Monthly Archives: February 2022

Whose Master’s Voice?

Sounds, 7 June 1980 destroys all 45s.

Vi Subversa of Epping anarcho-rockers Poison Girls rang us to report that she had in her possession a copy of a memo from the managing director of HMV record shops, James Tyrell, to all branches ordering his staff to destroy all copies of the Girls/Crass single, ‘Persons Unknown/’Bloody Revolutions’ which is currently No 1 in the alternative chart and selling so strongly it’s at 66 in the BMRB.
She read an extract from the memo as follows: ‘The question is, does the commercial advantage of selling Crass records outweigh the risk of prosecution? I am not prepared to have HMV dragged through the courts and I regret to inform you that all copies of their latest single with Poison Girls on Crass Records should be destroyed or returned to head office where they will be destroyed.’
It went on to say that other Crass records should not be on display in HMV shops. Exactly why Tyrell fears prosecution and for what crime are not clear to Ms Subversa, but she mentioned the reports from Birmingham a couple of weeks ago that an independent record shop there had warned about the laws on blasphemy in connection with another Crass release. On another occasion, copies of their single ‘Asylum’ had been seized for examination in the light (or dark) of the blasphemy laws but the police had concluded they had no case.
As we went to press no comment was available from HMV as the relevant person was “in a meeting.” We hope to report next week.


Clockwork

Poem from Final Solution, number 8, October 1980, a New Orleans fanzine.

Clockwork

Remember what you looked at last
Worry not it’s in the past
Look again see if it’s true
God Damn right you know it’s new
Jet Black Derby Painted eye
84 it ain’t no lie
White jumpsuit bloody eye on sleeve
Ask the judge there’s no reprieve
Search your soul, see what you’ve done
Tell yourself it’s all in fun
Here’s these guys with knives in caves
Look and laugh they’ll leave you lame
What’s it going to be then eh
Sleep and Sleep your life away
Wake up Monday go to work
Or stay in bed you stupid jerk
Make damn sure you walk the street
Smiling at the one’s you meet
Clockwork Orange – shot away
Future 4 years anyday

Mr Carpet Brain

Browned Off, Sugar

Sex Pistols hilarity in Sounds, 7 June, 1980.

Browned Off, Sugar
Wasted Keith Richards reportedly fuming about the Sex Pistols hilarious Swindle film – cos the merry movie includes an admission that Steve Jones burgled Keef’s Cheyne Walk gaff and half-inched a colour telly and several valuable axes …

Olympus Has Fallen

After a stinging review of the Poetry Olympics album Michael Horovitz, Attila, and Swells respond in the NME, 10 April, 1982. Chris Bohn edited the letters page that week.

Trashed Sensibilities

Ian Penman’s alleged assessment of the first Poetry Olympics LP begins … etc., etc.
Michael Horovitz, Poetry Olympics, Bisley.
If you really need yet another Horovitz screed, you can get the rest from Horovitz direct, c/o The Departures, Piedmont, Bisley, Nr, Stroud.

Let’s start with the subject. I repudiate all academic or cliquish “album reviewers” of ‘Poetry Olympics’ review who don’t take the trouble to get their facts right. If I’m a “skinhead” then Ian Penman is a hard hitting, sensitive and informed street level rock journalist, read and respected by thousands of working (and other) class kids all over the country. As for “turning language into a dogmatising ideological struggle” – what an excellent description of the sub-active scribblings of the narcissistic nib person and his friend. Go and “write” for the Henley-On-Thames Gazette, Penman – you won’t annoy so many real people then, and you’ll love the regatta cocktail set, they’ve just your cup of tea. And they like Blue Rondo. Otherwise I might ask X. Moore to use you as toilet paper.
Attila The Stockbroker, RAMP (Ranters Against Morley and Penman).
Is that “real” as in “clogs” or “estate”? Either way your ideal real seems more caricature than verisimilitude – CB.
Don’t listen to them, they’re all sissies – Ian Deadline Midnight Penman


Dear Ian, your review of the Poetry Olympics LP was valid, if a little mis/un informed and negative. You hit on its main failings. “Real” poetry should have soul. I want to get the same tingle in the willy from a poem that Aretha Franklin or Wilson Pickett give, but we got a long way to go yet. Kevin Rowlands and Kevin Turvey (RIP) were/are getting there. The limitations (self-imposed) have just got to be cracked in the right way. The LP isn’t the goods, nor the EP. If your piece wasn’t just a journalistic/careerist exercise then get down to the Lea Centre, Lea Green for the Rant Against Relics Outing on May 1.
Swells.
Ian thanks you for the invite. He would be there but for the fact we all get a day off on Labour Day – CB


Smoky City Girl

From the 1987 anthology Hard Lines 3, poems chosen by Ian Dury, Fanny Dubes, and Tom Paulin.

Smoky City Girl

smoky city girl
I see the pollution in your eyes
touch the loneliness of your nights
and meet the million strangers
who have used your subways

in the morning
you get up cold and cursing
leaving me
just thinking about money and time

Dave Ward

Bullshit Detector

The fragrant album reviewed in the NME, 14 February, 1981.

Various Artists
Bullshit Detector (Crass)


If the Crass/real punk/anarchy axis represents the new hippiedom, then there’s one important difference between the groups on this album and their spiritual predecessors. At least “dropping out” carried the implication of choice. These new advocates of an alternative lifestyle didn’t so much jump as were pushed.
The ‘Bullshit Detector’ compilation would never have been released by a commercial company or, more crucially, by any altruistic independent that cares about the course of modern music. It’s muddy, monotone grind is composed of home-made tapes recorded by groups in the very first stages of an amateurism that is only endearing if it’s linked to inspiration or the spirit of musical adventure. One of the worst legacies of Punk ’77 has been the enshrining of incompetence as an aid to credibility that’s fully reflected on this record. And there’s no experimentation past the most helpless of “real” punk scratchings, unless you count the ample evidence of the worst kind of unselfcritical conceits.
Even at £1.35, it’s still an insult to ask for money for a collection of such ill-conceived and under-rehearsed material. Despite its token pretence of solidarity with the listener, “Bullshit Detector” fundamentally shares the same patronising attitude to its audience as the creatively wasted super-group who carelessly commit their latest indulgences to vinyl, regardless of any merit or effort in their construction.
Since musically ‘Bullshit Detector’ is excruciating, one can only assume that its purpose is political. And there’s plenty of politics thrown about in the lyrics and graffiti reproduced on the fold-out cover, with the circled A particularly prominent. The sentiments expressed resemble the despairing state of early adolescence when the concept of responsibility for your own actions hasn’t yet entered the arena and the whole world seems a gigantic conspiracy by “them” to prevent the individual achieving anything at all.
It’s an impotent parody of anarchy that, stripped of its essence of self-determination, looks like a hopelessly empty option. And although the album is full of references to “them” there is no alternative expressed and no solutions except in scrawled slogans like “Anarchy Peace”, “Stay Free”, “Everything Is Possible”, and “Punk Is Dead, Long Live Punk”.
AS political communication it’s worse than useless, since by calling yourself The SPG Murders or Fuck The CIA, singing songs with titles like ‘Napalm’, ‘Nagasaki Mon Amour’, and all the rest of the indiscriminate schoolboy sloganeering that’s sprinkled over this album, you run the real risk of reducing vital issues to the empty shell of a rock group’s name and the shallow subject of their lame rantings. Sloppy, ill-understood cliches are particularly infuriating and inexcusable when used to describe political issues of these dimensions.
Purely as an unconscious portrait of depression and easily-manipulated incomprehension, ‘Bullshit Detector’ would make salutory listening for a government whose policies are deliberately creating the kind of economic climate in which this sort of hopelessness thrives.

Lynn Hanna


Poetry Olympics Weller

The lead up to the 1981 Poetry Olympics in the NME, 28 November, 1981.

Weller yes, but no Jam at Poetry Olympics

Sorry, but Paul Weller won’t be joined by The Jam when he appears at the Poetry Olympics next Monday (November 30). Last week’s NME news story, reporting that the group would play, was based on some mis-information.
However, Paul will still be there to read his own poetry, as part of the three-day event being staged at London’s Young Vic theatre, starting this Saturday (28) with, amongst others, Linton Kwesi Johnson and John Cooper Clarke.
The Weller set will last up to half an hour, and he’ll be sharing it with two collaborators in his Riot Stories publishing venture, Aidan Cant from Newcastle and Anne Clark from Croydon. Work by both guests has appeared in Riot Stories and December’s Child, and further contributions, including work by Weller will be included in a special Poetry Olympics issue of New Departures.
The Monday session at the Young Vic is now sold out.