aswad. Most punks got their live reggae experiences from these all day events. Bob Marley recorded ‘Punky Reggae Party’ in 1977 the B Side of ‘Jamming’ name checking The Clash, The Damned, The Jam etc etc. The Clash’s finest moment ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’ from 1978 name checked, Dillinger, Ken Booth, Dillinger and Leroy Smart! There was a quiet respect between the white and black youth trying to get through the weekly stresses of defending themselves from the street fascist bonehead, rockers and Hoxton psychos and there protectors (certainly felt like that at the time) the Metropolitan police force.

Kuurschluus: Were you involved with punk in any way from the time you stopped doing the printed fanzine until you started doing the internet site? What were you up to all those years?

Tony D juggling (Mick Mercer collection)

Mark Mob began getting everyone interested in his vision of a travelling group of musical / circus performers; this was around 1983 and caught up in this I learned to juggle, fire-eat and unicycle. I took to these circus skills like a duck to water, the more so as the performance of them also lent itself to dressing up and wearing crazy make-up.
Mark’s concept never took off as a group but as an individual I began performing these skills, and took more and more clown-school and juggling classes. A later side effect of this was performing at the Club Dog nights and seeing exciting new bands such as Another Green World and Ring. But I’d moved on from reporting to the world about new music, as I became a world-travelling circus performer from 1984 to 2012.
Notably, when Benazir Bhutto took power in Pakistan in the mid-eighties I was one of the acts brought in to perform as part of her strategy to catapult the country into the current century. Now that was something, especially as I was living in a Hackney squat and went from that to chauffeur driven cars and being treated like royalty by the British Ambassador.

Kuurschluus: Do you like any new punk bands? Are you familiar with the current punk scene?

I feel like an old man when I hear new punk bands (I AM an old man) because I can’t stop thinking, ‘that sounds like that, that sounds like that, that sounds like that.’ It annoys me that my mind does that, and now I can appreciate some of the Americans around the London punk scene like Leee Black Childers and Peter Crowley. These guys were enjoying the bands of the times yet they had seen live stuff like Velvet Underground, Gene Vincent, the Stooges and the New York Dolls where all the tunes were coming from.

I try to put myself into the mind of Leee or Peter when I see new bands but it’s hard. I don’t mean I’m being cynical or closed-minded with my thoughts; it’s just they get in the way.
Back to the question; I like every band I see live and often buy whatever musical merchandise there is available on the night. But I don’t seek out new punk bands or go to places where I might read about such bands in order to find them. As for the current punk scene, it’s only people in bands who I meet at Hagar The Womb and Mob gigs, such as The Pukes.
If there’s another current punk scene I’m unaware of it.

Kuurschluus: Your thoughts on all those old anarcho-punk bands that reformed and are playing again? Is the UK as fucked, or worse, now with Cameron in power as it was back in the 80’s, and punk is a logical reaction to the situation? Or they are just a bunch of old jaded fucks trying to make a few quid and score a nice young girl or a guy?

The UK is worse than the fucked situation Thatcher left it in, now Cameron is in power. The country is in a grip of media propaganda that the only alternative than the Fascist Conservative party is the even more fascist UKISpit option.
The chance to oppose this situation has changed dramatically since MacLaren’s time, and Crass’s time: the two major cultural chances in my lifetime. But a lifeline is strange stuff like an ABC reunion, or an 80’s tour of pap bands – because the people who go to those things are people who start to remember a time when this country wasn’t so fascist, when it was more free and easy.
And so the 80’s revival created by the media (air-brushing out anarcho-punk, and all punk) feeds into the low-key, off-radar anarcho-punk gigs and whammo – Adam Ant is out of the asylum and all over the media and he remembers the support from me as a person and all I represent.

There are big festivals now all with old punk bands with massive audiences. I love it, though couldn’t handle being at one, there’s also bands with punk roots doing revivals such as Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, U2: these are feeding the punk / resistance fever with every on-stage breath they make, saying that Sting probably thinks he is too. And I think he’s right.
Anyone who straps on a guitar and goes in front of an audience and gives it some punk rock is a hero. I would never call anyone a jaded old fuck for trying to do what they love.

Kuurschluus: Thanks a lot for your time and dedication.

No problem, this jaded old fuck liked the attention.

Questions for Doomed To Extinction collated by Kuurschluus – 2014

Tony D (Mick Mercer collection)

3/

THE HISTORY OF KILL YOUR PET PUPPY BY TONY D FOR MAXIMUM ROCK AND ROLL

I was the editor of one of the earliest punk fanzines ‘Ripped And Torn’ from 1976 to 1979.

After a brief self imposed exile to Europe, I got out my typewriter again and started the Kill your Pet Puppy fanzine which went on public sale at an Adam And The Ants concert in Camden, north London on new years eve 1979.

Some thoughts:

Kill Your Pet Puppy was started by Tony D, founder of iconic punk fanzine Ripped & Torn (1976-1979). Shortly after Thatcher was elected as prime minister in May 1979 Tony moved to Europe and lived a bohemian lifestyle. Upon his return Tony started work on a more extreme and uncompromising fanzine, initially as a reaction to the way the original punk movement had been sucked into the hated Record Industry establishment: something he’d seen and experienced at first hand.

Kill Your Pet Puppy also reflected punk life as it was under the newly-elected Thatcher cosh: squatting, skinhead NF and British Movement attacks, speed being replaced by tunial and scraping a rainbow life from the hell of reality.

Kill Your Pet Puppy was at the forefront of a cultural landscape and an alternative world of squats, squatted venues and self-sufficiency that became known as ‘anarcho-punk’. They were liberating times.

Getting the new fanzine out onto the streets proved a problem until Joly of Better Badges agreed to print the new publication (then title unknown) in as many crazy colours as Tony wanted. Both wanted to experiment.

A name was born in the puppy collective hell of one room squatted by eight people with no bathroom or running water. Kill Your Pet Puppy was the chosen moniker.

The name – Statement from Kill Your Pet Puppy issue number one – 1979

“The words kill your pet puppy are not about harming animals, they are about stripping away false and externally imposed responsibilities in order to see through the illusion of society’s conformist ‘real life’ that pins down, stifles and suffocates us.
The ‘puppy’ is symbolic of implements of the state forced upon young children, the puppy being often the first in a long line of instruments designed to teach dependence on worthless objects, enslaving the kid into a lifetime of obedience to an outside agent that demands sacrifice of independence to serve. The puppy’s cute helplessness forces an emotional responsibility that subverts our natural nurturing instincts as the kids parents use the puppy to force the kids experiences of the world into a state-prescribed conformist view of the ‘family’.
‘Kill’ means moving beyond enslavement and experiencing life at first hand; experiencing the explosive euphoria, which follows”.

The first issue was finished in time for the Adam And The Ants new years eve concert at the Electric Ballroom, Camden, north London in December 1979 / January 1980.

The Kill Your Pet Puppy collective who wrote articles, supplied photographs and helped with the layout of the fanzine were a loosely affiliated group of individuals that were drawn mainly from shared squatted accommodation at any of the times that a fanzine was being produced.

Lou and Lugworm (Tarquin collection)

Wolfen, Tony D, Nikky and Greenhair (Lugworm collection)

Gary and Min (Lugworm collection)

Gary, Greenhair, Val and Lugworm (Lugworm collection)

Wolfen (Lugworm collection)

Al Puppy, Brett and Elaine (Lugworm collection)

The collective would have contained at various times, Tony D, Al Puppy, Jeremy Gluck from The Baracuddas, Brett, Val D, Lou McGrew from Youth In Asia, Elaine from Hagar The Womb, Mick Lugworm, Wolfen, Min from Zos Kia, Dave from Sex Gang Children and Nikky.

Five further issues were produced throughout the following years by the collective up to the final issue, number six, which went public during the summer solstice of 1983.

The Kill Your Pet Puppy Myspace page started in March 2007

The Kill Your Pet Puppy blog site was launched on Halloween 2007.

Contributions to the site mainly come from Penguin, who uploads the music and the band biography posts (plus occasional other stuff), myself (Tony Puppy) and Al Puppy, when we find the time, contribute essays relevant to the era. Some of the biggest contributions though are entered by browsers in the comments sections attached to the posts, where topics take off and build to a life of their own.

The focus of the site and of the Myspace page was originally on the culture and life-style of anarcho-punk. This was inspired as an answer to the anarcho-punk book ‘The Day The Country Died’ by Ian Glasper released in late 2006 that only concentrated on the music which missed the point slightly…

As one who lived and survived throughout this exciting time I felt a major part of what the scene was about was being disregarded, and decided it was important enough to do something about. What mention of The Conway Hall and the meetings with The Persons Unknown and London Autonomists which begot The Autonomy Centre in Wapping, the Centro Iberico in Westbourne Park, colourful and chaotic free festivals at Meanwhile Gardens, Hampstead Heath and Stonehenge, the Stop The City protests in the City Of London (precursor to the G* protests), Gay Punks, Squats and housing co ops including the Black Sheep housing co op set up by Kill Your Pet Puppy collective members and B.A. Nana from Crass. The Zig Zag squat all day festival featuring The Mob, Crass, Poison Girls, Null And Void, Amebix, Flux, D.I.R.T, Conflict and many other bands, set up by the same folk mentioned previously.

Al Puppy (Mick Mercer collection)

Al Puppy, contributor to the original Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzines and ex manager of the All The Madmen record label was feeling the same way as I was, and would write up essays about this incredibly productive era of our youth on his greengallaway blog.

Brother Rob and Penguin (Penguin collection)

Remarkably Penguin, an ex All The Madmen record label slave, around the same time was also creating digital archives of this period specializing on the All The Madmen record label, the same record label Al Puppy had briefly been the manager of.

Penguin was also heading a site dedicated to one of the better bands of the era (and on the very same All The Madmen record label) The Mob. This was a site specifically requested for Penguin to create and moderate by Mark Mob, the vocalist and guitarist from that band.

Both sites were endorsed at the time of construction and are ‘official’ outlets of information to browsers interested in finding out about this record label and band.

The first plan was to write a book about the era, with contributions from various people such as Bob from Blood and Roses (whose pieces on the 3am site were inspirational).

As life got in the way of this plan, the Kill Your Pet Puppy Myspace site was launched to keep the momentum going, this site also managed to draw in bits and bobs from other people, notably some original Mick Lugworm photographs. This site attracted a lot of attention and photos and stories from other sources started to appear after a hiatus of several decades.
We quickly outgrew the space limitations on Myspace (at that time – there is now no limit on photographs uploaded, but there was in early 2007) and set up a photobucket site for the ever expanding photo-collection.

Al Puppy and myself discussed and decided to attempt a blog site away from Myspace and incorporating the photobucket photo archive.

Gerard with Flowers In The Dustbin (Gerard collection)

Gerard of the band Flowers In The Dustbin (another great All The Madmen record label band) offered to help me set up a blog site, which we discussed, worked on and was completed and launched in October 2007.

The focus was initially on the life-style and culture of anarcho-punk, what we felt was an untold and important story. However when deciding what to put on the site we thought that the cassette only releases of the time would be a good part of this forgotten history to start with, and went about tracking them down and putting them on the site to download. Gerard was an inspiration behind this as he had started putting Flowers In The Dustbin tracks on his own site from old cassette tapes.

During the discussions with Gerard about the construction of the site, it was agreed by both of us, that I should ask Penguin who had previously helped out at the All The Madmen record label, and who was now creating interest in that label and interest in The Mob on the internet, whether he would be prepared to sacrifice some time helping us start up the site with uploading his collection of old cassettes and rare vinyl.

Penguin agreed to be part of the then embryonic site, and stated that he was happy to do whatever it is he does to put the posts with up loadable material onto the site.
All musical uploads on Penguins posts are from original vinyl or cassettes recorded onto his hard drive through his stereo system. Penguin has informed me in the past that he has not listened to these rare tapes or dusted off some of those rare records he uploads onto the site for many many years! The material is mostly from his personal collection but if a cassette or vinyl is lent to him, then the donor is mentioned in the post.
As the music started appearing we had lots of offers from bands to put their material up, and soon it was becoming a major focus of the site, all this unimaginably rare music being available to interested parties in digital format for the first time for decades.
And of course, there were a lot of interested parties: I’m not very good at the figures but I think we have been getting around 60,000 hits a week on the site.

Penguin has continued to source and upload the most incredible stuff, such as a clutch of Crass rehearsal tapes and many many live recordings from the most obscure venues of the most obscure but much loved bands of the time. He has also uploaded many alternative mix cassettes by bands like Lack Of Knowledge and Poison Girls. Nowhere in the world have these tapes ever been issued, premièred only on Kill Your Pet Puppy (although no doubt by now, some bloggers would have ripped Penguin’s original links of his original material for their own sites – but that is cool).

It has been great to see the site grow through all the comments left on posts, which is the reason it was set up as a blog rather than a web-site: I wanted it to be a participatory experience and it has done that in spades. The site has over 700 comments on one post alone, and over 500 on another. The site to date has over 800 individual posts with over 15000 comments attached to said posts. Many many old punks that were around in the scene in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s have now found each other again through this site a long way before Facebook style ‘punks reunited’ sites were existing.

One young punk who was convicted of ‘murder’ in the squats of Campbell Buildings, Waterloo in the summer of 1980 when he was still a teenager has recently been sent letters of support and presents from Kill Your Pet Puppy browsers to his prison cell, and it is a pleasant feeling to know that the ‘Free Gary Critchley’ campaign was started from the comments section on a post from Kill Your Pet Puppy. A fact which I still find rather remarkable and touching, even more so if he were to be rightly released. [Gary Critchley was released with some of the support and flagging up of the case from the KYPP post]

These would be the best posts for interested new browsers to start reading or listening to, but of course there are 790 more which we could not possibly list.
Get on the site and fill your boots!

The Adam And The Ants new years eve 1979 post with information on the fanzine HERE

One of the Crass rehearsal tapes HERE

The Wapping Autonomy Centre post HERE

The Mobs ‘No Doves’ post with Mark and Josef commenting in the text HERE

Campbell Buildings squat (inc early Gary Critchley comments) HERE

Heretics HERE and HERE

Mike and Toxic Grafity Crass edition fanzine HERE

and finally Killing Joke written by Malicious Damage Operatives HERE

Thank you for your interest in our site

Final bullet point

Kill Your Pet Puppy, the website, was started in October 2007 as a way to not only document the fanzine but also the culture of the time.

This was because we could hear cultural archaeologists beginning to restrict this history to a mere musical framework.

This website has developed through many people’s photos, scans of printed material, downloadable music and written contributions into a communication point for those who were there, those who wish to know more about the time and as something that is as culturally significant today as it was then.

Tony D – Submitted to Maximum Rock And Roll on the magazines request for ‘Blog Of The Month’ – 2010

Part 1 – Buffalo Bar – London – 29/08/13 – Silent Scream

August 19th, 2014

Part 1 – The Buffalo Bar, Highbury, London, N1 – 29/08/13

August 2013 – The month of much practising and some considerable movement for the newly resurrected band from, ahem, many many moons past, Part 1.

Both apprentices in the dark arts, Mark Ferelli and Jake Baker had the idea of resurrecting the band and therefore the bands legendary dark FX sound sometime earlier in 2013. Part 1’s original bassist Chris Pascoe was somehow removed from the coffin he was in at the time and agreed to be involved. Needing a drummer the band enlisted the help of the ever capable and much in demand Chris Low who has an impressive list of band membership under his belt spanning over three decades.

In August 2013, nine moons in, the band headed up to Blackpool to perform the afternoon ‘graveyard shift’ at the Rebellion Festival.

Prior to the performance and for reasons unknown to me (or forgotten about if I was ever told the story) Chris Pascoe placed his bass guitar back into the guitar case and wandered west (not literally west as he would have wandered into the sea surrounding Blackpool) to settle once more into the coffin he had been exhumed from just weeks previously. Possibly my memory is being unfair to me and it might be entirely possible that Chris Pascoe did not even make the journey north but either way his absence left the now three piece Part 1 performing, I assume, a treble heavy set in a large hall to the supporters that happened to turn up for the event.

I was not in attendance so can not comment further, although I am sure I would have been told of some of the, ahem, feedback heavy highlights of the event. I have probably just forgotten due to worms eating away at my brain.

A low key London performance had been organised at the Buffalo Bar around the time that whispers of the reformation performance due shortly at Rebellion were going around the much darker version of the ‘sowing circle’ within that scene.

The band apres Rebellion were in need of a bassist.

Chris Low via some form of black magick infected the idea of his flat mate David Barnett’s worthy abilities on a bass guitar, directly into the skulls of Mark and Jake.

David’s ancient parchment of a C.V regarding band membership and being in and around the music business was also mightily impressive.

I can only assume due to the urgency of the situation with suddenly becoming bass light extremely recently, and with a London performance placed into the collective diaries coming up very soon, that both skulls were happy to give David a chance.

Part 1 practised and then practised once more. After practising hard just twice, and with no doubt some form of blood sacrifice, Part 1 suddenly became a force to be reckoned with again with the addition of David. ‘Tomb’ was the only Part 1 track that David was unable to master due to the time limitations.

Eighteen moons after the Rebellion afternoon ‘graveyard shift’ performance, Part 1 turned up at the Buffalo Bar, a small subterranean cellar dungeon of sorts with a low ceiling and pillars that get in the way pretty much all the time. Part 1’s kind of place.

Darkness had descended and some old faces showed up from many many moons past. This humble scribe included. As the small subterranean cellar dungeon filled up a little, the support band came onto the stage.

“Hang on” this humble scribe ponders. “Why is Part 1’s head ghoul Mark Ferrelli plugging leads into his effects pedals?”

“What sort of madness is this?” I mutter to myself. I had literally just got a first pint of cider from the bar, already wide eyed and grinning with anticipation and it is barely 8.45pm. Chris Low gets behind the drums and a bassist and a vocalist appear as if by magick.

I ponder for a while why gigs are not like they used to be. I start to believe that if the ghost trains are running on time I should be back in my crypt by 10.15pm.

Thirty minutes of Part 1 were the perfect support for the main act who clambered onto stage after a short interval. The small subterranean cellar dungeon had been filling up a little more with younger supporters of Part 1, some from areas far from Highbury, some from countries far from England.

The main act on the night, Part 1 finished the night with an absolutely glorious noise. The dark Lords protecting the band from harm were finally appeased after thirty years of deafening silence from their apprentices.

Was this jape two sets for the price of one? More likely the jape was a practise run through of the Part 1 set early doors, to give the band the confidence to really push forward the second Part 1 set in a slightly altered order.

A great night out and this humble scribe finally escaped the madness and got back into my crypt around midnight, the witching hour. That’s better.

Part 1 has always held a special place in my heart, some cynics would state that maybe it was because I used to have several copies of the début 7″ single ‘Funeral Parade’ released in 1982 that has rose in price month by month during these last few years.

I did have three extra copies of this small sacred relic but I gave them away, so that kills that rumour stone dead.

It must have been something else?

Some cynics would state that maybe it was because Southern was carrying the Pusmort label and Southern Record Distributors (and therefore myself) handled the many boxes full of Part 1 mini L.P’s ‘Pictures Of Pain’ released in 1985 that has rose in price month by month during these last few years.

I did have two extra copies of this larger sacred relic but yet again I gave them away, so that kills that rumour stone dead.

Maybe it was just the dark sounds held within the grooves of those two slabs of vinyl. And the fact that at the time of those sacred relics being placed on this earth by dark forces beyond my comprehension, no other band sounded quite like Part 1, then or since.

Is this the reason why Part 1 has always held a special place in my heart?

Yes it is, Just that.

Part 1 since the resurrection have performed several times, this humble scribe being in attendance on several occasions. Part 1 performed in Paris earlier this year, and will be performing in Finland on the third moon of October as special guests of Silent Scream.

Details are below on the flyer and also on the website link in the Silent Scream section.

We have here uploaded on KYPP tonight a recording of the second set performed at the Buffalo Bar, courtesy of Chris Low. Many dark praises to Chris for sorting out the audio and to the original recording duo in the small subterranean cellar dungeon, Carla Boregas and Laura Del Vecchio from the Brazilian psychedelic gothic band Rakta.

Also many dark praises must go to Steph Hagar for the photograph of Part 1 on stage at the Buffalo Bar.

Finally many dark praises must go to Nick Hydra, who was ‘there’ in 1982 and is also still ‘there’ in 2014. It is Nick’s review of the Buffalo Bar performance that is written below.

The polaroid of Jake mesmerising the audience and the mugshots of just some of the great, the good, and the ghouls who were at the Buffalo Bar that dark August night last year, are from this humble scribes collection.

For more Part 1 information please check out the Facebook page HERE.

What’s in a name? Goth? Deathrock? Doomrock? Anarcho-punk? Post-punk? Part 1 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.

At its vital, chaotically creative best, Anarcho-punk was a loose network of individuals following their own trajectory, like planets in orbit being pulled into each other’s gravitational fields, coming together and springing apart in a bewildering array of combinations and occasional collisions.

In the end what most people had in common was their unwillingness to fit in anywhere else. Anarcho-punk was where the malcontents and misfits found the space to be different in their own way.

Viewed in this way, Part 1 (like fellow travellers Flowers in the Dustbin, Blood & Roses, Hagar the Womb, the Mob and Amebix), by virtue of their very otherness are one of the best examples of Anarcho-punk you could hope to find. Although they are often linked with Rudimentary Peni due to a similarly off-kilter approach and the friendship between Part 1’s Mark F and Peni’s Nick Blinko, in the end they are only Part 1, alone in a field of one.

Surviving original members Mark F (Guitar) and Jake Baker (Vocals) are joined by the new rhythm section of Chris Low (drums) and David Barnett (bass) for their second gig in 30 years. Despite the band having become something of a cult in recent years, they wear this new found status lightly, and with a degree of self-depreciating humour, singer Jake referred at one point to their gigs being “like buses” (you wait ages for one, and then three come at once).

Of the two sets played tonight, the second was possibly the better, probably as a result of both the audience and band having loosened up slightly.

So, how to describe a Part 1 gig to the uninitiated? It was hypnotic; disturbing; challenging; uplifting. It was… a Part 1 gig. You can hear echoes of Metal Box era PIL, early Banshees and Killing Joke, as well a healthy dollop of UK Decay in the spiralling FX-heavy guitar, along with a whiff or Crisis and Six Minute War, especially in the bass-lines and vocal delivery, but that doesn’t really give you a flavour of the thing.

Given that they have only acquired a bass player in the last few weeks (having performed at the Rebellion festival without one) they were completely in control; creating a deft interplay between the tight rhythmic and melodic structures that weaved back and forth in an elegant symmetry, with the locked in rhythm section allowing Mark F to indulge in some serious FX pyrotechnics, sending shards of feedback shuddering and looping across the stage.

Existing as they did on the outer fringes of Anarcho-punk (itself having a problematic, fractured relationship to anything that could be considered ‘popular culture’), and belonging to no particular time frame, Part 1 have avoided the pitfall of many a re-formed band, that sense of being dated and irrelevant.

Rather like the long-buried Martian spaceship in Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit, they have lain dormant, waiting for us to rediscover them, and trigger the primeval impulses encoded in our DNA.

Although they were not visually dynamic, staying virtually static throughout, they held the attention with ease, creating a kind of vortex in which the unwary audience were held, almost mesmerised by the sonic barrage pulsating from the stage.

Highlights? A fantastic rendition of The Black Mass, a rare outing for the ultra-obscure Claws and Jake spitting out the final line of Hymn in amended form as they left the stage at the end of the second set…

“In the shadow of the cross, we still stand defiant!”

9/10

Nick Hydra

Part 1 are to be visiting Finland on the 3rd October and will be performing alongside Silent Scream. I believe the concert has been set up by Antti from Silent Scream who has supported and been inspired by the music of Part 1 for many many years now. Please search on the Silent Scream website HERE for updated details on this special night for Part 1 and Silent Scream in Finland. The two videos and the small essay on the sometimes tragic history of Silent Scream has been respectably removed from this website and placed onto KYPP. Thanks to Antti in advance.

From Varjo to Silent Scream

Two tragic deaths within a year. Not the easiest start for a new finnish goth/post-punk band Silent Scream.

The story goes back in 1996 when Antti Lautala and Henry Waldén formed a band called Varjo (a shadow in English). Varjo was influenced by Gothic rock, post-punk and ambient but it differed from other Gothic bands by the Finnish lyrics. At the beginning of the 21st century Varjo was the most successful Gothic band with Finnish lyrics.

After the third album there were changes in line-up but also a tragedy: ex-keyboard player disappeared and after a year and a half he was found dead. After those difficult times Varjo made new songs, supported New Model Army and was ready to record the fifth album.

Two weeks before the recordings guitarist Henry Waldén died in a fire accident and that ended the story of Varjo.

Four months after the funerals the trio recorded the last album “Viimeinen näytös” and it was released in January 2010 (Stupido Records)

After the recordings Antti, Matthew and Jukka decided to continue with a new band name and new songs. It was also natural to change the language and write lyrics in English. Silent Scream will go further to the core of post-punk with influences like Killing Joke, Joy Division, Amebix and Southern Death Cult.

The first Silent Scream album “In the Cinema” (Stupido Records) was released 2010 and the second one “Public Execution” (Stupido Records) 2012.

In 2013 Silent Scream and Murnaus Playhouse released a split album “Bones from the Backyard” (Gothic Music Records)

Antti Lautala

Dub Syndicate – ONU Sound Records – 1982

July 30th, 2014

Pounding Systems / Hi – Fi Gets A Pounding Part 1 & 2 / African Head Charge Don’t Care About Space Invader Machines Part 1 & 2 / Fringe On Top Dub

Humourless Journalist Works To Rules / 10K At 0VU – 60 HZ – Mind Boggles / Crucial Tony Tries To Rescue The Space Invaders / Hi – Fi Gets A Pounding Part 3 / Return To Stage One

Adrian Sherwood, one of the nicest fellows in the music business. His personal catalogue of audio delights engineered by his dubwise fingers and brain covers well over thirty years. Delightful dubs courtesy of the Dub Syndicate and assorted off shoots. Ear shattering industrial noisescapes from the likes of Mark Stewart And The Maffia and funky drum and funky bass from the likes of the different guises of Tackhead. The audio delights he has had a hand in bringing to the reggae enthusiasts turntables, Carib Gems and Hit And Run records, cover well over thirty five years!

Dub Syndicate’s ‘Pounding System’ album is an absolutely crucial release from the ONU records stable, a stable that holds many other crucial moments by various label mates stored within two sides of vinyl.

What I adore about dub albums whether British born or from Jamaica, the titles of the tracks are generally as mad as a bag of frogs due to minimum vocal breaks, so the producer / engineer makes up the titles as an aside. This albums track listing is no exception!

Fill your boots with some of the best (and actually most recognisable) riddims from the hands of Adrian Sherwood along side a cast of Eskimo, Eek A Boo, Lizard, Crucial Tony, Bubblers, Deadly Headley, Flesh, Mr Magoo and Bonjo I.

I have known Adrian Sherwood for over twenty five years and now and again still spend a small amount of time with him, will look forward to some more moments together at some very time soon I hope.

With massive gratitude to Gregory Mario Whitfield for the immense interview with Adrian from 2003.

Going into the legendary On-U studios is like a lesson in musical history for those that love UK and Jamaican roots reggae. I was welcomed at the door by Adrian, and ushered into a completely chaotic, yet calm and friendly atmosphere, with a lot of people getting on with their work in the studio. A large portrait of King Tubby in crisp white shirt, perfectly pressed suit trousers with a typically serious, dignified expression takes pride of place on the wall as an obvious sign of respect. Shrine like, it is placed high up on the studio wall and dominates the vibe of the room. Inspiration from the source. Dub science.

I notice more casual, smiling pictures of Bim Sherman and other On-U luminaries on the walls. The next thing I noticed were the piles of boxed master tapes everywhere. Little Roy, Junior Delgado, Dub Syndicate, Ghetto Priest. (I was sorely tempted to make a closer inspection!) The vibe was good, and I was looking forward to a good interview with this man whose work I had admired for many years, (since those early UK roots classics, the early Creation Rebel albums) and who had worked with so many of the JA and UK roots legends.

Adrian Sherwood. The man hardly needs an introduction here: To anyone who has followed roots and culture music closely, it is generally acknowledged that he has produced truly innovative, ground breaking UK roots music of the highest order since the late 70’s. He had uncompromisingly worked on with roots and dub, even when roots music was at its lowest ebb in the early 80’s and many people had moved on to early digital dancehall and slackness. A lot of people considered roots music a spent force, but Adrian had persevered with the form, working with artists he respected, and artists who still had a lot of originality to offer the reggae world, even though they were no longer considered “fashionable”.

Albums like ‘War Of Words’, ‘Revenge Of The Underdog’ and ‘Pounding System’ showcased UK roots and Jamaican roots artists still at the peak of their creativity. ‘Fit To Survive’ and ‘Devious Woman’ are considered by many to match the best of Bim’s JA output, and are unquestionably deep and atmospheric pieces of music.

I was invited into the kitchen, and was met by the sight of guitarist Skip McDonald, sitting quietly at the table, wearing a West African style hat, cup of tea in hand, looking particularly calm and thoughtful amongst the activity. An artist comfortable with himself.

A man with a gentle and peaceable presence, he greeted me and we started talking, mostly about his recent album, a dub deconstruction of blues music: Eerie Robert Johnson blues style echoey cut ups, with one drop drum rhythms and backward tape loops. Some tracks also feature beautiful vocals from Bim Sherman and Ghetto Priest, an atmospheric new vocalist I was to meet later.

Skip McDonald ‘Seek The Truth’ is the aptly named track which features Bim’s haunting vocals, backed by eerie slide guitar, unpredictably soaring around in the mix, the righteous vibes urged forward by a Bunny Lee “flying cymbals” style. Bim chants, stating his creed with righteous emotion, a relentless, simple and direct message: “Oh friend of mine, a lie is a whisper, the truth is a shout… seek the truth…” The message is replete with a shuddering echo, and what sounds like African chants, cut up and spliced into a weird refrain in the background, swooping in and out of the mix. The brittle percussion is so strangely engineered as to be at times, of unidentifiable origin. Harsh, moody, aggressive and melancholy by turns, it’s a fine, original piece of music.

The album ‘Hard Grind’ is obviously a work of love and dedication, a tribute to Skip’s respect for, and love of the blues. It has an overwhelming sense of the genuine, a work of integrity. ‘Hard Grind’ is an unusual record, a distinctly weird listening experience, and one I’d strongly recommend. A cut up dub funk blues experience, and definitely one for those of you that loved ground breaking records like Eno’s ‘My Life in a Bush of Ghosts’.
For someone that had worked with so many musical legends in the roots and culture and funk worlds, I was impressed that he was so modest and unassuming a character.

Excusing himself, Skip returned to the studio to work on some new rhythms with one of Adrian’s engineers, Nick Coplowe. Later I had a chance to speak with Nick, currently working on his own project, Mutant Hi-Fi. Clearly, there is a strong working relationship and understanding between him and Adrian. I asked how he met Adrian and what clinched it for him in getting the job. He looked at me directly, and put it very simply and succinctly: “Me and Adrian work well together and get on well, because we both have a common interest in noise.” He didn’t need to say any more…

It wasn’t easy getting Adrian to focus on the interview process, because he was doing so many things at once. Periodically, Skip would rush back in to the kitchen enthusiastically to ask what Adrian thought of some new sound he was working on, and Adrian would juggle ideas back and forth, striving to flesh out new ideas, adapting and innovating together.

At the same time, the phone was ringing constantly, people organising sound system sessions (sound system session with Adrian, Junior Delgado and Iration Steppers in Leeds was being put together, and Style Scott was in town, to play with Luciano) enquiring about record release and tour dates and so on. Crucial Tony and Eskimo Fox were due to lay down some tracks for Adrian, and Junglist Rasta Congo Natty had a meeting with Adrian a few days later. I kept on switching on my tape, only to be apologetically interrupted by Adrian, “I’m sorry, bear with me one minute…”

As if this wasn’t a busy enough scenario, Adrian was constantly trying to parry the mischievous playfulness of his daughters. They hurtled around the studio as Adrian prepared snacks for them and good naturedly did his best to organise some kind of afternoon schedule for them. It was a lovely summer’s day, and the garden, as I looked out of the window, looked peaceful and quiet compared with the mayhem in the studio.
Adrian comes across as someone who is completely down to earth: direct, sharp, smart, and it is clear that this is a man who is very determined and resolute. He has earned respect from his many years in the reggae world, and his work as an innovator. Ghetto Priest arrives and joins the work in the studio.

I take advantage of an ensuing period of relative calm to begin the interview, and I ask, what led Adrian to reggae in the first place. What started his journey that led to the On-U Sound experience?
When I was pretty young, I was heavily into soul music. I loved that, but I was really carried away by early reggae music and ska tunes. Those were pretty eccentric, freaky tunes, stuff like U Roy’s ‘Wear You To The Ball’… I was soaking up all that energy, even when I was at school, and when I heard reggae music at the local black clubs I went to, that was when I got really into it.

What was your next stage after your initial fascination with reggae I asked?

Well, I was still in my late teens when I started working for the Carib Gems label people… I was a junior director… I loved roots music, and the tunes we were putting out on that label, tracks like ‘Observe Life’ by Michael Rose, and ‘Babylon Won’t Sleep Tonight / Sleepers dub’ by Wayne Jarrett and the Righteous Flames were strong, strong tracks, they really were. Especially I loved the ‘Sleepers’ track. The Tubby’s version is a heavy dub. It’s sad, I don’t even have copies of those 45’s myself anymore. I wish I’d held on to my copies! You know of course we cut our own On-U version of ‘Observe Life’ with Creation Rebel on the rhythm, and Ari on the vocal, then there was a dub too.

Since you’d released so many good tunes on that label I asked, why don’t you collect them to release on a compilation? I think a lot of people would be really glad to hear them on one compilation.

I’d love to. I was so into those Carib Gems releases, but like a lot of those Hitrun label tunes, it’s a matter of ownership and copyright that prevents me. It’s a shame because there are a whole lot of unreleased tunes which just haven’t seen reissue because of ownership debates. A whole lot of those Creation Rebel Hit Run 12’s were very good, such as ‘Beware’. They deserve good reissue. I did collect a few of the best tracks from that time on an early On-U compilation with tracks like Carol Kalphat’s ‘African Land’ and some other Far I and Creation Rebel stuff. I don’t know how available that release is now, but it’s a solid collection. Another person from that time I’d like to work with again is Deadley Headley, who is another Jamaican artist who just hasn’t received the attention he truly deserves. It’s possible that I’d consider putting together a compilation of my tunes I did with him if there’s enough unreleased stuff in the On-U vaults: I’m not sure that I have enough unheard stuff though, but that would be nice, and it’d be good to get some more exposure for such a good artist.

When I had linked up with Don Letts, I ‘d asked about his experiences with Adrian and the early days of the On-U family. He remembered it this way: “Sure, we hung out with Adrian in those times. I still do see Adrian! I’ve known him for about twenty five years. The thing about Adrian was, you knew that the man always ran with a posse in them days! So if you met up with Adrian, they’d all be there too. Yes, man like Jah Whoosh, Prince Hammer would be there, Crucial Tony, Bonjo I, and Don Campbell too. And of course Prince Far I and Bim Sherman if they were in London at the time”.

I’d asked Don which records he’d liked from the early On-U stuff: “Of course the early African Head Charge music, which is pretty far out stuff. Extreme music. Of the later stuff, I think Skip McDonald’s dub blues fusion stuff is pretty interesting.”

Since Don Letts had around that time cut a tune with a vicious, threatening subsonic dub (with Jah Wobble and Keith Levene at the production desk) as the Electric Dread, I’d asked if he’d ever liked to have worked with Adrian in those days: “Yeah sure, of course I would, but I’m more a vibes man, a sound man. I’ve always DJ’ed and made films, that has always been my thing you know, I’m not really a musician.”

So in the light of my discussions with Don Letts on this subject, I was keen to know about Adrian’s experiences with John Lydon, as well as his very early days with Jah Wobble, Keith Levene, Ari Upp, and of course most importantly, Creation Rebel who were the backbone of all those early On-U tracks, and in my opinion haven’t really been given full credit for the outstanding original and innovative UK roots outfit they were at that time.

Keith Levene circa Creation Rebel. Ok, on the subject of Creation Rebel, who made a great body of roots music, then later let’s talk about those early days when I hung out with John Lydon, Jah Wobble, Ari and Keith Levene. We had an authentic, hard rhythm section in Creation Rebel, with good musicians, such as Crucial Tony, Lizard and Eskimo Fox, with Pablo on the melodica. I still work with Crucial Tony and Eskimo Fox now. They will be here in a few days to lay down some stuff for the new Little Roy music I’m working on, and Crucial did some stuff on the Little Roy Long Time album. Yeah, so in those days, we were always competing with the Jamaican bands of the time, always looking for a way to get the edge on them, it was a challenge for us, a hype thing too, to be different from the JA bands when they came over on tour to the U.K. and the way for us was with the drums… we really worked on getting a heavy, heavy rockers drumming style, but it had our own thing in there, our own distinctive contribution, our own hard edge to it. It wasn’t just a copy of the Jamaican drum sound, and I think in its own way, it was as good as what was happening in Jamaica at that time. Of course when we got Style enlisted that was it, a great step forward for us, because it united what was going on in the roots scene in UK with what was happening in Jamaica. And of course, linking up with Prince Far I was a great thing for me at that time because it opened up access and pathways to a whole pool of great Jamaican talent too.

Speaking of the whole early period of experimentation with Creation Rebel, Dub Syndicate and African Head Charge, including the contributions of Public Image members Jah Wobble and Keith Levene, Adrian remembers it this way:

Going back to the influence of punk days now, yeah, I knew John Lydon well, and it was through John that I got to know Keith Levene and Jah Wobble. I got to know John better after Sid had died. Ari Upp, Neneh Cherry, Junior and I, we all lived in a squat down Battersea way, and John Lydon was living with Nora [his future wife and Ari Upp's mum] round the corner. John Lydon used to visit us, and we all hung out together. John was just so hip you know, a lot of people really looked up to him at that time. John really knew his reggae, he loved his reggae. I can tell you that John Lydon really helped the progress of roots and culture in Britain at that time. It was around that time, not long after he’d been beaten up here in London that he went on to radio and played Dr Alimantado’s ‘Born for A Purpose’. Alimantado was immediately shot to cult status as a result! The lyric of that tune was relevant you know? “If you feel like you have no reason for living, don’t determine my life!” That was John’s reply to the idiots that had beaten him up. You should realise that it was John Lydon who suggested that I work with Keith Levene who I was really impressed by, and then through him I linked up with Jah Wobble, which was great for me at the time. I was so happy to work with Keith, because Keith just had such an original sound, and I knew I could translate that originality he had into a dub context, and it worked totally if you listen to those Creation Rebel and Singers and Players records. He also played guitar on some of those New Age Steppers sessions, and laid down bass as well on some tracks, which I don’t think he was ever credited for… So it was John Lydon who had the idea for me to work with his band, and I loved their sound and what they were doing.

Levene’s sparse guitar sound on Creation Rebel’s ‘Threat To Creation’ and the ‘War of Words’ albums, jagged and lonely, punctuated the melancholy and ethereal purity of Bim’s angelic voice… Without a ‘Love Like Yours/Devious Woman’ and its dubwise excursion is a work as powerful and compelling as Bim Sherman’s earlier Kingston releases.

On his tracks cut for Adrian and Creation Rebel, Keith Levene’s style is eerily reminiscent of Earl Chinna’s style on the ‘East of The River Nile’ album… (Check out the emptiness of the ‘East of the River Nile album, and specifically Chinna’s spiraling chord structures on Pablo’s Nature’s Dub, loosely held together by almost bleak echoing piano notes, falling like rain in a deserted space).

Then there is Bim’s meditative version of ‘Satta’, here going under the title of Ethos Design, and it is a design, the instruments acting as sculptural forms, existing in structures in which the silences are as vital as the drum-bass movements. It is an extraordinary work of linear sound deconstruction, the rhythm section building up, only to literally fall away, as the engineer gets deeper and deeper into separate drum tones, reducing the vibe to a heartbeat pulse… snares fall away, cymbals and high hat oscillate in bright spirals, only to be further reduced to a skeletal form, with Bim’s voice effortlessly present, floating over the surface as the song fades in to reflective silence…

Deadley Headley, (who contributed to Augustus Pablo’s Rockers label, notably the ‘Rockers meets King Tubby inna Firehouse’ album) cut his own melancholy horns version on the same Creation Rebel version of this rhythm, and the drum track was used to fine effect on a version of Bim Sherman’s ‘Revolution/ Resolution’: In the latter case, the drum track received brutal disassembly at the hands of Adrian, spinning the snare sounds backwards, then forwards in a spiral of noise, only to drop into the familiar Revolution bass vibration… uncompromising and aggressive. Also featured on ‘Threat To Creation’ are the severely underrated drum skills of Eskimo “Mus’come” Fox, and Bruce Smith, who went on to work as Lydon’s PIL drummer for four years: Listen to the version of Horace Andy’s Problems on the ‘Playgroup album’, (titled ‘Deep And Mintyful’) for some militant drum and percussion interplay, and you’ll see how underrated these drummers truly are.


What about working with Jah Wobble, I asked Adrian? Jah Wobble had in his early days, had a serious reputation as a hard man: an instinctive, natural bass player, but cantankerous into the bargain. In Jon Savage’s book England’s Dreaming, journalist Nick Kent describes the by now notorious time he was attacked with a bike chain by Sid Vicious at an early Pistols gig : “Sid immediately pulled this chain out. He made some remark he thought was insulting like: ‘I don’t like your trousers.’ The guy next to me immediately makes a motion towards Vicious and then pulls his knife out and he really wants to cut my face. Years later I find out his name is Wobble. This was a real speed freak, and this is when it got very unhealthy. I remember putting my hands up and not moving a muscle, and then Vicious tapped him on the shoulder and he disappeared immediately. It was all a set up: Vicious then had a clear aim, and got me with the bike chain.”

Wobble saw it somewhat differently though, as he told Jon Savage: “I used to get violent on a few occasions… The one with Nick Kent was not one of those. Kent was with some geezer who demanded that we step aside, they couldn’t see the band. I said ‘fuck off’ which was pretty standard. Sid wasn’t a rucker but he lashed him with a chain and then I had a go, but we were just mucking about. What I didn’t know then was if you set yourself up as a hardman, someone will come looking for you who’s harder than you are…” Again to Jon Savage, Wobble spoke of his friendship with John Lydon and Sid Vicious: “John and Sid were exactly what I was looking for when I was sixteen… all I knew then was that I desperately didn’t want to work. I was already an angry young man. I had images of being enclosed by council flats, feeling very claustrophobic.” Jon Savage comments on Wobble: “Only [Jah Wobble's] icy blue stare now betrays his past. During Punk, Wobble, Like Sid, resembled a random destruction machine, wound up and placed in the middle of an event to see what would occur. Today he speaks of his past as if of another life.”

I recounted these stories to Adrian, and I perceived a certain mischievous, conspiratorial expression cross his face, (memories perhaps?) but when he speaks, his love and respect for Wobble are only too obvious. He speaks of Wobble’s achievements with pride:

Wobble & Lydon, Me and Wobble go back a long way, and I love him. We’ve always been very close. It’s true, Wobble did have a problem with alcohol, but that’s all in the past now, and he’s long left that behind. I respect what he has become as a person and a musician, because he is an example of someone who has really achieved and built everything from his own efforts. You always hear people say, “Oh Wobble couldn’t play bass when Public Image started, and he just had a good, instinctive way with playing a heavy dub bass-line” well, that may have been true back then, but let me tell you, Wobble really can play now! He really understands his instrument; he is the original MR FAT BASS SOUND. That is Wobble for you. The last time I saw Wobble was at his wedding and he looked so happy. I’m proud of the stuff Wobble has done with me on those African Head Charge and Dub Syndicate records, and I love a lot of his solo stuff too. Some of his early tunes on the Betrayal album are really good.

I was very keen to know more about the African Head Charge albums as well. They were so prolific, eccentric and uncategorisable, yet no one had really spoken about them at any great length, so I was very eager to get Adrian’s insight in to these strange records. He spoke about them with obvious a sense of sincerity, but with a definite high spiritedness, representative of the obviously bizarre and downright eccentric sounds that Bonjo I et al had created all those years ago.

African Head ChargeI’ll be straight with you, a lot of those sounds we created on those records came out the consumption in large amounts of two very different drugs, speed and marijuana! You know, those African Head Charge records were a labour of love to me, and we didn’t really expect too many financial rewards. When you listen to a record like ‘Environmental Studies’, it’s clear that a sound like that might be intimidating to some people. Woven into the mix, you can hear car crashes, water flowing, bottles breaking. We used a lot of “found sounds” and many “environment sounds” from the studio down at Berry Street where it was recorded. It’s a long time since I’ve listened to that record, but who knows what sounds we put into that record, I think we even might have used water sounds from the toilets and humming vibrations from the boiler room! I haven’t listened to that record in a long time, for the simple reason that when I was working on the record, I listened to it repeatedly, day in, day out, so in my mind, its very much a part of that time… I’ll have to go back to it and listen to it again some time…

I mentioned that the Deadley Headley contributions are especially good on that album, to which Adrian wholeheartedly agreed. I also asked him about my favourite track from the ‘My Life In A Hole In The Ground’ album, the eerie and haunting ‘Far Away Chant’. It is such a strange piece of music, and I was inquisitive to know, where it had come from, deep in the On-U Sound psyche!

Yes, that’s a heavy track. If I remember rightly, it came out of the same sessions we had been working on with Prince Far I and the Dub Syndicate for the Cry Tuff album. There was a slow and hard track, ‘Plant Up’, with a classic, growling Far I chant about the herb… anyway, I wanted something even slower, more threatening, heavier, so I took similar sounding rhythm track, and slowed it right down, right down, making it ridiculously slow and heavy, and laid Far I’s anti nuclear chant over the top. You know, the film director David Lynch took that track, and slowed it down even further, which made it even more threatening, and used it in the film ‘Wild at Heart’ as part of his soundtrack which really pleased me. The mood of the scene he chose it for was pretty dark… I believe it was a ritual ceremony or sacrifice with Harry Dean Stanton.

I asked him specifically about a point in the middle of the aforementioned song, when it just simply stops, cuts off randomly for a few seconds, halfway through a vocal line, midway into a word, seemingly for no reason… before crashing back midway through the tune… It creates a pretty surreal effect! Adrian laughs at the memory…

As I said, they were pretty strange times when we recorded those albums, and random too sometimes! I can’t tell you about that part of the track! Who knows? Maybe I accidentally hit the pause button halfway through the track and we left it in the mix?

He isn’t joking either…

I went on to ask him if a he had received criticism from the reggae cognoscenti mafia in London at that time for his bizarre experimentation with roots music, and unconventional attitude to an often over orthodox form. (I remembered back in the late 70’s and early 80’s some roots purists turning their noses up and not buying certain tunes if they knew they had been recorded in Wood Green or Peckham, even if the dubs were as heavy and creative as what was coming out of Jamaica).

Yes, I did experience some of that, but I didn’t care. We always believed in those early On-U releases, and I felt some of them would have sounded incredible as futuristic film soundtracks. It’s true that some purists on the London scene dissed me for those records I was producing at the time. Perhaps it was the sheer unconventionality of the sound, the inability to be able to categorise such a threatening sound. I didn’t give a fuck about the luddite purists with their little reserves. Really, they didn’t matter to me. I just went on to expand my experiments, putting out hard dub records by Creation Rebel, featuring entire tracks made up of backward tape loops, industrial drills roaring, that kind of style. Anyway, what did the elitists matter to me? I remember going round to people’s houses to listen to tunes, and these guys would be covering up the label with their hands so you couldn’t see who it was by, or blanking out the title. What is that behaviour, you know? I was always very open about this music ‘cos I love it. I used to give away good rare tunes, help people get into the music and hear good tunes. I enjoyed promoting good roots artists, artists who deserved the exposure. I even knew some people who would be too intimidated to visit roots stores because they worried the vibe might be intimidating, but of course it isn’t like that at all.

Finally on the subject of African Head Charge: what about ‘Drastic Season’, I asked?

‘Drastic Season’. That was extreme. The stand out track for me is ‘Depth Charge’, with that slow, driving syndrum intro.
Seen. 20,000 leagues under the sea style! I always thought that was such a harsh record, and I loved that aspect of it, its uncompromising sound, its complete lack of concession to anything even remotely commercial. When listened to repeatedly there were some extraordinary rhythms at play here. A look at the track titles gives some indication of the bizarre listening experience lying in wait for the (believe me here) unprepared listener: African Hedgehog, ‘Snake in the Hole’, ‘I want Water’…

On some tracks, it sounded as if an array of animals had somehow been sucked into the wildness and primal coldness of the mix… croaking frogs, shrieking birds, massively distorted so as to be rendered unrecognisable, snakes hiss, and an assortment of other bizarre creatures make their presence felt… The overall result is disorienting, disturbing, but as a sonic assault, deeply pleasurable… It is the strangest collection of rhythms I’ve ever encountered, yet one of the most rewarding…

When discussing these African Head Charge works, Adrian’s expression is bright, concentrated, inspired. It is clear he loves talking about these old releases, taking pleasure in how disorienting and ground-breaking they were and still undoubtedly are, the mixture of menace and sheer euphoric spirit present in the records. Apparently not many press releases ever came out of the On-U Studios, but in the case of ‘Drastic Season’ one did emerge, and reading it back now is as extraordinary and baffling as the sounds on the disc proved to be:

“A mix of human, animal and machine sounds… check it if you are a dancer, a listener, a film maker, a computer programmer, a human or an animal. Special treats in store for steam locomotive enthusiasts and biologists. You’ve never heard such sounds in your life.”

Changing subject now, I asked Adrian what he felt had changed in people’s attitudes to buying reggae, or indeed any good music, since the late 70’s. He reflected a while then answered:

Is music too corporate and controlled now? … Well, in the past it was a whole ritual… the vinyl, the sleeve, the record label… you know, down the record shop on a Friday night, it pure ritual… was pure ritual… black guys, young white guys, sound men… all enjoying the thrill and pleasure of the ritual, buying the hardest 12″ disco, or spiritual 7″ with a heavy dub on the version… Now, it’s largely a different matter, more of a commodity, a lot of people with a disposable income, and besides, music isn’t viewed in the same precious kind of way, because so much is available now. This just wasn’t the case before. You really had to hunt around to find the kind of tunes you wanted, it was a whole different process. The mystique is taken out of record buying now in a way. Besides the commercial side, there is a whole cross pollination and interchange of ideas and influences going on, which just wasn’t in existence in the late 70’s or eighties, and that in a sense demystifies the uniqueness of what was once a specific “reggae sound” too. Many noises, vibrations, frequencies that were exclusive to reggae are now being used in Hip Hop and other styles too, so that has to be taken into account. Plus the influence isn’t only one-way: reggae too, is soaking up sounds and influences from other forms as well.

I went on to ask Adrian his view of the UK roots scene past and present, and UK so called “Nu Roots”:

UK has always had good roots music. I love what Neil Fraser has done over the years. I especially liked the tunes he put out by Aisha, Macka B and the good stuff he does these days with Mafia and Fluxy. Those are really good tunes. As for the UK Nu roots? Yeah, I like it too, it’s all good works, but I would say this, I feel they need to get away from concentrating exclusively on steppers rhythms, perhaps use vocalists more. They need to get out of limiting themselves to steppers. Having said that, it isn’t a criticism. I like what they do. So England has always had a good roots tradition, and besides that, it’s always had openness to a kind of avant garde thread in the dub world. I had a taste of that myself when I worked with Suns Of Arqa back in the late 70’s and early eighties with their weird cut ups and Islamic, Celtic and Persian influences which were way ahead of their time. They came to me and said “give us some rhythms!” I duly did so, and was impressed with what they did with them. So this openness has always been there in UK, love of hard music and willingness to experiment.

In a discussion of UK roots artists, it was inevitable that I ask him about Shaka. He answered with a sense of awe, respect and reverence.

Shaka? I’ve known Shaka for over 25 years. We are close. I’ve got his number, he’s got mine you know? I have ultimate respect for the man Jah Shaka. Shaka just loves his music! He’s a soul head and he knows his jazz too, deeply. Did you know that? Shaka just has his own thing altogether. Playing music for ten, twelve hours without a break, until he enters a trance like state, then he’s on God’s plane, following God’s plan.

What was his opinion about the current roots music coming out of Jamaica?

There is a lot of hard, tough music coming out of Jamaica right now. Astounding tunes. I especially like the Xterminator studio works, and the album MLK in Dub was a real groundbreaker. Then of course there’s people like Daweh Congo. Good music. There is a lot of good music out there to check out and follow. I think they are increasingly aware of an interest in dubwise styles over here in Europe, as well as an awareness of Europe’s interest in the noise factor.

(This interest in keeping up with the cutting edge of Jamaican innovation was certainly in evidence from the (literally) piles and piles of modern Jamaican roots and dancehall 45’s, neatly stacked in the studio, cupboards and corridors: Productions by new and hungry contenders, innovators out of Kingston such as Steven Stanley, Soljie, Bulby, Penthouse label, African Star and Xterminator music… Bass Research and development…)

Where did Adrian think was the main market in Europe right now for roots music?

France, without a doubt. People like Burning Spear and Israel Vibration are stars there in their own right, and why on earth shouldn’t they be? They do consistently good work and France rewards them accordingly, they get appreciated. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen in UK for roots artists.

What is Adrian’s opinion of the Junglist and drum and bass vibes, I wondered, especially since some of the drum ‘n’ bass artists I had recently interviewed had name checked On-U Sound as an influence?

When I hear Jungle and drum ‘n’ bass artists saying that On-U Sound influenced them, well I feel that’s very kind, because as Rasta philosophy tells it, “each one teach one”, and I was influenced by so many people too, so I’m glad this vibe is continuing.

Finally, I felt I had to ask him about the death of Bim Sherman. We had listened to his music for 25 years or so, but not many of us had any insight into the man himself. All we knew of him was his voice, with that uplifting, lonely and angelic character. Adrian looked somewhat dark and serious at the mention of Bim and it is obviously still a delicate point, since they had worked together for a long time.

Bim Sherman RIP. Did you hear ‘Miracle’? That says a lot about Bim. What can I say? Bim was a darling. I’m sorry for using that term, but I’m not sure which other word to use. He was a lovely human being, just a pleasure to work with, and I had been a huge fan of his, right from the early records. He was such a gentle person. Don’t get me wrong though, he could look after himself, and cuss with the best of them. Bim is not someone you would fuck around with. He could speak up for himself, stand up for himself.

Much later, I was to see Adrian’s diary entry for the period covering Bim’s illness and eventual death…

“It was to be my first proper tour as a live DJ… A few days prior to departure, Bim had fallen ill and was in hospital. I visited him at 11.30 the night before I left. It was to be the last time I’d see him alive. We got the news that he passed on the 17th while we were in Dijon. I returned home the next day. Skip McDonald and Bim had a very close friendship. Skip… was devastated… I was sad for Bim’s family, angry with people and everyone around felt empty…”

Gregory Mario Whitfield – 2003

Shameless KYPP advertising section

July 11th, 2014

FLOWERS IN THE DUSTBIN

Flowers In The Dustbin released a 12″ record on All The Madmen records in 1984 and a cassette only release on Rob Challice’s cassette label 96 Tapes again in 1984. Rob Challice would soon look after All The Madmen records after Alistair left in 1985. Flowers In The Dustbin then released a 7″ record on Mortahate records in 1985 and then yet another 7″ record for Cold Harbour records in 1986. This was the entire vinyl output of the band, and shortly afterwards Flowers In The Dustbin disbanded.

Whilst on Cold Harbour records the Flowers In The Dustbin recorded several tracks for release as an album. The record label went bust two years after the sessions and the release was never forthcoming. A very frustrating time for the band.

The release was never forthcoming until now twenty eight years later!

These ‘lost’ recordings are now given the respect they deserve via the Freaks Run Wild record label in America. Screen printed sleeves, booklets and a heavy vinyl. Only 500 copies produced.

Get the vinyl of the lost album, which I found out was mastered from my own original cassette in a roundabout way, from Inflammable Material for the UK and Europe and the wonderfully named Punk Vomit for the U.S.A

CYCLOBE

Ossian Brown, one of my oldest friends from my teenage years sent me not one, but two new ‘Sulphur’ 12″ singles.

One 12″ single in transparent vinyl, and one 12″ single in transparent red vinyl.

I love it when a surprise package ends up delivered at Penguin Towers!

The three tracks on this 12″ single are all separate soundtracks to three separate short Derek Jarman films and the record includes three inserts. The tracks on this record, to my ears, is heavily Coil influenced. That description might be doing Cyclobe a disservice as I might just be engaging in some lazy journalism, and I certainly rate the core duo of Cyclobe, Steven Thrower and Ossian Brown (both in fact ex members of Coil) as two of the most original and independent musicians out there at the moment.

Try to grab one of these different coloured vinyls (limited to 500 each colour) direct from Cyclobe.

LEE GIBSON

I received the new 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 214 page A4 immense book are memories of Lees early years from 1976 all through to around 1986 (sped read a fair bit just for this description as it will take ages to read it all).

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 run arounds, 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 anarchic punk culture which was an important and sometimes scary time for many. Absolutely insanely cheap at £8.50 – but having the quality of a £20 book it may be purchased if you are interested from Lulu Publishers.

ROBERT DELLAR

Robert Dellar was involved in a small way (along with Grant Matthews of Rudimentary Peni, a local band to Robert at that time) with the Wapping Autonomy Centre and the Centro Iberico. He edited several fanzines including Straight Up which gave a fair amount of space to The Apostles and The Astronauts. He loved / loves The Swell Maps and Subway Sect. A squatter of many years in many areas, he lived in Brighton for a while and now is back living in south east London, working with Southwark MIND and then Mad Pride. Work that continues to highlight mental illness and help people suffering from the illness.

Robert Dellars book publishing company Spare Change books have published many books including the original print of Nick Blinkos ‘Primal Screamer’ in 1995.

‘Gobbing, Pogoing And Gratuitous Bad Language’ and ‘Mad Pride: A Celebration Of Mad Culture’ were two books with essays, poetry and artwork from various contributors including Nick Blinko, Ted Curtis, Louise Challice, Stewart Home, Andy Martin and Dave Fanning of The Apostles and many more.

‘Seaton Point’ which also has different contributors to the book is actually the story of  the Hackney tower block of the same name and the youngsters experiances of the time. ‘Does for Tennents Super what Trainspotting did for heroin’ written on the rear of the book gives a clue to the delights hidden within the paper back cover.

Get the book from Fishpond and try to search out the other books still available on Spare Change books.

Below is a review of the book ‘Splitting In Two’ by David Russell.

In this book Robert Dellar traces his life journey from his childhood in a working class area of Watford, through Sussex University and the London squatting community, to the murky waters of mental health, as he describes it. Of special importance is the pioneering work Robert did in Hackney Hospital. Here he set up a Patients’ Council and Advocacy Department At the time of the hospital’s closure in the mid 90s, Robert organised some lively gigs described here in colourful detail. His journey then continues to Southwark MIND, (the first user run MIND group) – then on to Mad Pride – an organisation who through the gigs they put on linked mental health to rock and roll. Together with his friend Peter Shaughnessy they also turned mental health demonstrations into theatre.

The title of this book is also the title of a song by punk legends Alternative TV. They make several appearances here, as does Nikki Sudden and two Survivor Punk bands, The Ceramic Hobbs and Rudimentary Peni. Lesser known but equally talented artists like Dave Russell and The Astronauts also make a number of appearances here – as does Ronnie Corbett; he turns out to be a decent chap. While Mad Pride is associated with Punk Rock, a number of folk musicians and poets also took part in their gigs.

Some parts of this book deal with grim topics; there is also much tragedy described here. But a sense of humour runs through this book, and much compassion is shown. A little anarchy is also at play. The titles for a lot of the chapters come from songs. Many of the titles relating to the Punk and New Wave years. This period of time being of importance to Robert as it was when he produced many fanzines.

His fanzine influence would continue with the Southwark MIND newsletter. This was always an Inspiring magazine to read. Along with the different realities featured here, there are pieces of fiction but they fit in well. Some little known capitalist scandals are exposed like the exploitation carried out by the drug companies. Also charities like SANE (Schizophrenia A National Emergency) who, while appearing to be respectable do a lot to demonise people with that label. Also exposed is the reality of life for people who are diagnosed as Schizophrenic. A life of heavy medication, stigma, and locked wards.

This book is an enjoyable read. It is very entertaining. Robert’s journey has been an uphill struggle; it shows both his vulnerabilities and his strengths. But there have been proud achievements along the way. An example being the SANE demonstration Mad Pride organised in the late 1990s where Marjory Wallace came out to face her public. I have a lot of respect for the good work that Robert Dellar has done over the years.

MIKE DINES AND GREG BULL (WITH CONTRIBUTORS)

This project organised, edited and put together between Mike Dines and Greg Bull is another large tome from Lulu Publishers.

The book is in A4 format and has 156 pages printed in black and white with some great artwork by Jacky Smith held within as well as some decent quality flyers and photographs from the contributors of essays for the book.

The contributors include our own Alastair Puppy from Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine and online blog, Robert Dellar (who is also on this KYPP post in his own right with the release of his latest book above), Greg Bull himself, Justine Butler (late of Welwyn Garden City but for decades now living in Bristol and now working on her vegan-ism blog HERE), Lucy Robertson from the university of Sussex and Robert Dellars collaborators from time to time, Ted Curtis, Martin Cooper and many more.

Each of the contributors essays, whether short or long, are an interesting blend of autobiography, fictional accounts and serious academic essays on 1980’s sub culture. The 1980’s, whether early or late, is the period that is relevant to this book.

The book is £8 direct from Lulu Publishers

 

Degenerate – Del Blyben

June 21st, 2014

DEGENERATE

DEL IN 1979

VJ discovered there was an old abandoned mental hospital a couple of stops down the line in Kilburn called St Monica’s where Jake Heretic and his friends were squatting, I knew I had to find it.

On the way VJ told me stories of how haunted the place was. When we found the place, walking into the derelict building almost felt like coming home.

We found the large ward upstairs at the front of the asylum where people congregated. The older punks, Aussie Bob, Wank Stain, Jake Heretic and some others weren’t hostile, they just ignored us.

Mitch and Ruthless were kind although VJ kept his distance. He was more into Tubeway Army and wearing makeup by then.

Ruthless was the first girl I’d seen with a mohican, and you couldn’t miss her bust. I thought she looked magnificent and while I was trying not to stare Sniper entered the ward.

THE HERETICS – SNIPER / SI / JAKE / SAM

VJ asked Sniper about the ghosties, and he performed magnificently. He was speeding off his tits standing in the middle of the ward surrounded by rusty old bed frames. In the fading light, back hunched, fingers clawed and wide eyed as he recalled in a gravelly Yorkshire accent all the eerie supernatural events, and he went on for hours. He punctuated all the loud bumps and impregnated all the pauses until we were convinced we could hear them ourselves. His facial expressions told the story of the horrors that awaited us in the dark hours and we were engrossed. He put VJ’s tales to shame and by the dead of night we’d scared ourselves silly. But I still remember sleeping soundly that night.

VJ woke me early next morning wanting to go home. I didn’t want to but left anyway.

I returned when I could on my own. One day I found Mitch with a bottle of Indian ink and a needle. I couldn’t back out so let her tattoo my name on my arm. That was when I decided my name had only one L.

One night at the Marquee I started chatting to George another punk who liked to wear makeup. He was with his mate Kirk. Eventually I got round to asking George, in hindsight the stupidest question I’ve ever asked; “Are you gay?” He looked on me with pity and instead of calling me a twat or worse he explained he was human and sexual, and the question was irrelevant. It all made a kind of sense.

At this time my father decided that I should go to college and get a trade. I think he needed to salve his conscience so he could later say “well at least I tried”. I was enrolled in Middlesex Polytechnic which later became the University. I was taking technology, industrial history and maths to eventually get my City and Guilds certificate. Apart from the field trips to look at beautiful old buildings, I hated it. I’d already had a good taste of freedom and going back to school wasn’t what I wanted.

After enduring two months of it I gave my bondage trousers to a classmate and left. I had better things to do.

CHAOS

Back in Harrow Dino had formed a band called Chaos. One of their first gigs was at Unit One in Uxbridge.

All the local punks, the Woodstocks and the Hillingdon, Womble, the Hayes and the Harrow punks turned up. Most of them I already knew but by the end of the evening I was getting on with the drummer Scarecrow who told me about the squat where he lived in Kennington.

After the gig I went back there with him and met Mad Dog, Liz, Brummy Mark and Scrubber who I shared a room with. Although Scrubber was my first proper taste of sex, with others in the room, it didn’t feel much different from my first time. I never thought she was a girlfriend. I didn’t think she even liked me.

I was just sixteen and didn’t go ‘home’ for a month.

The squat was opposite Kennington tube and to the right a bit. It was an estate ready for demolition due to subsidence.

Pygmy was a six foot three skinny black fourteen year old with a mohican and a glue bag constantly attached to his face. He taught me not to put round things on the floor or they tended to migrate to the fire, staggering in the middle of the room had much the same effect.

One night Scrubber, the worse for tuinol and Merrydown cider, succumbed to the subsidence and magnetic pull of the fireplace. She narrowly missed taking the squats prized possession, the record player with her. The Ramones scratched as she went rear first into the fire and her jumper went up in flames. As the smell of singed hair filled the room Scarecrow jumped to the rescue, putting the Ramones back on as Scrubber grudgingly wasted good cider on the flames.

Getting up the staircase to bed in the dark was difficult enough without the drugs, the lack of an even line or straight edge in the building made it an almost Alpine experience.

There was no water in the place so we were appropriately filthy. The toilet didn’t flush but laziness saw its continual use until even we were disgusted at the size of the pile and the stench. We found a hammer and nailed the door shut with some rusty six inch nails we’d found so we couldn’t use it any more. It reduced the smell too.

We then opened another place three doors down just for its flush-less loo which was almost immediately overwhelmed. Eventually if we got caught short we spread newspaper in the bath, took a shit on that then rolled it up into packages.
We then aimed over the balcony at one of those big round bins five or six floors below.

Scarecrow let one drop one day without noticing the man walking his poodle. The wind caught the package and I nearly looked away as it narrowly missed the dog. The splatter radius was like a bomb blast. We both had the decency to wretch before we ran and hid.

One day Michelle brought her boyfriend Russ home. He’d had all his hair shaved off and turned skinhead. At some point he decided he wanted my leather jacket and that he was going to rob me. Back in another circle facing another fight I didn’t want, I looked to my new friends for support and was told in no uncertain terms to stick up for myself. It was a lesson I’d already learned, but he was bigger than me so I was beaten and lost my jacket anyway.

Next day my friends took me out on the tube to rob someone else of theirs, and I got a better one.

We took whichever opportunities arose and begged borrowed and stole our way to the Kings Road, gigs, parties, other squats and subway four at Piccadilly tube where we got our tuinol, a heavy barbiturate which went easily into syringes back in the squat. I hadn’t started fixing yet myself but was already being asked to do needle work for others and was becoming quite good at it. I was never encouraged to fix myself and one of the first rules I learned was that you never fix anyone who hasn’t fixed before.

One day I’d just swallowed my tuinol when there was a knock on the door. Pygmy disappeared to answer. He soon returned with a grave expression on his face, stared at me from the door and said round the ever present glue bag, “your dad’s at the door”. I turned to stone.

He’d come down to south London with his mate in the work van. My mother had used the situation to berate and blame him so he was there to take me home.

I was unceremoniously thrown in the back of the van on top of some plaster boards which were on top of a bucket in the middle of the van so continually unbalanced. As we weaved through London the tuinol started to hit. I was thrown around the back of the van like a rag doll, bouncing off one wall and then pitched into the other, to eventually be placed in a bruised, semi-conscious heap at my mother’s feet. My father and his friend, job done, promptly vanished to leave me again in the cold misery of my childhood. I was thankful for the drugs. The next morning when they’d worn off I went straight back to the squat.

By then Scarecrow and me had swapped beds and I didn’t need to risk the Alpine staircase any more.

Sometimes after a gig we’d get stuck in the city. There were a few places to go until the trains started in the morning. One was round the back of Wardour Street, in Wardour Mews. This place was called the Eagles club.

It was a dingy basement at the end of an alley with Baby, the fattest black man I had ever seen sitting on a drum stool at the front door. It was a basement half full of comatose punks waiting for sunrise, and the other half speeding off their tits. A bloke came up asking what I was after. I said tuinol. He knew I was skint but said he’d introduce me to some friends round the corner. I went along and up into a room above a shop where two blokes shared their tuinol and wine.

As the drugs started to take effect I was told to make myself comfortable, take off my jacket, then my boots. I sat and went with the flow. I was pulled back to semi consciousness by them removing my belt and trousers. The thought ‘they must be gay’ entered my mind but these weren’t like gays I knew.

They cuffed my hands behind my back and both raped me on the floor.

The next morning I had to plead for release. When they let me go I was still wasted, barbed out and stumbling towards the station trying to beg my fares. I didn’t get anywhere. I eventually ended up in the Music Machine and bumped into Costa and Pinki. Costa was one of the gays on the punk scene which overlapped with the gay scene at the time. He took the time to help talk me down.

I already knew ‘they weren’t all like that’. By the end of the night I remember feeling comfortable enough to sleep in the same bed as him, with Pinki in-between us both of course.

The next day I found myself stumbling up the Kings Road still a bit dazed. I bumped into George and got talking. I told him what had happened to me and he was angry. He asked me what they looked like and where it happened exactly, which I couldn’t pinpoint. He talked to me as a mate and took me to the Chelsea Potter and fed me. I remember sitting there and not really saying anything, just eating, and the normality of it all kind of cured me.

It would have been so easy to turn bitter and hateful. I was so lucky to have good people around me.

On one of my odd visits ‘home’ a girl called Tracy from the other side of Harrow with a biker brother called Basher gave me a mohican in her kitchen. I couldn’t help notice how every time I went back there were more and more punks. All the youngsters round the edges of the local scene were getting hooked and becoming a community.

We’d got to hear that Spizz Energy were doing a TV show and wanted some punks to come up. We filled the coach they’d put on for us to Hatfield where Daly Thompson the athlete was hosting the ‘young persons’ debate show. Of course we’d all got off our heads on the coach and by the time we arrived there were serious discussions about letting us in. Spizz being the diplomat soothed the ruffles while we sniggered our way through the door hiding our bottles and cans.

Before the show Daly was trying to be nice. He asked me from a circle of admiring giggly teenage girls how I made my mohican stand up. Despite being on a debate show I didn’t feel all that talkative at that particular point, but Spizz had asked us all to play nice so I smiled inwardly and made polite, while Daly took the piss to impress the girls. During the show he started to lose his cool after all the swearing kept ruining the takes, but being offensive little bastards we continued. We were spread throughout the crowd in little groups, trying to sneak swigs without the camera noticing.

Wobble had a bottle of Merrydown cider under her jacket with a straw which was cunningly attached to the side of her face. After a well worded reply by a smug young Christian Tory, Wobble shouted ‘bollocks’ to everyone’s loud approval. Daly Thompson was not impressed.

He ended the debate and fluffed his lines several times introducing Spizz Energy.

CHAOS

Chaos were playing at the Kings Head Deptford. The pub was known to be a bit boisterous in there so Dino’s brother Frog decided to come along for support. When we arrived the place was full of skinheads and Frog the rockabilly became a focal point.

While Chaos were on stage a fight broke out and it seemed like all the skins in the pub took turns on him. His throat and face were cut but we managed to get him out alive. He refused to go to hospital and decided to get the train back home to Harrow instead while the band stayed to sort out the mess. I caught the tube back with him. On the way I convinced him to pop into Northwick Park hospital which was at our stop anyway. I phoned his parents while the nurses stitched him up and waited for them to arrive before I left.

Sarah used to follow the Ants and was squatting at Cato Road in Clapham a few stops down the line from us in Kennington. She took me back to Clapham with her one night after a gig. Being sixteen I followed my instincts and moved in.

Clapham seemed to be full of Belfast punks from both the Catholic and Protestant communities. They had all come to London to settle in the squats.

There was another Jake, Deirdre, Siobhan, Gordy and Curly who told everyone he was asexual in the campest Belfast accent I had heard. Other punks and runaways from Birmingham and the Home Counties were also around. Leah, large Donna from Hackney, and Cliff who played drums for the Straps.

1979 was coming to an end and 1980 was fast approaching.

That New Years Eve the Ants were returning to the Electric Ballroom in Camden. I’d seen them there earlier in the year and couldn’t wait.

Poncing at Camden tube before the gig I got talking to a bloke from up north. He’d looked at me, then turned to his mate and said “Ere look, ‘e’s got green ‘air”. Actually it was faded peacock blue but before I could point this out he’d caught sight of Scrubber, Sarah and Michelle poncing spare change in boots and leathers in the station behind me. He said earnestly “I don’t know how you can touch those punk girls” and at that moment out of the corner of his eye he noticed Angel march up the escalator and through the station. She had long white shaggy hair a beautiful face, ample cleavage, thigh boots, mini skirt and stockings, studded leather jacket and a bull whip in her hand. The bloke’s head did a slow but complete 180 degree turn watching her as she strode passed, then snapped back to me slack jawed. I didn’t say a word. I just folded my arms and smiled smugly. It may not be the best example but at that moment I felt so proud of punk women.

I loved Ants gigs and all the squats in London seemed to turn out for this one.

It was as if everyone was there, tall skinny Tony D weaving back through the same crowd flogging his new fanzine ‘Kill Your Pet Puppy’, copies of which would later on be found in all the squats, and the means by which a load of us discovered what was happening on the wider scene we were a part of.

There was such a good atmosphere that night and everyone seemed to have a smile on their face, the Ants really performed as well. After a brilliant gig some people walked up to Trafalgar Square. I was drunk and happy and just generally partied through London that night on a slow roundabout walk back to Clapham with the rest of them.

It had been a year since Sid Vicious had died and Pat Marx had organised a march from the Kings Road to Hyde Park to commemorate him, and all the punks from all the squats turned out for it. Along the way Pat had carried a bucket collecting spare change which he said was for Sid’s mum.

By the time we reached Hyde Park the bucket was getting heavy and, like us, Pat noticed the line of skinheads marching parallel to us and shadowing us like a shark. The mood of the punks became quietened and people started to disappear.

As we neared the Serpentine lake Pat said his piece, declaring the day a success and making sure to remind any skinheads listening that the money wasn’t his.

Pat hastily disappeared leaving a park full of skinheads and punks to sort it out themselves.

One punk went through the roof of the Serpentine restaurant, another couple ended up in the lake as fights broke out all over. The police were having the time of their lives chasing anything that ran but most people managed to escape in ones and twos while all hell broke loose.

After the park I’d moved in the opposite direction to any skinheads I saw and eventually found myself looking in the window of Great Frog.

I’d started to relax then walked back round the corner onto Carnaby Street just in perfect time to be confronted by a wall of skinheads the width of the street coming straight towards me. I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights, but I knew if I ran I’d be chased down so instead I nonchalantly sauntered to one side looking at the skins I knew in turn, and to my amazement I was left alone.

The squat was becoming a bit over full, excellent fun but tempers frayed in close quarters, so Sarah was moving stuff to a new place in Brixton.

She’d lived in Villa Road before and Michelle and skinhead Russ were living there too. There were a load of punks squatting in Brixton at the time from the front line to the barrier block. The Glasgow punks, Zaza, Fibro, Rab and Jimmy, Jock Strap and Irish Tom. They were easy enough to find, you just walked up the frontline and listened for Slaughter and the Dogs.

Sarah packed up her stuff and with mattress on her back, said her ‘see you laters’ and set off for Brixton on the bus. A few days later She came back with Michelle.

Their new place had been petrol bombed by rockabillies and Russ had been burned to death. Sarah had been out at a gig but Michelle and Russ were both there and barbed out of their heads.

Michelle told us how she’d tried to wake him up but couldn’t, and how she’d tried to drag him out, right up until she had to get out herself to save her own life.

She was in a real mess crying and still coughing from the smoke, she blamed herself and skinhead friends of Russ blamed her too.

Sarah called for a squat meeting one morning. A collective inward groan was heartfelt by all.

Previous meetings to discuss the relevant issues which affected us all had descended into pitch battles and people got hurt at these things, usually by Sarah and the girls. She’d screamed over the din at the first meeting that from now on you could only talk if you were holding the rolled up newspaper that she had in her hand, and she’d got the last word. Of course the next squat meet everyone brought their own rolled up newspaper, which also make handy weapons and our second attempt at democracy ended with Belfast Jake and Perry needing to visit St Thomas’s.

By the meeting after that one I’d acquired a postman’s hat, placed the band across the top and a skull and crossbones on the front. Sarah had called it the Adolf hat and decided she could make a better point with it than a rolled up newspaper. To be fair that meeting resulted in us organising the supermarket skips between us and what gigs and parties we were going to. Sarah was quite proud of herself, but despite the hat I think we all agreed simply because we all wanted to eat, go to gigs and not get hurt.

This particular morning we all thought we knew what we were doing already so to be summoned for a meeting was quite disconcerting for everyone. I just hoped it didn’t end in hospital again. An ominous air of dread you could almost taste descended as we all slowly filed into the front room and sat, Sarah was stood, her back to the fire place, hands on hips in her leather and boots, the Adolf hat was already firmly secured to her head and a grim expression on her face.

A resigned and apologetic Belfast Jake was last to meekly enter and be seated. He looked up at Sarah’s face and whispered “oh shit” almost to himself.

She waited for silence then waited some more for effect then in a deep stern but matter of fact tone informed us all that at the Martian Dance gig the previous night, Grant from Wood Green had told her that he had the clap. The implications were obvious, she hadn’t seen him for a month and in that time half the squat had probably caught it.

The dread sank in as it dawned that we’d all be visiting St Thomas’s on mass that day.

Belfast Jake started to regale us with stories of little metal hooks, needles and umbrellas that they like to poke down the eye of your dick and torture you with.

Like lost sheep Sarah rounded six of us up and after we’d consumed all and any drink and drugs we had stashed at the squat and a subsequent visit to the local off licence on the way, she herded us off on the tube to the clap clinic.

Large Donna was last up the escalator at Waterloo station and nearly got caught as we all bunked through so we had to leg it from the tube. A bit puffed out but in newly buoyed spirits we stumbled into the hospital. Strangely a porter seemed to already know where we were going before we did and silently pointed us in the right direction without a question being asked.

In silent contemplation we walked through the clap clinic doors, two of the prettiest nurses I had ever seen took over from Sarah and shepherded us off to little cubicles to do their experiments. I thought it was all relatively painless but I could hear through the curtains another pretty nurse trying to hide the irony as she told Perry in an understanding voice “it’s OK, it happens” as he dripped discharge over the floor. He had point blank refused one of the procedures and in another cubicle Belfast Jake had come over all faint and heaved at the sight of another.

Then we had to sit and write down all the names of people we’d had sex with in the last month. Various versions of Mickey Mouse made it down on paper but in our heads it became clear that we’d have to send out diplomatic emissaries to several other squats in London.

After a handful of antibiotic on top of the drink and other drugs and a round of knowing pitiful smiles from the nurses we left to lick our wounds back at the squat.

THE WALL

The squat was over full so eventually the Belfast mob, me, Leah, Cliff and a few others found a place opposite side of the High Street in Edgley Road upstairs to Rab Fae Beith, the drummer from the Pack and the Wall.

The cycle of sex and drugs, begging and gigs, parties and punk were balanced by the ever present hunger and poverty. We’d all take it in turns to do the bread run in the mornings, prowl the streets for the odd pint of milk on a doorstep and sometimes butter and a block of cheese. We even sometimes got eggs and bacon if we caught a milk float unattended, then to local bakers before they opened and after a delivery of warm fresh baked bread, we’d shoplift and ponce our way up the High Street and outside the tube.

Of an evening we’d take turns doing the rounds of the skips behind the local supermarkets where apart from the ever present yoghurt soaked bread rolls in the bottom sometimes you could get lucky and the whole squat ate, we always shared but usually after we’d eaten our fill.

We were all runaways from something. I don’t think anyone in the squat was old enough to sign on the dole except Cliff, and desperation always nagged. Mickey the Noo was Siobhan’s boyfriend, an I.R.A. supporter from Glasgow with a green Mohican. He’d prowl the underground and rob people as a supplement to begging. Sometimes he took me with him for backing but he always came home with goodies.

The local copper nicked me while poncing for spare change outside Clapham North tube. Being on a two year bender I gave them an alias and they threw me in the cells. They told me I’d been arrested for mugging on the underground, they kept me there for a few days but had to let me go because my accent wasn’t Glaswegian and my mohican wasn’t green and the victim refused to say different. I got back to the squat and warned Mickey who promptly cut his hair off, and the next day he went robbing as a skinhead. He came back that night with two tickets for Siouxsie And The Banshees at the Music Machine. When asked where he got them from he said he’d robbed a couple of punks on the tube, which didn’t go down well. We all refused the spare ticket and the night of the gig we let Mickey go in alone, which was lucky because the people who he’d robbed were waiting in the foyer with the police to point him out. He was dragged off to the nick and we never saw him again.

One morning before Cliff set off for band rehearsals with the Straps, he sat and ate his Frosties in front of us without sharing. After he’d locked his door and gone, Belfast Jake decided that as punishment for being a greedy bastard Cliff deserved to lose his cereal, but instead of breaking Cliff’s new lock Belfast Jake decided to take a hammer to the wall between Cliff’s room and mine. Plaster and lathes lay in rubble on my mattress under the hole, which was big enough to pull the Frosties box through, Belfast Jake ate his fill, then put rubble in the box and returned it through the hole.

When Cliff came home from rehearsals that night he was already in a dejected mood. Apparently he’d been kicked out of the band for always having a glue bag in his face. He sat down and told us the sorry tale of the day’s events without seeing the hole in the wall behind him. As his story petered out we all agreed his luck was truly dire, as he went to unlock his door we all waited, but no hollering. A dejected Cliff just looked at the hole and said “figures” then a big beaming grin took over his face as he sat down with his bowl and milk and said “all a man can do at a time like this is eat his Frosties” and smiled again.

We watched him pour the rubble into his bowl, we tried to suppress our upwelling sniggers, which just made it worse. Cliff didn’t see the funny side and the obvious eruption of boots and fists ended in Belfast Jake nursing a broken bloodied nose on the floor. At that point Rab from downstairs came in to complain about the noise again, being older and more sensible than us and seeing the hole in the wall and the state of Jake he took the opportunity to berate us all for being a useless bunch of cunts and ordered us to shut the fuck up.

The next few days were quiet.

A few days later Siobhan and Deirdre decided the subdued Belfast Jake needed cheering up. He’d been moping in the mirror over his newly bent nose but eventually joined in the rough and tumble wrestling on the floor. It wasn’t long before he yelped again in pain. Siobhan had clumped him in the face, but as his hands left his nose he began smiling. She’d unwittingly knocked it back into place. Belfast Jake hugged her in sheer delight and gratitude.

Staggering up the stairs in Clapham one night I fell and banged my knee. Over the next few days the ache got worse and I had to see a doctor. Balham hospital didn’t know what was up with me but put me in bed in skin traction anyway.

People like to complain about hospital food but when you’re used to bugger all it tasted good. I stashed what I didn’t eat and the visits from the squat dwellers tended to coincide with one meal time or another so others could get a feed as well.

While Michelle stuffed her face with leftover peas and gravy Sarah tried to curb her enthusiasm about all the gigs I had missed, and her excitement about the ones I was going to miss.

The doctors took me into theatre, sedated me and took some fluid from my knee. I dreamed I was back in college, on a field trip to an old church. I felt the same need to escape I had in college but the old church was beautiful, the class entered to look around at the architecture. From the old beams in the roof hung a huge chimney type circular structure almost bell shaped, the bottom of which hung at chest height in the middle of the room, from inside light poured out. The class all bent to look under the rim to see where the light was coming from. The teacher warned too late not to go under. I became weightless and started drifting upwards backside first. I started slowly spinning as I looked down on the faces around the rim as they grew smaller, then spinning faster the higher I was drawn, and faster still into the light. I woke shaking my head back and forth back in traction in bed.

When the doctor made his rounds I told him I was all better now and could I go home now please. The next day they gave me the big plastic bag they’d sealed my clothes up in and a pair of crutches. My clothes were already rotten but as I opened the bag I gagged, I’d left a pot of curry sauce in the donkey jacket pocket which had turned to mould and grown through everything else. I rinsed what I could and dressed.

As I hobbled on crutches out of the ward I was sure the squat could smell me coming.

THE STRAPS – MUSIC MACHINE

That night in the Music Machine those crutches got used in various and imaginative ways by several people there, they didn’t last long.

Siobhan and Deirdre needed a bath and didn’t want to use the locals so with a couple of others we set off to my mothers. We walked through the council houses to the large looking house set back on a bend in the road. My father had built it up to look impressive on the outside, but inside it was still the same old building site. The girls had hoped for hot water and maybe a feed but got neither.

I was going back home to Harrow less often, usually to take stuff back that I’d collected, records, clothes and so forth, and to get cleaned up and then see some local mates. I hadn’t been back in a while but when a stranger answered the front door and told me my family had moved I was a bit surprised. He said he didn’t have a clue where they’d moved too and closed the door. My mother had told me on the previous visit that she’d finally agreed to sell the place but I didn’t think it was that long since my last visit.

Her brother lived about a mile up the road so I went knocking on his door to ask if he’d seen them, I discovered they’d moved just round the corner from him. From the sale of the house my father and mother had both paid off their debts and bought this house out right, my father taking a smaller cut he said so myself and my sisters would always have a roof over our heads. My stuff was piled up in the box room but I managed to make a little nest for myself which didn’t feel like home but made a nicer short term escape than the previous house at least for a while away from the squats.

On the phone my dad had told me he and Sue had bought a big house in north London that still had three sitting tenants. He said he’d pay us a hundred quid to squat in it for a week to get rid of them, Five of us moved in, Large Donna, Elaine, Michelle, Curly from Belfast and myself. We had to share a bathroom and toilet with the tenants and totally took the piss. The police were called, I gave a Mickey Mouse name but we were allowed to stay after my father made a show of taking pity on us.

A couple of days later when all was quiet I noticed my dad was there and chanced a knock on his door. He let me in and left. I sat down at the table to wait and Sue came in through the other door behind me, plonked a baby on the table in front of me and said ‘meet your sister’, then also left. The baby looked at me with incomprehension and started to bawl until my father came back to retrieve her and take them both home.

Back in the rooms next door the party continued. The smell of glue permeated the house as strongly as the toilet and the noise, and by the end of the week two of the tenants had left.

Siobhan came back from a gig that night and looked uncharacteristically pensive, then with an innocent face that only an Irish Catholic can pull off said “they just sort of followed me home”. I looked outside, and on the doorstep were nine tenths of the Dusseldorf punks, the more the merrier I thought, and let them in.

At weeks end it was time for Sue to move in with the baby and for us to go, we piled all of our stuff in the back of my father’s van.

Elaine from Blackpool and Sarah had scouted out a couple of possible places back in Clapham so my father dumped us and our pile of stuff by the side of the road on an estate opposite Clapham North tube, gave five of us twenty quid each and left.

The first place we were kicked out of by the police within an hour, the second place though the police left us alone.

It didn’t look too promising to start with, no gas, electricity or water, but I’d been in a dive or two before and soon had the water and gas back on. The electricity though was a problem, there were just two wires sticking out of the wall in the cupboard where a meter should be. We went to a wrecked empty place we’d seen earlier and took the meter then I wired it up in our new place, as the evening grew dark the lights came on to everyone’s approval, before long I had the hot water on too, we all took turns in the bath and settled in.

We saw George with his mate Philippe in the Kings Road and he told us about some exhibition or other and party. He also told us how the artists thought it would be wonderful if some punks came along, George expected us to take the piss and we duly delivered. We ate their food and drank their wine and behaved as degenerates are expected, pockets full and a quarter wheel of Edam in a roll in my hand we set off, next day the whole squat ate and drank.

Next night I bumped into Heidi and some of her mates from Dusseldorf in the Marquee and told them we had a new squat, they came back. Heidi didn’t speak English and I don’t speak German. All we knew about each other was what her mate translated for us, and Belfast Jake had just managed to pull the translator. It didn’t seem to matter, we enjoyed each other immensely and when we could drag ourselves from the bed I showed her the Kings Road.

It started to rain; we took shelter in the doorway of Boy. Heidi was stunning, tall and slim, fit, beautiful and blonde, a kind of German Debbie Harry.


Jock Strap who worked in Boy had clocked her and zeroed in. He started his fast raw Glaswegian patter not knowing she couldn’t speak a word of English. Seeing my growing amusement she smiled sweetly, which just encouraged Jock all the more. She certainly kept us out the rain that day.

A few weeks after she’d gone back to Dusseldorf the postman knocked on the door. Heidi had sent a food parcel to the squat and we all remembered her well.

I came back one morning after a gig and party to find Belfast Jake in the street outside the squat smoking a dog end and looking unusually pensive. He was acting odd but only said “you should have been here last night, Leah was off her head” and tried to laugh. He came in with me, walked in the front room (mine and Leah’s bedroom) and sat down.

He had an awkward smile on his face as he asked Leah “do you remember last night?”, she looked at him coldly and said “I remember you all fucked me” and stared straight at him some more. Belfast Jake’s head hung in shame and his red cheeks tried to pull a smile as if it were a joke.

Leah reminded me of my youngest sister. I actually got on with Leah and I felt guilty for years that I wasn’t there to stop them from abusing her on that night.

Out on the ponce I bumped into Mitch. She said her, Ruthless, Aussie Bob and a few others had a new place. I went back with her to a severe Victorian looking block on an estate behind Lambeth North tube station.

Campbell Buildings were being pulled down due to them being old infested shitholes that were already crumbling, but Ruthless was very accommodating so I stayed. The place was filthy but Ruthless and Mitch had found ways to combat the pile up of rubbish by sweeping it into the corners and under the carpet.

Apart from the smell this worked fine for a while, until one fine sunny day when light found its way into the corners of the room as well. At first my eyes noticed but my brain didn’t register that the carpet was moving all by itself in the sunlight. While my brain caught up Mitch noticed me staring at the gently undulating carpet in the corner of the room. She got up and beckoned me over then she pulled the carpet back to reveal a thick layer of maggots. There must have been thousands of them, but apparently they got rid of the rubbish so were left alone ‘for the time being’.

As the council emptied the next block in line for demolition the squatters started to move in and the quicker they did the quicker the remaining tenants moved out.

It was early 1980 and the punk squat community had spread. Campbell Buildings would soon became an over spill for all the squats in London and the surrounding areas, runaways from family and childrens homes, asylums, estates and suburbs from all over Britain, Ireland and beyond.

I saw Scarecrow in the Marquee, I hadn’t seen him for a while, he was looking well, back with his folks, clean and healthy, I said to him “you’ve got to come back and see where we’re living now”. The gigs and parties were almost endless by then and acquiring drugs for free had become an essential.

Dr Manch was the local GP in a dingy little ground floor office come surgery. He was a short chubby, pasty faced Greek looking man who sweated profusely. He had a haunted hangdog expression etched into his face, as if he’d been carrying his deflated pride around in his tatty fake leather bag with his whiskey for too many years. His surgery smelled of musk alcohol sweat and urine, or maybe that was just him, but he knew his job and wrote prescriptions endlessly for us all.

I’d told him that I couldn’t sleep, and at first he’d tried to explain the wonders of a good days work, but seeing only incomprehension and bafflement he soon gave up and palmed us off with mogadon or dalmane, but after one of the girls from the squats had sat in front of him with a handful of tuinol and said “if you don’t give me something stronger I’ll swallow the lot” he kind of gave in to us all.

For a time it seemed like half the punk squatters in London went to him.

I bumped into Slut out on the ponce one day, She used to live with Slag and Scrubber in Brixton before I knew them. The film ‘The Great Rock And Roll Swindle’ had just come out and it was showing at a cinema at Piccadilly Circus. Slut had some money from ‘working the ‘dilly’ that day so she took me to see the film.

Afterwards we got off our heads, and she came back to the squat. Next day she went to see Dr Manch.

Police raids were a regular thing that we’d all become used to, so to prevent our stashes of pills from the good doctor being regularly confiscated we’d started to hide them in more inventive ways. The police were stumped for a while, until one night the squat caught fire. This was nothing new for Campbell Buildings, but when some extremely stoned punks refused to leave a burning squat in favour of removing all the ceiling tiles, it didn’t take long for the police to figure out and inform the fire brigade, that we weren’t doing it because we were only trying to be helpful.

We’d began to push the pills one by one into the large polystyrene ceiling tiles that were to be found in every squat there, and if we didn’t get them out we’d lose our collective stash. The fact that the tiles were inflammable, and once alight dripped fire on everything below, was the reason many a squat was lost to fire in the first place, that and us finding varied and colourful ways of ‘accidentally’ igniting them.

UK SUBS

We went to see the UK Subs support Generation X at the Lyceum. The place was packed, but most of the ‘proper’ punks were there for the UK Subs because Generation X had become ‘Top Of The Pops’ sell-outs by then. There were loads of trendy poseurs there to see them though. There were also loads of the Whitton punks there. They were a part of the Subs crew in the early days and now the Subs were getting a bit more recognition so were the Whitton.

As the UK Subs set came to an end all you could hear from the crowd was a continual chant of ‘Subs Subs Subs’ interspersed with ‘Whitton Whitton’. When Generation X came on the chanting continued. For the first four numbers all you could hear from the crowd was ‘Subs Subs Subs’.

I was walking up the stairs at the side to the balcony when I noticed a beer can sailing, in what seemed like a slow motion perfect arc. Through the air and lights it flew to the stage and hit Billy Idol straight and hard in the head. He staggered off stage leaving the band to play to the chanting crowd by themselves. When the song finished there was a minute of silence from the stage, and all that could be heard was the chant.

CHARLIE HARPER – UK SUBS

Eventually Billy Idol came back on stage with his arm around Charlie Harpers shoulder; Charlie took the mike and implored the crowd to “give them a chance, they’re a good band really” and left. So did most of the crowd.

Campbell Buildings early one evening without a gig and still long hours before the soup kitchens arrival Ruthless had the idea we should try to fend off starvation by eating the local feral cats. That night out on the scrounge we kept our eyes open, there were plenty to choose from.

As I tried to coax one closer, instinctively on some level, one vicious little fucker recognised another, and even let me pick him up before turning into something like the Tasmanian devil in my arms. It flew straight at my face all four paws and teeth, a spitting hissing ball of ginger fluff and mange. I desperately tried to unhinge him but the bastard sliced my face and nearly had my eye. He gouged my hand and my arm through the leather jacket but I finally managed to untangle us, lever the bastard off and eject him up the street where he landed on all fours running, balls and tail in the air, before turning the corner he looked back, sprayed in my general direction then disappeared.

As we checked the bins on the way to the soup kitchen my cat allergy set in and I thought ‘there are easier ways to get a meal’.

On the way to the soup kitchen at night the cobblestones always looked wet; the smell of rot was greeted by decay the closer you got until the last street lamp before the arches faded.

The viaducts under Waterloo station were like red brick cathedrals to the damp filthy and stinking remains of the streets. Winos, tramps, beggars, thieves, junkies, lowlife and punks all crowded around dustbin fires or in queue at the old van with its two milk urns full of soup.

When a train wasn’t rattling over us or one of the other viaducts, the sound fell enough to hear the odd spit from the fire or curse from a dosser, just to be covered again by the next rattling train.

After standing in line for a paper cupful of soup and a bread roll the fire looked tempting.

Sometimes you could squeeze between the dossers and up close to the fire, then try to fend off hunger with the piss weak soup while watching the rats around the edges who fed off the rot, and the feral cats who fed off the rats.

Of an evening in Campbell Buildings it was sometimes necessary to escape to the roofs, not only from the police, or the noise, or another burned out squat, or the increasing tribes of invaders who were always on the prowl for punk squats to wreck. But just because it was nice up there.

There was something very comforting about listening to the Kinks playing ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and ‘Lola’ on Ruthless’s little cassette recorder, while watching the sun go down over Waterloo station. I never saw the river from the roofs of Campbell Buildings but I’m convinced I smelt it.

Campbell Buildings had now become an overflow for all the dregs of all the squats in London. For runaways from children’s homes, asylums, council estates and broken suburban nightmares. I’d known for a while that I had to get out of there.

I left one night and went back to Harrow and bumped into Tony A, who was squatting in Hounslow with the Whitton punks and I decided to join him. The next morning I went back to Campbell Buildings to get my stuff and say my ‘see you laters’.

I found Indian Keith crying. He told me he had gone up on the roofs that morning and found Scarecrow dead on his back. He had called the police who’d arrived, and abruptly told Keith to fuck off, he said. While they were waiting for the mortuary van to arrive the two coppers were flicking little stone’s from the roof at Scarecrows face trying to land them in his open mouth.

Later that day Keith lead the toast to Scarecrow with tuinol and Merrydown cider, I left them to it.

DEDICATED WITH RESPECT TO SCARECROW / RUSS / SNIPER / BARRY / RICHARD / KEITH / COSTA / PINKI / LISA – MAY THEY ALL REST IN PEACE.

DEL BLYBEN

THANK YOU TO DEL BLYBEN FOR SHARING THIS ESSAY FOR THIS SUMMER SOLSTICE KYPP POST.

THIS ESSAY IS ONLY A SMALL PART OF A HEFTY TOME THAT DEL HAS WRITTEN ABOUT HIS LIFE WHICH I AM HOPING I WILL GET TO READ MORE OF IN THE FUTURE.

THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE WHOSE COLLECTIONS OF PERIOD PHOTOGRAPHS I HAVE USED TO HELP FILL UP THIS SUMMER SOLSTICE KYPP POST;

JOHNNY GRANT / ANDY HALFORD / SAM MORROW / TONY D / LEAH DURKAN / FAUSTO ORTENZI / KATIE KITKAT / SANDRA CLARKE / PHIL RITCHIE / DAVE C.B / SI HERETIC / GERRY FORD / DEL BLYBEN / ANN WOBBLE / HILDA MCMAHON / SHIV GALLAGER / MICKEY PENGUIN / LISA KIRBY (R.I.P).

MOST OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS HAVE BEEN ARRANGED IN SUCH A WAY SO THEY ARE RELEVANT TO THE TEXT BELOW THAT ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH.

MOST – BUT NOT ALL.

SOME OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE OF PEOPLE NOT MENTIONED IN THE ACTUAL ESSAY. I FEEL THAT THESE PEOPLE ALSO HAVE A REASON TO BE FEATURED WITHIN THIS SUMMER SOLSTICE KYPP POST AS THEY WERE AROUND THE PEOPLE AND THE PLACES THAT DEL DOES MENTION IN THE ESSAY.

MICKEY PENGUIN

Flux / Annie Anxiety / Tackhead Sound System / AR Kane / D&V – U.L.U London – 28/11/86

June 5th, 2014

TAPE ONE SIDE ONE

TAPE ONE SIDE TWO

TAPE TWO SIDE ONE

TAPE TWO SIDE TWO

I was in attendance at this Flux gig. The first time witnessing Flux (Of Pink Indians) live on stage for two or three years. It was quite a change from the old militaristic Crass style Flux sound of 1982-1983 to a more 23 Skidoo style Flux sound in 1986. From that sound to this in just a few short years! I was already aware of ONU Sound, Tackhead Sound System and Adrian Sherwood and I was looking forward to attending this gig. It did not disappoint.

KYPP is indebted to Lee Oliver for the loan of the two C90 tapes that he recorded from a hand held cassette recorder from this One Little Indian / ONU Sound night at U.L.U in central London. He managed to cover just about all the audio from the night and the audio sounds very reasonable.

Lee has also kindly written some text regarding the night and his thoughts about Flux Of Pink Indians prior to the gig along with the Flux poster for this performance. A massive thanks to him for that.

Also a huge thank you to Martin Flux who also contributed a whole heap of interesting text to this KYPP post.

Thanks also to Graham Burnett who supplied the photographs of Flux and Annie Anxiety performing on the night. Both Flux flyers from the collection of Penguin!

1986 was a funny old year. In musical chronology it felt like a dramatic turning point. The dominance of UK created music was ending. I was opening up to the styles and influences from further afield. It seems crazy now but what was going on across the Atlantic seemed other- worldly. Even Europe was a distant influence.

As 1985 turned into 1986 the direction of flow was changing, especially in the ‘punk scene’. The emergence of hip hop alongside funk percussive styles, dub and even that old warhorse, metal, were permeating into bands’ developments.

The transition from Flux of Pink Indians to Flux was one of the most divergent and to my ears the most exciting development in that year.

The EP, ‘Taking A Liberty’, their previous release before ‘Uncarved Block’, was a howl of frustration. Musique Concrete re-imagined through the most extreme anarcho-punk. It felt like an ending, a full stop. There was nothing more to say.

I interviewed Flux for my fanzine at the time (long lost I’m afraid to say). It was at their place in Forest Hill. The living room was spacious with beautiful wooden floors and bookshelves heaving with books. A hessian sack with the corn stalk emblem used on the cover of the first Antisect LP hung above one of the sofas. Lu and Tim from Flux attempted to answer our quite possibly naïve teenage questions about the state of the world and where ‘punk was going’. I could sense their desire to experiment how their music was presented to open up to a wider audience, a frustration with preaching to the converted if you will. I left feeling a mixture of uncertainties and excitement about how they were going to achieve that.

The concert at the University of London on Friday 28th November 1986 showcased the new Flux sound of ‘Uncarved Block’. The supporting acts were a direct challenge to punk orthodoxy. The fragmented sound poetry collages of Annie Anxiety, the beat minimalism of D&V, abstract noise pop from A.R.Kane and the sound of the future, Tackhead Sound System, bringing their tour de force heavy duty dub funk.

The whole line-up seemed to be a premonition of the rhythmic beat of ‘rave culture’ that would explode across the strands of the undercurrents in the following two years. The free jazz record playing between acts (Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry ??) was another pointer to what was to come.

Finally Flux played. It wasn’t punk as such, loose funk rhythms, percussive interludes, space, lyrics chanted, hypnotic. Words about personal politics, The Tao of Pooh, re-evaluation.

I was under the impression this was the only time they performed as Flux, someone might be able to confirm or correct this. Anyway shortly after this night Flux disappeared forever. The conclusion I felt was that it was an eye opener, another step in my appreciation of different musical styles and strands.

For that alone ‘Uncarved Block’ is a masterpiece.

LEE OLIVER

The Flux performance at U.L.U was the only time myself and my older brother had been on stage together and the last. Paul Wilson was my older sibling by three years or so. He was a drummer and inspired me to follow the same path. Having a drum set around the family house in my formative years did not hurt either.

Paul was the original drummer for the Psychedelic Furs in 1977 until he was replaced by Vince Ely in 1978 or 1979 when my brother celebrated his wedding anniversary instead of being able to perform with the band at the Zig Zag club in Westbourne Park, west London. This gig was not insignificant as it was a music biz affair put on by C.B.S and the Psychedelic Furs were not yet signed, although very close to being so. Tracy Lee the then manager gave all the band a weeks notice of this important billing and Paul and his wife had already made plans for that night. Seeing as Pauls wife was already upset at Paul walking around with make up on, as was the image of the band at that time, he felt it proper to keep to the original arrangements for that week. The performance slot for Psychedelic Furs at the gig did not happen for this reason and my brother was ousted.

Life continued. Paul took a back seat and I eventually joined Flux Of Pink Indians after a succession of drummers left including Sid concentrating on Rubella Ballet and Bambi who went to join Discharge (or did he leave Discharge to join Flux Of Pink Indians?).

In 1982 Flux Of Pink Indians performed all over the country as main support for Crass alongside D.I.R.T and Annie Anxiety. During this treks across the country we met many other bands including D&V.

Andy Leach the drummer for D&V stepped onto the stage as the Flux Of Pink Indians drummer one night in Birmingham Digbeth Hall (or some Civic Hall of some kind) when some kindly skinheads with an iron bar decided to try to crack my head open. Thanks to him for that. I recovered to eventually return this kind of favour for D.I.R.T at the squatted Zig Zag club gig when Fox walked off the stage mid set for some reason. He never returned to D.I.R.T. I also drummed in Iceland for Crass of all bands when Penny was left in North Weald with a perforated ear drum. Penny and I had the same militaristic drumming style so I fitted that Crass set quiet well.

As a member of Flux Of Pink Indians I was involved in the making of the ‘Strive To Survive’ album in 1982. This record along with the follow up ‘Fucking Cunts’ in 1984 were both recorded at Southern Studios and during both those sessions we would meet Adrian Sherwood doing his work there with his ONU Sound artists. Little did we know that a few years later Adrian Sherwood would be engineering recordings for Flux Of Pink Indians!

Fast forward to 1986.

Derek had given up the Spiderleg record label and had started a more progressive label called One Little Indian alongside Tim another member of Flux Of Pink Indians. Derek had also had a falling out with John Loder at Southern Studios. AR Kane was one of the first bands to record for One Little Indian records. I played drums for the band on a few tracks later on, but for this first release the band had a drum machine. Adrian Sherwood was sitting pretty in the public with endless purely wonderful releases from his label ONU Sound. Mark Stewart And The Maffia, Tackhead and African Headcharge. Bonjo I and Style Scott were part of this ONU set up.

Derek decided that Flux Of Pink Indians should record for his new record label, but also the band name should change as well as the sound of the band. We all agreed to this as far as I can remember. We had not performed live or recorded anything since 1984. Things were pretty slow.

Colin, Derek, Tim, Lu and myself struggled with different sounds, and while the ideas were formed we had some input from Ray Shulman of the progressive band Gentle Giant. His effect on the band should not be underestimated. He bought a mad violin sound to the table and the trumpet. Bonjo I also came to the same table, as did Adrian Sherwood.

We started recording ‘Uncarved Block’ with Adrian Sherwood at Berry Street studios. The recording sessions as far as I remember was turning out well. There was one time when Adrian had an important meeting to collect ‘something for the weekend’ and left Derek in the engineers chair for some of Bonjo I’s percussion recording. Adrian had made a career in dealing with Rastafarian musicians. Derek however had not. Derek recorded the material that Bonjo I was only practicing and not recording the material that Bonjo I thought was to be recorded. Bonjo I was speaking in very thick Jamaican patois and Derek struggled to understand a lot of it. I was in the control room and Derek was asking me what was said, generally to a shoulder shrug. This whole episode was frustrating to Bonjo I and he was getting quite angry. He stood up and took out a large knife entering the control room with what we both thought at the time, some menace. He got a mango out of a ruck sack and started to cut it up. Worry over. Adrian came back eventually wide eyed and sorted out any unusable material we had created with Bonjo I!

Another memory that sticks in my mind was when a few days after I had completed my drum parts, Derek played me the tape and there seemed to be another drum going throughout the tracks. This sounded unusual. I asked what that was, Derek replied Style Scott came in and did a few sessions with Adrian! I knew nothing at the time and remember feeling a little let down as I could have completed a separate drum track easily enough. However with hindsight shortly afterwards I realised having someone like Style Scott on a Flux record engineered by Adrian Sherwood at Berry Street is not a bad look at all!

We had the recordings in the can and the record was released on One Little Indian records prior to the performance at U.L.U in November so interested punters would know what kind of sound Flux were going to showcase.

Come the time of the gig we all got to the venue early as there was a lot of sound checking to do. Not just bass, guitars and drums.

The night was organised as a One Little Indian / Tackhead Sound System night. Adrian Sherwood was on the mixing desk all night. Our old friends Annie Anxiety and D&V were both set to perform to mainly backing tracks. AR Kane who were new to me, were also on the bill. They had a drum machine to add to the mix.

Flux had two drummers as mentioned above, both siblings, not myself and Style Scott like the studio recordings.
Flux had Bonjo I to fit into the mix.
Flux had vocals, bass and guitars.
Flux had violin and trumpet courtesy of Ray Shulman.
Flux also has a scaffold pole filled up with metallic things that made a racket when wacked with a drum stick. Fire extinguishers, pot and pans.

Adrian took care in making sure all this was at the correct level in the mix. He also had to mix the Tackhead Sound System along with various MC’s and so forth.

Adrian was a busy guy on the night, and needed a little speed to keep him going….

I watched all the bands / artists on the night as far as I can remember.

D&V, my old friends also had many backing tracks and played a blinder. Several years previously D&V would have had a problem with the crowds when supporting Crass and other bands of that ilk. Happily I remember that they got a decent reception.

AR Kane were sublime, and as mentioned earlier I eventually drummed for them on a few tracks that were eventually released.

Annie Anxiety smoked and drunk half a bottle of spirits to calm her nerves prior to getting on the stage “OK ready for the fucking show now boys” she stated loudly. A blinding set from her to a receptive audience for a change. Back in the late 1970’s and early 1980s appearing numerous times alongside Crass she would not always get a decent reception.

All the bands / artists on the bill went onto to release records for One Little Indian as far as I am aware.

Adrian Sherwood held all the differing sounds on the night nice and tight and after every performance the Tackhead Sound System would get a positive reception. This was not incidental music between bands; this was part of the performance. It was loud I remember that.

Flux went on with all the extra musicians and completely enjoyed the night. I think the audience did to from what I remember seeing. I do not remember doing an encore, not due to the band not feeling appreciated but due to just performing ‘Uncarved Block’. Once all those tracks that appeared on the record were completed the band left the stage. Flux were not going to come back on to perform ‘Tube Disasters’ or anything like that!

After the performance I stayed for the rest of the Tackhead Sound System. Bonjo I wanted paying in cash for the nights work which took the band by surprise. He had just been released from detention due to some misdemeanour which if I remember rightly might have been a violent misdemeanour so we thought it better not to argue with him. We had to get some cash double quick to pay Bonjo I off and when we scraped some money together he disappeared!

Sometime after this U.L.U performance we went to Europe to try the new set out there.

A wrong move was not to take Adrian Sherwood, my brother Paul, Bonjo I or Ray. We thought we could cover the new set as a five piece (back to Flux Of Pink Indians not the nine piece Flux). At the Paradiso in Amsterdam we not only sounded hollow and bombed, but the audience were also disappointed as an rap artist who was expected to perform on the same night had not turned up to perform for the gig. Added to this everyone was expecting the Adrian Sherwood Tackhead style night. Flux were a very poor second! Ditto the above for Hague in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium…
Not a great little European jaunt, but the U.L.U performance in my mind was one of the best gigs I performed in.

Flux played one more time in 1991 at the Dome in Tufnell Park alongside Hotalacio Sound System which was Colins version of the Tackhead Sound System. I remember that this gig was packed, but again it was not the same as the U.L.U performance. Adrian Sherwood, Bonjo I and Ray really made that performance, and indeed the record (along with Style Scott) stand the test of time.

MARTIN FLUX

The Laila Mythology – Beltane Festival

May 1st, 2014

I remember visits to Penguin Towers from Laila along with her father Vince several years ago. She was a beautiful and bright toddler in those days. Fast forward several years and adding a lot of effort, time and imagination, Vince and Laila’s mother Donna, along with Laila herself are on the brink of releasing a film full of fantasy, wonder and hopefully a happy ending!

Vince has also called on his old friend Penny Rimbaud from Crass, a band that Vince shared stages with up and down the country dozens of times with D.I.R.T throughout the early 1980’s, to feature in this film.

The wonderful setting of Dial House and surrounding countryside were used as part of the films numerous locations. Sid from Rubella Ballet has had a hand in the soundtrack of this film.

I am looking forward to seeing the results on a big screen at some point in the future.

The photographs from Dial House are from the collection of Mickey ‘Penguin’ and the text on Beltane lovingly poached from thewhitegoddess website.

The film stills are from the Facebook page dedicated to ‘The Laila Mythology’ which may be found HERE

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.

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.”

Defiant Pose fanzine

April 18th, 2014

I love a nice surprise and today I get home to find Defiant Pose fanzine volume 8 on my doorstep out of the blue. Included within the package a beautiful 7″ record by Rema Rema. A 7″ record on the heaviest vinyl I have had the pleasure of holding! Been on the record player over and over since the opening. There are ten pages on Rema Rema alone inside the fanzine, three pages on The Stench (from 1976), eight pages on The Heretics and three pages on Blood And Roses. That’s my reading material sorted out for the next couple of days! Thanks to Mike Clarke (Defiant Pose head honcho and also the guitarist from Decadent Few) for sending me this wonderful fanzine and record… Every like minded soul should get a copy of this package. Please browse and order this or other volumes of Defiant Pose from Mike Clarkes website HERE.

Limited edition sleeve artwork (thirty copies world wide)

Normal sleeve artwork

I started a fanzine in 1978 called Love And Romance, we planned to interview the Slits, Subway Sect and Siouxsie, but it fell apart in the planning stage. The singer of They Must Be Russians found out Siouxsie’s real surname and rang her mum’s phone number in Chislehurst, Kent and kept ringing it. I think Siouxsie herself was having her Sunday dinner there one day and gave him a mouthful when he called for the umpteenth time. I managed to almost interview Tessa from the Slits down the Portobello Road but we drank too much and smoked too many of the joints piled inside her handbag and both gradually lost the ability to form sentences. The other guy helping me met the Subway Sect at their rehearsal place, but they just stared at him catatonically whilst picking at their Oxfam jumpers and he forgot to turn the cassette recorder on, so that was that.

I got Defiant Pose going in 1980, did 3 scrappy issues by 1981, nothing important; a mate used to print them at his work after everyone went home. We would sell them to people in the street, deliberately not always to punks. The only positive thing was I moaned how nothing was happening locally and a month later two new fanzines started in Slough and sent me copies so it does work sometimes!

The fanzine came back in 2001 because I’d written a lot of stuff in the intervening years so had some friends, and suddenly we had the time to do it again. We thought most fanzines were stuck in the same dull blueprint they’d followed since the mid-80’s and lost that attitude. It’s also a conscious alternative to the interminable array of UK `zines that simply follow the US format of columns/reviews. After X amount of years of doing a label we rarely got an order based on a good `zine review, especially compared to the impact of seeing a band live. People have called Defiant Pose nostalgic, but we wrote so much stuff that it’ll take a few issues to get up to date with it all!

Mike Defiant Pose

Defiant Pose fanzine volume 7 – Mike compiled two issues of the same fanzine in two formats A4 (44 pages) and A5 (80 pages) respectively.
Both versions of this volume features UK fanzines 1976-84 from early punk through to Better Badges, post-punk / hardcore. All the fanzines featured and the history of, exhaustively written about by Mike himself, cover London, Manchester, Sheffield, Ireland and Scotland.
Ripped & Torn, Kill Your Pet Puppy, Crass and anarcho punk are featured. Interviews, graphics and some reprints.
Only 100 are available on both print runs I believe. The A4 version has the same text as the A5 version but different layout and graphics.
I been lucky enough to have been sent a copy several weeks ago now and if you enjoy the history of the punk fanzine culture you’ll be glad to own this absorbing artefact.

Defiant Pose – London Gig Flyers 1977 – 1997 – A limited print run of 100 copies for this fanzine that has dozens of quality scans of rare punk flyers from Mikes own collection! Well worth getting if the print run has not already sold out…


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