Anarka And Poppy – The lost All The Madmen recordings – 1984
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 that was not released by All The Madmen records.
This master reel had been lost for over thirty years, and it was in this box.
Anarka And Poppy were a peace punk band from Preston. In 1984 the band (at the invitation of Josef Porta who during late 1983 / early 1984 was now the ex-drummer of The Mob) came down to stay at 96 Brougham Road in Hackney.
The following day Anarka And Poppy travelled to Gold Dust studios in Sidcup with Alistair who was looking after All The Madmen records at that time. Gerard remembers that a few months previously Flowers In The Dustbin (along with Claire from the band This Bitter Lesson) had also completed a session at Gold Dust studios recording ‘Freaks Run Wild In The Disco’ a record that was released on All The Madmen records in 1984.
Not much is remembered about the session that produced the three tracks recorded by Anarka And Poppy at the studio that day.
Alistair remembers that Paul Christie, the producer at the studio, had asked Jane, the vocalist, to not sing the line “It’s a fucking nightmare” as he was worried it would offend. Perhaps his heart was in the right place, but his advice was duly ignored in any case.
On completion of the session the master reel was handed over to the band after payment and everyone was driven back to Hackney by Paul ex-This Bitter Lesson and Faction who had a van.
At Brougham Road Paul held onto the master reel and from that point the mystery of this master reel starts.
Alistair never did end up releasing the Anarka And Poppy single on All The Madmen records after all. The master reel had gone missing, no doubt lying around somewhere in Brougham Road. Alistair did get to release the amazing Zos Kia 7″ single ‘Rape’ though.
Anarka And Poppy split up several months later on in 1984. By 1985 Rob Challice ex-Faction had taking over from Alistair running All The Madmen records. Rob ploughed head first in the record label releasing several records by Blyth Power, Thatcher On Acid and The Astronauts along with a handful of other bands up until the spring of 1988. The Anarka And Poppy master reel was long forgotten about.
I had helped out at All The Madmen records from the Autumn of 1985 until the Spring of 1988. I did not spot this master reel during those years, so who knows what happened to it? And who knows how, thirty years later, I get a large box of old master reels to either keep, throw away or ‘to do something with’, that included this Anarka And Poppy master reel amongst them?
I decided ‘to do something with’ all the master reels. I checked with Pete Fender ex-Fatal Microbes, Rubella Ballet and Omega Tribe, if it was possible to restore the master reels after so many years. He advised that it was possible.
I ‘advertised’ the master reels I had been given, including the Anarka And Poppy one, via a post on Face Book explaining that Pete Fender was willing to bake the reels to restore and then he would remaster the restored master reel. I got some interest from some members from the bands, including members of Anarka And Poppy.
I handed the master reels (that members of the various bands were interested in being restored) to Pete in Dagenham, and later on that month, the master reels were carefully restored and remastered by Pete.
Pete then returned the restored master reels to the members of the bands who were involved along with the remastered raw files and mp3’s on separate CDR’s.
The three tracks on this Anarka And Poppy master reel that were carefully restored and remastered by Pete Fender have turned out beautifully clear, and all three tracks are absolute classic early – mid 1980’s peace punk songs.
I have taken great care on this YouTube video so as to compliment these great lost studio recordings from Anarka And Poppy and in tandem to compliment the hard work of Pete Fender restoring this thirty year old master reel that was discovered in a crumpled heap at the bottom of a cardboard box on a cold night in January 2015.
All the artwork featured on this YouTube video is drawn and painted by Jane Mason, the Anarka And Poppy vocalist.
This YouTube video has been put together with the blessing of Anarka And Poppy.
It is hoped that these three songs will be released on a 7″ single or included onto an album one day. There has been some interest so let’s see.
If It Dies We Die / Acceptance / Nightmare
This Bitter Lesson – The Value Of Defiance – 96 Tapes – 1982
One of my favourite cassettes in my collection just happens to be the very first cassette released on Rob Challice’s 96 Tapes in 1982.
This Bitter Lesson’s wonderful cassette is packaged with a strong thick booklet, some wonderful images and amazing well thought out and moving poetry. No Discharge punch in the face lyrics on the songs contained on this cassette. That’s a little unfair. Discharge lyrics are a couple of paragraphs long (then repeat) but pretty much hit the spot every time.
Rob Challice had set the bar pretty high with this début release. Rubella Ballet, Faction, Blood And Roses, Touch Of Hysteria, Subhumans, Blyth Power and Flowers In The Dustbin being a few of those other cassettes released on 96 Tapes that followed on from This Better Lesson.
Rob went on to manage All The Madmen records at the dawn of 1985, juggling WOT Distribution and 96 Tapes at the same time, all based at 96 Brougham Road in Hackney hence the 96 Tapes moniker.
The only fact that I actually know about This Bitter Lesson is that Claire the vocalist / poet / lyricist briefly joined Flowers In The Dustbin for the studio recording sessions that ended up as ‘Freaks Run Wild In The Disco’, a 12″ record which was released on All The Madmen records in 1984 and remains one of my favourite records to this day.
For the seven songs on this cassette, selected pages from the booklet with the lyrics written upon them are fitted in order of the track listing for this YouTube video. There are more pages in the booklet with much more to read and to be inspired by.
Strangely the only lyrics that are not in the booklet are for ‘Japanese Girl’, which for the purposes of this YouTube video I have placed both sides of the A4 information poster that came with my copy of the cassette instead.
This cassette is a real treat, give it a listen.
Some additional information from Nic Bullen;
“Paul from This Bitter Lesson wrote A-Z fanzine and Total Lyric fanzine (with Claire), sang on The Snails second tape (released by Graham on New Crimes) and played guitar with Faction…”
Some additional information from Gerard, vocalist of Flowers In The Dustbin;
“All I remember is that the This Bitter Lesson cassette was wonderful, and me and Claire used to write to each other. I could hear her voice on our songs in my head before we recorded them so we asked her to join in. When we recorded ‘Freaks Run Wild In The Disco’ I got ill in the studio and had to go home, so Claire actually recorded all her bits without me.
Claire came to see Flowers In The Dustbin support The Mob at the Fulham Greyhound but didn’t want to come up on stage, which is a shame. I also heard a story about Crass rejecting a proposed This Bitter Lesson single but it’s probably wild gossip.”
In The Eyes Of A Child / Untitled / Japanese Girl / Ode To A Trendy Nightclub / Your Legal Slaughter / Poison Policy / Living?
Crass – The final interview Dial House – 1984
An intimate interview with most members of Crass recorded on super 8 video in 1984 around the impossibly small kitchen table at Dial House. How that many members of Crass all got around that table remains a mystery to me!
Possibly the last ever interview with Crass, transferred from super 8 video onto a DVDR several years ago now for £20 by Stanley Production in Soho. Taken this long to figure out what to do with ‘digital’ version. If you share this video you owe me a £1!
I did not film the interview. There is a twenty three second interruption to this Crass interview. Footage of the M11 motorway. This interruption in the footage comes in at 3.17 and lasts until 3.40.
Blyth Power – Meanwhile Gardens – 1986
A few songs from Blyth Power recorded at one of the Meanwhile Garden gigs. Free of charge and four events in the summer were organised by the Lancaster Music Co-Operative although the park with the sand bowl next to the Grand Union Canal was entrenched firmly in Westbourne Park West London.
Donations into the hat, Grant Showbiz on the sound desk and Protag building the stage and setting up the P.A in the morning. Raymond a regular fixture at Meanwhile Gardens and in the ‘scene’ generally is there. I am also there somewhere, and I am thanked by Josef for “no apparent reason.” I am wearing my ‘home produced’ Mob / Wilf artwork T shirt! Blyth Power were releasing records on All The Madmen records at this point.
The reason this is not a full performance is that the two people filming it were ‘experimenting’ with different analogue camera options. Basically flicking black and white, flicking negative. Drives you nuts! So I didn’t bother to place that footage up sadly as there is a fair chunk of it.
That said, although only a few Blyth Power songs are featured, viewers will still be able to get a sense of these wonderful afternoons in the summer, cider in hand, back in the early to mid 1980’s.
God Has Gone Wrong Again / It’s Probably Going To Rain / Corialanus / Some Of Shelly’s Hang Up’s
Buld – Nox Noctis – 96 Tapes – 1986
I’ll hold up my hands here and surrender to the fact that I know nothing about this band.
I am sure I would have handled a few copies while helping out at All The Madmen records and distribution in Brougham Road, Hackney and later on in Caledonian Road, Kings Cross. I was active at All The Madmen from the Autumn of 1985 until the wind down of the company in the Spring of 1988.
This cassette was the sixteenth release on Rob Challice’s cassette only label 96 Tapes.
A double cassette recorder would be rotating away most of the time at WOT / All The Madmen Distribution, playing the master cassette on one side of the recorder dubbing onto a blank cassette on the other side, to sell on to any paying customers.
Gummidge or myself would also photocopy the covers, in the days when you actually needed to find a photocopier in the area, which was not that easy.
Master cassettes of the previous fifteen releases, Rubella Ballet, Faction, This Bitter Lesson, Blood And Roses, Subhumans, Blyth Power and Flowers In The Dustbin being a few of those other cassette only releases, would also get a daily rotation – recording in that large double cassette recorder.
Buld seemingly are not on any Google searches for the ease of myself trying to grab just a small scrap of information to place up on this YouTube post. Rob Challice himself cannot remember who the band were, or why the band ended up on 96 Tapes. I asked him a couple of hours ago!
What I do know is that Buld were a Danish band with vocals in English, and that this session was recorded somewhere in Denmark on the 5th January 1986.
I also know that Buld are actually a decent post punk / Gothic band, with some decent songs, similar in parts to how Lack Of Knowledge sounded.
No More Cry / Desert Rats / Nicht Unbekannt / Window / Nox Noctis / Burst / Big Show
Louise – Chiswick Demos – 1989
A master reel discovered, along with several others, in a box in Louise’s loft.
All the master reels were of bands or artists that were released, or going to be released, on the All The Madmen record label. Two outstanding master reels were the full Clair Obscure album released on All The Madmen records in 1986 and the legendary long lost master reel for the Anarka And Poppy single that was going to be released on All The Madmen records in 1984. All the old master reels were restored to the highest quality by Pete Fender (Fatal Microbes / Rubella Ballet / Omega Tribe) in his studio and were eventually distributed to their rightful owners. Louise, the vocalist of Hysteria Ward, is featured on this master reel without a band, but with a guitar.
There are four songs performed, although there are seven songs on the master reel. I included all the songs off of the master reel as I felt all the songs (different mix / performance on three of the songs) were worth keeping intact and placed up on this YouTube video. I think the songs were recorded in 1989 at a studio in Chiswick. This makes this master reel out of the life span of All The Madmen records, but hey, the songs are full of of melancholy and the lyrics are masterful.
The artwork that is featured in the video accompanying the songs, are all painted by Louise. Louise’s art is both elementary and stunning in equal measure. Several art pieces are darker, more troubled. These pieces perhaps highlight Louise’s personal torment that she has suffered for most of her adult life.
The best insight into the life of Louise and the bands she has fronted can be found on this KYPP post HERE.
Blyth Power – Street Level Demo -1984
The first ever recording by Blyth Power from my first generation master cassette.
Blyth Power when this session was recorded were a three piece band consisting of Josef and Curtis, recently ex of The Mob, alongside Brougham Road resident and ex-Faction member, Neil Keenan.
These songs were recorded in the early months of 1984 at Street Level studios in Freestonia West London. Freston Road / Latimer Road W11 to be more precise.
On the strength of this demo Blyth Power missed a trick by somehow cocking up a record deal with Crass’s Corpus Christi record label. Whether the ‘blame’ lay at the door of Dial House or the doors of the damp co-op housing in Hackney, I do not know. Whatever the issues, Blyth Power were not going to be the next UK Decay that’s for sure. Note: That was not a Gothic / positive punk reference, UK Decay were the big ticket for Corpus Christi, a band that had split up on the eve of 1984.
Ironically (ironic after stating the two main points) my photographs accompanying this YouTube video are early photographs of the five piece Blyth Power line up which included Andy and Sarah as backing singers, as I have no photographs of the three piece line up.
I have also added my photographs of Brougham road in Hackney that I took in 1985, again as I have no photographs of Street Level studios! Those photographs feature 96 Brougham Road, the home of All The Madmen records at that time, along with Rob Challice’s small 96 Tapes cassette only label. Going down impossibly thin stairs and a small walkway was J.C’s legendary basement / practice room where Blyth Power would rehearse every now and again. Some of my photographs are of that basement… Not much standing room if I remember rightly.
This recording does not quite match the glorious ‘A Little Touch Of Harry’ cassette released in 1985 on 96 Tapes but it does show an embryonic Blyth Power picking up a little bit of speed along the tracks.
Around nine months later Blyth Power would be recording ‘A Little Touch Of Harry’ in that basement at 96 Brougham Road, Hackney with, I think, J.C’s equipment already stored there, engineered by Protag with few overdubs.
The ‘Harry’ cassette was the first ‘official’ release by Blyth Power, a band at this time hurtling down the tracks at speed and momentum. The cassette brought more people on board for the party, and it was wonderful.
Although Josef would not agree I am sure!
Smoke From Cromwells Time / Hurling Time / Chevy Chase / The Rookery / The Ffuke Mastike Room / My Lady’s Games / Fang Over Lip / Me And Mr Absolutely
A Touch Of Hysteria – 96 Tapes – 1983
In Similar circumstances to another band from the north west of England (Anarka And Poppy) Josef Porta had some considerable influence on A Touch Of Hysteria being discussed all the way down south in Hackney, one of the grittier parts of East London back in the early 1980’s.
Eventually Rob Challice’s 96 Tapes cassette only label released this fine cassette, and this cassette was my introduction to the band. A Touch Of Hysteria also in tandem, had their own cassettes produced to sell at their infrequent local gigs.
This 96 Tapes cassette only release was not the preferred choice for the band. There was discussions, during one of the band’s visits to Brougham Road, of a 7″ record by A Touch Of Hysteria split with The Astronauts to be released on the All The Madmen record label.
This sadly never happened.
Although the band were supporters of The Mob and anarcho-punk in general, thankfully A Touch Of Hysteria seemed to be closer to Kirk Brandon’s The Pack music wise, and Part 1 lyric wise, lot’s of religious ‘imagery’ within those lyrics. Original sin and so forth. The artwork was also suitably grotesque.
A Touch Of Hysteria were active from 1982 until 1985.
A photograph from my collection uploaded onto this YouTube video (between the cassette cover scans) was taken at an old School in Kendal after one of A Touch Of Hysteria’s last performances supporting their old friends Josef and Curtis who were now in Blyth Power. This photograph features A Touch Of Hysteria and Blyth Power members and friends of both bands.
Chris, the drummer of A Touch Of Hysteria, sadly committed suicide in the mid 1990’s.
After A Touch Of Hysteria, Chris eventually joined some college friends to form a band called Lush. I saw Lush several times at the beginning of their career in small London venues. Chris was also a member of Hard Skin for a few months at the beginning of Ben’s (Thatcher On Acid) and Sean’s (Wat Tyler) parody oi! band forming.
A Touch Of Hysteria created a handful of songs that ended up on this 96 Tapes cassette that were / are of the highest quality.
Non Compos Mentos / The Lords Prayer / The Rulers / To Cross The Rubicon / Death Cart