Monthly Archives: October 2020

Me And My Big Mouth

Clarkey’s ‘best of’ compilation gets a review in the NME, 9 May, 1981.

John Cooper Clarke
Me And My Big Mouth
(Epic)

A compilation designed to coincide with Clarke’s May tour, ‘Me And My Big Mouth’ puts a neat perspective on the illustrious career of this renegade beatnik made good. Culled from the bard’s three albums, the first side is studio material ranging from ‘(I Married A) Monster From Outer Space’ to ‘The It Man’, while two thirds of the second are from the live album ‘Walking Back To Happiness’.
Having never been much of fan, finding the major part of his repertoire too dependent on the facile security of Pinteresque satire, the most pleasing rediscovery afforded by ‘Me And My Big Mouth’ is that of the original Invisible Girls, a “sometime combination” of Martin Hannett and Steve Hopkins.
This chilling, eerie backcloth to Clarke’s ranting is sometimes used to magical effect. The bitter, intense ‘Beasley Street’ would be an obvious example.
“My relationship with rock’n’roll,” Clarke once confided, “is like Lenny Bruce’s with modern jazz – I like the clothes and attitude.” Yet if he hadn’t been taken up by Hannett, and given this kind of musical entrenchment, one wonders whether John Cooper Clarke would today be in a position to undertake a nationwide tour.

Barney Hoskyns

Dora May

East End working mother Dora May had a collection called One of the Great Unsquashed published by Page One Books in 1985.
As an introduction she wrote:

Sitting indoors feeling very depressed and sorry for myself 4 weeks after having a ‘womans operation’, I took a spur of the moment decision and enrolled in English classes at West Ham College. At the end of the term year I had passed an ‘O’ level. I now had a piece of paper to prove that I wasn’t a complete twit! It certainly done something to my brain – I started to think. This little book is the result.
Women need to laugh – have to laugh. (I should know, having had 6 offspring) I’ve written about what I know and how I feel.
I hope ladies you can laugh with me.
I don’t care if the men laugh or not, but if they do I’ll count that as a bonus.

Morning Noon and Night

Rush down to breakfast
fall over a chair
My tights are laddered –
look at my hair!
Buses on strike again
lifes not fair.

Into a ‘Wimpy’ for a quick burger bun
Drop all the onions
life isn’t fun
And it’s started to rain – shit!
I’ll just have to run.

Home in the evening to mum and T>V>
Mum isn’t in
How mean can life be?
Still she’s left a note
egg and beans for my tea.

The telly was smashing
(and so was my tea)
I’ve had a nice bath
and a phone call from ‘he’
Now I’m off up to bed
life is good when you’re free.

Dora May

Create

Angostinho Neto was imprisoned for working for Angolan independence.
The poem is in Neto’s 1974 collection, sacred hope.
Palmatória, mentioned in the text, is a form of torture.

create

Create create
create in mind create in muscle create in nerve
create in man create in the masses
create
create with dry eyes

create create
over the profanation of the forest
over the brazen fortress of the whip
create over the perfume of the sawn trunks
create
create with dry eyes

create create
bursts of laughter over the derision of the palmatória
courage in the tips of the planter’s boots
strength in the splintering of battered-in doors
firmness in the red blood of insecurity
create
create with dry eyes

Create create
stars over the warrior’s sledge-hammer
peace over children’s weeping
peace over sweat over the tears of contract labour
peace over hatred
create
create peace with dry eyes

Create create
create freedom in the slave stars
manacles of love on the paganised paths of love
festive sounds over swinging bodies on simulated gallows

Create
create love with dry eyes

agostinho neto

Not For Sale

Girlschool’s Demolition album reviewed in Spare Rib, number 98, September, 1980.

Demolition
Girlschool
Bronze Records

An all girl band invariably get a fair amount of attention from the music press, and this all girl heavy metal band got, I thought, better press than they deserved until I bought their LP. Woooargh, as Ted Nugent (repulsive man) would say. It’s great!
The first track, ‘Demolition Boys’ hits like a triple vodka on an empty stomach. Layers and layers of shattering loud noise, to send you looking for a wall to bang your head against. The lyrics, while not subtle, serve their purpose – they are there if you want them, but the vocals are just another slice of noise. Two of the songs are feminist orientated, ‘Not For Sale’,about women’s bodies being used to sell consumer products, especially cars, and ‘Baby Doll’, about cattle market beauty contests, but their appearance and attitudes are if anything more refreshing than their lyrics. Their long tangled hair and black denims make it obvious that it’s their music they concentrate on, and not whether their eyeshadow matches their shoes, and their nail polish is intact. All the singles are here, ‘Race with the Devil’, ‘Take it all Away’, ‘Nothing to Lose’, and ‘Emergency’, and they are all very good, but fans must have been hoping for some new material.
If you want comparisons then Motorhead is the nearest there is, but their sound is slightly more refined, and the female vocals give it a different slant all together. If I had longer hair, I’d be shaking it furiously. Ted Nugent, I think you’ve had it.

Anna Burnside

Zits

Skinhead poet Mick Turpin in Another Day Another Word, number 1, 1982.

Zits

Woke up got out of bed
Ran a hand across my head
Felt a spotty mass on my cheek
So I went to the mirror and had a peep
I had zits on my head and zits on my feet
I went to the cupboard and had a look,
Ran out of cream just my luck
Got in a panic for a while,
Then I got happy and started to smile
For I was aware that I had a spare,
So I put my hand into motion
Spreading my white zit cream lotion.

Mick Turpin

Punks Are Nasty

Hand wringing letter in Spare Rib, No. 96, July 1980.

Punks Are Nasty

I am enclosing cheque for subscription for another year, and congratulate you on your achievement in appearing regularly for so many years.
I am continuing my subscription because I support women’s liberation and believe that a women’s journal committed to “consciousness raising” and news about efforts to combat sex discrimination etc. deserves support.
However, I feel obliged to express – not for the first time – my uneasiness about some features of presentation and style. First, why do you so often have such repulsive front covers? The latest (SR94) is even more than usually repulsive. That is, repulsive to me, and I suspect to most women who are not punks. And what have punks to do with women’s liberation? By their way of dressing and painting their faces and hair they deliberately emphasise that they are not and do not wish to be as other women. And considering the age and mental range of punks, either male or female (and if it were not for the lads there would be very few lasses), it seems to me that they are hardly the people to make any contribution towards improving the quality of life. (Yes, I know that some of them are kind to their mothers and help old ladies across roads – but that is not the point!)
Second, I am uneasy about the general feeling of hostility to men (half the human race!) so often expressed in contributions: dreary, incompetent lovers; brutal, selfish husbands; horrible fathers…. True, all true – there are such. But there are also dreary, incompetent women; brutal, selfish wives; vampire mothers…. So what! There are good and bad in both sexes, but nobody would get that feeling, from reading Spare Rib, that there are loving, kind fathers; loyal, helpful brothers; beloved husbands and sons; lovers who bring joy and contentment.
I think a bit more objectivity – more common sense – a touch of humour – would encourage a wider readership, if that is what you are seeking. I believe that the campaign for women’s liberation is one which must go on for a very long time to achieve it’s objects, and be carried on by – to a far greater degree than at present – ordinary women living ordinary lives, with whom other ordinary women can identify.
Yours sincerely,
Vivien Pixner,
London

P.S. There are some other points, like gratuitous bad language – but this letter is long enough already, and I think the obscenities have been toned down in recent months.

Perhaps we should point out that the young woman on the cover of SR94 is not a punk. Her picture was part of a series on face-painting at a youth club girls’ night, as the relevant article showed. But in any case, we do not agree with Vivien that a punk girl would make a repulsive cover!

There was a letter in response from a punk in issue 97.