Category Archives: Music

Peel’s Picks

John Peel’s NME Readers’ Poll 1980 selections, from the NME, 24 January, 1981.

Disc Jockey

John Peel


Most wonderful human being: Kenny Dalglish
Event: Birth of my son Thomas James Dalglish Ravenscroft
Creep: Originator of the “Ripper 13 Police nil” chant taken up by Leeds United supporters
Best group: The Fall
New act: Bow Wow Wow
Male singer: Mark E. Smith
Female singer: Barbara Gogan
Songwriter: John O’Neill (Undertones)
Guitarist: Marco Pirroni
Bass: The Shend (Cravats)
Keyboards: The Pig (wife)
Drums: Phil Calvert (The Birthday Party)
Other instrument: Sheena Easton (“Bagpipes, tambourine – she plays on my heart.”)
Single: ‘Totally Wired’, ‘How I Wrote Elastic Man’ (The Fall – joint favourites)
Album: ‘Misty In Roots’
Sleeve: ‘Cravats In Toyland’
Best dressed: John Cooper Clarke
Haircut: Mine
DJ: Allan Dell (Dance Band Days DJ)
TV show: Minder
Movie: Sir Henry At Rawlinson’s End (“Because I work unsociable hours it’s difficult to go to films. I didn’t go all last year, but I’d like to see this one.”)

Siouxsie Selects

Siouxsie Sioux’s NME Readers’ Poll 1980 selections, from the NME, 24 January, 1981.

Female Singer

Siouxsie Sioux


Most wonderful human being: David Attenborough
Event: Devo Live at L.A. Santa Monica Civic
Creep: Bruce Springsteen
Best group: Cramps
New act: Altered Images
Male singer: Lux Interior (Cramps)
Female singer: Aretha Franklin
Songwriter: Lou Reed
Guitarist: Robert Smith (Cure)
Bass: John Cale
Keyboards: Martin Rev (Suicide)
Drums: Mo Tucker (Velvet Underground)
Other instrument: Alan Vega’s voice (Suicide)
Single: ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ (Adam and the Ants)
Album: ‘Suicide’ (Martin Rev and Alan Vega)
Sleeve: Christina’s 12″ of ‘Is That All There Is?’
Best dressed: Nick Kent
Haircut: Headcut: Brian Gregory (ex-Cramps)
DJ: No DJ but favourite radio station is LBC
TV show: Jim’ll Fix It
Movie: Repulsion, Eraserhead, Stepford Wives, Performance, Psycho, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane and Fantasia

Weller Winners 1980

Paul Weller’s NME Readers’ Poll 1980 selections, from the NME, 24 January, 1981.

Weller Of The Year

Paul Weller

Most wonderful human being: Jim from Stiff Little Fingers
Event: It didn’t happen
Creep: Thatcher
Best group: The Beat, The Skids and The Slits
New act: Department S, The Questions and The Nips
Male singer: Julian Cope, Suggsy and Michael Jackson
Female singer: Siouxsie, Slits and The Dolly Mixtures (all three of them)
Songwriter: Slits, Teardrop Explodes, Skids and Questions
Guitarist: Stuart Adamson
Bass: Bruce Foxton and Tessa Pollit
Keyboards: Bloke in Teardrop Explodes
Drums: Pube and Budgie
Other instrument: Saxa
Single: ‘Embarrassment’ (Madness), ‘Do Nothing’ (Specials), ‘Is Vic There? (Department S) and ‘Animal Space’ (Slits)
Album: ‘Killimanjaro’ (Teardrop Explodes), ‘Grin And Bear It’ (the Ruts)
Sleeve: Ours
Best dressed: Steve Marriott circa 64-66 and “Blackburn” (not Tony)
Haircut: none
DJ: Certainly not Peel for a start!
TV show: Minder
Movie: Love On The Dole (NFT darling)

Dub And Poets

Dennis Bovell and dub poets in the NME, 24 January, 1981.

Dennis Bovell’s Dub Band
Commonwealth Institute

“Dub” said Dennis Bovell, dubmaster “you just – do it. Spontaneous. That’s the effect I wanted to create onstage.”
Looked at as a try-out for an idea Dennis has been harbouring for a while – taking a dub band on the road – the evening was pretty successful. The musicians didn’t know who was going to be playing till they arrived at the Commonwealth Institute, and Matumbi’s new drummer, Erroll Melbourne, arrived in London from Birmingham just before the show began.
As with so many improvised, spontaneous events, there were moments where the music degenerated into self-indulgent, meandering jams. But Dennis in particular is an innate musician who can’t help but make music wherever he goes; seeing him play dub guitar is entertainment and education, gift-wrapped. Perhaps those longeuers are part of the deal.
The musicians -Matumbi and Webster and Jah Blake, plus his 13-year old whizz kid brother Paul who shone on keyboards but faltered when switched to bass and guitar, the eloquent James Paxton on sax, and lanky Julio Finn soaring on blues harp, plus Feyoum Netfa on percussion – with a little more thought , the music could have been far harder.
Regarded as a prototype test, though, the results were encouraging enough to convince Dennis to pursue the idea.
The evening also featured the debut of a jazzy, funky reggae band called Rebirth, whose vocalist couldn’t find his level within the solid playing. While not dramatic as yet, they could develop.
But the most enlightening part of the evening were the poets, Imruh Caesar, journalist, film maker and poet, began with his lively well-delivered narrative poems of Caribbeans arriving in England – his central image is of England as one big cold outdoor toilet in comparison to the warmth of the islands. Then an African poet presented his revival of the celebrated African oral tradition with a very moralistic, anti-women fairy tale featuring a snotty know-it-all vulture who tries to rig a royal love affair via the mean advantage of being able to bring the dead to life. If that’s the oral tradition, I’d stick to sign language.
The last poet was T-Bone Walker, whose cameo part in last week’s ‘Wolcott’ was a gem. His poems were funny and emotional, focusing on domestic details like burning bananas in the frying pan; and homely evocations of the destabilisation of high-rise dwellings brought great applause.

Vivien Goldman

Cockney Comeback

Cock Sparrer reform, from Sounds, 18 September, 1982.

Cockney Comeback: Hottest news on the streets of Poplar is the re-formation od premier Cockney street-punk unit Cock Sparrer, who aim for the charts with their new single ‘England Belongs To Me’ in about six weeks, via “a major label”.
It’s a strictly terrace singalong number and all the old Sparrers are i the line-up except for Big gal Lammin, erstwhile Little Rooster, who is now pursuing a solo R’n’B career. Meantimes, former Roosters back-up singer Alison is pursuing a more lucrative career as Alf of Yazoo.
Sticking in Poplar, Terry Adams and his Ancient Briton Oi! disco is now back to Sunday nights by popular request. The move to the Duchess has been put back for about three months.

Redskins Revue

The Redskins did a month of Sundays ay the Mean Fiddler in 1986 with a great mix of turns. Great gigs they were too. This review is from the NME, 12 July, 1986. The Housemartins sneak in as Fish City Five.

Redskins Revue
Harlesden Mean Fiddler

Young, girted and bald was the aim. On the revue’s second night the result was a combination of two, but never all three. Buster Bloodvessel came close. That rotund rascal of drollery, with a little help from his friends, rip-roared his immense proportions through ‘Monster Mash’. ‘My Boy Lollipop’ and more. The Troubleshooters, perverse in the presence of dogma, saw Debbie (Dolly Mixture) don a monstrous wig for their camped-up journeys through the Abba and Madonna songbooks. Seething Wells spouted furiously in a scathing attack on the life and times of Laura Ashley. Why her you may ask. Why indeed? A true contender if only he’d had a haircut.
Wendy May’s sizzling Locomotion sounds kept all alive and kicking, in striking contrast to Lol Coxhill, whose 15 minute homage to Jnr Walker rated as a wonder-cure for insomnia!
Not forgetting the mighty mouth on the loudhailer who led the Redskins through their stomping favourites, ‘Kick Over The Statues’ et al. And a well splendid night was rounded off with some accapella combo by the name of Fish City Five. In fact there was only four of them. , but their harmonies weren’t half bad, especially on some ditty called ‘Happy Hour’ which sounded sort of familiar. One of them launched himself into a ranting preach about Jesus, Karl Marx and himself in the same bed (with clean sheets, of course)! What a strange bunch. Perhaps they’ll be famous one day.
Maybe it was the rumour that Paul Weller was to appear, or perhaps Tom Watt (chump Lofty from East Enders), that drove the hordes on mass to Harlesden for this Artists Against Apartheid benefit on the fourth night. With its Brechtian overtones, the climax of the Redskins revue proved a resounding success.
Angus and Toby from Test Dept. swapped their metal objects for bagpipes and calmed a packed frustrated crowd, unable to move to Stuart Cosgrove’s and Steve Caesar’s fast and furious vinyl funk. The Redskins began their set of covers with ‘Levi Stubbs’ Tears’, and were closely followed by the man Bragg himself. He soon had the audience whipped up a storm with ‘Chile Your Waters’, and ‘A13’, for which he was accompanied by stalwart Wiggy.
And the grand finale, ‘Winds Of Change’, as performed by the Redskins, Dammers, Bragg and others, baldly established the common bond.

Jane Wilkes

Ant Poetry

Poem for Adam and the Ants on the Sounds letters page, 22 November, 1980.

By E.J. Thribb

The invasion of ants walked on shady waters
To the forgotten land
Kissed by the Sun Gods,
Gilding Skys,
Pelting yellow raindrops on the white mountain.
Out of the water,
Across the earth where man once walked
A shadow of ants
Like young warriors
March to their master.
Blankets of night shield their every step
Nothing dare block their path.
Standing inside the clouds
He awaits the coming of the ant,
With war paint and still brow.

John, London


I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher

Top drawer punk single by the Notsensibles reviewed in Sounds, 10 November, 1979, by Giovanni Dadomo.

The Notsensibles: ‘I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher (Redball)

Very silly record of which Mr. Peel is very fond. A bit over-daffy for continual enjoyment on my part, but who am I to argue with such keen tastemakers as Peely and young Bushell. The latter’s commemorated on one of two lunatic flights the flip by the way. Buy this for ‘Gary Bushell’s Band Of The Week’ GB fans.