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

Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks – Alternative Mixes 1

Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks – Alternative Mixes 2

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

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

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

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

Thanks in advance to him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Relax, don’t do it ..”

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

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

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

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

Woo-hoo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a little bit sad.

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

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

The fucking cunts!

POSTSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 comments on “Flux Of Pink Indians – F.C.T.U.L.P. – Alternative Mixes – 1984

  1. I didn’t ‘get’ FCTULP when I first heard it, then Derek Birkett suggested I think of it as a jazz album rather than a punk album, it then blew my mind! I remember listening to the whole album twice in a row on headphones, and played one side (with the catchily titled ‘The Falklands War’) six times in succession. It was a shame to see this amazing sonic experiment disowned so vehemently by just about everybody from Flux in the ‘Day The Country Died’ book.

  2. AND the uncarved block lp is simply MASSIVE.x

  3. I always really liked this LP (but – then again – I do have a penchant for ‘noisy’ records and realise that it must have been a disappointment to people who wanted a more traditional ‘Punk’ record): it’s certainly an abrasive and dense LP (with the layers of sound and voice), but there’s a very passionate feel to it (which does -admittedly – escalate into a sense of impotent anger at times)…

    There’s definitely a LARGE Crass influence there (the ‘Yes Sir, I Will’ period), but it also seems to be informed by the Industrial / Power Electronics scene of the time (which Flux perhaps interacted with through David Tibet and others?) and also a move towards the percussive-heavy sound which Flux developed on ‘Uncarved Block’ (‘MASSIVE’ indeed!)…I love the heavy use of delays on it…
    Martin – could you say what was informing the songwriting and the overall sound/production at the time?

  4. I will ask Martin on your behalf re your question Nic as his computer is decades old and can not handle blogs of this size with so much material downloaded on each page. The only time he sees his old cassettes given a new lease of life by being uploaded on this site is when he pops in to see me now and again!

  5. Thanks P – it’s a slow world on a steam-driven PC…

    I just found an interesting link to a blog that contains PDF files related to Punk:
    http://persons-unknown.blogspot.com/
    It may be of interest to some of the browsers…

  6. Thanks Nic – Persons Unknown blog has complete set of Punk Lives( !!!!!!!!) to download… and a wodge of punk related pages from IT
    http://persons-unknown.blogspot.com/2009/08/it-punk.html

  7. a link of pure gold Nic m8 thanx ;-)

  8. this album is the biggest pile of shit i’ve ever had the misfortune to hear.
    i lack the vocabulary to properly describe how bad i think it is.

    and that’s me trying to be as nice as possible about it.

  9. In what way is it “the biggest pile of shit” you’ve ever heard, pedro?
    I’m interested to know (as we have rather different perspectives on it).

  10. Thanks Andy: I’m going to grab the tapes from your blog this week…

    If I recall correctly, were Tender Loving Care (on ISC #1) formed from the ashes of The Snails (later Witchhunt) from Walthamstow?

    F/i were great, weren’t they?

    Looking at ISC #2: Wasn’t Final Exit another of Justin’s psudonyms?
    (I was a member of Final (with Justin) a couple of years before the tape you put out)…

    Need to get my S.O.D. EP’s out for a spin now!

  11. Nic, i thought ‘biggest pile of shit’ was a fairly honest appraisal of what i thought of it. but that’s just my opinion. if it rocks your world then who am i to argue?

    from a musical perspective i thought it was hugely disappointing from a band who could and had done previously, so much better.

    i’m off to listen to some Crisis

  12. I wasnt a huge fan of it at the time, although i did like some bits (‘Blood lust rite’ being the most memorable) but these alternative mixes seem to be a lot better – can i really hear some almost funky bass playing on some parts? I dont get the free jazz reference, being a big fan of art ensemble and even more free players, but i do think it was a bold move for flux at the time. I never caught them live in this period but i bet it was bloody hard going! Im gonna dig out the album and listen to it agian in light of having enjoyed these downloads.

    On the subject of flux, i still love the uncarved block album – but us fans of that one seem to be even more of a minority than fans of this album. I know they played a few gigs doing that stuff that have been slagged by the band but did anybody here actually see any? More importantly, did anyone here tape one????

  13. Hello Puppies, thanks for the kind words about the blog. Downloading this stuff now – almost scared to listen.

    My latest blog post includes the question ‘why don’t old punks tweet?’ and an interview with Chris Taylor of the Bays about his time in the Poison Girls. Might give you a kick ..

    Read it here: http://smith3000.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/hyperbole-punk-is-dead-but-music-is-free/

  14. “Why don’t old punks tweet?”

    I asked a teenager and he said “Cos tweeting is utterly pointless.”

    His no-longer-a teenager sister (listening to babba o’reilly by the Who) was similarly dismissive. “I only tweet when I is stoned, immaculate -out here on the perimeter there are no stars, We built pyramids in honour of our escaping… I ask you, would Jim Morrison have been a tweeter?”

    Or she might have done. Actually she just shrugged and rolled her eyes a bit.

    Boring old punk dads, eh – who needs ‘em?

  15. Or “twitter ye not” -as the late Frankie Howerd once advised me.

  16. I dunno. Do your kids do the Facebook thing? Twitter’s just another kind of social interaction, people do it for lots of different reasons.

    Some guy at the TED talk I went to the other day made a good point. He said that a large part of online social media is, essentially, preening and grooming – despite all this technology, we’re still just picking fleas out of each other’s hair.

    Having said that, I got in touch with the guy through Twitter after the event, and I’m now probably going to be doing some work with him. It can be really useful for work stuff.

    I have a separate totally unprofessional twitter account to talk shit about music and flag up stuff on the blog. And I get to hear about free downloads. It works for me.

    If you have something to promote to slightly arty, professional 20 and 30 somethings, it can be useful. I suspect that old punks don’t use it because they don’t have anything to offer the average Twitter user. Or they just have better things to with their time ..

  17. Daughter is on Facebook (so am I and quite a few Puppies), but son isn’t. Kids use MSM to chat to their mates and are constantly playing World of Warcraft. They even have headphones and mikes so they can work in groups on missions… to attack trolls or whatever it is they do.

    I have three blogs – one is for an 2005 anti-Tesco campaign. It is still useful though – had a journalist from the Times asking about the Tesco campaign this week so could point him at it.

    The others are Greengalloway -my anarcho-punk/counterculture blog and Westland Whig which is where I shove my post-grad historical research.

    Most useful thing for me is Google Book search – tracked down some really obscure stuff on there -like Rev. Robert Wodrow’s Analecta (diary of early 18th century Scottish historian).

    The internet is also good for digging up stuff for campaigns – for local Green party I was able to find that household waste isn’t being ‘recycled’ as council claim, but turned into fuel pellets and sold to cement factories… I also found the minutes of Galsgow University’s Senate when they were planning to close down their Dumfries campus. But that took many hours going through hundreds (1000s?) of Google results.

  18. One potential reason for the structure of the demographic for Twitter is the number of characters available for a ‘Tweet’. The character-count means that the medium favours concise, focused messages, which may be seen as a limit to self-expression by many (when compared to the blog or social forum)…

    As a result, I’ve noticed that Twitter tends to be embraced by people who have something to ‘sell': the concise focus of the ‘Tweet’ is perfect as a marketing tool (as undeleted pointed out)…
    Without anything to sell, the scope of twitter becomes a little more ‘limited’ (if that is the right word)…

    Having said that, I agree that Cal from Discharge could lay down some excellent ‘Tweets’…

    Facebook is a ‘fun’ way to stay in touch with friends, and to share music and links – and a good opportunity for shared humour…

    Google Books is really useful too, Al: an excellent source for out-of-print works (even if it’s only a ‘Snippet’ view)…

  19. Bah – I hate the ‘snippet’ view. I exclude ‘snippets’ from my searches. Like cutting up text into tweets. Like this. 133 characters.

  20. A marketing tool. Perfection of the Spectacle. Cretinisation in Debord’s phrase. Is Newspeak. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

    [That was 140 characters on the nail]

  21. I get where you’re coming from – limit the means of expression and you limit expression – but that’s not really the case here. People manage to get a massive amount of info into 140 characters with tiny urls etc. Afterall, you managed to get five ideas into your 140 character comment above.

    I’m not a twitter evangelist. I’m not bothered if anyone is on Twitter or not, really. Just thought it was interesting that old punks haven’t taken to it like they have forums, facebook, sites like this etc.

    I listened to the mp3s of the Flux album on my way to work this morning. I won’t do that again (usually listen to bossa nova to soothe my passage through the commuter insanity). I had a thumping headache when I got to work.

    I think I prefer the album release. There are only a couple of songs that actually benefit from NOT being smothered in layers of feedback and the whole thing just seems a bit lighter – not as substantial. I liked the studio conversation at the end though. You can even hear them splicing bits of tape together (I’m presuming).

    More 25 year old studio conversations please.

  22. On the other hand…

    Trafigura, a London-based oil trader connected with dumping toxic waste in Ivory Coast in 2006, was the most used word on micro-blogging site Twitter this morning. After the Guardian was banned from reporting the contents of a parliamentary question relating to the toxic dumping scandal yesterday evening, the topic was widely picked up and aired on Twitter. As the statistical page CrowdEye shows, tweeting increased slightly yesterday evening, and a steep rise of more than 5,500 tweets including the word “Trafigura” followed this morning.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2009/oct/13/twitter-online-outcry-guardian-trafigura

  23. thanks & heaps for posting these alt mixes… i’m a big fan of flux in all their guises, and fascinated by the audible evolution in their ideas and music. cheers, ears!

  24. sonny on said:

    How much would this LP go for nowadays? A copy of it is in my local second hand record shop for 18 quid. Sound steep?

  25. Chris L on said:

    A snip when you get freaks who’ll pay £300+ for that Crass ‘Loving’ flexi!

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