Monthly Archives: August 2021

Reggae Sound

King Stur Mars PNP Rally at Skateland, 1985 with Buro Banton, Joe Lick Shot, Ricky Tuffy, Junior Cat, Tenor Saw, Yami Bolo, Cutty Ranks killing it!, U Brown, Admiral Bailey, and more. Ainsley is selecting.

Wayne County

The magnificent Wayne, now Jayne, County ripping it up in the NME, 14 October, 1978.

Wayne: the pain and the pantomime
Wayne County And The Electric Chairs
Music Machine, London

October sees the inevitable recognition of two of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll performers of all time – Bette Midler and Wayne County, who even before Wayne slipped a sex with characteristic disdain and commitment, were strangely related exponents of show rock music that could be rude yet moving, speedy, funny and immoderately outrageous.
Both work from a broad crass, abusing base of cheap theatre, sex and rock ‘n’ roll; both harangue, verbalise and assault; both adore themselves. And they undoubtedly share a favourite position.
Bette’s particular influences are The Shangri-Las, The Andrews Sisters and Lotte Lenya. Wayne’s roots are The Yardbirds, the Stones and early Who. The common denominator is Janis Joplin. (And maybe a bit of Liberace).
There is no possibility of Wayne getting the chance of 25 minutes Saturday night peak TV like Bette, who single handedly justified London Weekend Television’s huge outlay in their commitment to the “ratings war” with a scornful and loud guest spot on Bruce Forsyth’s frightening exhibition of everything that is bad with British TV – his ‘Big Night’.
Bette glitters, while Wayne is a little … greasy? Or at least her band is, the ferocious boogie-ing maulers The Electric Chairs. Wayne herself is looking ridiculously plain these days, still obviously meticulous about her appearance. At the Music Machine, in spotless cullottes, she wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Harmony Hairspray advert – a hilarious shock visual contradiction to the dark, shifty group.
No, Wayne would be denied deserved TV access not even because of the (so far) discreet and sensitively handled sex change (image a Gibb going through similar motions) but because of the hard, messy noisy boogie-muzak that is much more explicitly sexual than Midler’s ultimately coy aural winking and hinting. It’s crude and unlistenable.
Yet Wayne is as natural TV fodda as Midler, on stage never less than a joy, Alive, alert, wordy. A strange representation of solidarity and sympathy, Calm and piercing. The image is measured, the acting sweet.
The music has no range, is hardly refined, is definitely ‘retrogressive’, but there is a lot of respect for myth and spirit and Wayne transcends what at times is little more than a prop with her performance. It’s sharp and colourful with never any loss of pace or determination. She seems detached but there is actually a great deal of passion.
The set hasn’t altered noticeably over the last year. It hasn’t needed to. The County standards are timeless. The protest, defence and conflict of “Stuck On You”, “Bad In Bed”, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Resurrection”, “You Make Me Cream In My Jeans”, “Fuck Off”.
There are some cuts off the new album, plus a typically honourable version of The Electric Prunes “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” during which Wayne achieved a lifelong ambition and was assaulted by a huge mock-up black guitar.
Being raped by an electric guitar is Wayne’s idea of ecstasy. Pain, energy and lotsa fun.
Wayne County captures the essence of rock ‘n’ roll in all its multi-facets. And the fact that she arrives at something in itself unadventurous and tangibly limited – relying almost totally on personality and spontaneity – is significant.
There’ll never be a ‘worthwhile’ County album until maybe a best of ‘live’ selection, but never miss a chance to see her in action. There’s no one like her. Except maybe Bette Midler. It took us six years to discover them both. Ha. (Stop crying).

Paul Morley

Weller’s World

Paul Weller published a few of his poem in his zine December Child which ran for 3 issues between 1980-81. The zine came out on his Riot Stories press and he published several collections by a variety of poets. This particular poem was in the third issue of December Stories and also in the pilot issue of The Pacemaker, along with poems from Riot Stories regular ace face, Aidan Cant.

Weller’s World Shuttle Flights

When I’m walking thru a door
When I wish I could wake for dawn
When I wish a moon lite sky
When I’m crying out for love
When I’m down and feeling old –
When I’m really only 22 years old
When I’m lying on my back
When I’m thinking over me
When I regret all that I’ve done
When I’m drunk and indignant to everyone
When I remember my arrogant youth
When I wish it all again
When I feel some one’s said stop
When my body’s all set to go
When I think of our first kiss
When I’m wishing always it seems
When I walk a beach at night
When I walk a beach in mind
When I walk a country road
When I’m stuck in London cold
When I think I’ve had my chips
When I believe in God and Christ
When I thank fate or whoever it is
When I’m smoking late at night
When I’m excited at tomorrow
When I’m like a frightened rat
When I shirk all my tasks
When I like to live somewhere else
When I want us to meet again
When I wish I could get it back
When I know that it never left me
When I’m interviewing myself
When I’m doing the washing up
When I’m in a park and it’s hot
When I’d like to kill myself
When I know I don’t mean it
When I think of how selfish I am
When I couldn’t give a fuck
When I want to smash this town up
When I’m too scared of getting nicked
When imprisonment keeps me awake
When I want to be on my own
When I think I am the last
When I find out I’m the first
When I remember you at the station
When I remember making love
When I think of behind the sheds
When I think of a wank in the woods
When I’m really 16 and still at school
When I travelling thru foreign soil
When I’m swimming in my dreams
When I awake to find me there
When I want to write ‘the’ song
When I think it will happen
When all I can think of is sex
When I like people and I have hope
When I think you’re all blind ignorant fools
When I see you in my mirror
When I see you in your mirror
When I think we are all the same
When I think I deserve more
When I’m conscious of my every move
When I’m half in limbo, half in Tesco’s
When I love to see the different faces
When all these people from different places
When I wish I had real guts
When I wish I could stop wishing
When I’m into real romance
When I think love’s a fuck, no more
When I’m vile and hateful to you
When like a child I come crawling back
When you walk out like a blow on the head
When my feelings turn to water
When I’ve no more strength left
When I feel like Superman
When I’m invincible and can’t be stopped
When I hear a whole world drop
When I wish I could steer in the right direction
When I want to give so much more
When I want to build and build
When I wish I could read 4 books at once
When I’d like to go to parties
When I hate mixing with people
When I’m watching people eat
When I’m clocking up absence
When I work had and feel fulfilled
When I think it’s a waste of time
When I’m wearing dark sun glasses


Weller, 1981

R.D. Laing

The lad’s album reviewed in the NME, 14 October, 1978. The musicians involved wrote hits for various acts including Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch, and Lulu as well as music for several TV series, amongst them “Miss Marple”.

R.D. Laing
Life Before Death

One of the strangest phenomena of modern times is the psychological condition which we doctors call discophrenia, or the compulsive desire to make records. What makes this malaise so difficult to understand is that, very often, those afflicted have no musical ability whatsoever and come from a totally different walk of life.
David Soul and Tim Curry are well known sufferers. A third is the case before us now. The patient – let’s call him Ronnie – was a well-known psychiatrist, a successful author. Then, one day, discophrenia struck, and Ronnie found himself committed to a recording studio with long-term sufferers, Ken Howard and Alain Blaikley.
In Ronnie’s case, though, the condition was mild rather than chronic. He didn’t try to sing the lyrics, he merely spoke them. But a common symptom of discophrenia – delusions of artistic grandeur – was manifest. Ronnie thought he was a Poet. He wrote formal verse structures, with stilted rhythms and a lot of trite rhymes. He asked Important Questions: “Are we aware we can’t remember who / We are? Does it require great fortitude / To live ataxic and aphasic through / An un-anaesthetised decrepitutde?”
While Ronnie was undergoing a course of ‘headphone’ treatment, Howard and Blaikley were under the delusion they were providing music for his record.
Synthesised muzak – cum – Bach decorated with a variety of inappropriate instruments, toiled away in the background, pretending to be a valid musical contribution. Many doctors argue that severe treatment, even the complete removal of the ‘brain’, is the only way to help such people. Others point to the fact that this treatment has made no difference in many cases – Max Bygraves, Melvyn Bragg, Rhodes Boyson.
Psychiatrists and DJ’s disagree about whether Ronnie was bio-chemically determinded to make this record, or whether it was the result of social conditioning. My own diagnosis points to the combination of an unhappy childhood and living in a late capitalist society which encourages the helpless individual to make money by every method available.
My only hope is that now his discophrenic tendencies have been fully expressed, Ronnie will not ‘regress’ into a recording studio again. If he does so, there is serious danger of a fully-fledged discochosis., in which the patient believes he can sing, dance and star in musicals.
It is believed that nearly one in three people have this delusion at some point in their lives.

Graham ‘Doc’ Lock

Hymns Of Faith

The Crisis album reviewed in Grinding Halt, number 6, 1980.

Hymns Of Faith

Seven tracks on one 12″, 45 r.p.m. has got to be good innit? It shows that, contrary to many criticisms levelled against them, Crisis do know what they are doing – they are using the freedom of their own (?) indie label, Ardkor, to produce good, cheap records to back up their tireless gigging.
The opening track is called ‘On T.V.’ – it is a bit on the slow side, but then all the tracks here seem to lack the energy and vitality and venom instilled in Crisis’ live performance. The vocals too are a bit monotonous, and are somewhere inbetween singing and talking. Nevertheless, this song is excellent. ‘Laughin” starts off slow, with echoing vocals, and speeds up gradually. ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ is not as cover version of the original of that name – thank god, but the use of the same name highlights Crisis’ realistic and unromantic way of looking at things. It starts with the Russian national anthem played on a mouth organ. It is, of course, strongly political it gives a feeling of restrained strength, fades out, builds up again and dies away. ‘Afraid’ starts with a very long instrumental, catchy and tuneful, hardly reminiscent of fear, but just as you start to think it’s an instrumental, the vocals come in, and give more of the right mood.
‘Frustration’ starts side two – deep groaning bass, the drum builds up and the guitar emits sharp flashing bursts like gun fire. ‘Red Brigades’ starts off weak, but builds up in power and speed to a deafening crescendo as the vocalist yells ‘Red Brigades’ over again, faster and faster until it dissolves into chaos. ‘Kanada Kommando’ is probably the most tuneful number here, and is very good, but none manage to reach the heights of their classic number ‘Holocaust’. All their numbers, in fact are fairly derivative, constantly reminiscent of other groups. Their lyrics sound good in context, but on paper look a bit simplistic – “Back in the U.S.S,R/ You won’t get very far/ You say you want to live their way/ But I don’t think it’s gay.”. Crisis are a brave and outspoken band – they know what they want to do and say, but are having a problem in articulating, but they are strengthening into a formidable band. Not to be overlooked.

From Bard To Verse

Clarkey and LKJ in Sounds, 20 March, 1982.

From bard to verse
John Cooper Clarke/Linton Kwesi Johnson
Old Vic

John Cooper Clarke doesn’t so much read poetry as batter your ears senseless with it. Looking like an anorexic refugee from Belsen, he teeters around the stage of The Old Vic with just a microphone (bearing striking resemblance to himself) for company and delights his audience with the now familiar 100 mph torrent of words in action that fall from his razor sharp tongue.
Seldom, I suspect, has the Old Vic born witness to so many four-letter words and scathing irreverence in poems like ‘At Majorca’, (“Where the Double Diamond flows like sick”) and ‘The Day The World Stood Still’, “A sympathetic look at a nerve gas attack.”
Cooper Clarke is sharp, aggressive and above all, very funny. Tonight’s performance was without music. Both he and Linton Kwesi Johnson performed solo, apparently in an effort to become accepted as poets and not musicians, although personally I would never have thought such a confusion likely.
As soon as Linton Kwesi Johnson launched into ‘Five Nights Of Bleeding’ it was obvious that he had never needed the musical accompaniment he has on his records. The ingenuity of cadence, tone and verse construction makes the music superfluous, coupled with a delivery so rhythmic that he managed to create what I would have thought was impossible, a foot tapping poetry recital.
Cooper Clarke’s acerbic wit is contrasted with the overt romanticism of his reggae stablemate. But what is most disturbing about the evening is their joint failure to reach the audience about whom their poetry is centred. Kwesi Johnson’s poems about the riots and his numerous references to his friends in Brixton fell not on the ears of working class blacks, but on an almost exclusively white middle class audience.
Neither did they look like they’d ever strolled down Cooper Clarke’s ‘Beazley Street’ (“where anyone with two ears is a nancy boy”) and one is left with an uneasy feeling that these two heroes of modern poetry have succeeded only in popularising their art for the middle classes. The subject of their poetry, urban working class youth, don’t seem to have got a look in.

Cathi Wheatley

Ruts – Babylon’s Burning

Their epic single reviewed in the NME, 9 June, 1979.

The Ruts: Babylon’s Burning

Good one! The Sound Of The Suburbs (SW London division) comes up with another winner, a zestful mid-to-fast temp rocker in a mould not entirely dissimilar to ‘In A Rut’.
‘Babylon’s burning with anxiety’: the lyric, if not the sentiment, veers at times towards the clumsily hackneyed but any doubts are rendered well nigh voidoid by the relish of the playing and the slightly camp force of Mal Owen’s vocal sneer (you remember sneers, dontcha?).
Mike Glossop’s mainstream ‘rock’ production – something akin to Pearlman’s job on the second Clash album – and Virgin’s track record with this sort of thing (viz Members, Skids) should see it safely into at least the lower reaches of the Top 30.
The Ruts on Top Of The Pops? Don’t Argue!