Punk heroes ready for gig
Anarcho-punk legends the Subhumans are lining up a Preston gig at the Continental for later in the year.
Formed in Wiltshire in 1980, they are comprised of vocalist Dick Lucas, guitarist Bruce Treasure, bassist Phil, and drummer Trotsky.
The band enjoyed success as one of the more literate and musically athletic British punk ensembles between 1980 and 1985, occupying the middle ground between The Clash’s political songcraft and Crass’ experimental warfare.
Lucas later joined Culture Shock – also Continental veterans! – in 1986 and started up his own Ska-Punk act Citizen Fish in 1990. Subhumans reformed in the late 90s and have been touring to sell out crowds ever since.
They will be supported by Preston’s very own anarcho-crust-punk favourites Anarka & Poppy at the gig on November 14. They began in 1981 as a guitar/vocal duo with Jane and Neil as Nihilistic Insurrection. They were later joined by Stoko on drums and later they had three additional members (Shaun on keyboards, Yoh on bass and Christine on tambourine and backing vocals).
In 1983, They recorded the Take it for Life tape released by Happy Apple Tapes. In 1984, after getting in contact with Josef Porta of The Mob, Anarka and Poppy where given the chance to record an E.P. for All The Madmen, but in the end All The Madmen changed hands and the single was lost and never released.
Tickets are £8 (£10 on the door) online from Skiddle, SEE Tickets & WeGotTickets. Or visit the Continental or Action Records.
In person from The Continental (01772 499 425), Action Records (0177 884 772) & Preston Visitor Information (at The Guild Hall, 01772 253731) soon.
Subhumans / Kill Pretty / Anarka & Poppy
Friday, 14 November 2014 – 8pm
LEP. 2014. “Punk heroes ready for gig”. Lancashire Evening Post, 15 July, http://www.lep.co.uk/what-s-on/music/punk-heroes-ready-for-gig-1-6729908
Penny Rimbaud is interviewed for the Champion Up North site, discussing Wally Hope, free festival culture, Stonehenge, the Battle of the Beanfield and more.
Rich Jevons. 2014.”The Stonehenge Free Festival, The Fight For Alternative Culture’, Champion Up North, 19 June, http://www.championupnorth.com/life/interviews/the-stonehenge-free-festival-the-fight-for-alternative-culture
Of Crass’ first appearance at Stonehenge, he recalls:
Crass went down there intending to play in 1980 but it turned into a bloodbath. The Hell’s Angels decided they didn’t like the look of the punks so it just turned into a stupid night of violence. We just spent all night trying to save people and get them off the site. It was just bloody really unpleasant.
Two classic Poison Girls’ releases – the 1979 twelve-inch Hex and the 1980 album Chappaquiddick Bridge – are to be re-issued on vinyl by Water Wing Records, based in Portland, Oregon in the US. Full details, including release dates, are yet to be confirmed.
WW10 Poison Girls – Hex 12″EP 45RPM EP $14
Poison Girls were a force of nature. Spat out of the belly of the UK punk scene, Poison Girls paired up with a band down the street called Crass. The two bands played 100 shows together in the span of three years. They bonded on a conceptual and artistic way to approach punk. Poison Girls were fronted by Vi Subversa, who was a child in the East end of London during the Second World War, an evacuee during the Blitz, became part of the Soho anarchist scene of the 50s, took part in the original CND march to Aldermaston, then a counter culture drop out of the 60s, finally found herself in the mid 70s, aged 40, with two children, living in Brighton. Vi, along with Richard Famous, Lance d’Boyle and Bernhardt Rebours released Hex in 1979 on the bands own Xntrix label. It was a 12″ 45rpm mini album and was released with the help of Small Wonder (Bauhaus, The Cure, Crass), a local independent record label. Hex was later reissued by Crass Records in 1981. Recorded at Southern Studios, produced by Penny Rimbaud, and engineered by John Loder, Hex is an extraordinary punk record which featured the group’s lineup that was to last for the following 2 years. Cameo appearances included Vi Subversa’s offspring Pete Fender and Gem Stone of Fatal Microbes and Eve Libertine of Crass. The album lays out the band’s concerns, in Vi’s searing lyrics, against a backdrop of deep, beautiful and sometimes scary music. Vi channels the anger and frustrations of any single mother living in what was (and still is) a mans’ world. From the opening salvo “If I had my time again, I’d like to come back as a man!” to the final “Reality Attack Reality Attack Reality” the record bristles with a fiery passion and intensity. The lyrics explore the expectations of normality, political correctness, pressures of conformity, pain and mental illness and the horrors of war. The music is diamond hard but with a tender edge, and the whole soundscape is overlaid with ‘found’ recordings of everyday life. Reissued for the first time in over 30 years with a sturdy tip-on gatefold cover.
WW11 – Poison Girls – Chappaquiddick Bridge LP + 1 Sided 7″ $16
CHAPPAQUIDDICK BRIDGE, the bands first full length LP, was originally released on Crass Records in 1980 and featured the same lineup as Hex. And like Hex, it shared the producer/engineer team of Penny Rimbaud and John Loder. This record sees Poison Girls at their most experimental stage. The songs dig deeper into the connections between the personal and political. Starting with an uncredited version of ‘State Control’ (one of the bands punkiest crowd pleasers) done in an ‘unplugged’ style, and ending with the similarly stripped down ‘Tender Lover’, this album broke all the rules of what a ’punk’ album should sound like. The songs are long. There are extended sonic workouts and codas, using synths, abused studio effects, electric violin, acoustic piano as well as ‘random’ electric guitar sounds and vocals. The mix has thundering drums up front that power the songs, and help create a barrage of rich sound.The lyrics speak of love, power, sexual politics, war and peace and most things in between. This is Vi at her most poetic, but with a razor sharp insight, and not holding back on using it. A truly original album. If it was removed, lost or destroyed, your original copy of Chappaquiddick Bridge came with a one-sided flexi disc containing the anthem Statement. This 2014 reissue also includes Statement as a proper one-sided 7″ vinyl. Sturdy tip-on gatefold cover.
As part of the ongoing experiment in tracking live appearances by original wave anarcho-punk bands kicked-off on this blog back in May –
Conflict play live at the Resist to Exist festival, 1-3 August 2014, being held in Berlin, Germany (Conflict play on 1 August), and then at the Pod Parou festival, 31 July-2 August 2014,at Moravská Trebová, in the Czech Republic (Conflict play 2 August, ahead of The Buzzcocks and Cock Sparrer).
Back in the UK, Conflict appear at the North East Calling all-dayer, 30 August 2014, in Newcastle. Conflict will also play at the Icons of Filth (10 Year Commemoration), Cardiff, which has now been extended to a two-day event, on 14-15 November (after tickets for the 15 November date sold-out).
Emily Mackay. 2014. Gee Vaucher: ‘Anarchists wasn’t a title we gave ourselves’. The Guardian, 19 July 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/jul/19/gee-vaucher-crass-penny-rimbaud
“There’s no isms,” confirms Vaucher, a sharp, warm presence in simple, dark clothing, as we settle into one of Dial House’s many cosy, serene corners. “‘Anarchists’ wasn’t a title we gave ourselves. It was something that was given to us, and we thought we’d run with it. The anarchism I took on was to uncover myself. By looking at certain areas, you do create chaos inside yourself, because you’re taking away what you think is your solid ground.”
Dunstan Bruce, vocalist of Chumbawamba takes us on an illustrated talk, full of humour, irony and politics, in an attempt to explain and elucidate on their rollercoaster ride that took them from anarcho-squat gigs to Madison Square Gardens and back again all thanks to their anthem Tubthumping. Also features a singing gorilla. This is a free event & everybody welcome
I think it worth drawing attention to the write-up of the No Sir, I Won’t symposium held at Oxford Brookes university in June 2013, written by organiser Pete Dale, published a couple of months back on the Oxford Brookes web site (especially as it’s not the easiest document to find!). Dale’s piece offers a detailed summary of the different talks and presentations on the day, and offers some interesting reflections on the different perspectives to emerge from the day’s discussion.
Web pages documenting conferences and seminars are notoriously ephemeral, as universities take down ‘legacy’ event content (and Oxford Brookes has already partly archived off the entry for the No Sir, I Won’t event). So I’m ‘taking a liberty’ (that would be a good title for a single, you know) and archiving off a copy of the write-up on this blog.
Cite the original: Pete Dale, 2014. “Write up of the ‘No Sir, I Won’t: reconsidering the legacy of Crass and anarcho-punk'” event at Oxford Brookes, 28 June 2013, Popular Music Research Unit, Oxford Brookes University, <http://arts.brookes.ac.uk/events/resources/No-Sir-I-wont-write-up.doc>, accessed [access date].
Cite this copy: Pete Dale, 2014. “Write up of the ‘No Sir, I Won’t: reconsidering the legacy of Crass and anarcho-punk'” event at Oxford Brookes, 28 June 2013, Popular Music Research Unit, Oxford Brookes University, republished on The Hippies Now Wear Black blog, <http://thehippiesnowwearblack.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/pete_dale_no-sir-i-wont-write-up.pdf> accessed [access date].
There’s no one place online where all of the presentations are currently available, but my own “You’ll never beat the system by bombing Number 10″ is available on this blog, while Matt Grime’s Call It Crass but “There Is No Authority But Yourself”: Re-Canonizing Punks Underberlly is available through the academia.edu site, where you can also find related works by other presenters Pete Dale, Ana Raposo and Jim Donaghey.
Russ Bestley’s illustrated booklet, written and designed for the event, and to accompany the one-day exhibition of anarcho-punk artwork and graphic design, is also available to download (as a 5mb PDF file).