Autonomy Centre, Wapping, London E1 – 06/12/81

Tod Flack / Jon FB / Ian Cold War

Ivan Assassins Of Hope / Cristina M

Mick Lugworm (Kill Your Pet Puppy)

Al Puppy (Kill Your Pet Puppy)

 

Tufty

Tufty

A whole evening at the Autonomy Centre in Wapping recorded in the audience by Jon From Bromley who is pictured slap in the middle of the top photograph. Indebted to him for the lend of these tapes.

According to Jon he recorded a fair few gigs at this venue, alas most of those tapes have vanished or had been damaged beyond repair throughout the last couple of decades which of course is one heck of a shame…

Still we do have these two cassettes surviving which is some kind of a blessing I suppose!

 

Andy

Rachel

Andy Stratton’s Null And Void from Yeovil start off the recorded cassettes with some great melodic passionate pleas, followed closely to what I believe is Hagar The Womb’s debut performance. As you would expect, a little shambolic but quite charming never the less. It must be said that Hagar The Womb performances did improve a tad sometime later on!  Luz Y Fuerza I know nothing of…Perhaps someone could fill me in via the comments. End of A side, cassette 1.

Null And Void / Hagar The Womb / Luz Y Fuerza

The Mob follow on the B side with a blinding set with a rare live perfomance of ‘White Niggers’ off the Ching demo tape. End of B side cassette 1.

The Mob

On the second cassette side 1, a great performance by The Apostles with the line up of Andy Martin, Julian P, Pete B and Dan Mc. End of A side cassette 2.

The Apostles

Zounds completing the cassette collection, the way Null And Void started off, with a great performance and some great melodies. End of B side cassette 2.

Zounds

The actual band running order for this night confirmed by JFB was:

Hagar The Womb

Luz y Fuerza

The Apostles

Null And Void

The Mob

Zounds

Photographs courtesy of Tod and Jon FB. Text below by Andy Martin.

The Autonomy Centre, Wapping Wall, London E1: August 1981 – March 1982

Vince Stevenson, Iris Mills and Ronan Bennett, briefly infamous for the ‘Persons Unknown’ trail in 1979, later unwitting participants on a record sleeve by Crass worked hard to find, secure and decorate a social centre for anarchists and punks in the then useless, dangerous and wrecked London docklands.

We provided ‘the punks’, they and the London Autonomists provided the words written in hundreds of pamphlets and leaflets handed out or left around the social centre. Crass and the Poison Girls raised the money for the venture originally through the sales of the split 7” single ‘Bloody Revolutions / Persons Unknown’ on Crass Records. Many other people and bands assisted in raising money through benefit concerts including UB40.

The London Autonomists including Vince Stevenson, Charlotte Baggins, Martin Wright, Dave Couch, Ronan Bennett, Iris Mills and Fabian Thomsett with assistance from Andy Martin, Peat Protest, Martin Cobb, Luke, Trevor, Michael, Terry Watson, Mitch, John Soares, Dagenham Pete, Rob Dellar, Rachel, Nick and Grant of Rudimentary Peni, Ian Slaughter, Mark Ripper, Fod, Scarecrow, Tod, all the Kill Your Pet Puppy Collective, helped, assisted, aided and abetted the setting up and running of The Autonomy Centre.

The rent was £680 a month so we held gigs every Sunday to raise this figure, which was a little absurd. Anarchist bands raising money for a rich landlord!

The bands that played there were numerous but those who appeared on a relatively regular basis included: Rudimentary Peni, Blood And Roses, Part 1, The Sinyx, Anthrax, Assassins Of Hope, Conflict, The Apostles, Cold War, The Mob, What Is Oil?, Twelve Cubic Feet, The S Haters. The Boiled Eggs, Zounds and many more whose names have become immersed in the mists of time. Crass performed only once (under the moniker ‘Shaved Women’) supported by D.I.R.T. Apart from live concerts there were book fairs, fanzine conventions, discussion groups, films, debates and political workshops.

Eventually The Autonomy Centre closed down due to the Sunday gigs and donations taken from other weekly events being unable to cover the monthly rent.

WOg / Dan Apostle

Janet Hagar / Karen Hagar

See the full set of photographs from the Autonomy Centre HERE

Published by

Penguin

1985 - 1988 All The Madmen Records and Distribution 1988 - 1991 King Penguin Distribution 1989 - ???? Southern Studios / Southern Record Distribution

33 thoughts on “Autonomy Centre, Wapping, London E1 – 06/12/81”

  1. Luzy Fuerza should in fact be ‘Luz Y Fuerza’ (trans:’Light and Strength’) a Spanish civil war CNT/FAI slogan. If I remember correctly they were another Andy Martin band, no doubt featuring other Apostles and associates from that time.

  2. “Luz Y Fuerza” was Peat from Protest Fanzine’s band after Primal Chaos, but before he replaced Victor in the Assassins of Hope. I’m not sure who else was in the band.

  3. Also credit where credit’s due one of the bands that did step up and raise money to set up the Autonomy Center in the first place was UB40 who played a benefit show at the Woolwich Odeon.

  4. This takes me back, I remember being at a very early gig of Hagar’s at Wapping, with Kevin Kitten (one of the Social Diseases lot, along with John X-Apostle) singing; was it this gig? – haven’t downloaded it yet. I remember one song being “Witches always burn” and it being really good.

    I always used to talk to JFB (and John X-Apostle for that matter) as we got the same tube/ train back fom Wapping as I was living in the seventh circle of hell that was/ is Eltham, and they lived further up the line.

    I also remember missing the last train back from a Conflict gig at the Red Lion in Gravesend(?) and having to hoof it back on my own by walking down the trainline as I didn’t know the way by road. That was fucking scary – you can’t tell where freight trains are coming from or how far away they are, because you’re used to the making these judgements based on the sound that passenger trains make, and frieght trains are a lot heavier and make a completely different noise. never mind trying not to step on a live rail in the dark while pissed.

    And you tell kids that today, and they won’t believe you.

  5. Cheers for the uploads, Pengy & JFB. Fun trying to recognise the punter’s voices between the songs, fair bit of Tony waffling on about the bar.

  6. Think there was a short (perhaps ‘only’) piece on Luz Y Fuerza in either Book of Revelations or Precautions Essentiale ‘zines. Will have a hunt when i’m back in London. Might be some further info on this gig on that Apostles Info sheet up in the myspace gallery, Pengy?

  7. Everyone looks so young in those pictures…
    🙂

    Nick Hydra: that song sounds like ‘Burn the Witch’ by John Soare’s band Libertarian Youth (I had a tape of it and one other song back then) – great bassline!

    I’m looking forward to hearing the Luz Y Fuerza tape as I only ever read the name in various Apostles related magazines and handouts…
    I seem to remember reading that piece, Chris (maybe it was in Precautions?): was Bill Corbett (ex-Apostles) involved?

    For many years, UB40 did a lot for the trade in herbal remedies in the area I lived in, so it’s good to see they consistently supported the local community…
    🙂

  8. Ian Slaughter what happened to him and his militant fanzine “Pigs for Slaughter” Did it run for 3 issues? What happened to the “Anarchist Federation”?

  9. Hello shammyleather. The fanzine was silly stuff but it did make me interested in print and layout. Went on to help set up a printers which is still going, and has done a lot of community type stuff, fanzines etc. Left that and after a short stint with a pal running a small gig venue, trained to become a typesetter and book designer, which was a satisfying line of work and did that for a few years. So something good came out of it after all.

    Are you shammyleather as in the Edinburgh band?

  10. Hey Ian, no not connected with any Edinburgh band, chose it when posting a comment on Sham 69’s “No I don’t Wanna”. Me, I was big Crass fan (is that the right word) and recall meeting up with you once in 1980 or ’81 when I was going down London to spend weekends with Crass. I recall you saying to me when you interviewed Crass for PFS, that Penny didn’t like the name of the fanzine, I also recall you asking me what I made of the “House” and that, and wearing of all black clothing. You did mention if I’d heard of a band called “Whitehouse” and how you saw them in a pub in Islington dressed in long leather black coats. What else can I recall, you taking me for a quick tour around East End of London, printers, pointing out a block of flats where the Krays lived, where Jack the Ripper killed one or two of his victims, the Freedom bookshop,etc …it’s all coming back. We did have one conversation and it was to do with Crass’s attitude towards there followers, that they could have led a mass movement or something, I think this tied in with the Anarchist Youth Federation that you were starting up.

  11. “pointing out a block of flats where the Krays lived, where Jack the Ripper killed one or two of his victims”

    heh heh hope you had a good time shammyleather!

  12. is Nick Hydra Nick from DO 12? If so it was great seeing you last year in Highbury. If not can I get another clue or two?
    Also not that it matters, but “Burn the witch” was actually an Social Dieseases song before it was an Libertarian Youth song and was written by Martin Smith. On the tape that I think Nic is talking about Martin is playing guitar and some idiot is ‘singing’ for want of a better term. No bass, no drums, just a straight to cassette first run through of a song that was never supposed to leave Martin’s bedroom.

  13. Regarding Luz y Fuerza, it was a one off gig, Peat and a chap called Bill (bass) asked me to drum, so I duly learnt a couple of rythms on Dans kit round at Ann Dees in the attic at Foulden Rd. It was the first time i’d got onto a stage and I remember being pretty nervous which I guess was pretty uncalled for considering the supportive audience everyone got down Wapping. Being around Ann Dee Martin at the time I’d become pretty steeped in spanish civil war history and that was a slogan I particularly liked.

  14. Hi John,

    Yes I am “Nick from D.O.12” although I don’t like to talk about it and all tapes have been lost. I go by “Hydra” now because I’m in a band called… wait for it… Hydra with Raye who used to be in Third Door from the Left and later Leech Woman, and Rog who also used to be in Leech Woman. Kind of Flux meets Cabaret Voltaire if you know what I mean…

    If you go to wwwslainofthehydra.com and email me your postal address I’ll send you a CD.

    I’ve remembered a bit more about the gig now… it was a Social Diseases (or maybe Libertarian Youth – you might have changed the name by then) gig at Wapping, but your singer hadn’t turned up (Soulboy Steve?), so a very nervous Kitten was drafted in at the last moment.

    It was pretty good considering.

    Nick

  15. Hey

    Pete here formerly Pe@t of Primal Chaos, Luz Y Fuerza and Assassins of Hope.

    This all brings back some VERY happy memories of time spent with some of the most wonderful people Ive ever met (and I mean that most sincerely).

    Good to see Ian Slaughter and Fod on here I recall some good times spent in the company of those guys not least the afore mentioned one off Luz Y Fuerza gig for which Fod practiced diligently (it being his first venture on stage and the first time he had played drums). All the practice paid off and Fod kept a decent beat.

    Luz Y Fuerza would have been more than a one off had I not attempted to throw Bill Corbett off of a moving train on the way back from a Coldwar and Apostles gig (I think that they were the two bands anyway) in Hornchurch or Malden or somewhere. Fortunately Ann Dee Martin stopped me from succeeding. Bill, if your reading apologies mate!

  16. Hello Peat nice to see you here!

    Ive got happy memories too of mucking around with you, Leon, Ivan Oxo and Deafie.

    Lived away from London for a while but back in The Smoke again for my sins, guess I was getting pollution withdrawal symptoms.

    How you keeping?

  17. Thanks for this. It brings back some fond memories. I used to visit the Autonomy Centre on Friday afternoons. Usually it was just Vince there, reading a book or poring over a chessboard. A copper popped in on one occasion to have a look around. We should have tried to sell him a t-shirt. There were loads left over from the benefit gig UB40 did at Woolwich Odeon (supported by The Nervous Kind).

    Tony Allen did a standup performance at the Centre one weekend, IIRC, and went down like a lead balloon.

    I attended what I think was the last meeting where we tried to come up with new ideas to keep the place open, but I’m afraid it wasn’t very productive. Only a handful of people were there.

  18. Your blog (well, you and the others) is a good read too John: I’ve bookmarked it…

    I only went to the Autonomy Centre once (when I was in London visiting cousins!), but it was quite depressing: my youthful (13 yo) enthusiasm was well and truly drenched…

  19. Thanks Nic. You’re very kind. 🙂 The blog’s mostly just musings and recollections and reminders to ourselves, but Jordi’s still active in the CNT in Barcelona, as far as I know. Which is probably why he hardly ever posts any more.

  20. The complete set (in reverse order) of the Persons Unknown trial blogs is here http://wwwoldfogey.blogspot.com/search/label/Anarchism

    The defence team were pretty strong – Gareth Pierce, Helena Kennedy, Geoffry Robinson and Michael Mansfield and the jury were impressed by Ronan’s demeanour.

    I wonder how influential ‘old Fogey’ was in the jury’s deliberations and the resulting acquital? If there had not been an acquital, Ronan would not have been able to set up the Wapping A Centre. And without the Persons Unknown/ Wapping A Centre connection ‘Crass infuenced punk’ would not have become mixed up with actually existing anarchists and so….
    … there would not have been an ‘anarcho-punk’.

    Thus Old Fogey can be claimed as the (accidental) father of anarcho-punk.

  21. Amazing. Our crew took next to no photo’s of what was perhaps the most exhilarating period of our lives.
    Brings back sooo many memories.
    Fuckin’ wicked!

    xxx

  22. I believe I (Scarecrow) played drums for the Hagar’s first gig , so l must be playing on this? Luggy , Ruth Doll help me out here?? All my live tapes that I recorded at Wapping were left in a suitcase for safe keeping at Duncan Jack’s girlfriend’s place in Ladbrooke Grove in the spring of 1983, her name was Robbie. Anybody know where she might be ?

  23. Hello Scarecrow, long time! If this was the first ever Hagar gig then it is def you on the drums, and you played a fair few gigs with us I think. Brave man! 🙂 I remember our practices at Andy Martin’s house. Don’t know Robbie but I’m sure someone on here must.

  24. Blimey, what a blast from the past! I was the ‘Keyholder’ at the Autonomy centre on sundays and put this gig on, the Hags formed so they could play too and after much badgering I said yes. The rest is history…;)
    Nice to hear from Fod and Peat from Luz y Fuerza, I feel a re-union coming on.

    It all seems like yesterday, where did the time go?

    Bill

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