Anti-Social Workers reviewed in Sounds, 26 May, 1984.
Anti-Social Workers LSE
Don’t let the moniker put you off, negative they’re not. An ASW set is one hell of a punk reggae party mix of thinking fun. The fab four, three blokes and one girl, groove about the stage with dance steps borrowed from Bananarama and toast over reggae backing tapes in a way that recalls the Fun Boy Three. Girl singer Paula looks very French and stunning, Tim the Skin looks so innocent you’d think butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, Mark is a Simon Le Bon lookalike, while Paul’s the real live wire natural frontman and the angriest of the combo. They’re four complete individuals whose diverse personalities combine in a totally complementary manner that makes for a compelling rant ‘n’ rap attack. With songs about race, class, laughs, and underdogs winning, ASW are the whoopee cushion of political protest, while their Mad Professor backings recall a heavier mixture of 2-Tone and classic Trojan. Jerry Dammers would make an ideal producer for their next vinyl outing. At the moment ASW are where it’s at. Along with Billy Bragg, the Redskins, Billy Mayell and The Farm, they’re in the frontline pushing a message of hope and survival. They’re not dogmatists cos they crack their faces too often for that. And they ain’t poseurs, cos they move too well. They’re an iron fist behind a beery grin. I’d prefer to see them playing with a band rather than singing to backing tapes, though I suppose it’s all good training for Top Of The Pops.
From Garry Johnson’s 1981 book Boys of the Empire.
They Wore Black Shirts
They wore black shirts and carried guns
And all their women looked like nuns
Trigger-happy, we knew their names
But we couldn’t place their aims
I knew they lived for Eighty-Four
And believed in civil war
All their cars were bullet-proof
And they never told the truth
I know they recruit all the time
From building sites and the assembly line
Burning bibles and quoting God
To those who are in the firing squad
Something to do with state control
Tapping the phones of who you know
And sending people to work on farms
With barbed wire fences and burglar alarms
They wore black shirts and overcoats
And took away the teenage votes
Sunday drinking had to stop
So we all went on soda pop
And they built walls all over town
And we ripped all their posters down
Think we stopped them just in time
Just before the midnight chime
Talk of a collection of poetry from punks, skinheads and herberts put together by Garry Johnson and Cock Sparrrer’s Gary Lammin in Sounds, 30 May, 1981.
The book never got published and nor did me poem *sob*.
Oi was at its best when it was a mish mosh of working class larfs, anger, and booze. This chart by the West Essex Suedeheads from Sounds, 8 August, 1981 has poetry, reggae, insight, and some decent punk rock.
The second of the Oi compilations gets an interesting review in Sounds, 23 May, 1981. Alongside some decent punk from the likes of Cock Sparrer, The Strike and 4 Skins, and some grimmer gumby bands, there’s poetry from Barney Rubble and Garry Johnson.