Category Archives: Music

Reggae Regular

A short interview with London reggae band Reggae Regular from Telford’s Guttersnipe ‘zine, number 2, 1978. In 1977, when the two sevens clashed, Reggae Regular were the first people to have a record out on the game changing Greensleeves label.

Skinheads RAR

Luton zine Impulse, number 7, 1979, writes after aggro at a Scritti Polliti RAR gig in Hitchen and the NME (what a surprise) blew the whole thing up.

Gareth Dent (Stevenage R.A.R) Looks At Skinheads…..

Trouble one happened when five or six pissed skins became involved in scuffles with members of Stevenage RAR and Scritti. A few cuts and a fair few bruises were dished out & £15 worth of damage done to the PA.
Trouble double happened after the gig – Scritti had just left the college when they were involved in a head on car-crash. Two people were treated in hospital and several thousand pounds worth of damage done – Scritti’s van was written off. It’s plain as day to me which event was the nastiest – yet nasty doesn’t equal newsworthy – the press went to town on the skins no mention of the crash.
The local press talked of rioting/rampaging skins swarming onto the stage & NME (in typical big words) spoke of how the skins “… commenced widespread trashing maneuvers around all and sundry…”
A point I tried to get over in a letter to the local paper the following week, was that only a few of the skins at the gig caused any aggro. As far as I’m concerned talking about skinheads as if they were all the same is as stupid as talking about racial minorities as if they are all the same.
Having said this, I don’t know what will stop aggro at gigs. All I know is alot of skins turned up at our last gig and didn’t cause any trouble.
Some of the Stevenage skins are in a band, The Royal Family, and they will be doing a gig for us.

 

Yee Loi

One of my favourite bands of the last few years, and easily the best for sheer exuberance, is Yee Loi. The band’s name means ‘two girls’ in Chinese and the Liverpool duo bring their Ramonesy best to some great punk songs.
Their videos certainly brought some cheer all through lockdown. They’ve now got an album out, No One Eats For Free’, which you can order here: 1 2 3 4!

Step Forward Youth

Film about black youth in Brixton and Ladbroke Grove made by Menelik Shabazz in 1977. He was born in St. John, Barbados in 1954, and lived in the UK since the age of five. From an early age Menelik watched mobile cinema in his village in Barbados, but didn’t think about making films until aged 18. This was when he was introduced to the first portable video technology whilst studying at North London College. This revolutionary technology, the Sony portapak, demystified filmmaking and made the filmmaking process accessible. This is his first film, made when he was 21.

Snuff

Snuff brought mod harmonies to punk swagger and were one of the best live bands of the time. I was lucky enough to have gigged with them quite a bit. This is their first Peel session, broadcast on 30 January, 1989.

Police And Thieves

Junior Murvin’s single reviewed in the NME, 12 April, 1980, and they’ve managed to find the one person in the world who doesn’t like it. Surprise, surprise; it’s Julie Burchill.

Junior Murvin: Police And Thieves (Island)

A sentimental world away from the Clash Battle Hymn of the People’s Republic cover; lovers rock practically, Joni-voiced Junior sounding like he should be singing “(I Check For) Police And Thieves”. I’m biased because I grew to loathe reggae via sitting through years of it waiting for punk bands to take the stage. They made a fuss about the violence – the endless reggae was much worse. If this version moved any slower it would get hauled in on suspicion.

Punk Pin Ups

ZigZag, No. 82, March/April ’78 had a luridly headlined cover that led to a kick arse editorial from Caroline Coon.

Now The Girls Have Hot Their Hard-Ons The Men Had Better…
(Read This – Or Start Hoarding Pin-Ups)

She’s really something else. Whether her her black leather jacket is unzipped or her nipples stick up through a grubby t-shirt, she’s got the dynamic looks other women want to copy and men drool over. Who am I on about? Gaye Advert pf course. But for arguments sake it could just as well be Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Tina Weymouth, Joan Jett, Pat Paladin, Judy Nylon, Pamela Popo or Viv Albertine – the list is long.
These women have more than their sex and rock’n’roll in common. They’re working in a profession thick with chauvinists. Well, if it’s not old school M.C.P’s then it’s a new breed of men trying to be enlightened – and they’re just as difficult to deal with.
Gaye, you might have noticed, is on the cover this month, Big deal, you might think. So she should be. She’s sexier than Glen Matlock and a better bass player than Sid Vicious. But the liberally-minded ZigZag males are caught in an ambivalent tizzy. They couldn’t just publish and be damned for fear of being branded reactionary chauvinists. And yet, because Gaye is so eye-catching and therefore much more likely than T.V. Smith to increase the sales of this moth’s magazine, they can’t pass up the opportunity to exploit her beautiful face. Billy Idol never causes such problems.
ZigZag’s dilemma and guilt touches everyone in rock’n’roll. Managers, musicians, editors, critics and fans are all struggling with the idea, if not the practice, of equality. Efforts are being made to judge woman rockers on the basis of their talent rather than the size of their tits. Increasingly credit is given where it is due. Last year Poly Styrene, Siouxsie Sioux and Ari Up were praised not only for trail-blazing sexual equality but as lead singers who knocked spots off most other young performers on the scene.
And yet, for all the recent advances in attitude, when it comes to the crunch, the old hypocritical standards win through. Which is what you’d expect when 90% of those in power in the rock industry – company directors, A&R’s, advertisers and journalists – are men.
When nude pin-up’s of Gaye turned up, the rock press treated their publication like some lip-smacking Fleet Street expose. Some weeks ago ancient nude pin-up’s of Debbie Harry were given a gloating half page spread in Sounds. Time Out wasn’t the only magazine to rush into print with nude film stills of Patti Smith. In fact, show me a woman rock’n’roller and I’ll show you the editor who won’t rest until he’s searched the archives and published a nude picture of her. No amount of feminist persuasion from one or two of his staff will prevent him doing so.
And personally, I’m all for his decision to publish. Debbie’s nude pics are pinned above my typewriter. Most of my girlfriends like looking at nude pictures of women. Never make the mistake of believing the myth that women object to nude pin-ups because they are jealous of bodies which might be considered more attractive than theirs. It just isn’t true. And if you think this is a strange if not lesbian admission, then consider any Heavy Metal audience.
Crutch strutters like Status Quo or Ted Nugent perform almost exclusively to male fans. When those rockers strip to the waist, bearing their sweaty chests, they do so for reasons which don’t necessarily have anything to do with homosexuality. Bare flesh, male or female, is very sexy. Men and women enjoy looking at it. Who could be more obvious.
No, it’s not the gratuitous thrill men get from nude shots of women rockers which is objectionable. Nor can it be argued that pin-ups reduce an artist’s chance to be taken seriously – although the fear that they do is real enough.
What really galls women are the hypocritical double standards which still insidiously undermine their efforts to be treated as equals. Nothing is more symbolic of these double standards than the nude pin-up. Time and again they drive home the depressing truth that women can look sexy in pictures but woe betide those who dare act like sexual equals to men in real life.
Mention any male rocker you like, from Rod Stewart to Barrie Masters, and you’ll know they brag endlessly about the females they pull backstage. Very few men condemn the Rat Scabies/Jean Jack Burnell interviews where women are called ‘slags’, ‘boilers’, ‘mindless whores’ etc. etc.
Women who fuck more than one man in their lives are nymphomaniacs or worse. Men who get around are praised. They’re studs.
So what’s new. And further, what the hell! Objectors can step aside. Those who put down sexually-liberated women are in for a lonely future.
Editors who feel the urge to publish female nudes have my sympathy. They should think twice and consider their motives. And then they should publish. If they really feel concerned, all they need do is trim the balance, shift the bias, make the situation more equal, spare a thought for their female readers. Let’s have more male nudes, not fewer female ones.
There must be hundreds of women bored of seeing Joe Strummer in battle dress. We all know that Nick Lowe has a fine line in clean shirts but his bare body looks better. Some fine nudes of Mick Jagger in Performance would be a lot better than seeing him in that dreary velvet jacket again. John Lennon, always ahead, posed nude with Yoko Ono on ‘Two Virgins’. Iggy has done his bit.
And now I pause, trying to recall other male rock stars who have stripped. Very few. (J.J. Burnell doesn’t count, John Peel does.)
Nude pin-ups of male rock stars are rare because when they were poor, they had more lucrative ways of making money than stripping in Soho. Grave digging for instance. It pays far better than nude modelling I assure you! So does bass playing.
Which brings me to the most important point to make about the nude pin-up’s of Gaye, Debbie and Patti et al. They were all taken before these women made it – most likely when they were short of cash with nowhere else to turn.
Publishing the pictures therefore, is not exploiting female sexuality so much as it is taking mean advantage of women under economic duress.
Naturally, Gaye flinches when people rake over her model past, but she’s not moaning about it – nor will she bother to explain why she thinks the men responsible are sexist pigs. The time for exploitation has past. Action is what counts now. Like all the women mentioned here and many more, Gaye’s got her hard-on. Men who can’t take it had better start hoarding pin-ups. Unless they wake up very soon nude pictures are they closest they’ll get to the opposite sex.

Caroline Coon