Monthly Archives: September 2019

Beggars Can Be Choosers

The Newtown Neurotics’ album in NME, 15 October, 1983.

My Sons The Neuro Surgeons

Newtown Neurotics
Baggars Can Be Choosers (Razor)

On the cover of ‘Fast, Grubby And Thick Vol. XIV’ (a compilation of all that’s cheap and shoddy in gobbing noddy-land) Adolf slaps Maggie’s back as wicked pig-peelers shoot the blindfolded but resolute dog soldiers of plastic punkdom. The swatika flies over No. 10 and only a grim Wattie stands between the fascist hordes and a horrid 1984 type scenario… This little piggy went to market.
Shall we then, in our desperation, disillusion and despair, sing the praises of the inch-deep silly billy wild and whacky nothing bands? The theory goes – in times of depression the masses flock to the chocolate box candy floss Hi! Society obsession with gross banality. When the dole queue lengthens, the sticky finger of escapist frivolity beckons. Busby Berkley stomps on Brecht, Ginger Rogers elbows Eisenstein – Gimme passion! Gimme soul! But most of all gimmee Hetero Sex!
The Neurotics’ mouthpiece Steve Drewitt, despite the gruff and ready grunt of a voice he’s blessed with, tears skin apart on ‘Newtown People’ – a heartfelt lament for the trashed polystyrene denizens of the Welfare State’s gravy train graveyard.
The chunky chugging blue punky-pop chopped off-beat is repeated for the chorus of ‘Living With Unemployment’ – a perverted Members retread. Most tracks owe much to Drewitt’s aggressive writing. he sets down his tortured thoughts and bends the rhythm, rhyme and melody to buggery to fit them in a style not unlike that of fellow barmpot Mark Smith. The rest of the album is workmanlike tho’ rarely scraping any heights of insight.
The stairway to 17th. heaven is spit polished clear for bands of the Neuros’ ilk. Go up an octave, hold the guitars at chest height and fill the stage with sexually attractive black women with rockets for tonsils. Every lefty has been’s dream – the sugared slogan and the plagiarised moan. I’ve heard these songs on demos, benefits and picket lines and at parties where the tinsel brained escapees from squalor have hobbled off stage Right in disgust and revulsion.
How’s it go again Malcy? Art is a hammer not a nail polish. Get your hands dirty – Revolt into Action.

Susan Williams

Saturday Gigs

This poem is in Harrogate zine Kvatch, issue 3, 1985, edited by Clare Wadd.

Babysitting at Jillys/saturday gigs

days of sun/ crimson complexsion everyone’s got somewhere
to go/ coffee glass an’ cigarettes indistinct feeling
an’ everything mismatch today
they give me a rumour/ get it on 12″ an’ some door to close
smelt down tranquillisers/ pump action description
an’ yeah y’ know you’d deliver me from tragedy

didn’t know what to expect an’ this park’r so introvert
may have to call you/ but im so/so
cherry blossoms an’ some kinda heaven
an’ those naked marbel kids an’ i could ball anyone
it doesn’t have to be degas metaphysical daughter
call of light/ crossing the shallows
smoking depends on the hour
it’s cooler here beneath a different selection
of lilacs

don’t know her name/ until the telephone talk stops
an’ we can actually/ swop secrets until
until/ an’ tonight i’ll keep myself clean
i won’t imagine this perfect domain an’ her ways of
making surrender.

Terry Wilford


Lydia Lunch & Nick Cave

From NME, 12 December, 1981.

Blood Groups
The Birthday Party
Lydia Lunch

The Venue

The air was thick with anticipation. A cult queen was about to create yet another debut. No one ever knows what she’ll do. She can be disaster or salvation. She began as Teenage Jesus, then she was the Queen of Siam, tonight she is just Lydia Lunch.
A soundtrack plays, the theme from some tacky horror movie, moody and evil. The drummer enters with the look of every butler who has ever opened the castle door. Severin, her guest, crosses the stage and takes up his bass. An anonymous guitarist under a full face rubber hood begins to crank out long scratching, whining notes. This band are new and as usual precariously impermanent. Lydia loves chance and change.
She slouches on. Under a big hat, her eyes burn. She swills her lager down, proud and arrogant with her back to her audience. She is Teenage Jesus, she is Queen of Siam. She holds herself up with the mike stand, leans heavily acoss and bellows “Nooooooo.” One very long no.
“Pools of blood in my bed,” she stretches her words out, neither singing or talking.
Someone points their video at her, trying to commit her to history. She seems so impermanent and hellbent. Lydia Lunch wants to step into some nether world, but we won’t go with her. She dances horrifically, jerking her limbs in slow motion. The macabre atmosphere thickens.
She takes her hat off; reveals a thatch of hair with singed flame roots. She lays on the stage; she doles herself out in tiny doses. “God will wait forever.” She looks her audience in the eye, we’re gift horses.
What Lydia Lunch does in the here and now is understandable if you know her past; what she’ll do in the future makes her presence significant. Listen carefully.
The Birthday Party bound on stage, over-energized, loud and reckless.
Nick cave jumps into his adoring audience. They tear at him, reach for his hair, shake him up and down. I fear for him. Somehow he manages to scream and retch his words out. The roadies drag him back onto the stage, and he doesn’t miss a beat.
The Birthday Party are a band that inspire total commitment in their fans. They entertain, in a rock tradition with a solid beat and intense guitar. Their originality lies in their unique non-melodies, the weird key changes, Nick Cave’s self-destructive footwork. They break musical rules and yet keep right in line. They finished with Iggy’s classic “I’m Loose”, and although following in Pop’s path isn’t very new, it was strong and effective. Rock death and live sacrifice. As Cave left the stage a long thin stream of blood trailed down his back.

Laura Hardy

If The Kids Are Divided

The Ranters, Oi! and reggae bands raged against unemployment and a class ridden society in the early 80s. The new romantics posed and the heavy metalers looked on drunkenly bemused. The letters page of Sounds was hot with debate. This letter is from 23 January, 1982.

If the kids are divided…

Garry Bushell is wasting his breath telling us that bad job/dole queue kids can only improve their lot by fighting for social change and not by fighting each other. Bushell condemns punk bashing and calls for a united Left Wing working class youth to fight the establishment.
However, Bushell patently fails to appreciate the inherent stupidity of the working class – something appreciated by all great Left Wingers, most spectacularly Lenin. Working class youth will always be distracted by pleasures and goals more immediate and base than socially fulfilling. Thus skinheads will bash punks, rockers will bash mods, etc. because it fulfills them – so they think – more than attempting to implement a socialy just programme.
Bushell may bemoan the domination of the Left by middle class wallies, but he has only to read ‘what is to be done’ to appreciate that this must necessarily be the case until the working class can be liberated from the intellectual constraints of an acquisitive capitalistic society by the British equivalent of the Bolsheviks, whoever they may be.
In appealing for Left Wing political unity among working class youth Bushell is banging his thick head against a historical brick wall.

Red Ken of Naibea, Avon.

Picture This

This poem was in northern zine Testament of Reality, number 9, 1985. Poet Alternative Turny was a Darlington lad.

Picture This…

Yo’re walking down the street on the way home from
the Art Centre at about 11.00pm. You can’t here a
thing except for your own breathing and your own
foosteps. STOP.

They’re round the corner, on the bench, about five of
them. Big muscles, big egos and no brains. You pass.
Five more sets of breathing and five more sets of
footsteps join yours. Speed increases, footsteps in-
crease. FASTER.

They bring you to the ground, all five of them. Five
boots keeping you in your place. Five fists making
sure you stay there. They’ve got you where they
want you and you’re gonna stay there till they’ve
finished with you, and that’s never. The odds are
always against you, whether you know it or not.

Is this heroic ? NO IT FUCKING ISN’T.
Is this clever ? NO IT FUCKING ISN’T.
Is this right ? NO IT FUCKING ISN’T.
Is this cowardice ? YES IT FUCKING IS!!!

Alternative Turny

Oi – The Nurses

Another clenched fist salute from the letter pages of Sounds. This from 27 March, 1982.

A Healthy Cause?

Oi – the Nurses. Fighting unemployment and nuclear bombs is all very well, but what about our pay?
You haven’t said a word supporting us. After all, who is it who stitches you up when you’ve had the shit kicked out of you, or when you’ve got a bottle sticking in your ear? People like me!
I can only afford to go out for a drink if I don’t eat and then it’s a double Britvic at the most. So, now we’ve had Oi Against Foxhunting, Oi Against Racism, what about Oi For More Pay For Nurses? After all, next time you get a knife sticking up your backside, remember who puts it back together again.

Angel Mikey ‘Wazhead’.

After Release From Prison

Nazim Hikmet (1902 – 63) was a Turkish poet. He was a communist and spent many years in prison.

After Release From Prison

Where are you?
At home.
Still unaccustomed-
awake or sleeping-
to being in your own home.
This is just one more of the stupefactions
of spending thirteen years in a prison.
Who’s lying at your side?
Not loneliness, but your wife,
in the peaceful sleep of an angel.
Pregnancy looks good on a woman.
What time is it?
That means you’re safe until evening.
Because it’s the practice of police
Never to raid homes in broad daylight.

Nazim Hikmet