Archive for September, 2009

Creation Rebel – 4D Records – 1980

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Starship Africa

Space Movement

An absolutely smashing LP.

Some seriously spaced out reggae tracks, recorded way before this kind of sound was popular in Dub reggae circles. This LP, recorded in 1978, released in 1980, was one of the first LPs to showcase the kind of Dub that would become popular a couple of years later on in the decade, with help from a clutch of  Scientist LPs, various On U Sound LPs by Dub Syndicate and a little later on in the mid 1980’s various digidub releases by Manasseh, Disciples, Lidj Incorporated, Sound Iration and Alpha And Omega. 

The first two Creation Rebel LPs both released on Hitrun Records are also uploaded on this site if you care to use the search function to locate them as are several other ONU Sound releases.

Text below written by Steve Barker and ripped onto this site courtesy of skysaw.org. 

Creation Rebel’s first album “Dub from Creation” (APLP 9001) was released in March of 1978. The original band, featuring the drummer Eric “Fish” Clarke, had been a studio outfit known as the Arabs, now primarily remembered for their work on the classic dub set “Crytuff Dub Encounter Chapter 1″ (APLP 9002). The rhythm tracks for this album had been laid in Jamaica but the overdubs were worked up at the Gooseberry Studios in London. “Fish” left for Jamaica when these sessions were complete, leaving the group of remaining musicians preparing for duty as Prince Far I’s backing group for the DJ’s tour of Europe scheduled to start later in the year.

At this time the group comprised of “Lizard” Logan (replacing the original bassist Clinton Jack), “Crucial” Tony on guitar, Clifton “Bigga” Morrison on keyboards and Dr Pablo on melodica – which left an urgent vacancy on drums! Introduced to the band via Far I & Prince Records in Jamaica was a young man who had just completed his stint in the Jamaican army – Lincoln Valentine Scott a.k.a. “Style” – who, over the ensuing few years was to become the most in-demand session drummer in reggae and key member of the Roots Radics whose rhythms would dominate the scene between the end of the golden period of roots through to the digital age of the mid-eighties and onwards. Scotty of course also went on to form the nucleus of Dub Syndicate who have since recorded extensively for Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound.

In late 1978 Sherwood and Creation Rebel recorded “Starship Africa” (ON-U LP 8). Not released for the first time until 1980 the album still stands alone musically in reggae where it has no cerebral equivalent. “Starship Africa” can be interpreted critically as forming the third point of a sonic triangle equilaterally occupied by the disparate output of Grateful Dead and Tangerine Dream. A magnet for Headz which retains its stoned power today, the album mixed the customary drum and bass with ambient washes and industrial noise – all within a minimal framework.

The album’s story goes something like this. Just after the completion of the “Dub from Creation” LP, the young Sherwood found himself with the basic Creation Rebel cutting a bunch of rhythms in the studio for a character with the wonderful name of DJ Superstar – a contemporary of the Mexicano, and also rapping on top of funked up reggae rhythms. Most of these tunes had bass lines from Tony Henry of Misty In Roots. Sherwood had hummed the bass lines and Tony has re-created them – hence the melodic quality of the bass lines on the finished tracks.

What happened to these original tracks, who knows. But two years later Sherwood and Chris Garland, a friend from Cheltenham, were starting up a record company / agency in London’s Soho with the strange name of 4D Rhythms. The agency side of the business was to run acts like Dexy’s and Medium Medium, but they were also desperate to get some vinyl out on the street. In fact so desperate that Sherwood turned to the bunch of rhythms he had created a couple of years earlier, which up to that time he had considered quite “lame”. They were up for transformation!

Style Scott, in from Jamaica, did not so much overdub but played live over the original drum tracks from Charlie “Eskimo Fox”. Freed from the stylistic requirements of the Roots Radics, Scotty was encouraged to loosen-up and lay rolls and splashes all over the tracks in his now inimitable style. Six percussionists, that is the rest of the musicians and engineers and whoever was around the studio appeared phasing in and out of one channel, creating a trippy treble effect – which hid the fact that they were all out of time. Amongst these players was Sucker, a friend of Del from Osibisa, who occasionally gives the percussion mix a rich calypso feel.

When the album was being mixed Chris was urging Adrian to get madder “more reverb, more delay…”. But nothing could be so mad as the idea to mix the tracks blind. That is – turn over the quarter inch tape on the deck and feed in the effects and run the mix backwards, turn it back over for the finished product and somehow it made a crazy kind of sense. So much so that the mix was finished in one day! On the original vinyl there was just one track listed for each side. The title track was credited as a “soundtrack from a forthcoming motion picture”. One theory is that this little fantasy in the mind of Sherwood could very well have worked its way into the brain of one William Gibson, author of “Neuromancer” the classic debut cyberspace novel published in 1984. As reading that book now one can only hear Creation Rebel’s “Starship Africa” pounding out of the in-flight sound system on board the dread-crewed space-tug Marcus Garvey.

The band’s album “Close Encounters Of The Third World” (APLP 9008) on Hitrun had Prince Jammy credited with the mixdown, with Mr Sherwood referred to in the credits as “technician”. The release of the “Rebel Vibrations” album (APLP 9004) in 1979 preceded “Starship Africa” by over a year. Both sets were instrumental dub affairs and can now be appreciated as largely experimental in their approach, described in an unusually articulate phase by Mr Sherwood as exploring:

“…the unique possibilities of space in sound within the disciplined structures of rhythm, using bass line melodies and relying as much on the understated side of the overall result as on the overstated…”

The remainder of 1979 found Creation Rebel as anchor band for Prince Far I, Jah Woosh, Prince Hammer and Bim Sherman, all were featured in a non-stop three hour show which took to the road as the “Roots Encounter” tour. However, with the arrival of the eighties the band’s members were to tour less and less and eventually become disentangled as a creative outfit. Part of the explanation is, of course, that a working musician may have to go through many mutations in order to earn a living in the business.

Part of this inevitable phenomenon for members of Creation Rebel was that individually they also contributed to the musical existence of a whole bunch of other bands, most of whom were associated with Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound – the Maffia, New Age Steppers, Singers And Players, African Head Charge, Playgroup, Noah House Of Dread, Undivided Roots etc as well as the customary stints as backing musicians for visiting stars from Jamaica.

The “Psychotic Jonkanoo” album (ON-U LP 4) preceded the band’s final set by less than a year (“Lows And Highs” (ON-U LP 15) on Cherry Red Records in July 1982). The material consists of a fairly standard array of conscious style chants, delivered mostly by “Crucial” Tony in a militant style with harmonies from the band often reminiscent of Black Uhuru – especially on the opening track “The Dope”, where we also have the added bonus of “Deadly” Headley’s stylish sax intertwining with the vocal lines. The whole feel of the album is raised to a higher creative level by the arrangement and production which is clean, crisp and inventive – especially on the instrumental versions, “African Space” features a wah-wah guitar in almost restrained fashion!

“Threat To Creation” is not only the dub to the preceding “Chatti Mouth” but also provided the title to the band’s shared album with the New Age Steppers which appeared in November of the same year (ON-U LP 7). In fact the bass line for “Threat to Creation” slows down to provide the pulse for the most psyched out On-U dub of all time “Chemical Specialist” [Rhythm 8], whereas the title track suddenly assumes a different identity altogether! “Mother Don’t Cry” features one Lydon on vocal harmony, a duty for which Johnny Rotten was not renowned, although he had previously assisted the great Dr Alimantado with similar input!

This post is dedicated to Alistair Livingstone A.K.A Al Puppy (and also for a brief time Al A) one of the founding fathers of the Puppy Collective, ex gaffer at All The Madmen Records, ‘Punk Lives’ journo and also co-contributor to this KYPP site.

Happy 51st Birthday for today Al, hope you have a relaxing day up there over the border in Scoty Land.

Crisis – Ardkor Records – 1980

Friday, September 25th, 2009

On T.V / Laughing / Back In The U.S.S.R. / Afraid

Frustration / Red Brigades / Kanada Kommando

On this special day, the day of the Kill Your Pet Puppy blog’s second birthday, I fancied a touch of Crisis, so onto the Pro-Ject turntable goes this seven track 45 rpm slab of vinyl that consists of the band’s best material, in my opinion at least.

Crisis gig poster courtesy of Stewie Jelly, Douglas Pearce interview ripped in part from occidentalcongress.com.

In the late 1970s, Crisis marked your first appearance on the music scene, as one of the band’s two main songwriters. In the years since, your music has evolved drastically; your current project of the last two and a half decades, Death In June, is markedly dissimilar to your work with Crisis, musically, visually and politically. That said, why a retrospective “complete discography” Crisis CD now? 

First of all I don’t believe that in retrospect Crisis and Death In June were that dissimilar on any of those levels. Certainly not musically towards the end of Crisis in 1980 and, the yet to be, birth in 1981 of Death In June. Visually we also had from the very beginning a look that could have easily blended into latter day DIJ with camouflage and black clothing being ‘de rigeur’. We saw ourselves as ‘Music to March To’ and so did the British mainstream press and our followers – whatever side of the political spectrum they came from. And, despite being ‘obviously’ Left wing we had many far Right followers which gave birth to a whole gamut of interesting liaisons and conversations and mutual agreements and perhaps even respect. Nothing was ever straightforward, no matter how much we might have even liked it to be. If you were a punk or a skinhead – regardless of your colour, political stance or sexual orientation – in the UK in the late 1970s that was enough to blur all and every prejudice and boundary.

Whether I like it or not Crisis forms a very important part of my personal and musical contribution to history and after six years since the last readily available compilation I thought it was now time to issue another, better thought-out, retrospective. “Holocaust Hymns” effectively replaces the “We Are All Jews And Germans” compilation that was put out by the now defunct World Serpent Distribution. And, it’s a lot better than that one, after being remastered and with more accurate track information, exclusive photos et cetera. For the first time in years I actually am enjoying listening to this moment in time. And, going by the amount of requests I’ve had for this material over recent years, so will many other good folk. Basically, there was a demand and hopefully I’ve met it.

Crisis seems to have appeared fairly early on in the whole punk “movement” of the late 1970s; what initially drew you to punk rock, and what inspired you to form your own band?

Very simply everything on all levels was horrible in England in the mid-late 1970s. When I see newsreel footage of the UK during that period I can’t believe quite how dour it all looked – and was – especially if you were from white working class backgrounds like Tony and myself! Something had to happen and it did culturally, and had a continuing significant effect on youth culture and society as a whole. I had hair down to my waist until late 1975 when I realised that wasn’t for me – that was another time – cut all my hair off and wandered around being pissed off, looking like a runaway from Francois Truffaut’s “400 Blows”. Then one day on the Tube in London I noticed someone else looking like this and then I saw a poster for a Sex Pistols gig showing two cowboys greeting each other but whose cocks were also exposed and touching, and then I heard about The Clash, and then I saw in late 1976 The Sex Pistols on an English TV show called “So It Goes,” hosted by Tony Wilson (later of Factory Records fame), and then Tony Wakeford telephoned me and asked if I had heard of Punk Rock and if I wanted to form a group. I said “yes” to both those questions and the rest is hysterical. It was a series of events that led me to Punk early on, but in comparison to the trailblazers, we took our time. Crisis came in the wake of those events and people.

Many reviewers have compared Crisis to the far-left UK band Crass, due to the two bands’ heavy use of politics as lyrical and visual subject matter within the context of punk rock. One reviewer wrote, “[Crass and Crisis] both signaled the end of punk as fun, spontaneity, massiveness and anarchy (as a way of feeling). In this new ‘new wave’ of punk, punk was seen as a tool of protest… Crass, Crisis and the bands they bred became the new puritans. [The Crisis track] PC1984 might as well have stood for politically correct 1984 as they told us the truth about the world and what our part should be in it according to their rules. The truth was black and white…the enemy obvious…the police were the fascistic army to dominate the workers.” Do you think this is a fair criticism, and does is reflect your actual aims for the band at the time, or more of how the band was perceived by the press and fans? Do you look back on your time with Crisis as being “fun,” or was it something else, as the above quote alleges?

Crisis and my experience of Punk Rock in Britain/Europe was anything and everything but “fun” and this sort of idea comes from people who were either not there at the time, or were and have an axe of some kind or another to grind about their own experiences with Crisis. The years between 1977 and 1980 were some of the hardest of my Life and they certainly contributed to Tony and I wanting to destroy the group in 1980 and head for sunnier pastures artistically, culturally, and whatever else we could find. However, we couldn’t deny our cultural imperative at the time. We were in Crisis unashamedly left wing or, at least trying to be, and wanted to be taken seriously politically. Which we were! So seriously in fact that when celebrities found out we were part of the Anti-Nazi League or Rock Against Racism benefits they withdrew their support. Names like the author Keith Waterhouse, TV compare Michael Parkinson and Football coach Brian Clough immediately spring to mind. They publicly withdrew their support because of Crisis! Crisis were referred to as “Red Fascists” almost from the outset, which seemed to confuse and upset some folk and also endear us to others. They were “interesting times.”

And as regards any comparisons to Crass: They were not contemporaries of ours, I don’t remember any comparisons at the time and I think we only became aware of them after the demise of Crisis and at the beginning of Death In June in the early 1980s. Certainly to us then they seemed like the guys at free festivals dishing out lentils and orange juice to those on a bad trip when they realised they had been left behind, there was no one left at the festival anymore and in order to catch up with ‘the kids,’ cropped their hair, wore black and decided to form what was I think akin to the Hari Krishnas; a caricature of a punk group, and do their bit for those who weren’t there in the first place. I’m sure their hearts were in the right place and I love lentils and orange juice, and they did indeed invent their own particular version of Punk but,…. “Do they owe us a living?” Of course they fucking DON’T!

Following the dissolution of Crisis, members of the band went on to form or join acts such as Theatre of Hate, Sol Invictus, Sex Gang Children, and of course your own Death In June. Are you still in touch with any of these other ex-Crisis members, and if so, what is your perception of their post-Crisis work?

Even before the end Luke Rendall the last drummer in Crisis was basically headhunted by Kirk Brandon who was then in a group called The Pack. They went onto to form Theatre Of Hate which I quite liked and I saw a few of their early shows in the London area. I think my best memory was being backstage when Boy George was having a fit about some bloke giving Kirk the eye and how he was going to beat the shit out of him! This was before Culture Club and I have to say I think fame really became Boy George who seemed more like a transvestite psychopath that night than a Karma Kamelion. It also evidently made him lose interest in Kirk! I heard a few years ago that Luke had been murdered.

Lester, the lead guitarist of Crisis, went on to form a group called Car Crash International with members of the Sex Gang Children but I can’t recall what they were like and am only aware of one 12″ single that they put out.

Our two roadies Martin and Flea went on to work with The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite and Flea who designed some of the original Crisis record sleeves was even in several Big Audio Dynamite videos. I don’t know how much input he had in their creation but he was a very talented artist and all-round interesting guy.

Sol Invictus, of course, came out of Death In June not Crisis.

With the exception of Tony Wakeford I’m not in contact with anyone from those Punk days.

In the years since Crisis, you seem to have moved from the realm of politics to that of aesthetics. Conceptually, Crisis seems to have been a very direct, literal and “instructive” project in nature, in the sense that the songs were clearly about (and commenting upon), something specific, and urging the listener to think and feel about things in certain ways. Because of this, Crisis could really only be interpreted one way – literally and at face value – while your subsequent work with Death In June seems to me as being almost the opposite of that sort of approach; it’s rife with vague allusions, double meanings, and open-ended readings. In short, Crisis was a very matter-of-fact thing, while Death In June is a much more nebulous and poetic project. Assuming such an interpretation of your work is accurate, was this shift in approach a conscious decision on your part, or did it happen as a part of a gradual process?

Even though we might have thought what we were writing/singing about was “specific” and “straightforward” it was soon interpreted as anything but. The song ‘White Youth’ is a prime example. We performed several times on the back of a lorry on demonstrations throughout the South of England / London that were organized by The Right To Work campaign. Crisis would play for up to seven or eight hours, with a few breaks in between, entertaining the people who had been marching in protest to their unemployment which was then rife in the UK. It was our equivalent to The Beatles slogging their way through similar set lengths in some sleaze pit in Hamburg in the early 1960s. Whilst they had their happy memories of the Reeperbahn, I have happy memories of stopping traffic crossing Tower Bridge in London playing “UK 79″ and “Holocaust”. We wrote with that marching rhythm in mind the song “White Youth,” which we thought was about ‘unity and brotherhood’ [the song ends with the repeated verse, "We are black, we are white - together we are dynamite!"], but much to my surprise some smartarse in the New Musical Express was soon saying that it was a white supremacist anthem. There’s no pleasing some folk is there! That was key in realizing that no matter what you wrote if it was any good it could be interpreted anyway, anyhow, anywhere. A Death In June prime directive! 

Flux Of Pink Indians – F.C.T.U.L.P. – Alternative Mixes – 1984

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks – Alternative Mixes 1

Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks – Alternative Mixes 2

A different studio mix of some of the tracks off Flux Of Pink Indians second full length LP. In fact more than a ‘full length’ LP as it was originally a double vinyl set released on Spiderleg Records in 1984. The information that this is an earlier mix of some of the tracks off that LP mixed straight from the studio desk, came directly from Martin Flux who lent me this cassette to upload onto this site some time ago. Towards the end of the second side of this tape the listener can hear various members of Flux chatting during the remixing session with a pleasant interuption from John Loder via the Southern Studios intercom which was nice to hear…

The material on the original LP, along with the gatefold sleeve artwork, courtesy of  B.A. Nana of Crass fame, and of course the lyrics printed within the package, make up one of the most stunning and angriest LP packages ever put together and released by any band, on any record label during that era. The material is still to this day quite hard and uncomfortable to listen to from what I heard from the tracks present on this tape. Very unsettling indeed…

I have not listened to the actual original double LP, sitting safely here at Penguin Towers since about 1985, so I have forgotten what it sounds like compared to the tracks on this tape uploaded onto this post tonight. I could not tell you exactly how  much of a difference there is with this alternative mix without playing the vinyl and comparing the tracks, something I do not have time to do right now…I will give the LP a spin one day though, when I feel the urge.

Text below beautifully written by Smith3000 ripped from his smashing blog  Expletive Undeleted

Thanks in advance to him.

I watch the postman wheel his cart down the other side of our road and wonder if eil.com can have got my order to me by today. I get a bit excited all of a sudden.

A few minutes later, he’s coming back down our side of the street. He’s a couple of houses away. I hold my breath. Come on lad, I think, you can do it.

The buzzer goes. “Package for you,” it says in a metallic Mancunian monotone.

Two seconds and three storeys later, I open the front door and take the 12-inch cardboard mailer from the unsuspecting postie. If only you knew what you‘re delivering, I think to myself, idiotically, as I thank him.

I make myself walk back up the stairs at a more sedate pace. It’s a big effort. When I get back in the flat I sit on the settee, open the package and slide the album out of its protective sleeve to reveal the savagely androgynous figures on the cover, still every bit as striking, ugly, perverse and compelling as the first day I saw them.

1984 comes back to me, disconcertingly, in a rush:

Stef, the miners strike, Thatcher, sixth form, Steve Bird’s alternative discos at the Baths, cider, fanzines, exams, Real-Eat vegeburgers, a veritable rainbow of red, green and brown lentils, Crass, Flux, the Chumbas, D&V, KUKL, CND, the bright lights of Hull, Nottingham, Sheffield, London, Darlington, Newcastle.

“Relax, don’t do it ..”

Some of us thought it would be some kind of Orwellian year zero, some weird historical nadir where everything went into meltdown and totalitarian crypto-fascists took total control of, y‘know, everything, everywhere – and at times it did seem like that might actually be happening – but really, in the end, it was just another year.

If you could somehow parachute into 1984 from now, in many ways it wouldn’t be so very different from today.

You’d find a government sitting on a sizeable parliamentary majority, and a British peacekeeping force trying to police a civil conflict which was effectively created by Britain in the first place. You’d see a domestic policy of divide and rule, with demonised, marginalised communities vilified as the enemy within, and ever greater extensions of police powers passed without comment.

Then again, nobody was yapping and tapping away on their mobiles all day long, there wasn’t a CCTV camera on every corner. Kids didn’t find themselves on a DNA database, just for being kids. Britain limited its military adventures to our little patch of north-western Europe.

Woo-hoo!

Like many people in the area, my dad worked at the steelworks in Scunthorpe, and got laid off when the coke that powered the blast furnaces (supplied by the plant at Orgreave) began to run out during the strike. British Steel, at the behest of the Thatcher junta – I‘m sorry, I still get worked up about all this shit – eventually managed to break the strike by importing cheaper coal from apartheid South Africa.

Ungenerous souls might think this was partly the idea all along.

There were flying pickets at the gates of the steelworks, police roadblocks, helicopters, mad rightwing propaganda all over the media, it seemed like proper 1984 stuff.

And this was in largely rural North Lincolnshire. It was absolutely on-top in the neighbouring South Yorkshire coalfield – and it ended up getting even worse.

Twisted Yorkshire noir supremo Dave Peace summed up the fractured, bewildered edginess of the era perfectly in his novel about the strike, GB84. Read it and weep.

It’s not like the viciousness of the government’s response to the strike came as any real surprise. We’d seen exactly what Thatcher was capable of already, in the Falklands, when she kicked off the 1983 election campaign by murdering a thousand young Argentinian conscripts, and scores of British lads who may as well have been conscripts.

But life went on – despite the weight of the oppressive totalitarian machine bearing down on us blah blah blah. It was business as usual. Most people kept their heads down and tried to make the most of the scraps thrown to them from the free marketeers’ table.

Here I go again. Check me getting all militant and Class War. Listen, whatever I say now, I was never really any kind of activist and the extent of my experience with Class War was begrudgingly buying a copy of the paper off Morbid Mark down the Furnace every now and again.

Hospitalising coppers just didn’t seem like the answer to me.

And while we’re at it, I need to pick a metaphor and stick to it. Is it a machine I’m talking about ? A table? Or a mechanical table? A hostess trolley?

If it was a hostess trolley, I was drunkenly hanging ten on top of it, surfing the tsunami of sexual smugness and emotional self-satisfaction that comes with your first real, grown-up relationship.

Although I was right next door if you looked at a map, in reality I was half a world away from the frontline of the class war tearing the North apart at the time. The first half of 1984 was all about Stef and drinking and dancing and joyous, mind-blowing sex anywhere and everywhere. I barely noticed what was happening on my own doorstep, never mind the rest of the world.

We went to see Crass, Flux, D&V and Annie Anxiety at the Marcus Garvey Centre in Nottingham at the start of May**. Half a dozen of us crammed into Stef’s little black Ford GTi, bricking it all the way down that we’d get stopped at the police roadblocks which had been set up to prevent flying pickets from South Yorkshire getting to the less solid Nottinghamshire coalfield.

I remember being very struck by the fact that Derek Birkett was wandering around outside the venue, barefoot. Crikey, I thought, he’s even rejecting shoes.

Disappointed by the new material Flux played at a gig at the Marples in Sheffield the previous Christmas, I didn’t bother buying The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks. And Doug or Pete Lazerbeam or someone had bought it already, I’d heard it and I just didn’t get it. It just seemed like four sides of angry, incoherent feedback. I wasn’t particularly impressed by the new stuff we heard in Nottingham either.

Even so, it came as a pleasant surprise when my birthday came around and Stef presented me with a nicely wrapped 12-inch package containing a brand new copy of The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks. Who says romance is dead?

Buying me records was the quickest and easiest way to my heart even then. I was head over heels.

The problem was, Stef didn’t attach quite the same level of importance to the giving and receiving of vinyl as I did. She chucked me a few weeks later, in the middle of the precinct, just outside the market, on a Saturday afternoon. That evening, miserable and reckless, I went off with some sophisticated older girls and smoked my first spliff.

I inhaled. And then I exhaled. That first fluttery, mellow wave that passed down the length of my body from head to toe was the one highpoint in an otherwise shite day.

Maybe the fact that it was a present from Stef is the reason why I never really listened to the album that much, even before it went west (whenever and wherever that was). But I hope I wasn’t as sappy as that. There are plenty of better reasons not to listen to The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks.

Hearing it on a wet Wednesday morning 24 years later, the album sounds like a big blast of anger and frustration from an entirely different time and place. It’s often confused and incoherent, wilfully extreme and uncompromising.

There’s a bit at the start of Love Song, which is about domestic violence, where a woman screams over and over again, accompanied by a clipped, military drum beat. It’s genuinely distressing. I feel like Brian in Spaced, listening to his tapes of torture and despair. I turn the volume down a bit.

I heard that Derek Birkett was listening to a lot of avant-garde free-jazz face-painters the Art Ensemble of Chicago when Flux recorded the album. It makes sense, hearing it now. But there are also moments of messy rat-tat-tat-tat thrash that recall wobbly Bristol squat punks Disorder, shifts in the sound that remind you of the haphazard sonic genius of the Fall, even occasional snatches of proto-punk funk that bring to mind the sparse rhythms of Joy Division.

And, in amongst the squalls of shrieking, whistling feedback, yelling, shouting, and cut-ups of spanking flicks and Steve Wright In The Afternoon, the album’s multi-layered production reveals a quantum leap in the depth and spatial acuity of Flux’s sound. It sounds every bit as out there as it did when it was released.

But in places there’s a hectoring, badgering, slightly patronising tone I don’t remember so much from their first album Strive To Survive Causing The Least Suffering Possible (though I haven’t heard that for years either). It’s all a bit holier than thou. It’s not a lot of laughs.

It wasn’t meant to be, of course. Flux were trying to push back the boundaries of their art, and simultaneously trying to make it less about the medium and more about the message. And as it turns out, I now realise the album isn’t quite the impenetrable wall of noise I once thought it to be – but it doesn’t work for me, even after all these years.

It’s telling that 1984 found the two leading lights of the anarcho scene releasing albums – Flux and Crass with Yes Sir, I Will – which largely confused and even alienated their audiences. And still do.

Focused, impassioned and genuinely innovative though they were, both albums now seem like last desperate acts of impotent fury, almost like admissions of defeat. Both bands had never made as much noise before – and never with so little effect.

It’s a little bit sad.

The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks. Great title, not so great album.

Hold on. Wait a minute. Didn’t it used to have a gatefold sleeve? Wasn’t there a lyric and info sheet? eil.com didn’t mention anything about that.

The fucking cunts!

POSTSCRIPT:

A while after the album was released, prompted by a complaint about a window display, Eastern Bloc in Affleck’s Palace was raided by Greater Manchester Police, at the time headed by the noted religious maniac James Anderton aka ‘God’s Cop’ .

A number of albums – including Penis Envy by Crass and Frankenchrist (complete with HR Geiger Penis Landscape poster insert) by the Dead Kennedys, as well as The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks – were seized.

Eastern Bloc’s owners were charged with displaying ‘Obscene articles for publication for gain’ – which is particularly ironic in the case of The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks, given that most of the album, even down to the OTT sweary punk rock title, was all about asking: What is more obscene? A little profanity or a society that is built on violence?

Happily, it never went to trial. I think. But I’m not sure. I’m trying to track down someone who worked in the shop at the time to get a bit more first-hand information but it’s proving to be a bit harder than you’d think.

I ended up going to see Flux, Chumbawamba, KUKL and D&V on a few dates of a tour they did in support of striking miners later in the summer of 1984, and interviewed everyone on the bill – except the Chumbas, who I‘d interviewed far too often already.

The D&V interview is a big blur, but I do remember being wedged in the back of a transit van outside the Leadmill trying to give Bjork, Einar and the other members of KUKL a hard time about not being vegetarians, and then sitting in the venue itself trying to give Flux a similarly hard time about The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks.

I must’ve seemed like a right irritating little twat…

** The Crass / D&V / Annie Anxiety / Flux gig mentioned in the text above is uploaded on this site HERE for anyone that may be interested.

The published books of Martin Lux and the late Daniel Lux

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Phoenix Press – ISBN 0-948984-35-x – £5.95

Thought anti-fascism was all about bearded sociology lecturers waving ‘Never Again’ banners? Not in London’s East End in the mid-to-late 1970s  when the National Front’s London election results put them in position of 4th largest political party, with a street presence – translated into racial attacks – to match the votes.

The now uber-trendy streets of Hoxton were then the stomping ground of a home-grown Ubermensch and every week they’d flow with the blood of violent confrontations between the fascists and their foes.

This is the setting for a book, “Anti-Fascist” by Martin Lux.

Already denounced by the anti-racist establishment as “Making the Antis seem more violent than the Nazis” it reads like a football hooligan novel, albeit without the Stone Island clobber and anything approaching Queensbury Rules.

Taking Hitler’s 1933 proclamation that;

“Only one thing could have broken our movement – if our enemies had understood its principle and from the first day had smashed the nucleus of our movement with extreme brutality”, as a call to arms, the ‘anti-fascist struggle’ on London’s streets in the seventies saw more Blood than Honour.

Searching out Martin in one of his Bethnal Green drinking dens I put a few questions to him about these glory days:

So how did you get into fighting the NF? You don’t exactly seem like your average ANL type.

Yeah, you could say that. I grew up in the post war slums, got kicked out of school when I was 14 for stabbing a teacher, drunken paddy dosser for a dad who’d kick my head in if I ever went home. I pretty much grew up on the streets in a world of gangs, violence and thieving. Even at that time I couldn’t see anything ‘Great’ about this Britain the NF were saying would become our ‘Land of Hope & Glory’ if only we kicked out all the blacks and Jews. All the blacks and Jews I grew up with had it even worse than I did! I’d always enjoyed extreme violence but, unlike many of my mates I had no interest in football, so I thought if I’m going to have some fun cracking heads there’d be none more deserving than those Nazi cunts.

In the early 70s Conservative politician, Enoch Powell, was the voice of the working man and nigger-hating was the common currency. You had the dockers coming out in strike in support of him after his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech – which was basically a call to race war! If you were poor, white and working class back then the NF exploited your fears that things were heading that way, making out life would be better if Britain turned into some cross between Apartheid South Africa and the Third Reich. And a lot of fuckin’ mugs fell for it.

A lot of the book is based around Hoxton and the East End of London. It sounds like another world back then the way you describe it…?

It fuckin was! The Dark Ages! People now wouldn’t believe that not much over 30 years ago if you were black you were taking a risk walking from one end of Old Street to the other. It was White Man’s land and the locals wanted it keep it that way! You had the NF headquarters – or Hitler’s Bunker as we called it, just round the corner on Great Eastern Street, where some trendy bar is now, and anyone who walked by who they didn’t like the look of would get a kicking. You’d get national Front ‘Black Muggers Out’ marches along Bethnal Green Road that’d end up in a mini-Nuremberg Rally in Hoxton Square! You see footage on the news of UDA rallies in the Shankhill, Belfast? That’s what Hoxton was like sometimes back then – only a Nazi version!

What are the most violent incidents you remember of your battles with the Front in the seventies?

Lewisham was probably the largest and most ferocious battle there has ever been against the Front. We even attacked the police station to try to get at the NF who were hiding in there and that was the first time Riot Shields were ever used to try and fend off the barrage of bricks we were pelting the place with. Other than that one instance that I’ll never forget was when me and a few of my mob were doing the door at a Crass gig at the Conway Hall in 1979. The NF were in the habit of turning up at their shows to kick off and we’d been asked by the organiser to ‘keep an eye on things’. Right enough, a load of Nazis from the Front, plus the BM ‘Leader Guard’ – their biggest, hardest heavies turned up. Although we were probably outnumbered 3 to one, we were all tooled up with bottles, hammers, axes, crow bars and basically we bottled them, stabbed them and smashed their heads to a fuckin pulp. A lot of them were hospitalized and we even stormed the hospital to finish them off but there was too many old bill. There was lots of shit in the papers about it afterwards, even Crass saying they had been sickened by what they’d seen but fuck that – It put a serious fuckin dent not only in the heads of the Nazis but their activities over the next few years. They thought they were the hardest mob on the streets but we showed them they weren’t.

So what would you say is the difference between the Nazis; the NF & BNP now to how it was then? What changed it all?

Basically when the Tories got into power they did so by adopting many of the policies – anti-immigration, unions etc, that had made the NF so popular before so that really took the wind out of their sails a bit. To all intents and purposes the Tories offered the same policies, only without the shaven heads, brown-shirts and street-fights. The NF had always been about the streets, their presence on the streets , spreading their propaganda and fighting with their opponents. Times were much harder then and a lot of the NF were very hard, violent people. You just have to look at the head of the Hoxton NF back then, Derrick Day, a fuckin gorilla with a face covered with razor cuts. He’s the cunt you see climbing out of his window to have a go at the news reporters at the beginning of that ‘Filth & The Fury’ Sex Pistols film. Very different to  Nick Griffin and the sort of university educated types the extreme right like to put up as parliamentary candidates now. The BNP have made some progress by ditching the jack-boots and putting on suits but their politics – and the politics of all Nazis – are still the same at the end of the day and that’s a day that would end in gas chambers if they ever got into power.

FULL UNEDITED VERSION OF MARTIN LUX INTERVIEW BY CHRIS LOW FOR VICE MAGAZINE

I first met Martin Lux when he lived in Islington with a shaggy dog and a room full of deadly bees shortly after the Earths’ crust cooled. Ian Slaughter (of Pigs For Slaughter magazine) introduced us to each other. Never before or since have I seen so many books on political history (communist, fascist, anarchist and just plain daft) gathered together under the same roof. A brief conversation with him revealed that he had probably read all of them, too – a refreshing discovery. He is that rarity in society: an educated working class man who, even more than that, was prepared to support his scathing verbal critique of capitalism with direct, physical action.

Through him I met Fabian Thompsett and Dave Couch (which led to me being employed, under false pretences, at Little @ Printers – false pretences because I am to printing what country and western music is to gay liberation) and, more importantly, Ian Bone and the whole Class War brigade. I encountered an intelligent commentary on the evil of capitalism rather than the trite slogans doled out by the loony left. Martin was always thoroughly uncompromising in his dealings with others. He was not (ahem) popular with many of the other trendy middle class anarchists in the scene at the time – but they rarely ever bothered to try to argue with him because invariably they lost. If they tried to hit him with a quote from some obscure political text to support some stupid statement they’d made, he’d retaliate with a devastating indictment of the author and then crush them with quotes of his own – but then much of his authority derived from the fact that he tended to do what others only talked about.

To be honest, I don’t believe he ever had much time for me – his belief seemed to be that people in silly punk groups who sing about political revolution should lay down their guitars, go out onto the streets and do something more constructive about it if they genuinely care that much. This is a valid point and it is one I won’t even attempt to refute. When a socialist tells you he fought fascism, what he usually means is that he posted numerous leaflets through the doors of his local council estate (although being a socialist he probably never lived on a council estate himself) and attended a few meetings of the Social Workers Party. Martin and his mates genuinely fought fascism – literally – and frequently dished out some of the medicine the British Movement and National Front thugs had previously inflicted on people like us.

The critics and moaning Myrtles called him a thug and a bully boy (but never to his face). The Crassifist pacifist brigade (those who had ever heard of him) regarded people like him (along with Ian Bone, Class War and ourselves) as offensive – which we should all regard as a high compliment indeed. His book Anti Fascist is a document of his personal combat against the rising tide of neo-nazi politics prevalent in Britain toward the end of the 1970s and early 1980s. If I wanted to criticise I could say that the real enemy (the multinational corporations and the government) deserve more attention than the Bring Back Mosley Brigade – but would I have said that if I was an Asian teenager who lived in Aldgate in 1985 and had my flat fire-bombed by the local fascist thugs?

I recommend this book without qualification. There is no self glorification here, no mock heroics and no puerile preaching – no fuss, no mess, just pure impact.

ANDY MARTIN (THE APOSTLES / UNIT)

An excerpt from the book ANTI FACIST concerning the Persons Unknown benefit concert at the Conway Hall organised by Crass:

One free Saturday night I was called, asked if I fancied doing door security for a benefit gig. The cause, ‘Persons Unknown’, an aspiring ‘Angry Brigade Mk II’ currently awaiting trial on terrorism charges. I said, “Sure, why not.” At least I’d be spared the dreadful punk music of the band Crass who were the main star turn. The gig was being held at the scene of that fatal encounter with the police way back in 1974, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square.

The hopelessness of London Transport ensured that it took me an age to arrive. When eventually I did, an unwelcome sight greeted me. Around forty plus British Movement skinheads had barged in and were gathered inside the main entrance exuding menace. It didn’t take long to evaluate the situation. Hopeless. A dozen of them were large brutes, evil looking bastards, real hardnuts, with another dozen or so inner core. The remainder were merely runty followers, but dangerous if mob-handed or tooled up. The organisation of the gig had collapsed, nazis ruled the roost. The only thing holding them back from rampage was that they were waiting for Crass to come on for the finale, then they’d rush and take the stage. (All in all, an act demanding stern courage as Crass were abject pacifists and didn’t physically retaliate). As I pondered what to do next, I realised that this was our only slim advantage.

Abandoning the door, I tried to further suss out the opposition. Like the bullies they were, the boneheads were amusing themselves by insulting the punters, punks and anarcho-trendies who avoided dialogue or body contact, wise under the circumstances. The BM officer-class stood out from the foot soldiers, with extra shiny pates, many stripes decorating their pug-ugly fizzogs. Indeed, they were the most repulsive specimens of sub-humanity I believe I’d ever seen. Dressed in traditional skinhead regalia, a couple of their leaders were decked out in Crombies and Ben Shermans. The cherry-red steelies were simply itching to perform to the tune of maximum damage. Many of the others were rigged out in bomber jackets. I noticed, most intriguingly, one of them was of mixed race. Clearly a lad with some severe identity problems. But I wasn’t about to wheel out the shrink’s couch, I had to get something together to at least prevent this from being a walkover.

I’d managed to gather around half a dozen lads, most of whom had accompanied me on previous jaunts, could be depended on, and were willing to have a proper go. The trendy anarcho-types were no good in a fight, unless of course, it involved the missus. Besides, they were always hinting, if not stating outright that there was only a marginal difference between us anti-fascists and the nazis themselves. Now faced with such a raw situation, no longer able to afford the luxury of such pontificating, they kept their traps shut.

I was called over to the door, asked to step outside; someone had been enquiring after me by name. Curious, I stepped out into the chill October night to be met by a couple of anti-fascists who were attached to the SWP. I’d joined these characters on many a past expedition against the Master Race. Someone had been on the blower as these lads had everything well-sussed. “Can you keep the lid on it for a couple of hours? We’re gonna get our crew together, steam ‘em real heavy””

“It’ll be difficult,” I mused, “But I’ll do my best. I know they’re waiting for Crass to go on so they can storm the stage. Crass are headlining, so they won’t be on ‘till last.”

“You and your mates don’t mind us having the bastards knowing that Crass won’t get to play?”

“Far as I’m concerned,” I retorted, “This gig’s been fucked from the beginning. I don’t give a monkey’s what people think so long as these nazi fuckers get what’s coming to ‘em. Anyway, you’ll be doing my eardrums a favour. I can’t stand this racket”

They departed for the warmth of a nearby pub. “We’ll send word when we’re ready. See you outside.”

The SWP, scared of losing control of some of their more volatile, plebeian supporters who really believed in smashing the fascists, had never warmed to this semi-clandestine group. Maybe because these people were ready to link up on the day with anybody on the left, anarchists or anti-fascists who were willing to have a crack at the NF or BM heavies. They’d proved themselves time and again, and I preferred their direct attitude to that of the trendy wankers of the anarchist movement who condemned such behaviour as ‘macho’. Boring, dull, middle class snobs.

I communicated the plan to my half-dozen confidantes. They seemed well pleased. Our main task was to dampen things down, ensure it didn’t kick off to our disfavour before the appointed time, stop the BM from beating-up and rolling punters in isolated corners. It would be difficult. Within ten minutes word arrived of trouble in the main hall, so in we walked, amidst the migrane-inducing punk noise to see a knot of BM menacing a couple of spiky-hairs. Throwing all caution to the wind, I strode over, separated them from their tormentors and escorted the punks to another part of the building. Naturally, I felt nervous, worried to the extreme. I didn’t fancy a kicking, much less a premature free-for-all in which we’d be massacred. The skins were annoyed at the intervention, pissed-off by my diplomacy as I shunted the punks away to safety. I didn’t get an instant pounding so I guessed I’d been correct to assume that the nazis were saving their aggro for a pre-arranged storming of the stage.

After a short breather, I was summoned to the bogs, and it wasn’t for a closet assignation in a cubicle. “It’s real trouble, want us to come with you?”

I declined. If we arrived mob-handed, it would kick off. This I didn’t want. “Just wait at the bottom of the stairs. If you hear a big row, come and get me out if you can. If you can’t then I’ll see you in hospital.”

Up the stairs I went, opening the door to be confronted by the sight of one of their leaders and half a dozen crew pinning a young asian lad against the wall. “Don’t fuckin’ argue you FUCKIN’ PAKI CUNT, just give us your money CUNT!” I didn’t have the time to dash and collect an anti-sexist to correct this fellow’s patriarchal attitude. I’d clocked this evil looking brute before, he looked the part, shaven skull, vile white eyebrows, tramlines, psycho eyes. The light reflected off the collected ping-pong heads. No time for fear or anything I plunged in, grabbing the asian lad. “Right you! Making trouble again? Winding these geezers up are we?” I yanked him out from the astounded group, one of whom I’d notice fingering a small blade.

“Oi! What’s your fuckin’ game?” snarled their leader.

“Security!” I’d managed to extricate the trembling lad to the point of getting as far as the door when a couple more skins entered, opening the door. This allowed me to bundle the lad upstairs.

“Sorry mate,” I apologised, “Really sorry about that, sorry about the whole fucking night. Hope you understand.” He did. I remarked. “It’s a bit like being back at school innit?”

“Yeah, too right guv,” he laughed nervously. I advised him to, “Fuck off or find your mates.”

“I was going to meet friends here,” he said, “But they haven’t shown up yet.”

I reassured him, “Look mate, I shouldn’t be telling you this, but there’s gonna be some right heavy geezers coming here later to sort this lot out. I’m just trying to keep the lid on things.” He took the message and headed home.

An hour to go. Could it be contained? Would the heavy mob show? No time to fret, another incident, this time in the corridor. Same bastard with the albino orangutang eyebrows, same tactics from me, except I had a couple of geezers standing handy in the background. On this occasion they were picking on a geeky-fellow with specs. Or rather who had been wearing glasses, as they were now being ground down under the size-ten cherry reds of the leader who spat into the face of his victim. “I don’t like cunts with Anti-Nazi League badges, you FUCKIN’ RED QUEERBOY!”

“He ain’t no red, just another fuckin troublemaker who doesn’t know when he’s not welcome,” I said, strolling in to snatch the geek.

White eyebrows wasn’t having any of it. “I’m getting sick and tired of you butting in, CUNT!”

He didn’t lay hands on me, but stood eyeball to eyeball. Just to add to my discomfort his breath didn’t exactly smell of roses. I backed down, refusing to match his aggressive body-language. A large crowd had gathered, taking advantage, I managed to spirit the unhappy geek away, followed by white eyebrows mouthing obscenities: “CUNT! I’m gonna slash you up good an’ fuckin’ proper. Do you hear me? CUNT!” Again, non of the anti-sexists stepped forward to admonish him for his language. Wonder why? By now, this catalogue of incidents had me seething with suppressed anger, fear, frustration, humiliation. At least Eyebrows hadn’t followed up his threats, as he goose-stepped with his crew into yet another drama.

Time certainly didn’t pass quickly as one incident followed another. The gig was going full blast as intimidation was played out in the recesses. Most of the anarchos were in the main concourse, gathered in small groups, looking worried. Apart from the half dozen I’d collected who were tried, tested, willing to have a go, the rest were next to useless. Besides, having endured years of criticism for alleged ‘macho bully boy tactics’ when it came to dealing with the nazis I knew I couldn’t trust that bunch with anything. One of their chicks, who under normal circumstances couldn’t bring herself to speak to me without a prize sneer handed me an iron bar she’d found somewhere. Such generosity. I wasn’t impressed, “What do I want that for?” I asked. “Look, I’m already tooled up,” pointing to the trusty crowbar tucked down my pants. “Why don’t you give it to one of your men? Don’t take much to bop some nazi on the head does it?” She looked at me with a mixture of incomprehension and disgust.

After an eternity, a message from the pub: “Get your lads outside in five minutes, we’ll all pile in together.” At last. Just in time too, as the skins were massing in the concourse prior to rushing the stage. I’d even had a friendly reminder from Eyebrows: “I’m gonna have you myself, later, CUNT!” With Preston, our main nutter, we slipped outside to be met by the other anti-fascists. Here stood a mixture of Cockney Reds in Manchester United scarves and other trusted hard-nuts I knew, meaner looking than most of the thugs inside the hall, and older geezers in no mood for compromise.

“This all you’ve got?” one of them asked.

“Yeah,” I replied, ashamed of the piss-poor turnout. “But don’t worry, we’ll have a real go. I’ve got a score to settle, some blonde headed cunt.” I brandished a broken bottle in one hand, crowbar in another.

“Yeah haven’t we all,” retorted another voice.

I noticed they were all tooled up and numbered just over a dozen.

“How many, where are they?”

“Forty maybe, some tasty, but most will run. One’s got a blade, the rest I don’t know, but I haven’t seen anything.” I told them the majority were now in the concourse.

“Good, well done for keeping it all together…IT’s PARTY TIME!!!.” And with that we all crashed through the doors.

One unlucky bystander who didn’t shift himself quickly enough was the first to suffer, a bottle smashed over his head. Screams of horror went up from the girls, whilst the brave anarcho men fled, or stood rooted to the spot in a state of shock. They hadn’t been warned of the impending floorshow. We hurled ourselves straight into the main body who scattered and ran. Eyebrows and all the hard nuts stood their ground, all to no avail. We were on them, no pity. Me and Preston smashed out bottles into Eyebrows’ head, more tramlines for his collection. Then as Preston jabbed him in the face with the bottle neck, I struck his head with blows from the crowbar. He hit the deck, blood pouring. He then had the pleasure of tasting our boots as we dished out size ten vengeance, kicking his head to a pulp. All around, utter mayhem as bottles flew, crashing into walls, whilst the nazis struggled desperately as they were overwhelmed by a storm of steel capped boots, iron bars, chains, knives, broken bottles. The whole area filled with screams, yells, hundreds of panic-stricken punters tried to flee past the battle scene. Within a minute a heap of semi-conscious bodies lay where they’d fallen, blood splattered on the walls, pools of claret leaking in steady trickles onto the floor. Some nazis were trying to crawl under chairs and tables to escape the kicks of those they’d previously scorned and terrorised. Payback time. By now, the novocaine tingle had frozen my upper lip; the classic adrenaline rush. We split into small groups, chasing the nazis into the main hall and corridors. The übers fled in all directions, leaving them vulnerable to our frenzied attack. We smashed them into a pulp; iron bars smacking into heads and bodies. No mercy was shown as we hunted down the heavies, the foot soldiers hurriedly discarding nazi insignia and badges, running for cover. In all the confusion, violence, yells and cries, I noticed the mixed-race geezer ripping off his badge and disappearing out the doors. I let him be. Someone had to live to tell the tale, spread the word to the others. Down the corridor, contrary to fire regulations, the exit doors were bolted shut. A handful of skins rattled the doors, trying to escape. All in vain. Down they went, set upon by the anti-nazis who beat crap out of them. Resistance was useless as they were kicked to fuck. A glorious end to the night. The British Movement Heavy Mob, stormtroopers of the master-race, bloody and battered.

Preston grabbed me, “Come on, let’s split.” Reluctantly, I drew back, my coat flecked with blood, shards of glass gleaming from elbow to hands. We backed out of the corridor. Skins were on their knees, pleading for mercy in the chaos as anti-nazi nutters stood over them, blades drawn. Some of the younger more pathetic nazis were spared cold steel, although all got a good slapping. Other were stabbed and slashed. Nothing fatal, but a life-long reminder of that night’s encounter and the error of their ways. Did I have an ounce of pity, sorrow or remorse for the brutality that unfolded before me? Did I fuck! The battle in the main hall must have been ferocious for in the dim light I saw prostrate bodies, smashed furniture and a deserted stage. Looked like the gig was off. We both headed for the main exit past a few anarcho drones who were still frozen to the spot as if in a horrified trance. I passed one of the women who’d been a regular tormentor. “Remember you said we were as bad as the nazis? Well it ain’t true… we’re fuckin’ worse! Goodnight darlin’.” Then out into the night. We’d suffered no casualties apart from a few superficial cuts and bruises. We dumped our tools in the surrounding streets. Lucky it had been a chill autumn otherwise we’d have left behind our dabs. As it was, most of us had been wearing gloves. Police vans drew up. The cops must have been greeted by utter devastation as they entered the hall. We’d all fucked off by then, happy as Larry, some home, others to distant pubs. Never content, even with a crushing victory, some legged it to the tube hoping to pick off the stragglers. I was home a couple of hours later, the phone ringing constantly, my refrain, “You’ve missed a good one tonight…”

I suppose in my heart of hearts the reaction following the Conway Hall bloodbath didn’t really surprise me, although I was taken aback for a while. After years of abuse, insults and cold-shouldering from many in the anarcho scene, it came as no great shock. Even so, it infuriated me. The group Crass and their support band the Poison Girls, issued weighty statements. There were shock horror reports of the carnage in The Guardian & Time Out. The BM nazis were treated as sacrificial lambs, despite them outnumbering us over two to one. We and our friends from the left were ‘Red Fascists’ a ‘Football Gang’, ‘their leaders appeared to be Scots’, even in the supposedly Liberal press of the day a by-word for ‘nutter’. Such parochialism – even the nazis would blush. The odium was heaped on me and others, but I withstood it with the usual fortitude a couple of minor outbursts aside. After all, my critics would soon disappear into the halls of academia, respectability, the Labour Party, the media and property-owning classes. Fuck ‘em. The urban riots of the 80’s were just around the corner and I was still young and ready to ruck, no burnout for me.

Unpopular Books – ISBN 1-871593-21-2 (out of print original edition)

Phoenix Press – ISBN 978-0-948984-36-5 (available new edition) - £7.95

“I sometimes lay in the warm bath reflecting upon my misspent life. I’d lived the life of a star, girls flocking all around, drugs aplenty, yet without having to live onstage or have any achievement whatever…..I was just a thieving junkie living in a squat.”

Now receiving a long awaited re-print due to the book’s cult status and high demand, Camden Parasites is the real life autobiography of Danny Lux, long time heroin addict, con-man, petty thief and philanderer who died of an overdose just weeks before the first publication of his greatest achievement of all.

Written while resident at Arlington Road homeless hostel, the narrative charts Danny’s tragically short but turbulent life. From the extreme poverty of his childhood to his experiences of the world of extreme wealth in the affluent social circles he penetrated.

Described as having ‘more vein-popping than Trainspotting’ Camden Parasites is a no-holds-barred roller-coaster ride through Danny’s first school-boy brushes with the law, introductions to drugs, crime, theft, squatting and the early days of  punk in London through to mental break-downs, addiction, hepatitis, homelessness & destitution. The only light ever shining at the end of his tunnel being the temporary comfort afforded by the daughters North West London’s privileged classes drawn to his quick wits and rough diamond charm like moths to a flame.

Irrepressible, unrepentant and un-romanticised, Camden Parasites is possibly the most accurate depiction of a life spent in poverty and addicted to drugs as yet committed to print. Debunking the popular glamorised myth of the opium-addicted author as brutally as it depicts the endless cycle of unemployment, poverty, homelessness and the marginalised lifestyle it creates. 

Dying from a heroin overdose just two days before his 41st birthday and a few weeks before his book was published, “Danny”, in the words of his brother Martin, “spent his entire adult life either on smack or trying to come off it.”

“His modus operandi was: find a posh girl, get her to fall in love with him…allow her to pay for everything and steal from her friends”

“He was an extreme drug abuser from an early age….articulate and charismatic, with a slimy charm which people found irresistible. He had absolutely no ambition whatsoever to do anything if any kind. He contracted hepatitis through dirty needles and was quite happy about that because he got more money through sickness benefit and the dole stopped hassling him. He was one of the greatest bull-shitters who ever lived.”

CHRIS LOW – PRESS RELEASE FOR PHOENIX BOOKS

BIG ISSUE ARTICLE ON MARTIN LUX – JULY 1999

Both these great books written by these two brothers highlighting very different sides of the London underclass of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s are available from Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, N1 9DX as well as other quality bookshops, or via Amazon.com.

Demob – Round Ear Records – 1980 / 1982

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Anti Police

Teenage Adolescence

No Room For You

Think Straight / New Breed

I always thought this band were great and severely underated at the time,  so I am uploading both 7″ singles that were released during the band’s lifetime. All these tracks that are uploaded by this band are great, but ‘No Room For You’ is an absolute classic…For best results play this track loud enough to receive a visit and a court order from your local plod / social services.

Text from Wikkiwackiewoo.

Demob formed in late 1978 by guitarist Terry Elcock and drummer Johnny Melfah, and they were soon joined by Mike Howes (vocals), Tony Wakefield (bass) and Chris Rush (guitar). Howes ex-army skinhead friend Andy Kanonik soon joined, also on vocals. It was this line-up that first rehearsed and played the first gigs in and around Gloucester, the Viking youth club becoming the main place of rehearsals and Tracy’s night club was the first venue that Demob played in 1978, and became the local night club hangout for all the band and punks at that time. Elcock had previous experience on guitar as a member of a church band.

Demob’s first big break came in the summer of 1979 when they fooled the authorities into letting them have a place in the Gloucester annual carnival parade. The ever increasing support for the band resulted in a mass riot between the punks and the bikers and, ultimately, the suspension of the carnival. The riot made national press and attracted the interest of the local record label, Round Ear Records.

In 1980, Howes was sacked from the band, and Kanonik was imprisoned for three months, leaving the band without a singer. The band had just recruited Mark “Miff” Smith to replace Rush, and he took over the role of singer, with Paul “Fatty” Price also replacing Wakefield on bass. Smith soon become an integral part, arranging and organizing gigs. With the line-up now comprising Mark Smith (vocals), Terry Elcock (guitar), Paul Price & Barry Philips (bass guitar), and Johnny Melfah (drums), the band worked on their first recordings. “Anti-Police” was Demob’s first release on the independent Round Ear Records, the record supported by the late John Peel, and journalist Garry Bushell. The record spent over two months in the UK Indie Chart, peaking at number 34.

On the back of the success of “Anti-Police”, Demob supported many acts around the punk circuit at this time, including U2, UK Subs, The Angelic Upstarts, Discharge and The Beat. Most performances ended with a police presence and inevitable violence with their notorious hardcore followers, the Demob Riot Squad. The band’s multi-racial line-up sometimes attracted hostility from Nazi skinheads who attended their gigs, and the band would play several concerts in aid of the Anti-Nazi League.

A second single, “No Room For You” quickly followed to add to the success, but unfortunately, like so many punk acts of the era, musical differences soon developed amongst the line up and Demob split to pursue other musical avenues in 1983.

This post is respectably dedicated to Tinsel, an old time KYPP cohort who’s birthday it is today – Happy Birthday dearest, baby Aaron also sends his hugs to you on your special day.

999 – United Artists Records – 1978

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Me And My Desire / Chicane Destination / Crazy / Your Number Is My Number / Hit Me / I’m Alive

Titanic / Pick It Up / Emergency / No Pity / Direct Action Briefing / Nobody Knows

I could only really upload one band today of all days, the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year in this millenium!

Here for your power pop punk ears is the debut LP offering from 999 which I think is a decent enough lump of vinyl. Some browsers would probably argue that this band are not quite ‘cutting edge’ enough for this KYPP site, but it’s up here never the less, so…

Text ripped from da wikkie…

Named after Britain’s emergency telephone number, 999 was founded in London by singer/guitarist Nick Cash and Guy Days. Cash and Days met each other when the former was a member of pub-rockers Kilburn and the High-Roads and the latter was a session guitarist who played on some of the band’s demo tapes.

In late 1976, they placed an advertisement in the Melody Maker for band members and ended up turning down Chrissie Hynde of  The Pretenders fame, Jon Moss of Culture Club fame, and Tony James of Generation X fame. Jon Watson (bass) and Pablo LaBritain (drums) were recruited, Pablo having briefly played with the Clash, and the band that eventually became known as 999 performed their first gig was at the Northampton Cricket Club in January 1977. After experimenting with several different band names, 999 finally came into being in May 1977.

The band promptly established themselves as a powerful live act on London’s punk scene and became regulars at the Hope and Anchor, Islington. On the strength of their well received, self-financed debut single, 999 were signed to United Artists Records around the same time as the Buzzcocks. “I’m Alive” became a firm favourite in the punk clubs.

The band’s second single, “Nasty Nasty”, was cited nearly twenty years after its release as a seminal punk single.

The self-titled debut album, produced by Andy Arthurs, was released in March 1978. One retrospective review claimed it “demonstrated their limitations as well as their strengths. The 45 cuts like “Me And My Desire” and “Emergency” demonstrated the latter, but the album lacked that special ingredient, uniqueness or originality to make it stand out from the crowd”. Be that as it may, the album reached number 53 in the UK Albums Chart. Also, taken from the album, the single “Emergency” was included years later in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time. The following year, the track appeared, alongside songs by more famous bands like The Jam and The Stranglers, on the punk compilation 20 of Another Kind. The album reached number 45 in the UK Albums Chart.

The band’s second album, Separates, produced by Martin Rushent, is more critically lauded today. One reviewer lists it as one of the best punk albums of all-time. In America, a slightly altered version of Separates, re-titled High Energy Plan, became the band’s first Stateside release. In October 1978, a month after the album’s release, 999 recorded their only session for John Peel at BBC Radio 1. 999 also played at ‘Front Row Festival’, a three-week event at the Hope and Anchor in late November and early December 1977. This resulted in the band’s inclusion, alongside the likes of Wilko Johnson, The Only Ones, the Saints, The Stranglers, X-Ray Spex, and XTC, on a hit double-LP of recordings from the festival.

This post is dedicated to my near neighbour and ex-Look Mummy Clown, Jim Wafford A.K.A. Jim The Driver who’s birthday it is today.

Jim is no doubt down The Dog And Duck public house, just around the back of Penguin Towers, celebrating England’s 5-1 victory (and doorway into the South Africa World Cup 2010) against a rather mediocre Croatia as I upload this post and write this text, so I will let him get on with it!

Happy Birthday Jim, see you very soon.

Nicky And The Dots – Small Wonder Records – 1979

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Never Been So Stuck

Linoleum Walk

Brilliant power pop 7″ single from this Brighton based band released on the equally brilliant Small Wonder Records. Very catchy and well worth a listen. Photos courtesy of Simon Woolval.

Not an awful lot of history about this band on the web right now which means I can not cut and paste anything off any relevant sites! But for what its worth Nicky And The Dots were formed late on in 1977 by two art students Nick Dwyer and Chris D’Ouseley. The band were favourably compared to Talking Heads and XTC of that era, 1978.  The band played a fair bit with The Piranhas and Attrix (the band, same name of the record label and of the shop). Nicky And The Dots also had tracks released on the Voltage 78 compilation LP along with The Piranhas and the first Peter And The Test Tube Babies offerings (pre Oi! genre and No Future Records). This LP was on Attrix Records – the best indie shop anywhere on the south coast at this time in the late 1970’s early 1980’s.

I have no idea where the connection with East London’s Small Wonder Records came from as I would have assumed Attrix Records would have or should have released this single, but anyway…Actually thinking about it, the same could be said for Cockney Rejects debut 7″ single ‘Flares And Slippers’ released on Small Wonder Records. Why did this not get released on Terry Murphy’s Bridgehouse Records, a label that were active around the same time of that Cockney Rejects release? Spooky!

An answer to the above riddle came through on the KYPP wire:

“It was asked why a Brighton group were on small wonder and not on Attrix , well being on Attrix was not all hearts and flowers, in fact I was personally told by a number of people in bands that were on the Attrix  LPs, that they were charged for being on there, and the money raised paid for the LPs to be made. I know the two people who hand screen printed the original covers for the first pressing, along with people from most of the bands involved.

There was some sort of promotion going by Small Wonder and I believe they asked for groups to submit songs to be considered for a contract. This led to the Small Wonder showcase gig which included ( if I remember correctly 5 bands ) including Nicky & the Dots, The Cure, Patrick Fitzgerald, The wall ( I think ) and I can’t remember the other one. I travelled up to this on the Dots coach with them, and it was a fantastic night at The Music Machine in London”.

Lugworm and Quick Phil are off to Big Sexy Festy in central London Saturday afternoon

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Details right HERE 

Take some time out and join these old KYPPers and various other KYPP related headbangers at this free event all day and into the night.

Penguin is off to Mersea Island Scooter Rally off the Essex coast

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

My 1966 Vespa Sprint and tent…

My 1966 Vespa Sprint again…

The Sea

The tree

…so please talk amongst yourselves for a few days while I fight the elements as my tent blows away with the expected gale. I will probably have to hug a skinhead for warmth…records will also keep me warm, dancing at the sound systems on the camp site:

Andy And Joey – Your Wondering Now

Joey Flames Coxson Allstars – Version

The Maytals – A Man Who Knows

Roland Alphonso – The President

The West Indians – Right On Time

The West Indians – Hokey Pokey

The West Indians 7″ single is Eric Donaldson’s (of ‘Cherry O Baby’ fame) first release by the way.

Cravats – Penny Rimbaud Original Mixes – 1981

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

 

You Are Driving Me

Dregs

Photos of Southern Studios and text by Penny Rimbaud courtesy of thecravats.com


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