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Moving Hearts – No Time For Love – 1981 / The Mob – Cry Of The Morning – 1983

Moving Hearts – No Time For Love – 1981

The Mob – Cry Of The Morning – 1983

Moving Hearts were formed in 1981 by Dónal Lunny and Christy Moore of Planxty, both wanting to explore the possibilities of linking contemporary music to Irish traditional music.

The band expanded the line up and by the recording of the debut album had nine members.

“This was an exciting time. Donal and I agreed to work together and our next port of call was with Declan Sinnott who volunteered immediately. Then we gradually expanded. Richie Buckley played one gig in Kilkenny, Bill “Riverdance” Whelan left after one rehearsal citing political differences. Tommy Moore came and left to join Paul Brady.

One by one we slowly assembled. Brian Calnan came from Cork to sit in the traps, Eoghan O’Neill ran out of Tipperary to drive hot bass up our spines, Keith Donald came down from the mountain blowing cool air through his reed, Davy left the camps and got up on the amps – the collective was completed by Matt Kelleghan, George and Cyril and we were ready to roll”.

Christy Moore

The Moving Hearts self titled album had several political songs upon it. Songs concerning the ‘Troubles’. Songs like ‘Irish Ways And Irish Laws’ and the song I have uploaded this evening; the protest song; ‘No Time For Love’.

‘No Time For Love’ is actually a cover version of a 1979 song by Jack Warshaw, an American folk singer strongly influenced by Pete and Peggy Seeger, The Weavers and Ewan MacColl. By 1979 Jack Warshaw had been in England for fifteen years promoting low key folk nights and supporting Anti Vietnam, Chile Solidarity and Anti Apartheid musicians, and events.

“You call it the law, we call it apartheid internment conscription partition and silence
It’s a law that they make to keep up you and me where they think we belong
They hide behind steel and bullets-proof glass, machine guns and spies
And they tell us who suffered the teargas and torture that we’re in the wrong

No time for love if they come in the morning
No time to show tears or for fears in the morning
No time for goodbye no time to ask why
And the sound of the sirens the cry of the morning

They suffered the torture they rotted in cells went crazy wrote letters and died
The limits of the pain they endured but the loneliness got them instead
And the courts gave them justice, as justice is given by well-mannered thugs
Sometimes they fought for the will who survive more times they just wished they were dead

No time for love if they come in the morning
No time to show tears or for fears in the morning
No time for goodbye no time to ask why
And the sound of the sirens the cry of the morning

They took away Sacho, Vanzetti, Connoly and Pearse in their time
They came for Newton and Seal, Bobby Sands and some of his friends
In Boston, Chicago, Saigon, Santiago, Warsaw and Belfast
And places that never make headlines the list never ends

No time for love if they come in the morning
No time to show tears or for fears in the morning
No time for goodbye no time to ask why
And the sound of the sirens the cry of the morning

The boys in blue are only a few of the everyday cops on their beat
The C. I. D. branch-men, informers and spies do their jobs just as well
Behind them the man who tap phones take photos, program computers and files
And the man who tells them when to come and take you to your cell

No time for love if they come in the morning
No time to show tears or for fears in the morning
No time for goodbye no time to ask why
And the sound of the sirens the cry of the morning

They tell us that here we are free to live our lives as well as we please
To march, to write and to sing so long as we do it alone
But say it or do it with comrades united and strong
And they’ll take you for a long rest with walls and barbed wire for your home

No time for love if they come in the morning
No time to show tears or for fears in the morning
No time for goodbye no time to ask why
And the sound of the sirens the cry of the morning

So come all you people who give to your sister and brothers the will to fight on
They say you can get used to this war, that doesn’t mean that this war isn’t on
The fish need the sea to survive just like your comrades need you
And the death squad can only get through to them if first they can get through to you

No time for love if they come in the morning
No time to show tears or for fears in the morning
No time for goodbye no time to ask why
And the sound of the sirens the cry of the morning”

It took Christy Moore’s Moving Hearts to deliver the song ‘No Time For Love’ to a larger audience, and I assume that members of The Mob were listening at some point in the early 1980’s.

‘Cry Of The Morning’, a song by The Mob, adapts the chorus from ‘No Time For Love’, and although the Moving Hearts version of the song, deals directly with the Northern Ireland Troubles, The Mob’s ‘Cry Of The Morning’ is less specific, hints at the same scenario of law enforcement breaking down doors for non specific arrests. Possibly for drugs, squat evictions, muscling known protest agitators and the peace convoy, and so on.

I might be wrong on all of that of course, but The Mob’s version certainly does not have a Long Kesh angle.

“No time for love if they come in the morning
No time to show fear or for tears in the morning
No time for goodbyes, no time to ask why
And the wail of the siren is the cry of the morning

No time for hate if they come in the morning
No time, young mothers, for mourning
No time for turning or running away
Of the crying young babies in the morning

No time to fight back if they come in the morning
No time for withdrawal or for hiding
No time for reflection of lost dreams and hopes
And the wail of the siren is the cry of the morning
And the wail of the siren is the cry”

The images that accompany the Moving Hearts part of this post are photographs from Derry taken by Don McCullin in 1971.

The images that accompany The Mob’s part of this post, are two pieces of artwork by Wilf who designed all of the sleeve artwork for The Mob and other West Country bands like The Review and Thatcher On Acid.

The original police line with girl artwork is from Joanne’s collection.

The peace punk couple under a tent is from my collection, and was to be used for the cover artwork for the reissued ‘Crying Again’ 12″ single released on All The Madmen Records in 1986.

Here And Now – Peel Session – 1978 / Brigandage – F.O Cassettes – 1984 / The Apostles – Recession Club – 1983 / The Tenant – Tenant Records – 1979 / Psychic T.V – Face Interview – 1983 / Astronauts – Blyth Power – St Albans Crypt – 1985


Just prior to the start of another free tour in 1978, Here And Now recorded a John Peel radio session following a chance encounter with him at an open air gig at Meanwhile Gardens.

The Peel session captures the essence of Here And Now well.

Two songs are from the ‘Give And Take’ album and the ‘space punk’ style is much more in evidence than on the ‘Floating Anarchy’ album, yet the importance of trying to capture the moment meant that two of the tracks were jammed ‘there and then’ in the Maida Vale studios.

Much to the surprise of the BBC engineers!

Jonathan Barnett – Weird Tales, and roadie for Here And Now and Zounds.

On 7th June 1977, Sex Pistols took a trip down the Thames, manufacturing much media outrage in their wake.

On the same day, Here And Now played a Jubilee Street Party at Bristol Gardens. Bristol Gardens was a squatted street near to Warwick Avenue tube station, one of a network of similar squats which had grown up across London as part of the radical counter culture.

Squatting communities grew up all over London at Bristol Gardens, Charrington Street in Kings Cross, Tolmers Village in Euston, Longfellow Road in Walthamstow, and many other places. A few similar communities occurred outside the capital, too. There were communities in Hebden Bridge, Bristol, Brighton, Norwich, and many other towns across the country.

Each squat was different depending on its size, the conditions of the property, the amount of security, and the people attracted to them. Some were made up of people from predominantly middle class backgrounds; others were almost exclusively working class. Some, like Prince of Wales Crescent in Kentish Town, shared a hippy ideology which never truly “adapted to overcome social or political problems.”

And they all invariably changed rapidly, responding to external and internal pressures. But common to most was a sense of identity seldom found in towns. People had a sense of living somewhere special, symbolised by the street carnivals and parties which became a regular feature of squatting life. For some people, albeit only a small minority of squatters, squatting began to be more than simply finding a roof. It became fun; it offered new freedoms, a sense of community. Squatting was almost a way of life in its own right.

Listening to the relaxed atmosphere of Here And Now’s 30 minute long ‘Now’s The Time To Live’ in contrast to the frenetic sounds Sex Pistols were making that same day brings out the sheer surreal strangeness of it all.

Now we know that Here And Now would tour with the punk band Alternative TV the next year in 1978, and later with The Mob, Zounds and Androids Of Mu. But on 7th June 1977, how far apart were the worlds represented by the two simultaneous events?

Well one was a high profile media spectacle, which has been sampled and repeated to the point of recuperation, a set of sounds and images locked into all subsequent popular reproductions of the Jubilee and thus the Sex Pistols have become part of the mystique of monarchy. As if saying “Here are all these quaintly revolting punks being rude to the Queen but punk has come and gone and she still reigns over us”.

The other, was not.

When Here And Now played at Bristol Gardens, the event was so far underground it has taken thirty nine years to surface. Does this mean Here And Now were more subversive than Sex Pistols?

If there is a cultural / political unconscious (see Frederick Jameson:’ The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act’ from 1981) the answer is YES. And although Kenneth Grant (Outer Head of the Typhonian O.T.O) would substitute subconscious for unconscious; since Grant argues that nothing is truly unconscious, in the unlikely event that he would ever consider such a question, he would also agree.

It is the squatting that makes the difference. In the book ‘Capital Vol. I’, chapter 27, ‘Expropriation Of The Agricultural Population From The Land’, by Karl Marx, Marx advocates squatting as the most effective method whereby the urban industrial proletarian descendants of an agricultural workforce driven off the land and into cities by enforced enclosure can overcome the alienation of people from the land and the resulting fetish-isation land ownership, still embodied in the figure of the monarch as feudal owner (by divine right) of all land across the country.

Here And Now were based in squats at nearby Latimer Road and Stoneleigh Street in the Notting Hill area, and at Grosvenor Road in Twickenham.

Thus on 7th June 1977, Here And Now and the Bristol Garden party were actually more subversive than Sex Pistols and their boat trip in the media spotlight along the Thames.

Al Puppy – Kill Your Pet Puppy.



A handful of bands seem to have been connected with Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine by forces so strong that one finds it hard to imagine one without the other. Adam And The Antz, The Mob, Blood And Roses, Sex Gang Children, Southern Death Cult and Brigandage are examples that I can think of.

Quite obviously these bands would have existed without the fanzine, but a bond, I feel, did exist. The U.K Subs, Crass or The Ruts, fine bands as they were, could not, I feel, get such a strong bond, or indeed any, with the fanzine.

I suppose it probably helped that some of these bands above also had a history of sharing squatted houses, drugs, gig experiences in similar venues, hairspray, magick and (maybe) even boy/girl friends with the Puppy Collective of the day.

Brigandage were one of the fine bands that I first heard on the John Peel show. The session the band recorded was so good that nothing, I thought at the time, could ever touch it.

I saw the band live and they were great, but then they split up!

The band were quickly resurrected in 1984 with the help of Richard North (who wrote and edited the excellent Kick fanzine and also did reviews, essays and interviews for the N.M.E) and two other members, joining Michelle from the original line up, the band that recorded the tracks on this tape.

Step back to 1983; Richard North was already a friend of Michelle Brigandage and of the Puppy Collective, and it turned out to be a decent year to have a journo friend onside, as an article was written up on this newly named ‘Positive Punk’ movement which commanded a front page and center spread in the N.M.E.

Featured in this article were Blood And Roses, and several other bands were name checked throughout the article, Southern Death Cult, The Mob and so on.

Shortly after The Face magazine got involved in the rush to feature the movement, slipped into the glossy pages of the magazine. Even Michael Moorcock set up his TV cameras and got busy filming both Blood And Roses and Brigandage at the Tribe Club in Leicester Square, filming at Puppy Mansions in Hampstead, and interviews with members of Brigandage and Blood And Roses…

What happened?


The band’s at the forefront of this little scene split up by the end of 1983, including of course, as previously mentioned, Brigandage themselves.

There were not a lot of bands to replace the disbanded groups like The Mob, Southern Death Cult and Blood And Roses, that were of the same quality to carry this small scene on effectively, but the ‘Positive Punk’ movement left in it’s wake some great live experiences, some great records and tapes, and some obscure literature in a few magazines including of course the Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine.

Brigandage were really great.

This tape is a mixture of live and demo material recorded and released in 1984 that rocks on with just enough 1976 punk spirit to overtake the opposition by several yards…

The name of the cassette tape, F.Y.M (Fuck Your Mother) was actually a name that was considered for Tony D’s new fanzine. Kill Your Pet Puppy was chosen instead! The last track on this cassette tape, a blistering version of ‘Ripped And Torn’ was the name of Tony D’s first fanzine spanning the years 1976 until 1979!

The visuals in this YouTube post include the pages of the booklet that accompanied this cassette tape.


This recording was the first time The Apostles performed at the Recession Club, with the Nocturnal Emissions.

The Apostles performance is in the most part an industrial freeform workout that has a wonderful non-industrial climax, just after the seventeen minute mark. Andy Martin, giving a very moving and respectful rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘I Am A Rock’ which goes seamlessly straight into ‘Splitting In Two’, the old Alternative T.V anthem.

John Eden writes:

The Recession Club was organised by The Apostles and Larry Peterson between April 1983 to January 1984. The hall was attached to the recording studio used by The Apostles who were responsible for the hire of it and the equipment while Larry Peterson was responsible for the bands who actually played there.

An amusing facet of The Recession Club was that the members of the audience were often better known than the bands booked to perform there!

Those who did play have either disappeared into obscurity or are now very famous indeed: The Apostles, The Nocturnal Emissions, Attrition, Coil, The Unkommuniti, Peter North, The Invisible Band, New 7th Music, Hagar The Womb, In The Nursery, The June Brides, Pus, Napalm Death, Verbal Warning, Bet Lynch, The Replacement Headz, The Paramedic Squad, Youth In Asia. Condom and a variety of poets, performance artists and other industrial / electronic groups.

There were no events other than live music and most of the bands who played were not punk bands, largely due to Andy Martin’s impatience with and ambivalence towards such people who he considered to have become passe and to have outlived what little usefulness they ever had.

Andy Martin writes:

The industrial music scene had taken over and it was here that the original punk spirit had begun to grow and mutate into some huge, many tentacled bat often beautifully subtle intelligence network only occasionally marred by poseurs and butterfly collectors.

The level of commitment on our behalf in respect of The Recession Club was severe as our assembled crew of helpers consisted purely of three or four friends of Dave’s, since I’d done a pretty thorough job in eradicating the few friends I ever had.

This was the place I threatened to throw out two thugs of dubious merit unless they paid their entrance fees like everyone else, told them that neo-nazis weren’t welcome anyway and then found out later that they were Tony Wakeford and Doug Pierce of Death In June.

You see? I should have thrown them out for that reason alone.

I also met a couple of spoilt, middle class brats who went under the moniker of Bourbonese Qualk and was supremely satisfied to have upset their delicate egotism with my suggestion that perhaps they weren’t good-enough to play at our little venue.

We had Sleazy Christopherson there in his capacity as audience member whom everyone recognizes but no-one actually talks to because they’ve seen him on the Throbbing Gristle covers and wish to retain their awe and idolatry.


I chatted to him briefly, he was obviously far too decent, honest and interesting a human being so be involved in Psychic TV and it’s no wonder he left.



Crisis anyone?

I have gone through decades knowing sod all about this record.

I thought I would check the internet, zilch on there.

The band sounds like they had been influenced heavily by Crisis, or indeed Wire, it definitely sounds like an English vocalist chanting away quite happily, the rest of the band, who knows? Wire’s ‘Being Sucked In Again’ comes to mind on the first song off of this 7″ record and the first song on this YT post.

I placed the record up on the Kill Your Pet Puppy blog in 2009 and eventually a couple of years later I got a snippet of information.

The Tenant was an NYC-based band that recorded only this one single in 1979. The band consisted of Robert Appleton, vocals (ex-Gynecologists) Raphael Rubinstein, guitar Ursula Kinzel, guitar, Terry Berne, drums. The band was formed in the winter of 1978. They rehearsed in a loft on the corner of Greenwich and Canal streets which at the time was a squat inhabited by various denizens of the downtown scene. The space was also used by other bands and musicians, including members of the Heartbreakers. The band’s lyrics were written by lead singer Robert Appleton, and the songs were composed and developed by the band as a whole. Their repertoire consisted of some seven songs before they broke up in the spring of 1979 following their only performance at CBGBs. They recorded all seven songs at an independent studio in Brooklyn, though only ‘Manifestation Of Your Sickness’ and ‘TV Parmaceuticals’ were released. The single appeared in various downtown record stores and spent a few weeks on the jukebox at Max’s Kansas City. The master tape containing all the band’s songs has been lost, but some unplayed copies of the single remain in the hands of band members.

T Berne 2011

Thank you to that guy for leaving the comment on the Kill Your Pet Puppy blog.



As it says on the tin, around ninety minutes of laid back chatter from Genesis P-Orridge, Geoff Rushton and Paula P-Orridge recorded at Psychic TV’s Beck Road base in Hackney that was meant to be edited into an article for UK’s early 1980’s fashion magazine ‘The Face’. Which it wasn’t!

I added some visuals to this YT post to compliment the conversation. The Psychic skull test card. All pages from the ‘Personal Message From The T.O.P.Y’ handout. A rare magazine article on P.T.V / T.O.P.Y (including a picture of Min with Lurch from Yeovil) from a magazine that I forget the name off. These pages were cut out. And artwork of a Hitler-Lucifer-Horn affair.

Fiona the lady who conducted the interview left this message on the KYPP site in 2011 as a reponse to the original KYPP post from 2009.

The answer to Fiona’s question about where the cassette tape originated from. The cassette tape was given to me in Beck Road Hackney.

Hello boys!

Someone just alerted me to the fact that you posted this interview of mine two years ago. Wish I’d known about it then and intrigued to know how you got your hands on it (although I can imagine).

I know this is a bit after the event but I’d like to set the record straight for those who have commented on my 2009 piece in The New Humanist. Due to limited space, the editor had to cut out more incidents and anecdotes I recalled from the days when I knew Gen and Paula, although I preferred Sleazy and Geoff who were charming company despite their little peccadilloes such as inviting one to a very proper English afternoon tea full of witty and stimulating conversation before Sleazy would get up to nail Geoff to a cross and masturbate him (as you do).

God rest their sweet souls.

I met Gen and visited the Beck Road house several times between early 1983 and late 1984 while I was going out with Gen’s pal Mark Manning aka Zodiac Mindwarp and writing for The Face. I must confess I’d forgotten all about the interview you dug up. Now I’ve found my tapes too and it’s all come flooding back. After much courting and pestering by Gen, who was desperate to be in The Face, offering all sorts of incentives and constantly ringing me at my Old Street council flat to discuss “the interview” (annoyingly letting the phone ring off the hook until I was forced to get out of bed only to be told, repeatedly, that he “knew” I would answer the phone “on the 23rd ring”!), I agreed simply to get him off my back.

I knew The Face had no interest in publishing an interview with him as I had already asked but I went through the motions simply to shut him up (recording it just in case someone, somewhere, would be interested). It took twenty six years but you finally came through!

I never wrote a word and didn’t take much of it seriously as I think is fairly clear. I don’t like to disappoint or to say I will do anything if I know I can’t deliver but I had tried my best and there was zero interest at the time by the most influential youth style and music mag in the UK.

However, Gen was so persistent he just wouldn’t take no for an answer. In many ways, Gen reminded me of Aleister Crowley: the same burning ambition, the same compulsion to escape their backgrounds, the same schoolboy obsession with shocking suburbia while simultaneously courting notoriety, the attempts to hide such base desires with discourse, spectacle and flimflammery, an unpleasant habit of latching onto useful people and sucking them dry (in every sense), the uncanny ability to exploit the zeitgeist of the time then later proclaiming themselves to be the originators. Yes, the similarities are unmistakeable, except that Gen – to his infinite sorrow, I suspect – has always lacked the towering intellect, sexual charisma and formidable presence that Crowley naturally had.

I don’t know why Gen behaved like such a tit when I went to interview him before the Bardens Boudoir gig many years later. Maybe it was payback for the-interview-that-never-was from so long ago that you unearthed two years ago?

Who cares?

He’s an odd little man but one thing’s for sure, he’s VERY good value!

All the best, FRP xxx

Read Fiona’s piece on Genesis on her blog HERE



December 1985 was a very good month for Blyth Power gigs.

I witnessed the band’s performances five times, once in Brixton with The Poison Girls.

Once in Stoke Newington with Psychic TV, Zos Kia and The Astronauts.

Once in Tufnell Park with Play Dead.

Once in Welwyn Garden City with Benjamin Zephania and The Astronauts.

And this performance in St Albans, again with The Astronauts…

This gig was the only one that I recorded unfortunately…

I wish I had taken my little cassette recorder to the Stoke Newington gig!

A crystal clear crowd recording of both The Astronauts and Blyth Power sets, both bands performing brilliantly.

All the way through 1985 Blyth Power seemed to be on top form, and towards the end of the year the band seemed even more on the ball.

All the gigs that year seemed like genuine celebrations, and well worth the effort to attend, and I attended a lot of them!

Other bands performing on this night in St Albans were The Shout who I remember as being quite Clash inspired, and Medical Melodies, a band dressed up in white coats sounding a bit like The Cardiacs…

There was a little bit off pushing and shoving at the gig from a couple of angry folk, but nothing too drastic, and a mad dog running around between the feet of the audience, most of whom were jumping around!

The visuals that accompany the audio, include some promotional photographs of The Astronauts and Blyth Power, an original flyer for gigs in November and December across the country.

The bulk of the visuals belong to a not so well known St Albans fanzine that appeared a few months after this gig.

The well known fanzine from St Albans was ‘Mucilage’, which run for several issues throughout the years.

The fanzine featured on this YT post, ‘Black Pig Shits On St Albans’, as far as I know, was the only issue that was printed.

There are contributions from several different folk, just adding whatever those different folk felt like adding.

No ‘party line’ to tow, no pressure to deliver cutting edge political dogma.

Just random essays and poems.

The fanzine is pretty mad really, but all the better for it.

As for my cheap little cassette tape recorder.

That was given to Mark from The Astronauts during a visit to his ramshakled flat in Panshanger near WGC as I had upgraded my technology.

012 – Flicknife Records – 1984 / Weird Noise E.P – Fuck Off Records – 1980 / The Epileptics – Spider Leg Records – 1981 / Ethiopian – Studio One Records – 1980 / Faction – 96 Tapes – 1981 – 1982 / KUKL – Gramm Records – 1983




012 was a band formed by Keith Dobson A.K.A Kif Kif Le Batter (one time drummer and vocalist with Here And Now) in the West London squats in 1980. The band took inspiration from Mutoid Wasters, Dread At The Control and Clash City Rocker types, as well as the free festival convoy scene.
The album was recorded at Street Level Studios in 1981.

“The 012 would like it to be generally known that they have now sold out completely, but will be doing all they can to maintain that urban guerilla pop star image in the future.”

012 went on to become World Domination Enterprises who were involved in a small way during the C86 indie scene, and re-recorded a storming version of ‘Asbestos Lead Asbestos’.

Note: The first time the Kill Your Pet Puppy Collective saw The Mob live, I am informed, was at the gig (the flyer in the video) with 012 also performing. Also interestingly, resident Mob artist Wilf supplied 012 the artwork for the sleeve.

The text below has been lifted from the excellent Quietus website and is a snippet of an interview with Keith Dobson.

In 1979 Dobson formed The 012, a World Domination Enterprises prototype who took the improvisational aesthetics of his former acts and merged them with the punk sensibilities that he admired. The leap was perhaps not so great as it seems.

“There is no real difference between hippy and punk,” he argues. “They were both essentially about youth wising up to the charade of society being played out around them and reacting to it. There is also a lot of the essence of improvisation in World Dom and The 012. That ‘immediacy of the moment’ was something I worked with very consciously, and in a way it was a continuation of what had started in Here & Now. I wanted to take this ‘moment’ thing up to another level. I read Stanislavsky.”

The 012 were never geared for commercial success: their shows were so chaotic that promoters literally pulled the plug on them if they hadn’t already been banned, so they instead rushed stages between acts if they wanted to play. But now firmly ensconced amidst the anti-establishment, Dobson simultaneously started a cassette label — the provocatively named Fuck Off Records — to release ‘albums’ by, among others, Danny And The Dressmakers (who featured one Graham Massey, later of 808 State). Ever restless, he then set up Street Level Studios in 1980, a home from home for many of the DIY bands extant in London at the time, with (former Hear & Now sound man and soon to be Fall associate) Grant Showbiz and 012 drummer Jose Gross. But after two cassette albums, one vinyl album and a line-up change — Steve Jameson now fulfilling the need for “gutter-funk bass”, as Dobson’s Melody Maker ad put it, and drummer Digger Metters not far behind — The 012 became World Domination Enterprises.

They set about recording what would become their finest moment, exploiting Thatcher’s Enterprise Allowance Scheme in order to pay for the six months and the weed required to put a reworked version of the old 012 track ‘Asbestos Lead Asbestos’ down on tape.

Dobson has no qualms about having used government money to fund the band’s beginnings.

“Let’s get something straight here,” he states passionately. “We are born into subjugation. Where is our land? Our birthright? It was taken from us before we even drew our first breath. What we have instead is forced enrollment into some intimidating scheme. And for some strange reason these somebodies who control it are stupidly rich, while us ordinary folk have to scratch and scrape just to get by. It is our right as ordinary humans, maybe even our duty, to get back as much as we can.”

Such arguments are indicative of the rhetoric that surrounded World Domination Enterprises at the time. Growing media interest focussed not only on the visceral, atonal racket that they created but also on their conscious rejection of contemporary Thatcherite values. They were pictured by photographer Tom Sheehan in front of their Chesterton Road short-life housing, reviewed by Simon Reynolds in conjunction with legendary party organisers and industrial waste sculptors Mutoid Waste Company, and much was made of their name. But Dobson denies that they were a political band.

“I’ve never been interested in capital P politics,” he clarifies. “What is true is that I’m a thinker. I spend hours a day just thinking. Anti-establishment? Hell, yes! That’s the natural result from time spent thinking. Our anti-establishment stance was . . . a huge part of what World Dom was about. If you’re gonna have words, why on earth should they not mean something important?

Read the whole article HERE



Each side of this rare debut 7″ single from Fuck Off Records gives a clue to the listener for the material stamped into the grooves of the vinyl.

Side BAD:

012 – Fish From Tahiti
Danny And The Dressmakers – Cathy And Claire
The Sell Outs – Ballad Of Fuck Off Records
Danny And The Dressmakers – The Truth About Unemployment


Door And The Window – Number One Entertainer
Danny And The Dressmakers – Legalise Vimto
Danny And The Dressmakers – Hey Ho My Cholestarol Level Is Low
Instant Automations – Electronic Music
Danny And The Dressmakers – Dont Make Another Bass Guitar Mr Rickenbacker

This is a record so D.I.Y it came with its own Allen key and a badly illustrated sheet of fitting instructions!

All the tracks need to be listened to with an equal amount of irony and awe. Joy and misery.

The tracks are not that bad, but they are hard work!

“The Sell-Outs, The 012, The Door And The Window, and The Instant Automatons recorded at home on 4 track and 2 track tape machines. Danny And the Dressmakers get that unique “Dressmakers white noise” effect with 3rd generation cassette recordings. Gut level rock and roll from 1979. The whole thing got together by Kif Kif, Nag, Bendle and Protag and dedicated to the Steet Level organisation. The Sell-Outs were a band led by Fuck Off Records supremo Jonathan Barnett. The line up on the record is J.B on vocals, Steve Lake of Zounds on detuned bass, Mark Mob of The Mob on detuned guitar and Kif-Kif from the 012 on drums. J.B and Kif-Kif detuned the instruments and asked us to make a random unholy row while Jonathan screamed his lyrics about running a budget record label whilst signing on the dole and trying to exploit (in a very small time way) the resources of larger record companies. The aim, as with most of these things, seemed to be to help bring about the demise of the record industry and there after the whole global capitalist, military industrial complex; to tap into some creative, life/art/spirit force through spontaneity and improvisation; and in the process try to make J.B the star he really should have been. The whole enterprise was doomed sadly. The track was truly awful, though the E.P. it comes from did have some amusing tracks by Danny And The Dressmakers and a good track by the 012. It also contained a track each by the Door & the Window and the Instant Automatons”

Steve Lake – Zounds

Sleeve screen printing courtesy of Joly from Better Badges who printed the original Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzines and thousands of others in that era.



Written memories below, courtesy of Kev Hunter from The Epileptics, ripped off for all the right reasons from site.

The Triad Centre was a great place to see bands and just hang around with other punks from Harlow, including members of the Sods and Newtown Neurotics, and surrounding areas. I asked around and was pointed in Col and Rich’s direction; I went over and said “If you ever need a guitarist, let me know.”

Coincidentally, Clive was about to leave and go to college, so they told me to come along the following Saturday to one of their rehearsals. I did, and I was in!

They had already played two gigs – one at Triad in August, and one at London’s Covent Garden with Crass – but needed new material. Col and I reworked some of the older songs and changed the lyrics and titles, and collaborated on some new material too, such as “Tube Disaster”, and our first gig together was at the beginning of November 1978.

In January 1979 we got the chance to support Crass and the Poison Girls in Bradford, but the van we’d hired broke down on the way, and we reached the gig just as Crass were finishing their set.

In March we recorded our first demo tape and started to attract a small following; thereafter we regularly played at Triad, as well as doing gigs in London’s Conway Hall with Crass.

For a while we changed our name to Epi-X, but then reverted to the Epileptics; our line-up also changed briefly in summer, when Stan Stammers replaced Derek on bass. (Stan would later go on to Theatre of Hate and Spear of Destiny.)

After playing one gig under the pseudonym Acid Experience, with Derek back in, the Epileptics decided to take a break as personality clashes had been surfacing.

In August, we were approached by Stortbeat Records to record a single, and – with a dubious change of name to The Licks – did just that in September.

Having played just one gig as The Licks, the name reverted to the Epileptics again, but by November differences in how we thought the band should go led to Richard deciding to leave; Col and Derek decided to get Sid (from Rubella Ballet) to replace him, and within a week of their decision, I made up my mind to leave too.

Two guitarists were brought in, Andy Smith and Neil Puncher (previously of the U. Samples), and the band continued to play local, London and other gigs – including Stonehenge Festival where they were bottled offstage.

During the middle of 1980 the band changed their name to Flux Of Pink Indians.

Kev Hunter

Verbal memories below, courtesy of Sean ex Eat Shit and God Told Me To Do It.

Ahhhhh, my youth revisited…..

No one except Stortbeat ever called them The Licks.

Derek used to sit on my mate at school to steal his fruit pastilles.

The story of Derek’s bass playing (as related by Colins little brother) was that when the lads decided to form a punk band, big Derek said “I’m not playing bass, bass is a morons instrument” picked up the waiting to be assigned guitar and promptly broke several strings, so bass it was to be. Funnily enough when a bass was acquired for him he immediately broke a string on that too.

Sid of Rubella Ballet passed through the drum slot, as did Discharge skin thumper, Bambi Ellesmere. Stan Stammers was friendly to the young punkers hanging out in Saffron Walden (all three of us, I had school mates there) but Kirk Brandon was above being seen with us kids.

I first saw Crass with The Epileptics at Triad on a Sunday night, it seemed strange to me then that no one made a fuss about bands of local notoriety playing on Sundays. Stortford was quite lively punk-wise, but there was a lot of mod violence early on, mainly by kids who had been punks the year before, the skinheads came later, mostly from Harlow.

That town was a hotbed of NF/BM recruitment (the lyric “I’ve got a target on my back but I’m not a fucking mod” was poignant). On one notable occasion, when Conflict came to the Triad, some skinhead violence was nipped in the bud by Colin Jerwood who promptly smashed his mug of tea over the miscreants head. There was even a short-lived squat in Stortford in a condemned house at Hockerill but the coppers gave short shrift.

So many memories…One of my first girlfriends was from Debden, so “Last bus…” struck a chord. Harlow was punky town, but lots of aforementioned skinhead violence. After a gig at the Square, three of us were chased until lost (easy in Harlow, it all looks the same) and had to take cover in an elderly couples house who offered us refuge and a phone to call mum.

People will tell you these days that they were into the Neurotics, but most in Harlow considered them a bit naff. Steve Drewitt will tell you that I was the only person to sport a big Newtown Neurotics logo on my leather.

Sean Ridgewell



In 1980, Leonard Dillon from arguably one of rocksteady’s finest vocal harmony duos in the sixties, The Ethiopians, returned from a start / stop career in music (from the middle of the seventies after the accidental death of his long time vocal partner, Stephen Taylor) to voice over some of the finest vintage Studio One rhythms.

This is one of my favourite Studio One albums although when released to the public it did not sell in large quantities.

Towards the very end of the seventies, roots reggae music started to lose popularity amongst the youth of Jamaica and in fact the world.

The new sound preferred by the youth being a harsher stripped down, no thrills, no horns, no organ sound pioneered by Roots Radics, Sly and Robbie and others, recording for young producers like Junjo Lawes and Linval Thompson and mixed by the up and coming Scientist, all working with countless young singers and DJ’s.

Studio One Records could not keep up with the times as well as the recording studios like Channel One, who owned the in-house record labels like Hit Bound and Well Charge releasing records by the likes of Barrington Levy, Frankie Paul and Ranking Trevor.

Studio One tried hard to keep up with a couple of Sugar Minott albums as well as albums by Brigadier Jerry and Lone Ranger, but the old time rhythms just sounded too familiar and stale to the youth at the end of the seventies and the dawn of the eighties. .

Despite all that, this Leonard Dillon solo session (under his long standing and well deserved moniker, The Ethiopian) recording new versions of some of his best songs from the late sixties and early seventies at Coxsone Dodds’ Studio One, to my ears at least, is a marriage made in Heaven, if such a place exists.

Below text a snippet of an interview with Leonard Dillon from the reggae-vibes website.

Q: But what about this ‘Everything Crash’ album, this is a very consistent album and one that is highly regarded by Ethiopians fans all over. If the Ethiopians name is dropped somewhere, you often hear talk of that record.

A: Yeah. You see, that album now, I just did that song over for Coxsone and he called the album ‘Everything Crash’.

Q: Most of those tracks were voiced in the same session, or this was compiled stretching over a long period of recordings from the seventies up to the early eighties or something like that?

A: Yes, some of them.

Q: So how come you went back to Downbeat again?

A: Well, because I left the music scene for a while and the easiest way to be heard right now is the Studio One label, so I just went back and did that before I did my album ’cause whenever time you want to be known, yunno, the Studio One label is a label that really expose you. Everyone love Studio One and are familiar with Studio One, everyone rates Studio One. So you don’t really – Coxsone is a man that don’t really pay money, yunno. You don’t do music for Coxsone for money, you do music just for the label’s sake, to really expose you. Because Studio One label go wide, y’know.




Anthrax were formed when they were all school children in Kent. Anthrax would practise in the church hall near to the school. The bassist of Anthrax (Rob Challice) father was the vicar. Rob, Fod and Oskar were also allowed to print their fanzine ‘Enigma’ on the church printer. After several line up changes Sue joined on vocals. Anthrax did thier first gig in Gravesend and after that gig, Rob and Sue left Kent and went on to form Faction.

Around January or Febuary 1982 Ann-Dee Martin from The Apostles, was helping out Faction on guitar along with Sue, Rob and Martin (who wrote Sunday the 7th fanzine) on drums. Ann-Dee Martin was replaced by Paul (who wrote the AZ fanzine) around March 1982, but during the couple of months that Ann-Dee Martin was in the band, Factions first demo was recorded in Ann-Dee’s attic at Foulden Road, Stoke Newington.

That demo tape is great and might be up on this Youtube channel at some point, although tonight I have placed up both the Faction demos that Rob Challice released on his own 96 Tapes imprint (so called as Rob was living at 96 Brougham Road in Hackney at that time).

The first Faction cassette that 96 Tapes released features Sue on vocals, who left shortly after, to be eventually replaced by Mel from the West Country band, The A-Heads.

Mel is the vocalist on the second Faction cassette that 96 Tapes released.

Both of those cassettes are featured on this YouTube post.

I lifted a bullet point history on the band below (and edited a little bit) from the

Rob and the singer Sue (a fourteen year old girl with spiky hair) left Anthrax and relocated to Hackney to form Faction with Sue on vocals, Rob on bass, Martin on drums and Ann-Dee on guitar.

Rob and Martin then moved into a squatted street street in Hackney, Brougham Road, number 96, and used the basement for rehearsals.

Rob had this to say about choosing the name Faction: “I think it was by democratic vote. The name scored quite highly because you could circle the A and N, and convert the O in the CND sign. Essential stuff”.

In the Spring of 1982, their guitarist Ann-Dee Martin, was replaced by Paul Van-Transit (formerly from ‘The Snails’ and ‘This Bitter Lesson’) who would become their permanent guitarist. Rob found inspiration in the Hackney squat scene as it had introduced him to The Mob, Zounds and Blood and Roses, which in turn were bands that were also followed by the Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine / collective whom also inspired him.

Rob continued by starting his own cassette tape label called 96 Tapes, which helped several bands get their music and message out.

In November 1982, Faction released their ‘Through The WIndow’ cassette tape along with a booklet containing the lyrics and their ideas and philosophies. Shortly after the release of that tape, the band played at the infamous Zig Zag Squat gig in December of that same year.

Unfortunately, Sue left in February 1983, and the band struggled with several new singers until they found Pip.

Faction managed to eventually release a 7″ single with the Bluurg record label run by Dick Lucas of The Subhumans. The record was titled ‘You’ve Got The Fire’.

Before the studio work on the record started, Pip had already left and had been replaced on vocals by Mel from The A-Heads. Neil from Brougham Road was added as a keyboardist.

Two more cassette tapes featuring Faction were released on 96 Tapes, the first was a live split with D & V called ‘No No No Don’t Drop Yer Bombs On Us They Hurt’ and another was a full length tape called ‘If They Give You Ruled Paper…. Write The Other Way’.

By the time the 7″ single was released, Faction had split up. Rob wanted to focus on his cassette tape label, Neil went on to play guitar for Blyth Power alongside Josef Porta and Curtis from The Mob, and Mel was still performing with the A-Heads. Martin and Paul left the scene.

In 1984 the All the Madmen record label was passed down to Rob Challice, 96 Tapes was still operational for a while after, and Wot? Distribution was also created. Wot? shipped hard to get vinyl, cassette tapes and fanzines via mail order to customers over the U.K and other parts of the world. Wot? was eventually re-named All The Madmen Distribution, sitting alongside the record label of the same name.



Fine and very rare debut 7″ single by Bjork’s early punk outfit KUKL released on the excellent Gramm record label based in Iceland.

Recently I checked this 7″ single on Discogs.

This small bit of vinyl with a groove running time of less than seven minutes has been selling for absolutely insane amounts of money.

Between £250 to £500.

I very carefully unwrapped the foldout cover and scanned each panel and then dumped the vinyl onto the scanner and scanned both sides of the label. There was also a handwritten poem that I scanned. I am not sure, but the poem might be the words translated from Icelandic to English for the A-Side, ‘Songull’.

I hope you understand the sacrifices and risks I am prepared to take to get interesting YouTube posts to you. I might have knocked £10 off of the selling price in the few minutes of preparation for the visuals!

Text below lifted lock, stock and barrel from the Southern Studios website. Thanks to them in advance…

Our story begins some years ago when we co-existed in different groups in the very same country.

PEYR was a band that gained a reputation in foreign countries, but when they had had their name spelled in Japanese they tactfully ceased to exist and left God Krist. and Tryggur floating in the Ether waiting to make themselves manifest.

PURRKUR PILLNIKK was another band, never too bothered but quite possibly too concerned. They played with THE FALL in England, then they too ceased to exist and Einar kept spinning around hoping to hit someone.

TAPPI TIKARRASS was still another band. When their charm became stagnant Bjork decided it was time for an evolutionary leap and sent us a bright smile that opened our hearts.

Birgir caressed his bass in a band called MED NOKTUM, but when the call came he knew he had to obey and left his fellow workers in the Vineyard for the Cosmic Unity of KUKL.

And there was one with the name of Melax who had spent his time within the framework of the surrealist group MEDUSA, alternately making phallic Bird Cages and Music for Miro on the Moon. He too heard the call and obeyed.

KUKL thus became the logical conclusion of the Icelandic Musical Evolution. They depict the Marriage of Heaven and Hell: the Union of Opposites, Cold Claustrophobic Winters with the Agoric Midnight Sun of the Summer Months. Snow fused with Vulcanic Activity: A Cold and Calm Outside covering Catastrophic Aliveness that may tear the ground from under your feet.

KUKL will not prostitute itself, the group will play on special occasions only, so as to retain its inspirational quality.

KUKL played at “WE Demand a Future”, a concert with CRASS that had over 2% of the Icelandic population present. And KUKL played with PSYCHIC TV at the legendary concert in Reykjavik. In 1984 KUKL supported FLUX OF PINK INDIANS around England.

As the time is ripe now, KUKL will expand into various parts of Europe and give the Europeans a taste of what KUKL sounds like and what the group stands for.

Our aim is to work for the betterment of humanity through our music. We feel that music is one of the strongest mediums that you can have access to in the Western world as money is not our game we rely on the inherent power of our group.

Our power is what we are and what we do: through listening to us people will become part of the transmission of that particular power, even should they not realize what we are about. Whether we should be considered artists, does not really matter at all.

We leave that problem to those who want to define to understand. – We only want to wake up in people dormant powers which even they did not know existed. Sometimes we even don’t know ourselves what we are doing, as we are still learning. The “magic” has not been intellectualised or consciously assimilated to what we are doing.

Even the name of the group shows this: KUKL, meaning “Psychism” implies dabbling with some unknown forces and we don’t want to get stuck in any definitions as to contents or procedures as that would put an end to our learning process and our transmission. This “something” that we are dealing with is also a thing that we are against defining. We are not preaching convictions as they tend to produce convicts. The only clearly definable thing in our floating philosophy is that there is more to life than THIS. We want to be able to blow a few sparks into a consuming fire, burning away restrictions. A large portion of music in our times is serving us a tool with which people are lulled to sleep while those in charge are steering us towards our doom.

We want and we must catch the attention of those lunatics and show that we want to be reckoned with when it comes to defining the rules for our life and death. Our music is our strongest weapon in that battle, it is also nourishing for us and gives us strength to tackle this devilish problem. But as to the future we don’t have any five-year-plans – although in a sense we feel we have been booked for eternity…

The Mob – Crass Records – 1981 / PEYR – MJOT Records – 1982 / Instant Automations – Deleted Records – 1980 / Androids Of Mu – Fuck Off Records – 1980 / Webcore – A Real Kavoom – 1984 / The Good Missionaries – Unnormality Records – 1980 – 1981


No Doves Fly Here Original mix

I Hear You Laughing Original Mix

Mark Mob remembers; The recording was done over two days in September 1981 at Southern Studios with Penny and John producing and engineering the session.

Various other folk including Crass members were milling around for those days, doing little jobs when needed, like changing leads, moving amps about, and more importantly making copious amounts of strong tea.

I recorded the vocals to both tracks on the second day, one word at a time for the recording. This was quite a change from the previous two releases (‘Crying Again’ and ‘Witch Hunt’ both released on All The Madmen Records) as the vocals on those records were recorded live.

As you can imagine this was rather frustrating and somewhat draining on the spirit, but we assumed Penny and John knew what they were doing so I carried on regardless, and the single turned out well, so good on them for pushing me to record the vocal track in this way.

I choose both the tracks, ‘No Doves’ because it did not sound like any obvious Crass label recording and ‘I Hear You Laughing’ which was a live favorite of the Mobs followers and supporters.

There was no pissing about in the studio, no drug use or anything.

There was though many pots of tea being supplied and I also have a memory of Churchman Counter Shag roll ups being smoked by Penny and The Mob (when offered to us). I believe this tobacco could only be obtained from around the Epping area, so I had never tried it before the session or indeed since.

On the second day, one of the studio hangers on was told to go out and hire a four foot diameter gong, bring it back to the studio and set it up to be recorded for the ‘No Doves’ track.

Most of the band had a go at trying to hit this gong correctly. Spent over an hour getting the gong sound right in the mix.

Whether Josef’s gong sound went onto the final mix is anyone’s guess. It may well have been rerecorded after the band had left the studio!

After over an hour of hearing just a gong sound it all sounded much the same and it could have been any of the recorded takes on the finished recording. Perhaps even my effort.

Around a month or so after the recording sessions I was sent a test pressing of the ‘No Doves’ 7” single.

This version had the gong, the drums, the bass and my vocals. The other track I Hear You Laughing had the baby crying added towards the end of the track.

In the package with the test pressing was a letter from Penny suggesting that more should be done with the recording of ‘No Doves’.

I agreed to let Penny work on the recording in the studio without my or the other members of The Mob’s interference.

I got sent a ‘finished’ copy of the release that would become the only Mob record released on Crass Records and got a bit of a shock when I heard the synths and the choir that had been added to the ‘No Doves’ track.

Josef Porta remembers; As I recall, Penny and Pete Wright were engineering with John Loder.

We were in Southern the day after Alvin Stardust had a recording session there!

The usual Crass approach in the studio was rigidly Stalinist – as I recall bands really had no say in what went on.

Not a bad idea really, as no one can fuck up a recording session like a bunch of musicians.

Mind you, we had a good laugh at the crying babies after we heard it.

We weren’t invited to the mixing, and it was presented to us as a finished recording – I don’t recall there being any ‘what do you think of this’ in the matter, not that it would have been any better for us being there.

I think we did it over two days. There was no fraternizing before or after, we came up on the bus from Hackney and went home again each day. I never went to Dial house with the Mob, and I presume Mark chose the tracks for the single.

I don’t recall it being discussed with Curtis and myself at the time.

Personally, I think the artwork is the best thing about it.

The tracks seemed flat. My drumming is clonky and inappropriate. Curtis’ bass is, as always, superb, but the overall sound is limp and apologetic.

The same I felt with the Zounds effort. I don’t think Penny really knew how to produce electric guitars – I’m not saying I do, but I know a man who does, and you can hear the difference.

The electric guitar is the essential element of any punk record in my personal opinion, and unless it sounds like the Sex Pistols on ‘Holidays in the Sun’ then it’s a waste of time.

Mind you, I’m happy to have been a small part of the whole Crass thing. I thought it was magnificent at the time.

Can’t say it changed my life significantly, but it was an experience not to forget.

Deeply indebted to Gordon.



The third single from this Icelandic band. A 12″ E.P single.

Recorded in 1982, there is a slight Killing Joke feel to the sound on all these tracks, not surprisingly as Jaz Coleman and Geordie from Killing Joke were constant visitors to Iceland at this time, and early supporters of the Icelandic music scene.

Jaz Coleman decided to move to Iceland along with guitarist Geordie, with the ambition of resurrecting the Icelandic rock scene.

While there, Coleman and PEYR, formed a new band originally called Iceland, but later named Niceland.

After rehearsing for weeks Niceland was ready to record five songs in 1983, but two of them were never finished; the three songs recorded were: ‘Guess Again’, ‘Catalyst’ and ‘Take What’s Mine’.

But as PEYR decided to write their own songs, Jaz moved away and returned to England to reestablish Killing Joke.

The songs recorded by Niceland remain unpublished.

PEYR, toured Scandinavia.

With the tour, the band gained more popularity and even managed to appear on radio and television in Denmark, they also went to a studio and recorded a few songs which were released on the 12″ E.P single, ‘The Fourth Reich’, in memory of Wilhelm Reich whose books had been banned by the Nazi regime.

The sleeve depicts Wilhelm Reich, a psychiatrist, psycho-analyst and writer, who was labelled a Communist Jew by the Nazi Party, so he escaped from Germany in 1934 to settle briefly in Scandinavia.

During the Nazi period of German history all of Wilhelm Reich’s books were destroyed, and subsequently banned. The writer made it to the U.S. in 1939.

In 1947, following a series of critical articles about orgone in The New Republic and Harper’s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A) began an investigation into his claims, and won an injunction against the interstate sale of orgone accumulators.

Charged with contempt of court for violating the injunction, Reich conducted his own defense, which involved sending the judge all his books to read. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and in August 1956, several tons of his publications were burned by the F.D.A.

He died of heart failure in jail just over a year later, days before he was due to apply for parole.

It must be noted that the PEYR sleeve artwork has not got a swastika on it. The armband shown on the cover contained the symbol of the orgone physics, which represented duality and its origins in unity, referred by Reich as functionalism.

On ‘The Fourth Reich’ the use of percussion and rhythmical efforts were far more important than in earlier works. In this respect, the song “Zen” was particularly important due to its marked rock style, but did not have the impact of earlier works because the music was less accessible.

The Icelandic version of this E.P was released by label MJOT which had been created by Magnus from PEYR.

PEYR had two albums and a handful of singles released during the band’s lifetime, these of course are no longer available.

All early Icelandic singles are very rare, this 12″ E.P single being no exception.

Two of the members, eventually formed KUKL with Bjork towards the end of 1983.



Although Punk inspired us, we were never a punk band. In fact, I was openly suspicious of the punk movement at first. Protag, who has always had his ear closer to the ground on these matters, was keen to champion the likes of Stiff Records and Richard Hell and The Voidoids. I, on the other hand, felt that it was all probably a marketing ploy dreamed up by Malcolm McLaren.

Maybe it was, to begin with; that doesn’t really matter now because we all got caught up in the divine madness and the “rules” still got shattered. The landscape of popular music had changed forever, and the Automatons stepped forward along with all the other One-Chord-Wonders and Bored Teenagers to claim their rightful fifteen minutes of glory.


I sent for cassettes from Scunthorpe and in one was the plea for a guitarist. I couldn’t really play, but – fuck, I loved the weirdness that came from that Low Farm address. Many letters later and that fab meeting at Street Level; disgusting toilet, 8-track tape, Kif Kif, Steffi, Grant – who were they? If only I knew. Then, a gig. Playing live at the LMC in Camden Town – Lemon Kittens, The Door And The Window, Mark Perry. A big high-watt stack, rehearsal, sound check, C# major – what a chord! Scared me to death, but I did it. Got through it.

Then up to Low Farm: Protag’s mum – what a diamond. Funny house – up a bit, round a bit. Tight corners. Protag’s bedroom: microphones, mixers, tape machines, banks of cassettes, timer set to record John Peel’s show to listen to next morning. It was great.

We did gigs in the strangest of places and met the most amazing people. We did gigs with The Mob, Zounds, Chelsea, Here & Now – a fine pedigree.

That was a big buzz for me – playing guitar with me mates, not in the local but Doncaster, Retford, Notting Hill, Nenthead, Grimsby, Shepherd’s Bush, Scunthorpe, King’s Cross… I never thought I would play in a band and end up on a record – Deleted Records did that for me!

I loved the Automatons. I didn’t mind one bit the travelling, the weird venues, getting mistaken for a Fulham fan in Huddersfield, kipping on people’s floors after gigs, the veggie food, the magic mushrooms…It was sad when Mark said “That’s enough” but I was hooked on making sounds, and so was Protag.

Keen students of the era will know, of course, of the pub rock boom which addressed the same concerns on at least certain levels. But, with my soldering iron and my copy of Practical Electronics, I somehow had the idea that we could make sounds that had never been heard before and headed off into uncharted territory.

Drum machines had hardly been invented but I’d heard The Human League and Cabaret Voltaire on John Peel and knew that was the way to go, for us. None of that Marshall stack nonsense, much as I loved noisy bands. We had to be tippy tappy, headphones on, pile on the echo and away you go…

So the drum machine kit came through the post and I soldered the bits together. Hurrah. Samba! Waltz! Bossa Nova! Nothing could stop us.

But stop us doing what? We’d figured, I think, that the reason the late 70’s dinosaur bands made such lamentable albums was the economic quagmire they’d blundered into. Taking the inevitable conclusion from this we determined to make the music we wanted to with zero regard to acceptability and, therefore, with no concern for profitability.

So it was made on the cheap, and, as far as possible, given away; to be disposed of or kept according to the whim of the recipient.

We had our own concerns about what was a satisfactory level of composition, performance and recording, of course, but they were snotty nosed teenage concerns and not manifest on our earliest recordings, and only barely evident later.

Tape hiss ahoy! Made with love for no real reason at all.

And like all first love, you never forget it.


Quotes care of the Instant Automations web page HERE



Engineered by the hands of Grant Showbiz at Street Level Studios, and released ‘in house’ on Fuck Off Records, this non masterpiece still has a huge sackful of charm, and if you try hard enough, you can jump around the room to it ‘but only when yer mum’s gone out!’

A snippet of an Androids of Mu Interview (From No Class fanzine)

As the people from No Class landed in Shepherds Bush, London W12, the keys to the flat were thrown out of the window to us, ready to let an interview with Bess and Corrina from the Androids of Mu take place, which went like this:

NC: Why was the LP called ‘Blood Robots’?

C: By calling it Blood Robots we threw more light on what our name is about. I don’t wanna be too precise about that, because I wanna leave a bit more to the imagination. A lot of our stuff at the same time was about everyday people and situations, but through our minds, from a completely different point of view.

NC: So are your songs protest songs?

B: Yes, most of them.

C: We would like to change things if we could. Generally we are supporting change, of attitudes and for the better. But on the other hand, sometimes what we do is just observation. It’s more like making people think, rather than being opinionated and asking for people to accept our opinions.

NC: So you do benefit gigs?

C: Yeah, loads, cos we’re not playing for money. We aren’t making any money and even when we play ordinary commercial gigs we only get our expenses and when we play benefits we get our expenses.

NC: Did you lose money on the free tours?

C: Yes we did, because it cost us a lot to set it up in the first place, like posters and getting a vehicle in condition, so that we could do it. Our actual expenses on the road had been met but not the expenses that it cost us to prepare the whole thing.

B: But another idea why we started doing free tours was because we thought music is something so nice there shouldn’t be a packaged price on it. You get gigs at Rainbow, £3 or whatever, depends on the seats if you’re at the front or the back, but we thought music should be left to people: what they think it’s worth. Some people at the time thought it was 10p, others 50p. I think that’s great because people paid money what they think; they don’t feel ripped off.

NC: Didn’t you get people going along to try it out, because it was free?

B: Yeah, half of it was like that, they were really supporting us, but not other half.

C: Another thing was that usually they spent all their money on drinks, so that even if they wanted to give, they didn’t have any money left.
NC: And what about the ‘Blood Robots’ cover art?

C: Suzy who was with us at the time, she found this poster…

B: There was a big gallery, posters and poetry done by women. We saw this painting on a wall and she said that could be the cover, and we all went Wow! What a good idea. We did a coloured printing, but the colours didn’t come out right. It was too much contrast, black and brown.

NC: Is it the original that was used, the one in the gallery?

B: Yes, the woman who done that (Monica Sjoo), we wrote to her. We haven’t met her. She said of course you can use it.

NC: Can you tell us about your deal with Crass?

B: Two years ago, when they wanted to do a single with us, they didn’t want our drummer to play on it cos she was playing out of time. They wanted their own drummer, and we all thought it would sound like Crass again, so we refused it straight away.

Suzie was a member of Planet Gong, along with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and the rest of Here And Now in 1977.

Planet Gong completed a European tour in November /December 1977, and released the Album ‘Floating Anarchy 1977’ and the single: ‘Opium for the People’ early in 1978.

Suzie joined Here And Now and left the band in January 1979.

By 1980 she had formed all girl band The Androids of Mu with Corrina, Cozzie and Birsen.

Although a collaborative project, Suzie shared lead vocals with Corrina and wrote much of their material. The Androids were well received by all, including the music press of the day.

They were an integral part of the post punk scene and released one album ‘Blood Robots’, with one music paper headline proclaiming it as “Android Genius”.

The Androids often performed with other West London squat land heroes including The Mob and toured in Britain and Europe until about 1983.



Uploaded tonight is the debut Webcore cassette tape, released on A Real Kavoom from Cornwall in 1984. I liked this band very much and saw them perform many times in and around the capital in many squatted venues including the 121 Railton Road bookshop in Brixton, the old Jungle Records building in Islington, the Mankind Club in Hackney Central and others. There were plenty of great nights at the Club Dog venues in Wood Green and Finsbury Park that should also be mentioned. I also saw them support Psychic TV on a couple of occasions…

Below is a snippet of an interview with the Webcore keyboardist Paul Chousmer ripped for the site.

DS: How would you describe Webcore?

PC: Webcore were often described as way ahead of their time (at the time, if you can see what I mean.) I sort of took the roll of manager as nobody else would and we played everywhere. I (and Ed ‘Ozric’ Wynne) took the same view that the best way to publicize ourselves was to play wherever we could. So we often found ourselves at the same dodgy benefit gigs. All sorts of squats, free festivals, you name it. So we got a reputation for playing together all of the time. I’ve always thought our music was completely different. I felt there was a common psychedelic thread and we were always up for a party. Then Club Dog started (by Mike Dog, who later had the Ultimate Record label with groups like Eat Static and Senser) Webcore, the Ozric Tentacles and Another Green World all became regulars. And we grew with it.

DS: I agree that Webcore’s music was ahead of its time at the time. What would you say were the musical influences of the group?

PC: Our influences at the time inevitably included ENO, but also Psychic TV, Siouxsie and the Banshees, it’s difficult to say now from this distance in time. I would say we brought lots of different things together. Mick was a poet not a singer, so that was his approach. Trying to make his words fit. My idea was to create atmospheres behind the songs. Setting the scene. We were all experimenting. Just trying out ideas and if they felt good. It’s funny now that I’m teaching I see loads of young bands coming together. They all seem to want to sound like somebody else. The A&R mentality of copying whatever the last big hit was! We didn’t think that way at all back then!

DS: Webcore’s music also seems quite different from much of the other free fest bands like the Ozrics and Psi. How do you feel that Webcore fit into this scene?

PC: You’d have to ask this one of the audience really. I find it very hard to be objective. I would say that I was always surprised that Webcore’s audience danced a lot. I didn’t think of our music as dance music. This was fairly unusual in the free fest scene. Our music was also quite structured. Not totally, there was some room for improvisation. But there were definite maps to follow. The other bands seemed to be more into long wibble solos etc…

DS: What are your feelings on the festival scene of the eighties?

PC: You have to remember there was a right wing government ruling here at the time, with that bitch Thatcher at the helm. Lots of unemployment, kids on the dole, etc… Punk had run its course. We were all getting politicized. Stonehenge free festival was banned and suppressed by the police with a heavy hand. So free festivals were often a way to protest. We were all squatting, traveling. I have fond memories of that time. People were thinking of the world around them. I look at the kids now. They have no idea about politics. Nothing to protest about I suppose. The legacy of the Thatcher years is that everyone is out for themselves. Make as much money for yourself as you can and screw everyone else. I think that Reagan and his cronies did the same sort of thing over there.

DS: Through your music as Another Green World, you as an individual have moved quite easily from the scene in the eighties right into the club scene of the nineties and on. How do you feel about the club sound and what are you writing these days?

PC: I really like the music I hear in clubs these days. But it only sounds good in the clubs! In that atmosphere and loud. Most of it doesn’t seem to work when I put it on at home. However loud! In that sense I don’t really understand how I fit in. I actively try to make music that transports you from your armchair at home to some other place, without necessarily being really loud. This is important to me. So I keep in contact with these clubs, send them what I am doing. I just do what I do and they book me if they like it. This is probably quite old-fashioned these days. Everything is high sell, throwaway.





The first release on Hasting’s Unnormality imprint, two tracks from the Good Missionaries recorded live at Manchester University and St Andrew’s University during The Pop Groups ‘Animal Instincts’ tour Summer of 1979, and studio recordings for the second release on Unnormality Records, engineered by Grant Showbiz at Streetlevel Studios in 1981.

A little surprise these tracks, as they are relatively normal ‘pop’ songs for Good Missionaries standards.

Mark Perry

“I rejected punk’s restrictive format and took A.T.V into a direction that was more like free form jazz than the three chord thrash. Some critics despised the change, a few applauded it. I didn’t give a shit. As far as I was concerned, it was my band and I could do what I wanted with it. Miles Copeland (my manager at the time) still talks about the day that I first played him ‘Vibing Up The Senile Man’. He sat there aghast thinking it was some sort of joke until he realised that I was deadly serious”.

“I think after what we did on ‘The Image is Cracked’, I knew that I didn’t want to make another out and out rock album. A big influence in that period, middle ’78 I think, was the tour we did that summer with Here and Now. They were a hippie band that had come out of Gong and that crowd. They invited us to play Stonehenge with them for a festival. It was really for the English type of hippy, living in a bus, huddled together around a lentil stew. That impressed me. They said ‘Why don’t you come on this tour ’cause we like what you’re doing.’ So I thought ‘why don’t we try that?’ My manager didn’t like that but I tried to convince him in an economic way that it would be a big audience. Why should punk put off all these people? It’s potentially a really big audience out there who want to listen to good music”.

“So we went on tour and that was a big change for me. Being around people who were from a different angle and really opened my mind up. There were different aspects and possibilities. We played around the country, at universities, all for free. We traveled in this big bus. For someone like me, from a working class background, it was really refreshing. Scary at first… I’d come out of my tent ask where the bathroom was. Everybody’d laugh at me. I’d have to use a ditch over there! No organization at all, just a generator and a stage and a couple of veggie burgers. Very primitive. I came off that tour and I was thinking ‘we got to do something new.’ I’d been listening to jazz and other stuff. I said ‘let’s get rid of the rock and roll drums.’ That was sort of way of changing it. Trying to just experiment really. We did a couple of songs for John Peel sessions, before ‘Vibing…’ was done, and released as the Good Missionaries. We got a really good response from them. They said it was interesting stuff and blah, blah, blah. I didn’t think they represented how extreme ‘Vibing…’ was going to be”.

“‘Vibing …’ had, and still has, a clarity that I could never achieve within the confines or the traditional rock sound. Punk inspired me but I could never let it constrain me. ‘Vibing …’ is all about me and my life – weird, stark and sometimes even embarrassing. I wanted people to like the album because I guess I wanted them to like me. The real me, not Mark P punk prophet, but me that lurks behind all the bullshit. I thought that people would appreciate my honesty but most rejected it, preferring the safe world of pop-punk. I still think that ‘Vibing …’ is a classic punk album because it takes it into truly chaotic territory – witness the brooding ‘The Radio Story’ for proof. To me, punks only boundaries are the ones that have been set up in peoples closed minds. Punk became the new rock music.”

Clair Obscur – All The Madmen Records – 1986 / Yule – The Cycle Of The Year – Xristos Mass


In January 2015, Louise from the band Hysteria Ward contacted me to ask if I was interested in a load of stuff in a box. A mysterious question to which I answered; “Yes I was”.

On visiting I found that the box contained several 1/4 inch master reels of various recordings (by various bands) that were released on the All The Madmen record label back in the 1980’s.

At the bottom of the box I noticed a master reel for Clair Obscur, music from that reel that was eventually released by All The Madmen records as ‘The Pilgrims Progress’ in 1986.

I handed this master reel to Pete Fender (ex of Poison Girls / Rubella Ballet / Omega Tribe) when we managed to meet up in Dagenham, and later on that year, the master reels were carefully restored and remastered by Pete.

Pete then returned the restored master reels with the remastered raw files and mp3’s on CDR’s.  The master reel that was carefully restored and remastered by Pete has turned out beautifully crystal clear.

‘The Pilgrims Progress’ album is a live recording by French Gothic / Industrial performance artistes Clair Obscur that was released on the All The Madmen record label in 1986.

In my opinion (which is never an exact science) this band seemed to have similarities musically to the Virgin Prunes and I also noticed a slight nod musically to Chrome from San Francisco on some of the songs.

I have never seen a Clair Obscur performance, the band might not even have visited the dis-United King-Dome but what I have learned was that the band always took care over a performance ensuring excellent stage sets and peculiar performance styles.

At one performance Clair Obscur were on stage with a guy sitting on a chair reading a paper, and with clothes drying on a washing line once I think! The ‘Pilgrims Progress’ performance that was recorded for release on the All The Madmen record label took place in a hall transformed into a forest (I nicked that last bit of information from the text below from the Clair Obscur website!)

A short biography written in the text and the performance photograph below are taken from the Clair Obscur website.

Clair Obscur was founded in Creil in 1981 by Thierry Damerval (bass), Christophe Demarthe (vocals) and Nicolas Demarthe (guitar). Clair Obscur strives to nurture their musical creativity into atmospheres, rather than just dispel mere melodies.

Their shows mixing music and visual performances were very quickly recognised, and became a reference to both the buying public and the up and coming French independent radio stations.

In 1982 they were invited to play at the Cirque d’Hiver de Paris for the French magazine Actuel which spoke of “young cultured barbarians” and of “rock Artaud”.

The first cassette of Clair Obscur was released the same year. Later re-published on vinyl and on CD, nearly 7000 copies have been sold since then.

In 1983 Clair Obscur were invited to play at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Paris as well as to support Killing Joke at Le Palace in Paris. The stage was cluttered with furniture and domestic objects (between the drums and the amplifiers a couple lived their daily life during these performances).

Their first single Santa Maria was released the same year.

In 1984 Clair Obscur published the 12″ single ‘Dansez’ and created a show at the Théâtre du Forum des Halles in Paris. In a hall transformed into a forest the four musicians of the group became actors to tell a social fable, ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’.

The recording of the ‘Pilgrims Progress’ concert was released on the All the Madmen record label in 1986. The album was greeted warmly in the British press by the New Musical Express and by Sounds.

From 1986 on Clair Obscur decided to play more with their audience. Their shows proposed situations which could take place only if the spectators played the game. Thus at La Grange à Musique in Creil a pseudo-TV game took place with real candidates.

The British label Cathexis Recordings published the 12″ single ‘Smurf in the Gulag’ which was a wink at disco music, the genuine industrial music.

Each show of the group had to be a unique event always different from their previous show. Clair Obscur attempted to break the established sketches of the performance.

In October 1986 the Théâtre Déjazet in Paris, an Italian style theatre, became the pretext of a feigned bucolic decorum, featuring a chamber orchestra and replicas of famous impressionist paintings, which happened only to be destroyed immediately after.

This gave birth to the album ‘In Out’ recorded thanks to the French national radio France Culture and released by V.I.S.A. (France) in 1988.










Yule: Winter Solstice – Dec 21st/22nd

The origin of the word Yule, has several suggested origins from the Old English word, geõla, the Old Norse word jõl, a pagan festival celebrated at the winter solstice, or the Anglo-Saxon word for the festival of the Winter Solstice, ‘Iul’ meaning ‘wheel’. In old almanacs Yule was represented by the symbol of a wheel, conveying the idea of the year turning like a wheel, The Great Wheel of the Zodiac, The Wheel of Life. The spokes of the wheel, were the old festivals of the year, the solstices and equinoxes.

The winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day, when the hours of daylight are at their least. It is also the start of the increase in the hours of daylight, until the Summer Solstice, when darkness becomes ascendant once more.

Cycle of the Year

Yule is deeply rooted in the cycle of the year, it is the seed time of year, the longest night and the shortest day, where the Goddess once again becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King. In a poetic sense it is on this the longest night of the winter, ‘the dark night of our souls’, that there springs the new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, the Coel Coeth.

Fire festivals, celebrating the rebirth of the Sun, held on the Winter’s Solstice can be found throughout the ancient world. The Roman festival of Saturnalia was held on the winter solstice, boughs of evergreen trees and bushes would decorate the house, gifts where exchanged and normal business was suspended. The Persian Mithraists held December 25th as sacred to the birth of their Sun God, Mithras, and celebrated it as a victory of light over darkness. In Sweden, December 13th was sacred to the Goddess Lucina, Shining One, and was a celebration of the return of the light. On Yule itself, around the 21st, bonfires were lit to honour Odin and Thor.

The festival was already closely associated with the birth of older Pagan gods like Oedipus, Theseus, Hercules, Perseus, Jason, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithra, Horus and even Arthur with a cycle of birth, death and resurrection that is also very close to that of Jesus. It can hardly be a coincidence that the Christians, also used this time of year for the birth of Christ, mystically linking him with the Sun.

That Yule is another fire festival, should come as no surprise, however unlike the more public outdoor festival of the summer solstice, Yule lends itself to a more private and domestic celebration. Yet like its midsummer counterpart, is strongly associated with fertility and the continuation of life. Here the Goddess is in her dark aspect, as ‘She Who Cuts The Thread’ or ‘Our Lady in Darkness’, calling back the Sun God. Yet, at the same time, she is in the process of giving birth to Son-Lover who will re-fertilise her and the earth, bringing back light and warmth to the world.

The history of a Christmas festival dates back over 4000 years. Ancient Midwinter festivities celebrated the return of the Sun from cold and darkness. Midwinter was a turning point between the Old Year and the New Year. Fire was a symbol of hope and boughs of greenery symbolized the eternal cycle of creation

The term “Xmas” instead of “Christmas” is Greek in origin. The word for “Christ” in Greek is “Xristos.” during the Sixteenth Century, Europeans began using the first initial of Christ’s name…the “X” of “Xristos”…in place of the word “Christ” as a shorthand version of the word “Christmas.” Although early Christians understood that the “X” was simply another form for the name of Jesus Christ, later Christians, who had no knowledge of the Greek language, mistook “Xmas” as a sign of disrespect. Eventually, however, “Xmas” came to be both an accepted and suitable alternative to the word “Christmas.”

Many of today’s Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ Child was born. The Twelve Days of Christmas, blazing fires, the yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals or parades complete with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, holiday feasts and church processions are all rooted in the customs observed by early Mesopotamians.

Many of these traditions began with the Mesopotamian celebration of the New Year. The Mesopotamians worshiped many gods, the chief of whom was Marduk. Each year as winter arrived, it was believed that Marduk would battle the Monsters of Chaos. In order to assist Marduk during his struggle, the Mesopotamians held a festival for the New Year. They called this celebration Zagmuk and the festivities lasted for twelve days.

The King of Mesopotamia would return to the Temple of Marduk and swear his faithfulness to the god. The tradition called for the King to die at the end of the year and then return with Marduk to battle at his side. To spare their King, the Mesopotamians utilized a “mock” king. A criminal was chosen and dressed in royal clothes. He was given all due respect and the privileges of a true king but, at the end of the celebrations, the “mock” king was stripped of the royal garments and then put to death, thus sparing the life of the real monarch.

The ancient Persians and Babylonians celebrated a similar festival which they called the Sacaea. Part of that celebration included the exchanging of places within the community…slaves would become masters and the original masters were obliged to obey the former slaves’ commands.

In Scandinavia during the winter months, the Sun would disappear for great lengths of time. After thirty-five of such dark days, scouts would be dispatched to the mountain tops to await the return of this life-giving heavenly body. When the first light was espied, the scouts would hurry back to their villages bearing the good news. In celebration, a great festival would be held, called the Yuletide, and a special feast would be served around a fire burning with the Yule log. Huge bonfires would also be lit to celebrate the welcome return of the Sun. In some areas, people would tie apples to the branches of trees as a reminder that Spring and Summer would eventually return.

The ancient Greeks held ceremonies similar to those of the Zagmuk and Sacaea festivals. The purpose of this feast was to assist their god Kronos, who would battle against the god Zeus and his army of Titans.

Members of the pagan order have always celebrated the Winter Solstice…the season of the year when days are shortest and nights longest. It was generally believed to be a time of drunkenness, revelry and debauchery. The pagan Romans called this celebration Saturnalia, in honor of their god Saturn. The festivities began in the middle of December and continued until January 1st. On December 25th, “The Birth of the Unconquerable Sun” was celebrated, as the days gradually lengthened and the Sun began to regain its dominance. It is a general pagan belief that the Sun dies during the Winter Solstice and then rises from the dead. With cries of “Jo Saturnalia!”, the Roman celebration would include masquerades in the streets, magnificent festive banquets, the visiting of friends and the exchange of good-luck gifts known as Strenae…or “lucky fruits.” Roman halls would be decked with garlands of laurel and green trees, adorned with lighted candles. Again, as with Sacaea, the masters and slaves would exchange places.

Saturnalia was considered a fun and festive time for the Romans, but Christians believed it an abomination to honor such a pagan god. The early converts wanted to maintain the birthday of their Christ Child as a solemn and religious holiday…not one of cheer and merriment, as was the pagan celebration of Saturnalia.

As Christianity spread, however, the Church became alarmed by the continuing practice among its flock to indulge in pagan customs and celebrate the festival of Saturnalia. At first, the holy men prohibited this type of revelry, but it was to no avail. Eventually, a decision was made to tame such celebrations and make them into a festive occasion better suited to honor the Christian Son of God.

According to some legends, the Christian celebration of Christmas was invented to compete against the pagan festivals held in December. The 25th was sacred not only to the Romans, but also to the Persians whose religion of Mithraism was one of Christianity’s main rivals at that period in time. The Church was, however, finally successful in removing the merriment, lights and gifts from the Saturanilia festival and transferring them to the celebration of a Christian Christmas.

Christmas means “Christ’s Mass” and is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth and baptism. Although December 25th is generally accepted as being the time when the Christ Child was born, the exact date has never been chronicled with any degree of accuracy. There is neither scriptural nor secular evidence to establish the exact moment. One thing is relatively certain, however, the event did not take place in December. Since the child was born when shepherds were “abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night” (Luke 2:8), it is unlikely that shepherds in Israel would have been sleeping outside with their flocks during the month of December.

In Winter, the herders would have led their sheep outside only during the daylight hours…the nights would have been far too cold. It is known that during the very early Christian centuries, the birth of the Christ Child was not celebrated in any manner. However, tradition dictates that the occasion has been commemorated since 98 A.D. In 137 A.D., the Bishop of Rome ordered that the birthday of Jesus Christ be observed as a solemn feast. In 350 A.D, Julius I (another Bishop of Rome) selected December 25th as the observance of Christmas. This date was made official in 375 A.D., when it was formally announced that the birth of Jesus would be honored on this day…the announcement also allowed some of the older festivities (such as feasting, dancing and the exchange of gifts) to be incorporated into the observance of Christmas. The use of greenery to decorate homes continued to be prohibited as pagan idolatry but, over the centuries, this too became an accepted custom of the festivities.

Wishing all the KYPP browsers nation and worldwide a happy Christmas.

Poison Girls – Studio Out Takes – 1980 / Omega Tribe – Centro Iberico – 1982 / The Apostles – Scum Records – 1984 / Vex – Fight Back Records – 1984 / Lack Of Knowledge – L.O.K Records – 1982 / Xmal Deutschland – Hammersmith Clarendon – 1983

Two tracks from the ‘Chappaquiddick Bridge’ album, ‘Underbitch’ and ‘Alienation’.


Both tracks are instrumentals recorded at Southern Studios in May 1980, and both produced by Penny Rimbaud and engineered by John Loder.

The audio sounds strange without the fiery vocals of the late Vi Subversa, but I thought I should upload the tracks in case there is any interest at all.

The text below is a small section of what Rich Cross has written for the ‘Hippies Now Wear Black’ blog about the history of the Poison Girls.

The whole of the biography may be read HERE

It was Poison Girls’ decision to relocate to Epping, taking up residence in Burleigh House (a licensed squat destined for demolition to make way for the M25), that brought the band into contact with Crass. Neither band had been aware of the other’s work, but, by sheer coincidence, Poison Girls’ new base of operations was only around four miles from Crass’ home, Dial House.

A meeting of minds quickly set in motion an intense period of close collaboration. Poison Girls provided the funding that underpinned the launch of Crass Records, and in turn Crass re-released both ‘Hex’ and ‘Chappaquiddick Bridge’ on the Crass label. It was a hugely positive association, from which both bands benefited, and through shared projects, such as the celebrated, landmark ‘Bloody Revolutions / Persons Unknown’ single, both bands together raised the profile and appeal of anarcho-punk. Subversa’s rendition of the lyrics of Persons Unknown is remarkable, circling through the incisive, biting and sharply perceptive lyrics before intoning ‘flesh and blood is who we are; flesh and blood is what we are; flesh and blood is who we are; our cover is blown.’

The band’s first full-length release ‘Hex’ was an early wave punk record almost without parallel. As well as providing further space for Vi Subversa to demonstrate her distinctive vocal talents, and the band to further explore their own musical style, what made ‘Hex’ stand out was its lyrical preoccupations, and Subversa presented an exploration of the alienation and misery women experienced in the home; of the crushing expectations of narrow gender roles; and of the quiet horrors that awaited wives and mothers in the ‘normality’ of the nuclear family. ‘Is it normal? Is it normal? Is it just another day? Have you emptied out the washing? Have the kids gone out to play?’, asked Subversa, in anger and desperation. It was not the kind of subject matter that interested many other early punk lyricists, and for many of the young punks listening to the record provided a completely unexpected perspective on the world of home, family and the lives of their parents.

Follow-up release ‘Chappaquiddick Bridge’ saw the band broaden its political perspectives, to address the contemptible arrogance of unconstrained political power (typified by the ugly metaphor of the Chappaquiddick Bridge scandal) and restate its broader anarchist principles. The album’s unlisted intro and outro track became one of the band’s most recognised (and quoted) songs. ‘State Control and Rock’n’Roll’ focused the band’s attention on the exploitation, cynicism and co-option of the music business; a theme that would continue to intrigue the band in the years to come. If ‘State Control’ showed the band’s mischievous, witty side, the accompanying ‘Statement’ flexi was the boldest declaration yet of the band’s anarchist intent. Voiced with spine-tingling sincerity and commitment by Subversa, ‘Statement’ railed against the inexorable, destructive, all-consuming power of the war state and the band’s fulsome and absolute rejection of it. ‘I denounce the system that murders my children’, raged Subversa. ‘I denounce the system that denies my existence.’ Her vocal delivery is as startling as it is impassioned.

To get a copy of re-released ‘Persons Unknown’ 12″ by Poison Girls please read this KYPP post HERE

And if you would like to purchase re-released ‘Hex’ and ‘Chappquiddick Bridge’ albums go to the All The Madmen site HERE

I have placed up my rare ‘Hex’ booklet for the audio, and also four Poison Girls flyers from Tony D’s collection.

Omega Tribe at the Centro Iberico, Westbourne Park in the summer 1982 recorded at the same gig that the Conflict Live E.P was recorded at.



If you listen from 7:22 you will hear the only official recording of a song called ‘Punk Roles’ that was issued on the ‘Make Tea Not War’ compilation, the only song to be included from this gig because of the awful guitar tuning throughout!

This Omega Tribe performance was some months before I joined the band; hence I was able to do the recording via group outputs from Paul Tandy’s mixing desk and a Calrec room mic.

The original stereo recording was originally intended for release on Mortarhate Records alongside Conflict’s performance. I still have the master tapes up on my shelf.

Pete Fender

NOTE: This recording is an audience hand held cassette recorder version, not the crisp recording Pete Fender describes above. This recording has been digitalised straight off my copy of the cassette tape.

All I knew of Riot/Clone was their recently released E.P and all I recall of their set was that they played the songs off of it.

Omega Tribe were every bit as tuneful and punchy as they had been the other two times I’d seen them over the past week or so. And they seemed friendly too, giving us flyers printed with their song lyrics that the ink smudged on.

But it was The Apostles who made the greatest impression of the night. For some unfathomable reason they had a succession of different drummers, could they have been scared to spend too long sharing the stage with Andy Martin?

He did seem very angry about something.

The Asian guy with the peroxide hair who pulled us up for scrawling on the walls was playing guitar too. After one song he berated the crowd; “This one’s for everyone who thinks it’s enough to put a circled ‘A’ sign on their jacket. You make me fucking sick.” Not sure what he was really hoping for but clearly this statement had resonance so we clapped approvingly.

Perhaps it was something to do with the slogan on one of their cassette covers; ‘There Can Be No Spectators’ I pondered how I should best avoid being a ‘spectator’ as I watched them play another of our favourites; ‘Burn The Witch’ which reverberates throughout the half-filled hall.

Nic and Miles got up and had a dance to this one and I took some photos. Andy got more irascible with every song and, perhaps so he’d avoid the veins in his neck exploding, vocal duties for the last two numbers were consigned to other band members leaving Andy to concentrate on playing his guitar like Lou Reed and exude rancor.

Conflict played the same ferocious break-neck speed set I’d seen twice recently and with a handful of the songs performed that night later released as their ‘Live At The Centro Iberico’ E.P.

Nic and Miles left after a couple of songs. They didn’t like Conflict.

I watched the rest of their performance from the side of the stage, transfixed by how amazing their drummer was and trying to work out what he was doing to produce drum patterns with his feet.

When it came to drumming, I was just about getting the hang of what to do with my hands.

Icons Of Filth were the final band to play but I only caught a couple of songs before having to leave to run for the last tube, resolving to send them a blank cassette tape and a soaped stamp for a copy of their demo, as I pulled a photocopied poster for a previous Apostles gig off the wall by the exit.

Chris Low – excerpt from the book ‘Not Just Bits Of Paper’.

To buy a copy of ‘Not Just Bits Of Paper’ you can do so via Active Distribution HERE

The photographs of the Centro Iberico are from the collection of Tony D. Thanks to him for those.


Pig Violence

Our Mother The Earth

Kill Or Cure

Rock Against Communism

Drowning In The Sea Of Life

Punk Squatters

The Apostles fourth 7″ single, too toxic for most, and for good reason.

The song ‘Rock Against Communism’ being lifted almost note for note from Skrewdrivers’ ‘Smash The I.R.A.’.

The lyrics for that song, and for the song ‘Kill Or Cure’, lifted from some of the verses from Skrewdrivers’ ‘Sick Society’.

In September 1974 Andy Martin was admitted to Springfield Psychiatric hospital Tooting, as a compulsory patient, being locked and kept under supervision for ‘severe paranoid psychosis with delusions of persecutions, and extreme violent outburst at himself and others, extreme suicidal tendencies’.

Before he was sectioned, there were incidents recorded on police files for petty crime and assault. ‘Queer bashing’ in Clapham Common was one of the crimes that he was involved in.

Squatting exploits were treated far more harshly by the police.

“Obviously it isn’t so bad if you beat up a few benders, but it’s unforgivable if you try to get somewhere to live!”

When Andy Martin was a patient on the Willow Ward (a ward where several patients were given E.C.T and never seen again) he was beaten up several times by the night nurses.

The worst beating was from six nurses flooring him and stabbing a fix of liquid largactyl into him keeping him asleep for almost eighteen hours, and not eating for four days.

He left Springfield in March 1975 returned to Clapham, and thought about joining the National Front, but instead of joining, went on two marches. The NF was only a cosmetic allegiance, joining in, rather than being interested in the politics.

He was sharing squats, and being liberally souped up with tuinal, and getting all his personally belongings stolen without realising it.

The thieves in the squat were shortly beaten badly by some suited thugs that had been sold glucose, ground glass and Vim as sulphate…

Andy was re-admitted to Springfield Hospital in May 1975.

The Apostles, with Andy Martin in the line up, were active from 1981, and since then he has been writing, drawing and learning to play musical instruments.

Many of those songs that were written are anti-racist.

In fact militantly anti-racist.

Andy has made no secret in those years about his own sexuality.

He is a homosexual, although a celibate homosexual.

He “resents being a spastic, a queer, physically ugly”

Andy Martin: The openly homophobic homosexual: The openly anti-racist racist.

His words below.

“Dave and I had one of our frequent fall outs and he buggered off to France.

In a fit of pique I persuaded a bunch of lads known as the Hackney Hell Crew to dive into a studio and make a record with me.

I issued this tripe under the of The Apostles although there is really no justification for such errant impertinence, Dave not being involved.

Simon Parrish (known as Ollie) and Martin Ryan were the only pair who ultimately appear on the record and they thought it was fun even though they weren’t especially fond of my music.

The E.P included two tracks specifically designed to prove an assertion I made in print earlier in the year:

I stated the majority of punks were bigots and racists. So I wrote ‘Kill Or Cure’ (which calls for homosexuals to forcefully submit to aversion therapy or accept the death penalty) and ‘Rock Against Communism’ (which includes every vile complaint, moan, whine and gripe I could remember my parents making when they told me not to bring ‘chinks’ or ‘niggers’ into our house).

I predicted very few punks would express any resentment in response to these numbers.

On the contrary I expected to receive praise and approbation for my courage.

This is precisely what happened! My assertion was vindicated.

The trouble is, many people thought I actually meant what I sung (which is fair enough, after all) and thus rumours spread: The Apostles became a neo-nazi outfit. Yes, that’s me in the swastika T-shirt at the Pied Bull ready to support Skrewdriver at their next concert!

In a sudden attack of conscience, I destroyed most of the records barely a month after their release – I think only sixty copies are in existence.

Ironically, ‘Kill Or Cure’ and ‘Rock Against Communism’ are the only tracks on the record performed and recorded with any skill or ‘professionalism’.

However, in retrospect, it proved useful for the future of the group that I did embark on this apparently invidious project. The record attracted the interest of John Cato who sang for a group called Admit Your Shit.

John was a personal friend of Colin Jerwood who sang for a group called Conflict. All this was most intriguing to me – I knew nothing about these people and I could not comprehend their interest in our work.

Anyway, as a result, Mortarhate (the record company formed by Conflict) issued our 5th single, 6th single and début album.

It was the first time we were not obliged to finance the pressing and printing of our records. They gave us complete control over what we recorded”.

Andy Martin 2016

Last night, I went to DEAD & BURIED, a death rock / gothic nightclub in Archway with my old friend Chris Low, a stones throw away from his home.



Chris was the drummer of Part 1, the latest band that Chris has been involved with. The latest band in an already impressive list of bands that he has been drumming for since 1981.

Chris’s DJ’ing legacy from the late 1980’s until the present day is equally as impressive.

At DEAD & BURIED Chris was DJ’ing for parts of the night with Cavey Nic, who helps organise the events.

It was a nice night, but I had to duck out just after midnight so missed a chunk of the event, but I did witness / hear Chris’s first set, which sadly did not include and Xmal Deutschland or Vex.
Cavey Nic might have included those bands in his set, or perhaps they were included in Chris’s second set I don’t know.

But anyway, as the evening has unleashed my inner goth, I thought I would upload my copy of this 12″ record released on Fight Back Records, a label that was ‘run’ by Conflict.

It sounds remarkably fresh after a thirty year gap in listening to it.

Text below entirely ripped off of the Pitch Fork blog.

The relatively unheralded UK outfit Vex was an anarcho-punk band that sounded far more dark, desperate, raw, and apocalyptic than anything at the time. A new reissue of their lone release, 1984’s ‘Sanctuary’, showcases a band throbbing with ominous, semi-industrial precision.

‘Sanctuary’ was a part of the collective document of a U.K. anarcho-punk underground that had managed to not only survive, but flourish well into the 1980’s. Conflict, along with the similarly political Crass, was a leader of the scene; Vex was a minor participant, a footnote to a footnote. The band was also short-lived, which was the order of the day.

Crass had previously vowed to break up if it ever lasted long enough to see 1984, although it reneged on that promise, later naming their anthology Best Before 1984 in reference to it. “No future” had come to roost. Accordingly, anarcho-punk bands sounded far more dark, desperate, raw, and apocalyptic than anything at the time (at least this side of a new music springing up in Europe that would come to be called black metal).

Vex had desperation to burn. And on ‘Sanctuary’, burn it does. Throbbing with ominous, semi-industrial precision, the song slams along to a martial beat and splintery guitars, a dance track for the gleefully damned. Like a tribe of cyborgs, the band turns anger into something almost mystically ritualistic.

It’s an approach Killing Joke had already solidly established by then, and the Killing Joke influence on “Sanctuary” is pronounced—as it is on ‘It’s No Crime’, whose tense, slashing riffs bears a marked similarity to ‘The Wait’, one of Killing Joke’s most famous songs.

Lead singer Scrote also borrows liberally from Jaz Coleman’s robo-goth howl. But where Killing Joke cloaked its anger in code, Vex was more direct. But not by much.

The anarcho-punk approach left little room for poetic half-measures, and ‘World in Action’ spews wrathful outrage even as Scrote chants, in an escalating spasm of stereo-panned paranoia, “There is a theory that this has already happened / There is a theory that this has already happened.” ‘Relative Sadness’ sinks deeper into the ethereal, a clanking skeleton of a song that borders on the early deathrock of Theatre of Hate.

The reissue’s remaining three bonus tracks—’It’s No Crime’, ‘Pain’, and ‘Pressure’ hail from Vex’s 1983 cassette demo.

Flat, lo-fi, and corrosive, they’re prickly sketches of a group-in-progress still beholden to Killing Joke. When the refrain “The pain!/ The pain!” pops up in ‘Pain’, it’s another open nod to ‘The Wait’.
Given time, Vex may have grown beyond that hero worship and become an influential force all its own.

Not that the record isn’t relevant.

The shivering, savage, post-punk howl of ‘Sanctuary’ can be heard in lots of current bands, from Iceage to Arctic Flowers, although it’s a safe bet that Vex hasn’t directly inspired any of them. But the sound itself echoes.

Punk, in England and elsewhere, weathered the confusion and disillusionment of the 1980’s. It’s as vital now as it ever was. Vex may never have envisioned a future for itself, but the spastic, atmospheric passion of ‘Sanctuary’ has taken care of that for them.


Lack Of Knowledge, Alma Road’s finest. Ponders End, Lower Edmonton.



Ponders End in parts an industrial wasteland, in parts cheap council estates, and as a polar opposite, in parts, a place of beauty. Nature reserves where bird watching groups would wander, and canals where scruffy looking long boats would drift pass.

In the main though the place was (and still is sadly) full of meatheads, the pubs and clubs were edgy and sometimes dangerous, and support for the National Front was high.

Still from this relatively nonconstructive part of the Lea Valley (North East London suburbs bordering on Essex) came Lack Of Knowledge who kicked against the pricks and came out screaming with this wonderful 7″ single late on in 1981 or early 1982.

The sleeve artwork for this 7″ single was just two A4 designs on thin paper slipped into a plastic bag, the record itself, just white labels. No information, all very stark, and of course all very black and white.

Members of Lack Of Knowledge followed Crass around the country, and Ponders End is only a fifteen minute drive away from North Weald and Dial House so those members would be regular visitors and in 1983 the Crass label released the ‘Grey’ 7″ single. This 7″ single was scooped up (as all of the Crass label releases at that time) by myself, who seemed desperate not to fit in with the fashionable order of the day.

Lack Of Knowledge seemed to be ‘speaking’ to folk like me, so my feeling of isolation at that time was eased somewhat by this band’s existence!

A couple of years later Lack Of Knowledge released an album courtesy of Crass, which is (as you would probably expect) excellent.

There is an essay about Lack Of Knowledge on the KYPP post HERE

This essay is well worth reading.

I was reminded today (7th July 2016) that on this day, and this month, way back in 1983, thirty three years ago, Xmal Deutschland performed at the Clarendon in Hammersmith.

I was there. Gene Loves Jezebel and Dead Can Dance also performed.

The gig was excellent, Xmal Deutschland were majestic, hypnotic and the gig was one of my highlights of 1983.

I do not have a cassette tape recording of that performance in July, but I do have a cassette tape recording of Xmal Deutschland’s previous Clarendon performance, when the band supported Danse Society.

The performance on this cassette tape is dated 7th April 1983. Three months previous to the 7th July 1983 Clarendon gig.


This audience quality recording cuts off a little bit of the performance as I accidentally recorded over the second side of the cassette tape many many years ago.

A bit gutted truth be told.

Xmal Deutschland was the first band that I saw numerous times (from 1983 to 1985) mainly in London.

I did take in a cheeky trip to Aylesbury, which was about as north as my finances back then would get me!

April, the month that Xmal Deutschland supported Danse Society at the Clarendon, coincided with the album ‘Fetish’ being released, alongside the 12″ single ‘Qual’.

Both records were released on the wonderful 4AD record label.

The album ‘Fetish’ is one of the records that I still continue to place on the turntable to this day.

To compliment this audience quality recording, are scans of several pages of Zig Zag, Vague and Punk Lives magazines, all from 1983.

I have deliberately constructed the visuals with no thrills, no special effects and so forth, so the pages can be read whilst listening to Xmal Deutschland’s performance.

Tom Vague writes for the Zig Zag and Vague pages.

The legend himself, Tony D, writes the review of Xmal Deutschland’s gig at the Venue in Victoria, which was originally published in the short lived ‘Punk Lives’ magazine.

I stole every copy of the ‘Punk Lives’ magazine from a local newsagents.

I hope I did not bring down Alf Martins empire single-handedly!

‘Punk Lives’ for all it’s faults, did have some decent hacks writing articles for Alf Martin to decide what should and will go into each issue, Caesar-like.

The hacks of note were; Tony D (Kill Your Pet Puppy), Mick Mercer (Panache), Richard Kick (Kick) and Alistair Livingston (Kill Your Pet Puppy Collective).

How the hell Abrasive Wheels, The Blood and Anti Nowhere League got slipped in between the pages is a mystery to me, as were the ‘free’ Wattie and Beki Bondage posters that were available with ample P&P.

I didn’t bother.

Thankfully among the UK82 and Oi! there were very well written and interesting articles on The Mob, Rubella Ballet, Centro Iberico, Black Sheep Housing Co-Op, Stop The City and several other articles that I forget right now.

Vague fanzine was my favorite fanzine (ahem, after Kill Your Pet Puppy, splutter, oh, and Rapid Eye) showcasing many of the better bands of the era.

The larger editions of Vague (mini books) from issue 16/17 (1985) were the absolute pinnacle of Tom Vague’s (and guests) writing on many interesting subjects (Christine F – Decoder / P1 Vatican Mafia / the Masonic Temple / Crowley / God Told Me To Do It and Manson, just a very very small amount of highlights, of many many highlights) the page designs were a work of art (like those monthly Scala cinema posters that were sent out).

If Kill Your Pet Puppy helped start the garish colour page overlays with the text printed on top, then Vague trumped that, and then some.

I still haven’t read the essay on the film ‘If’ in Vague 16/17 with its tiny black writing on dark blue background!

I’ve been trying since 1985.


Tony D’s review in ‘Punk Lives’ of Xmal Deutschland’s performance at the Venue in Victoria hits the nail straight on the head.

That gig was as good, if not better than the Clarendon gigs, and with added Wolfgang Press. A wonderful night.

“However the fiery power and subtle mystery swallowed up such shortcomings (see full review), leaving a stunned crowd taking the name Xmal Deutschland home to cherish” – Tony D.

Tony D’s description seemed apt at all the Xmal Deutschland gigs that I attended.



HALLOWEEN – P.W. Barnabas / Coil – L.A.Y.L.A.H Records – 1984

COIL – How To Destroy Angels

I have placed up ‘Halloween’ by P.W. Barnabas up on a KYPP previously, as I have also done so for the ‘How To Destroy Angels’ music by Coil.

This year though both are together on one KYPP post.

Take a seat, listen to ‘How To Destroy Angels’ and read ‘Halloween’ by P.W.

Indebted most deeply to P.W Barnabas for allowing KYPP to exclusively use his written work.


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?’


“My friend, if you are going to disagree with me, I suggest you address me as ‘Your Holiness’.”


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.


“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.


“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.


“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?


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.




“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 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.”



“What do you think?”

“What do I think, Paul? I think it’s —-ing brilliant!


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.


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.”


“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.


“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.


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.


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!”


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?”


“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!”


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.


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 phone rang again. George picked it up.

“Hello, George?”


“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…”


“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.


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.


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?”


“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.


“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!”


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.




“God be with you too, Sarah, whatever happens.”


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.


“As I said, whatever is inside will be driven towards the centre, 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….”






“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.”


“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.


“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!’.


“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.


“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!”


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.


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 – 2012

Assassins Of Hope – Slowmotion Suicide – 1982 / The Astronauts – Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs – 1981 / Various Artists – Ha Ha Funny Polis – 1981 / Various Artists – Beyond Entertainment – 1984 / Ring – Oh De Dun Dun – 1986

Assassins Of Hope – Slowmotion Suicide

An old cassette release by Assassins Of Hope is uploaded tonight, the only official release that the band sold at gigs. The songs recorded on this one sided cassette tape are as rough as old boots, a screaming holocaust of noise and a whirlwind of shouty vocals.

I like it.

The text below is courtesy of Nuzz

One band missing from Ian Glaspers excellent The Day The Country Died are THE ASSASSINS OF HOPE. The year 1981 the place London, the music anarcho-punk. This is their only recording and it is rougher than a badgers arse, but great with it. Their musical influences ranged from; The Clash, The Mob through to Theatre Of Hate and Del Shannon, not that you’d know it listening to Slowmotion Suicide. Other influences included the punk scene, the angry brigade, seeing the Anarchy Centre at Wapping work and a disillusionment with being on the football terraces. Somewhere along the line they lost their two singers; Peat Protest, Chantal and the Hope.

They found a new singer, and another guitarist and became THE ASSASSINS; musically they changed but lyrically and ideologically they remained the same and you could hear more of their influences in their sound The Ruts spring to mind. They recorded one demo and also a planned single Hell is for Heroes, which was never released. Not only were they a great band in both guises but they were top people. I remember going with ’em (when they were the assassins)to a gig in Oldham where they were supporting The Varukers. The band, the equipment and friends all crammed in the back of some box truck with no windows. They when’t down like a lead balloon with the mohawks. Then there was the time they supported Mercenary Skank and a punk theatre group, also not forgetting a gig they did with The Stingrays.

The Astronauts – Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs side 1

The Astronauts – Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs side 2

The Astronauts were partly responsible for me to start helping out at All The Madmen Records back in 1985. Just one part of a mish-mash roster of bands that included Flowers In The Dustbin, Zos Kia, Blyth Power and of course The Mob.

This the debut album co-released by local record label, Bugle and JB’s Genius Records, set up specifically for the release of this album… Bugle Records had previously released the first two Astronauts 7″ singles.

The album itself has an eclectic range of musical styles pressed into the grooves, with a guest appearance from Nic Turner, taking a break from Inner City Unit, playing his saxophone with gusto on several of the tracks.

Mark Astronauts’s well thought out lyrics are beautiful and impeccably delivered. Marks’ lyrics are always written with feeling and care, and have been that way since the songs have been appearing on cassette tapes and eventually the singles and albums.

The All The Madmen released ‘It’s All Done By Mirrors’ album that followed ‘Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs’ is equally an album of absolute quality.

Fast forward a few years and…

I once visited JB when he was staying in Chesterton Road, just off the Portobello Road in Ladbroke Grove, and he sold me all the ‘Peter Pan’ albums that he still had in a box under his bed.

These were all placed into eager hands as cheaply as I could pass them all on for, and I kept a copy myself. So I still have a mint copy of this record, sitting alongside a copy from years before which is not so mint!

A Discog surf revealed that ‘Peter Pan’ reaches a huge price nowadays, such is the eagerness to have this record in the collections of the folk that would like to add it.

Such a great album.

“It was a different world. We made a few EPs and were suddenly offered the chance to make an album. I’d had various songs (or bit of songs) in my head and when we started to rehearse them it came to me that this was not going to be an album that would be easily defined or marketed. But we pressed on in our collective inexperience and eventually we produced a record. Listening to back to it now I’m struck by its innocence and its hap-hazard ‘anarcho punk’ scene was always going to be essentially peripheral but, nonetheless, that was the movement to which I fell akin, and the songs were a product of that era. Albeit seen through a slightly distorted telescope I would like to thank all the people that made the album. Special mention to Grant Showbiz who managed to harness our aspirations into something tangible and his production was sympathetic and really brings out the ‘vibe’ of the time. Also, thanks to Nik Turner, legendary space-rock saxophone guru. Lastly, I would like to dedicate this re-release to Max, our bassist who passed away a few years after the initial release. Many musicians I currently work with weren’t born until 7 years after the album originally came out, and in my more nostalgic moments I sit by the fire with my pipe and slippers bewildering them with tales of free tours, Zounds, Here & Now, The Mob, Stonehenge, Meanwhile Gardens, Kif-Kif, Jonathan Barnett, squat gigs, Rock Against Racism and much more. It was a different world and I’m afraid it’s not coming back”

Mark Wilkins February 2011

Text below written by Robin Basak of Zero fanzine fame and ripped with love from his Acid Stings site.

Eternal long-haired losers who also have some of the best tunes this semi-legendary band has only released six albums in its long existence but each of them is a bonafide classic. The Astronauts second album ‘All Done By Mirrors’ judged by those who heard it as among the best albums of all time was a stunning collection of explosive pop songs and traditional folk ballads recorded at a time when all their gigs were with anarchist punk bands. Their fifth album ’In Defence Of Compassion’ experimented with ambient house music years before other conventional bands even thought of doing so.

Inspired by the UK punk explosion Mark Astronaut formed the band with a few friends in 1977 and began playing local gigs in their hometown of Welwyn Garden City. By 1979 The Astronauts were regularly appearing at free festivals and gigs in London organised by a hippy collective known as Fuck Off Records and from these began a close friendship with then London based punk bands Zounds and the Mob. That year the first Astronauts EP was released on local label Bugle Records and musically it reflected the hippie drug culture combined with the energy of punk. ‘All Night Party’ still sounds like the paranoid nightmare it did back then. The record established the Astronauts on the local gig scene among the non mainstream hippie/punk/biker crowd. Also in 1979 an EP was released under the assumed name of Restricted Hours on the Stevenage Rock Against Racism label. ‘Getting Things Done’ attacked the political apathy of small town life while ‘Still Living Out The Car Crash’ was musically a typically nightmarish theme.

By 1980 gigs throughout England with Zounds had won over an army of fans and the ‘Pranksters In Revolt’ EP sold all its copies within weeks. Musically the four songs were not as adventurous as the first EP although the lyrics were as incisive as ever. Like many great bands from the post punk era the Astronauts were completely ignored by the UK music press which then as now was only interested in anything trendy, fashionable or middle class. Local fanzine Zero began to champion the band as did the local newspapers.

‘Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs’ album was released in 1981 to widespread acclaim. Incredibly it received great reviews in virtually all the UK music press. The typical Astronauts audience at the time was largely hardcore punks attracted by the energetic gigs and a handful of hippies so the album was something of a surprise. Full of heartfelt folk ballads and featuring legendary saxophonist Nic Turner, the album was not what fans had expected but appealed to a different audience. The contradiction of heavy chaotic punk performances and structured melodic alternative pop/folk/ambient songs continues to this day.

Throughout 1982-1985 there were hundreds of gigs with the many anarcho punk bands of the era and ‘All Done By Mirrors’ was arguably the finest album to date. The ‘Soon’ album featured great songs but was let down by lifeless production while the ‘Seedy Side Of Paul’ album combined a scathing indictment of the 1980’s attitudes of greed with some truly wonderful songs.

Ha Ha Funny Polis side 1

Ha Ha Funny Polis side 2

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

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

X.S Discharge is the standout track for me personally.

I do not know a lot about the bands featured on this record, but thankfully Inflammable Material / Defiant Pose main man Mike Clarke does know a bunch, Some of the text from the original KYPP post is written out below.

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

The full post on KYPP may be looked and listened to HERE

Well worth looking at and listening to.

Beyond Entertainment side 1

Beyond Entertainment side 2

A cassette tape and booklet that I have had in my possession, that I knew very little about until I uploaded the audio up on KYPP in 2008, and Nic Bullen and someone called Andrew both offered a snippet of information for me.

I met Stephen Thrower a few times in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, as he was the partner (and still is the partner) to my old childhood friend Simon (now known as Ossian Brown) and both have collaborated in Coil, Current 93 and are both active in Cyclobe to this day…

My top tracks on this cassette tape are U.V Pop (sounding a little like Come (the first Whitehouse outfit which was a little more guitar based) with ‘Be Yourself’.

Then a track in a more classic Whitehouse style, from JahaitB2 with the ironic ‘Love Song’.

And my favorite is the hypnotic middle eastern chant-like ‘Why Did Daddy Die’ from the strangely named 391.

Their comments left on the old KYPP post are below.

Possession included Steve Thrower who went on to become a member of Coil during their early period up to 1992 (as well as playing drums on Skullflower’s classic ‘Form Destroyer’ 12″), and now works under the name Cylobe…

He also contributed articles to the 1980’s Euro-Horror-and-Obscurities magazine Shock Xpress which was edited by guitar demon Stefan Jaworzyn whose acid-damaged guitar made the early Skullflower slabs so vital…

Jaworzyn also ran the Shock record label which put out some great releases by Coil, Nurse with Wound, Ramleh, the Blue Humans and Drunks with Guns (one of my all-time favourite bands)…

UV Pop had a single out on Pax Records (recorded at Cabaret Voltaire’s Western Works studio) which released the ‘Wargasm’ comp LP (featuring Flux, Poison Girls, The System, and Dead Kennedys among others) and the first Anti-System ep (total Discharge worship with heavy Animal Rights message)…

I played a couple of concerts (on the same day!) with O Yuki Conjugate back in 1993: one at a festival in Belgium and then at the Paradiso in Amsterdam…There were some great artists playing as well including Rapoon (ex-Zoviet France), Main (ex-Loop) and God (featuring Kev Martin – aka The Bug: ‘London Zoo’ LP is great!) who were absolutely ferocious as usual…

I was in Scorn at the time, and just enjoyed O Yuki’s sets (I didn’t play with them)…We were supposed to play quite late (1 am-ish) in Belgium, but had been double-booked with the gig in Amsterdam, so we played early in the afternoon…

I forgot that Thrower also edited his own Euro-Horror-Sleaze magazine called Eyeball in the later 1980’s: a great source for obscure Italian Giallo films at the time…

Nic Bullen

As a member of O Yuki Conjugate back then – and still now – I can confirm that the Final Image cassette was released by myself along with the late D P Benson on our fledgling label. It was a taster of bands involved in both Final Image and a-mission (ran by Gordon Hope).

Many bands were collaborations of artists and were never heard of again. Some – like O Yuki Conjugate – went on to have “careers” of sorts.

a-mission released O Yuki Conjugate, Fazzini and Possession’s first albums along with a few other classics before disappearing for good into the bowels of the Post Office. As far as I know this was the extent of Thrower’s involvement with Possession.

Final Image released O Yuki Conjugate, Son of Sam and a few others before quitting when Red Rhino took all the profits.

As for the gigs.. the Amsterdam one was a classic, the Belgian one a shambles due to the late hour and the sweat dripping off the ceiling which fused the DAT machine! A couple of us also took to the stage and bongo-ed our way onto a Main track as far as I recall.



Ring – O De Dun Dun side 1

Ring – O De Dun Dun side 2

I saw several performances by Ring, and they were always a decent night out. As were The Cardiacs, a band with a similar musical template to work from.

This YouTube post features Ring’s second demo / album only available on cassette tape. Or at least it was back when I bought it at one of Ring’s gigs in 1986.

I used to have the first demo / album released on Big Banana Productions, a year or so earlier. I cannot find that cassette tape right now though. This second cassette tape was released in 1986 by Ring Mission Control, I assume the bands own label.

I must be honest but I am feeling very very lazy today, so I will add to this text another time. This YouTube post was a rush job for Mick Beadle who leaving a comment requesting it on one of the KYPP pages.

So, I just ripped the text below off of Wiki…

Ring were an English psychedelic rock band active during the 1980’s.

The band is notable for having helped to launch the subsequent musical careers of Robert White (Levitation, The Milk And Honey Band), Michael Tubb (also of The Milk And Honey Band) and Christian Hayes (Cardiacs, Levitation, Dark Star, Mikrokosmos).

The band were noted for their diverse music “blending all manner of riffs and noises” and for their tendency to use circus-style face-paint. This sometimes resulted in them being accused of copying Cardiacs, a fellow musical act of the time that had emerged some years previously and were already renowned for their eclectic and unique sound, as well as their manically exaggerated stagecraft and use of face-paint. Commenting on the Zag And The Coloured Beads homepage, one unidentified member or associate of Ring (allegedly singer Jonny Karma) has admitted that Ring’s final cassette album, Nervous Recreations, sounded “transparently in awe of Cardiacs.”

Ring evolved out of the south London experimental rock scene of the 1980’s and played frequently at London free festivals of the time. The band released three cassette albums and had a shifting line-up in which members used a variety of pseudonyms.

The two consistent core members were Ian “Zag” Faichne (guitar, synthesizer, vocals, percussion) and Robert White (bass, synthesizer, vocals and guitar). Other key members included Bronwen Greaves (synthesizer and vocals) and Mick Oynugulos (drums), both of whom played on the first two cassette albums. Michael Tubb contributed to the middle period of Ring activity, playing guitar on the second cassette album (O De Dun Dun). Greaves and Oynuglos left the band before the third cassette album Nervous Recreations, for which White and Zag were joined by a new line-up including Christian “Bic” Hayes (guitar, synthesizer, vocals), Adrian (percussion) and Stompy and Jonny Karma (vocals).

It is not precisely recorded when Ring came to an end, but it seems likely that the band petered out in 1990 following White and Hayes’ recruitment into Levitation – a band with much more music industry interest (and consequently larger demands regarding time and commitment) than their other projects).

To compliment the audio, I have placed up photographs from the collections of Jen Wilson, Robere Du Bilge Ratte, Janet Henbane and a couple from my collection.

There are black and white photographs of Brougham Road and then squatted bus garage (which was based very near to Brougham Road) in Hackney.

Then there are some colour photographs of members of the Peace Convoy and their vehicles on sites across England.

Thanks to those folks in advance.

Psychic TV – Manchester Ritz – November 1983 – The debut performance.

Indebted to Alberto Diez for supplying me with this rare footage of the earliest incarnation of Psychic TV. It is quite an extraordinary piece of history for Psychic T.V and Throbbing Gristle followers.

Thank you Alberto.

Below is a review from Steve of the Muh Mur blog who was there on the night.

Thanking him in advance.

Psychic TV live at The Ritz in Manchester, 6th of November 1983, the first Psychic TV live gig…

“It was a rainy day in Manchester”.

Probably was, I can’t remember…I can remember a lot about this night, this unforgettable night. I travelled from Lincoln via Hulme to get to The Ritz. Sean (my Dark Companion) and I were first there.

The demonstrators were just setting up, getting their chants and placards ready .. probably waiting for the coaches from London, but Sean and I just flashed our tickets to the lady on the door and walked in.

Members of Psychic TV were sat across two tables drinking cans of Carling Black Label (white tins with a black stripe back then … always reminded me of the Crystal Palace away strip, but I digress). A passing smile and nod and we headed straight to the bar.

Originally the first ever Psychic TV live gig should have been at Prestwich Mental Hospital with Nico as support, but local council complaints meant it was hastily moved to a nightclub just off the Oxford Road. With my warm pint of lager in a plastic pint pot in hand I spent the evening front centre. The stage makes a good table and the monitors a great place to throw the coat. No Nico at The Ritz.

Looped footage of Jim Jones in action on a makeshift screen stage right. The place slowly filled, the coaches from London arrived. Members of Test Department came to check the on stage equipment. Anticipation. There was a strange climbing frame on the stage, Genesis used it during the performance.

“Don’t Forget Ken, Make It Hurt”. I have never forgotten those words… The performance is magnificent. It hits a lull in the middle, and if I remember rightly this was down to failing equipment. Gen’s bass guitar and Sleazy’s Emulator…but the power of the performance of the material is still quite stunning. “Roman P” and “Oi You Skinhead” shine. During “Oi You Skinhead” Gen leapt from the stage and started accosting the audience. Frightening moment. Do you remember going to gigs and being scared, scared of the performance and the unknown? Great days.

There are Genesis’s stream of conscience poetry bits that are a little cringeworthy. Moments where he tries to embarrass John Gosling for wearing a leather skirt and rambling on about straining “for a poo”….

Alex Fergusson’s sub Velvets guitar meanderings in the background…but these moments pass and the power builds, ends with a cracking “Unclean” into “In The Nursery”.

After The Ritz I must have seen Psychic TV a dozen or more times (not quite 23 though) and they always did great / powerful performances in Manchester.

I would love to hear (crystal clear) recordings of the Guy Fawkes gig at The Hacienda in 1984 and when they appeared at The Royal Northern College Of Music a year later.

Thank You Dad.

Steve Muh Mur

From his blog: HERE

Here is a good piece on the Final Academy Brixton Ritz night held thirteen months before in 1982 HERE

Rockaway Park / All The Madmen Records – Temple Cloud – Somerset – BS39 5BU

I have been to visit Rockaway Park / All The Madmen which is based at Temple Cloud, a small village in Somerset, four times now. Once in 2011, once in 2012, once in 2013 and earlier this year in April, coinciding with Mark’s birthday, and the birthday of my son. Both born on the same date in April.

Along with Dial House (the infamous communal home of Crass) based at North Weald, near Epping in Essex, Rockaway Park is one of the most interesting places I have had the pleasure of visiting.

Mark from The Mob is responsible for the grounds that Rockaway Park is situated on, and Mark is also responsible for the numerous buildings that occupy these grounds up high on a hill surrounded by beautiful countryside.

The buildings were in the main, designed by Mark, and were built using a fair percentage of recycled material. Different sized glass sourced from somewhere or other, wood off-cuts, old and odd doors. Everything about these buildings is awe inspiring. A truly epic undertaking by Mark, with the help of his family, and his friends.

The main building that was built on the land was entwined in some legal wrangling some time ago, culminating in August 2012 with fingers crossed and ending up in a surge of relief as common sense prevailed. All those legal worries are now recent past history thankfully.

There are several activities being held in the living quarters in the mail home, and in the other buildings on the land. There is now regular Yoga classes being held. Metal workshops, woodwork workshops, and there are small units for art workshops being constructed, or possibly already constructed as this post is written several months after I was last there!

The studio / rehearsal space is now active, and the bed and breakfast rooms are very popular.

The scrap yard area is used for the storage of weird and wonderful oddities, as well as genuine scrap. Health and safety regulations taking a back seat, as Mark moves one car or a van onto a shipping container, or placed into, or onto, an old broken tree. Mark thrashing around a scrapyard in a huge fork lift lifting up old battered cars and dumping them in seemingly impossible places (but worth a punt anyway) is a sight to behold.

The kind of activities that boys of all ages would enjoy participating in!

An original Mutoid Waster, Sam Hegarty, has some oddities stored in the scrap yard for his ‘Unfairground’ project. Other like-minded folks store equally weird and wonderful oddities there. Wandering the grounds, I see constructions of (un)beauty.

Everywhere you look, some other guerrilla art or sculpture jumps out at you, whether in the buildings or outside in the grounds.

Mark deals in scrap metal, so there are always old vehicles being torn apart for the recycling of the parts. If you need a part for a vehicle then Mark might be the person to talk to, whether it is an engine part for an obscure truck, or an airplane cockpit, or even a decorative three metre high bomb or two.

Many other new ideas for the use of the buildings and the land are continually being thought of in the collective consequences of the folk involved, so KYPP might be informed of other projects in the near future.

Spray paint artists like Boswell have been busy decorating on some of the buildings. Other spray paint artists are welcome to take a corner not yet used I understand.

Below is a YouTube video of Tarantism (acoustic) with a cover version of ‘Punks With Guns’ originally by PAIN. An old punk song for the first EVER recording from Rockaway Studio. The engineers were Magnus and Lex who may be contacted via Rockaway Park. Details below.

The video was filmed at Rockaway Park, so you can get a view of the grounds there at the time of writing this post…

As with everything at Rockaway Park, the recording studio is built with the old punk D.I.Y attitude.

Get involved yourselves.

Go and visit Rockaway Park, and if this post is of any interest to you, ring one of the telephone numbers below and ask about staying for a day or two in one of the rooms, or book rooms via AirBnB. Vegetarian or vegan breakfast included.

Here are some useful links.

All The Madmen Records HERE

Rockaway Park HERE

The Mob / All The Madmen Facebook HERE

Photographs of Rockaway Park on The Mob / All The Madmen Records Facebook HERE

Rockaway Park Facebook HERE

AirBnB for staying overnight, weekends or longer HERE or HERE or HERE

Wind turbine course HERE

Pilates and yoga HERE

Rockaway Studio HERE

Contact details:

All The Madmen Records
The Quarry
Eastcourt Road
Temple Cloud
BS39 5BU

01761 452 177

07913 657 737

07976 270 598

Below is an older YouTube post, that I put together with some of the photographs that I had taken of Rockaway Park between 2011 and 2013 accompanying audio from a couple of 7″ singles, one by The Mob and one by The Astronauts, that had been released on All The Madmen Records.

The recent singles by The Mob and The Astronauts were both released on the revived All The Madmen record label.

All The Madmen Records are not based in Yeovil any more. Nor in Hackney. Nor in Kings Cross.

All The Madmen Records is now based at Temple Cloud, a village in Somerset between Bristol and Bath.

I liked these two singles that were released back in 2012 and 2013, so I decided to upload them onto YouTube.

My photographs that accompanying the ‘video’ are just a small selection that were taken during my visits from 2011 to 2013, and hopefully will give you a glimpse of the buildings and the truly beautiful land that surrounds those buildings.

Track listing for this YouTube post:

The Mob: Nothing You’ve Got I Want
The Astronauts: Typically English Day (original)
The Astronauts: New Dixie Land Blues (re-recorded)
The Astronauts: Typically English Day (re-recorded)
The Mob: Rise Up

Get involved yourselves.