Young Marble Giants

The superb Young Marble Giants live in Canada at Vancouver’s Western Front, 6 November, 1980.
Easily one of the best of the post-punk bands. Their single Final Day is a classic of the time.

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Yen Li

Yen Li is a punk rocking poet from Vancouver. Her poetry is usually angry, confident, and often takes a traditional Chinese poem as its base.
She worked in a Mah Jong parlour and went to a lot of gigs.
This poem was first published in 1993.

Why I Won’t Eat Chinese Food
In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Mistaken for a waitress!
Will not wear
white blouse
to Chinese restaurant again.

I deal Mah Jong,
don’t sling dishes.
Poker-faced across plates,
not tipping.

Too cold!
for cantonese hyphenated canadian.
Noodles lacked vigour.
This girl does not respect limpness.

No squid.
No pigface.
Just beef.
Beef, beef, beef.

In diners I ask white guys
to pass the syrup.
Never expect them
to cook me pancakes too.

Yen Li

Vicious Rumours

The cheery as ever NME reviews Vicious Rumours, 5 December, 1987.

Vicious Rumours
The Sickest Men In Town
(Link LP only)

An LP devoid of musical worth, humour and charm from a sarf London skinhead cabaret combo with an alarming propensity to strip off and pretend to shout when a camera is pointed in their direction.
Over anachronistic Lurkers-style guitar, Vicious Rumours sing about ‘good times’ on the pull, on the piss and on the job. Their act is clearly based on the Macc Lads, but i don’t think you’d catch even those numbsulls chorusing, “You’ve gotta whip it out of your pants/You’ve gotta whip it out of your pants/You’ve gotta whip it out of your pants/And dangle your plums.”
Venereal disease, pregnant girlfriends and not getting their ‘share of the women’ would appear to be the only stumbling blocks Vicious Rumours envisage ever having to circumnavigate in life. It is time they addressed themselves to the very real problem of having made a ludicrously poor LP.

DJ Fontana

To The Anarchists

This poem Anarkhistam in the original Russian appeared in Burevestnik, 5 March, 1918.

To The Anarchists

The time has come
To throw off the yoke
Of capitalism.
All fetters,
Commissars,
Generals,
Tribunals,
And priests.
For order
And science
And laws –
What are they?
Invented
From boredom
By great men
In cabinets!
The old world
We’ll destroy
And wreck
And burn!
Not ‘order’.
We’ll build,
Without it
We’ll live!
But the great
Commune
To bayonets
Cannot fall!
Before it
On their knees
All will bend,
Even authority!
So quickly
My brothers
Let’s raise
The black flag!
And grasp
The hand
Off all
The oppressed!

Viktor Triuk

The Last Poem

In Paris, behind Notre Dame Cathedral, on a wall at the memorial to the 200,000 French deportees to Nazi death camps, visitors find lines once known as “The Last Poem” by surrealist poet Robert Desnos:

I have dreamt so very much of you,
I have walked so much,
Loved your shadow so much,
That nothing more is left to me of you.
All that remains to me is to be the shadow among shadows
To be a hundred times more of a shadow than the shadow
To be the shadow that will come and come again into
your sunny life.

Purportedly, the manuscript was found in the poet’s pocket following his death from typhoid, after the Red Army liberated Terezin, a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.
A newspaper obituary for the famous Parisian writer, whom someone on the nursing staff had recognized, included lines in Czech translated from a love poem Desnos had published back in 1930, which was – as literary scholars found – subsequently mistranslated back into French as the poem inscribed on the wall of the memorial President Charles de Gaulle inaugurated in 1962.
Whilst Desnos never exactly wrote it, this text acquired an honoured place in the Holocaust canon.

Last known photo of Robert Desnos, Theresienstadt concentration camp, 1945.

Pop’s Big, Bland Concensus

Steven Wells reviews in the NME, 5 September, 1987.

Aerosmith
Permanent Vacation
(Geffen)

Let’s face it, Aerosmith are pussies. This is the sort of stuff that won’t fool fans of True Metal for a minute. No, they’ll have their heads buried in Man ‘o’ Wars muscular sweat – and more fool them.
Aerosmith make great metal-pop liberally poisoned with the usual armadillo-down-the-trousers misogyny and suitably tailored to snare as many American musical virgins as possible. It is the music of compromise, as much a part of pop’s big, bland concenus as Mel & Kim or Five Star.
And if it can occasionally throw up something as superb as ‘Walk This Way’ there are those who would claim that it does so only at the expense of ‘street music’s’ life and vitality (ha!).
The difference is that these boys dress up as rockers and that they occasionally (ahem) rock. Apart from a few bummer tracks, this is an album of “superbly crafted” tunes (to get the pop people), followed up with a good ole rock binge to convince Aerosmith fans that they ain’t buying no faggot shit. If you screw yo ears and whack it up to 78 it could, almost (take lots of drugs as well), be Motorhead.
Aerosmith are not quite as good as The Monkees and almost as big as The Beatles.
Hmmmmmm.

Steven Wells

Tales Of Ordinary Madness

The film version of Charles Bukowski’s book reviewed in Soundmaker, 21 May, 1983.

Tales Of Ordinary Madness

Displaying a suicidal recklessness totally compatibable with its central character ‘Tales Of Ordinary Madness’ is an unbalanced and immature film which convinces us of its ‘Beat era’ authenticity but fails to portray this most poetic and alluring of eras in anything but the most unimpressive, almost comical light. Its attempts at profundity are crass and overstated, and all impact is lost in a mass of ridiculously cliched and gross scenes.
Based on the autobiography of anarchistic poet Charles Bukowski, Marco Ferreri’s film focuses on the self-imposed trials and tortures of a wanton slob whose appetite for art (which he calls ‘style’) does not match his appetites for alcohol and sex. We meet his former wife, his dsperate lovers and his vagabond associates, as we follow his quest for fulfillment through the random lust and excessive indulgence of his self-destructive urges.
Each of his lovers supposedly symbolises some vast platitude – his Oedipus complex is repulsively depicted, his animal instincts are parodied and abused, and his one pure love, for the sultry and pathetic Cass (enigmatically played by Ornella Muti), is inconsistent and patchy, ending in pathos rather than tragedy.
As the saga of his conquests and failures winds on, he seems to lose interest completely and falls asleep on the part, lapsing into a coma so convincing that one wonders if his rate of wine consumption was played for real.
Ferreri’s direction aims, nobly enough, for the realism and painful passion of “Last Tango in Paris”, but Gazzara cannot catch Brando’s shadow.

Chris Roberts