Their first single reviewed in the NME, 25 June, 1977, by Patrick Humphries. He has them down as a New Wave band.
Motorhead: Motorhead (Chiswick) Hey, wait a minute guys. I know it’s the first time I’ve done this but even I know the difference between a seven-inch single and a 12″ album, and this is … Oh. I see, a 12″ single. Almost had me fooled there. Sounds like it was recorded on a cassette underwater, but the energy cuts through and even makes old farts like me think that maybe the New Wave thing might catch on. Almost single of the week, but I couldn’t fit it on the juke-box.
Andrei Voznesensky was a 60s Soviet poet who was at times both in and out of favour with the regime. In 1963, his fame blossomed and he became “as popular as the Beatles” after Khruschev publicly and falsely branded him a pervert. He toured the world, read to huge audiences. He read several times in London. We liked his suedehead style.
Abuses and Awards
A poet can’t be in disfavour, needs no awards, no fame. A star has no setting whatever, no black nor golden frame.
A star cannot be killed with a stone, or award, nor that kind of stuff. He’ll bear the blow of a fawner lamenting he’s not big enough.
What matters is music and fervour, not fame, nor abuse, anyway. World powers are out of favour when poets turn them away.
The NF on Radio One as reported in the NME, 6 October, 1979.
NF On Radio One Last Thursday’s ‘Talkabout’ show on Radio One discussed the proposition “Pop And Politics Don’t Mix”. Listeners were introduced to guest speakers Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers and Robin Denselow, The Guardian’s rock critic; and to a panel of apparently ‘ordinary’ teenagers Chris, Gil, Tim and Joe. What they weren’t told, was that ‘Joe’ was Joe Pearce, Youth Organiser of The National Front and promoter of the recent Rock Against Communism fiasco. “Jesus Christ! I wish I’d known that,” was Robin Denselow’s reaction to the news; and Jake Burns said he was “a bit miffed” that no-one at the BBC had told them who ‘Joe’ was. Denselow also made the point that “leaders of a black group or RAR should’ve been on” to redress the balance. ‘Talkabout’s’ producer Sue Davis claimed that one of the other panellists, Chris, was a member of RAR. When asked if she did not think there was a discrepancy between ‘balancing’ a random member of RAR with an official spokesman from a racist organisation, she replied “the reason Joe Pearce was on was that I thought both Jake and Robin and the RAR person would be taking one line and it was necessary to have somebody who would take a different line.” Ms Davis denied knowing that Pearce was Youth Organiser of The National Front. He was invited onto the show, she said, “because of his involvement with the Rock Against Communism gig” and she “had no intention of giving publicity to The National Front”. When asked if she wasn’t aware that the NF actually ran RAC she replied “er … yes … but then the Anti-Nazi League spawned Rock Against Racism, Rock Against Sexism and all those things.” Challenged about this (it’s totally untrue), she said, “well, that’s what I understood, that’s according to our research.” She then said she wanted more time to think about what to say and promised to phone back later. When she did, she expressed “surprise” that neither Burns nor Denselow had been told of Pearce’s political connections and thought “there must have been some sort of misunderstanding”. Ms Davis maintained that it was not relevant to tell listeners who Joe Pearce was – “I’m interested in views, not labels” – and that she considered “his was an opinion worth hearing.” Apart from the implication that RAC “balances” RAR, there remains the disturbing suspicion that the public was deliberately deceived by Pearce with the connivance of the BBC. For example, Pearce talked about the RAC gig on the air, complaining that the press had slagged it off whereas a friend of his thought it one of the best concerts in human history, etc. Not once during the programme was there any mention of the fact that Pearce had organised the gig. (Connoisseurs of the ridiculous might also like to know that Pearce thinks the music press “manipulates the minds of the young” and that they conspire with the record companies to conform to “the one (sic!) political line of liberalism and Marxism”). John Dennis of RAR, who first unearthed ‘Joe’s’ real identity, claims that when he spoke to a production assistant at ‘Talkabout’, he was told that the producers did know that Pearce was Youth Organiser of The National Front and that they used him because he had “good, er, strong views.” Dennis though the show “very misleading” and “outside the bounds of balance”. A friend of mine, when I described what had happened, put it more succinctly, “That stinks.” Graham Lock
Danny Baker reviews mod and ska singles in the NME, 6 October, 1979, and fails to find the groove.
SQUIRE: Walking Down The Kings Road (I Spy) SELECTER: On My Radio (Two Tone) ROLAND ALPHONSO: Phoenix City (Trojan) The other day I was talking to my very good friend Ian “I wouldn’t be seen dead wearing jeans” Page as we sat holding balloons on the boot seat of his dolly girl’s MG – we were off to yet another of Zoe Faversham’s little kitsch-ins – when he told me of this group he was producing, Squire. Their single is a guided tour to a couple of London’s most warn-hearted and fashionable spots – Kings Road and Carnaby St – and the 45 does its best to capture the atmosphere of discs made over ten years ago. “Oh no man,” they say, “we’re just applying the best of Mod to today’s life.” Well if the crop of Mod singles are to be a yardstick as to ‘all the best of Mod’ it must be hell in there. OK, live the lifestyle by all means chaps, but f’Christ’s sake don’t make an argument for these pathetic records. The Selecter – who did so well on the reverse of the exception-to-the-rule Specials 45 – release a track of devastating banality. Honestly, I bear no undue venom for the fashion. But ‘On My Radio’ is as sappy a song as ever entered the Eurovision Song Contest. I bunged Alphonso in here because he is, presumably, the sound of the hour but it still sounds its age: creaky. However the originals get by because of our rosy-eyed nostalgic warmth for one music’s fresh unspoiled attack. The outfits that would take ’60s music into the ’80s must be tried on their records and as such are gutless, the sound of cash registers giving thanks to their fathers which Art in Odeon. Finally, I might add, that before you mods start wagging fingers at me in Gasbag, in the true punk tradition, I don’t give a toss what you do, so stay happy, OK!
Poem from the fourth Hackney Writers’ Workshop anthology, Where There’s Smoke, 1983.
A Fashionable Colour
She bought them off the Holloway Road The green dungarees Cheaper because last year’s model Sensible, yet stylish, she liked the effect Good for work, yet fun to wear In city streets or trendy pubs Not on faraway beaches In dug-out trenches Looks good with the gold belt and white jacket Not caked with mud Or soaked with blood Colour of blind obedience Which makes men believe That it is good to put on uniforms A fashionable colour They’re all at it In it up to their necks Sinking and drowning and sick I’m sick of that obscene green So much in demand today.
Documentary on Richard Allen, author of the pulp skinhead books, and more from New English Library by the BBC 2, 23 March 1996.
George Marshall, editor of Zoot!, features and there are exerts read by Ross Kemp.