Reds under the bed (asleep)

Militant Entertainment
Various Artists – RTW Cassette
Sounds, March 15, 1982

So tell us, John, how come all these supposedly ‘politically hard’ bands make such wally music?
A writer on a fast-dwindling Sounds ‘rival’ would have us believe that only militant ‘commie’ bands can possibly be of any relevance to contemporary music. Leaving aside, for now, the complete contempt for such apparently trivial issues as democracy inside ‘commie’ regimes and parties, what we have here is a comprehensive selection of current ‘commie’ band – material . . . and, well, if I was a right-winger I’d be over the moon.pal
Put together by the Woolwich Right To Work Campaign as a fundraiser and available for £2 (inc p&p) from Woolwich College Students Union, Villas Rd, London SE18 this features every known ‘hard’ socialist band apart from the Redskins, and only one is worth listening to.
Those heroes are Harlow’s own nicely noisy Newtown Neurotics whose earnest ‘Kick Out The Tories’ is a moving Jam-esque rock work-out, the rough edges of which are compensated for by the power of the lyrics and the passionate promise of the band. But the only other highlights come from Attila The Stockbroker, who even mandolin-handed and relatively subdued still makes an impact with the arsonist anthem ‘Burn It Down’, and his poetic pal S Wells whose ‘Aggro Britain’ is a particularly spot-on attack on the Tory media mentality and worthy of mention not least for its vivid picture of DM boots as “amphetamine roller skates.”
Elsewhere, however, the tape really plumbs the depths. Big table for example provide lethargic tuxedo dross worthy of mega-bore Paul McCartney himself, and is thus yet more valuable ammunition for those of us involved in the fledgling ‘Chapman Shot The Wrong Beatle’ Society.
Things get worse as Urban Warfare delve into anaemic wimphem delivered with all the vigour of the skin on the top of a cup of cold coffee while Oxy And The Morons proffer pea-brained angst-ridden futurism.
I could go on but it’s not worth it. To my mind this collection is just typical of the attitude of organisations like Right To Work and RAR, who refuse to even contemplate working class bands who won’t ‘toe the political line’. For example one well-known left-wing paper recently refused to print a letter from bands offering to play strike and anti-cuts benefits etc because said caring combos weren’t ‘hardline reds’.
There’s a whole bloody generation of bands out here whose whole orientation is anti-unemployment and pro-the-people and instead of working with them the Right To Workers of this world sneer at their supposed ‘political failings’ and then proceed to make proper prats of themselves. All I’d say is you’ve got the anger, he people and the organisation but not the bands. Street-punk has got the anger, the bands and the people but not the organisation. Maybe we’re twigging something here . . .

Garry Bushell



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