An aesthete writes in to the Sounds letters page, 8 January, 1983.
Singling Out Bushell
Make your very own Garry Bushell ‘Single Of The Week’! 1. Gather together the four most unintelligent thugs you can find. 2. Pick lots to see who’s going to be the ‘singer’ and give him a funny name, e.g. Boozy, Stinky or Angry. 3. Hand out instruments to the rest. Don’t worry, musical ability at this stage counts as a negative factor. 4. Tell the guys to make as much noise as possible while the singer shouts as many four letter words as he can think of in two minutes. 5. Tape the results on a portable cassette and send to G.B. himself. Seriously though, when is Sounds going to realise that what we want to read about is real musicians with real talent? You’re supposed to be a bloody music paper, after all. – C. MacF. Bieldside Inn.
Here ’tis. the latest, hippest, foulest youth cult shock… Susan Sez: Forget Oi! Forget Anti-Pop. Forget Banging-Bits-Of-Of-Metal-Together-And-Wearing-Bob-Dylan-Hats. Meet SOCIAL SURREALISM. In the space created by the so-called ‘generation gap’ has appeared a poisonous dwarf-child with no love of anything other than casual sex with the disabled and the preservation of its own spotty hide at the expense of all that is decent. The Social Surrealist is a plague. If society is an organism then the SS is a cancer which gnaws at the root of the cerebral cortex and pollutes the blood, sending great streams of foul yellow puss bubbling forth from the nostrils. (eh?-Ed.) With their heads in the clouds of the Da-Daist angstorm and their feet firmly embedded in the bedrock of Bolshevik politics comes this new bred of angry young men and women. They are annoyed and just a little bit mental. They are on the dole and they read the Daily Mirror. Imagine that Joe Stalin smokes pot and lives in Bradford. Imagine that we face a musical form potent enough to at last free popular culture from the strait jacket of ‘niceness’. I wonder if you can? So who are these people? I’ll tell you who they are. CO-CO THE DALEK from bleak industrial Hull – a conceptualist outfit consisting entirely of paraplegics who spit into sardine tins and suck unthawed frozen TV dinners. NUKE BUENOS AIRES
Shouty punk rockers The Chisel are one of the more popular punk bands of the moment. Here’s a couple from ’em live. Good lads they are too. Does the ol’ jam tart good to hear the young ‘uns coming up with songs like Class Oppression.
The rather good Northern Oi band get a review in the NME, 27 April, 1985.
Last Rough Cause Darlington Arts Centre The arts centre is too often a peripheral ghetto of nice middle-class aspiration. A vast modern shoebox shunned by the majority of the citizens it was built to serve. It will feature genuine Northumbrian folk music and the Liverpool poets on the same bill as lectures on the relevance of morality in the modern soap opera – delivered by bearded back street boy made good, Alternative Playwright Adrian Prohlierthanthou. And the poor deprived hordes will boycott the event in favour of Ale-houses, bingo, and the box. All credit then to Darlington which risks its arm in the direction of local bands, One thin one, one fat one and an inbetween one on drums. Last Rough Cause field a democratically weighted version of the tried and trusted Angry Young Stripling formula viz. The Jam, Redskins, Three Johns, New Model Army and the Neurotics. Subjects of the songs trotted very neatly over the ground clearly marked as fit to tread for those johnny-gob-lately punk-rocker type bands more influenced by John Selwyn Strummer’s flabby rhetoric than Joshua Rotten’s artful dodginess – The Dole, Violence, Alienation, Borstal, Getting Glued Up and so on and so on … The tunes, and tunes there were in plenty, shone all the more for being saddled with such ropey lyrics. Big, beefy constructs dripping with real gravy and reeking with the power chord-assisted stink of adolescent sexual frustration. If ever in Darlington – well worth a visit. Chuck Grimshaw
There could be no half measures for a man who’s had more singles banned than Animal’s had hot jaywalking offences. His Legal Lawness took the stage in style to the tune of ‘Je T’Aime’, elegantly escorting a blow-up doll under each arm, and gave the signal for no less than four fruity hours of filth. This cornucopia of coarseness involved Dread, two blue comedians, black and white strippers (no silly racism here), and a Sex Shop owner who dangled weights from his testicles. Truly a cultural feast. Sadly we’ve no printable pictures of this sordid skin spectacular, which Dread somewhat mildly described as a ‘Gentleman’s Smoking Evening’. But naturally such a mega-stag show gave mucho prominence to the Disrobing Artistes. There was French Maid Maggie, cocky Roz, an athletic girl, black Candi who flicked , umm, perspiration at the front ranks (careful with that ‘r’) the gorgeous Sherrie, a coffee coloured temptress in leopardskins, and the delightful Jackie, surely the slenderest member of the tender gender on offer. The comics were of less uniformly high quality. One was a bumbling drunken Scotsman with a bad leg and a monopoly of other people’s used jokes. Joe Goodman was much better, quick, sharp and occasionally rib-tickling. I’d prefer not to discuss the activities of Testicle Teddy. Suffice it to say his, umm, nutty balancing act involved up to 40 pounds AND a chair. Swinging, you might say. fair brought tears to the eyes. Dread himself, surely the real Godfather Of Oi, was in fine form. His massage to you, Rudy, was eat, drink, fantasise and be merry over a saucy soundtrack of Dread standards. He kicks off with ‘Some Guys Have All The Luck’ a tragic tale of missed opportunities and “having to console with an inflatable doll” that’s followed by the semenal ‘Big Seven’ dedicated to Mrs Whitehouse (“one evil old bastard” according to his Dreadness). The carnal carnival bounce of ‘Rubadub’ comes next, if you forgive my phrasing., followed by 31/2 million seller ‘Big Six’. Then ‘Up With The Cock’ takes over, a sprightly tale of early rising in several senses before that cock and bull story ‘Disco Flasher’ lowers standards with Dread sporting plastic flashing equipment beneath his apron. The show climaxes with the jaunty ‘Dread Rock’ and the boastful ‘Big Ten’. Then Dread and the two black girls come back for a mega-strip with several members of the audience involved, naturally details are unprintable. We spent the night at the Cock Inn. Where else?
The Cock Sparrer album reviewed in Hard As Nails, number 4, 1984.
Cock Sparrer – “Running Riot In ’84” (8/10) The history of Cock Sparrer is one of more troughs and peaks than a BBC weather map. To these ears their debut “Shock Troops” was an all-time low from a band who could and should have rivalled the Pistols, they should have been among the greats of punk, but here was punk without the “punk”, anonymous, unremarkable and with my memories of the band, completely unlistenable. After that debacle I thought the rest of the band would join Rooster Booster Gary Lammin in calling an end to the ‘Sparrer project…Fortunately they didn’t. “Running Riot In ’84” sees ‘Sparrer rising phoenix-like to their highest peak yet. This is the band I know and love, and this is the album that could have upped “Never Mind The Bollocks” – had ‘Sparrer not missed the boat – just listen to “The Sun Says”, there’s more spit and venom in ‘Sparrer’s vocal department than Rotten ever had, and more relevance to boot! Likewise “They Mean Murder”, a blistering attack on the gories (sic.) of war. The stomping power of “Is Anybody There” is the sort of stuff churned out by the Purple Hearts a few years ago, and I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the influence. Material of this standard should have ousted the necessity to pad out the album with previously released numbers. Of course I loved “The Sun Says”, “Running Riot” and “Chip On My Shoulder”, but I’ve already got ’em – two of them twice! I’d rather have heard three new tracks of the same calibre as the rest of the album, the mighty “Run With The Blind” for example. Surely they’re not drying up already? Anyway, moans aside it’s still worth it for the new tracks – now I’m just waiting to catch ’em live. OK so it won’t be in London, but there’s plenty of other decent venues outside the smoke, and plenty of sussed provincial skins across the nation yearning to hear this great band, other than on vinyl. Go to it lads!
Seething Wells reviews Cock Sparrer, some punk, and some junk in the NME, 24 November, 1984.
COCK SPARRER Runnin’ Riot In ’84 (Syndicate) VARIOUS Daffodils To The Daffodils Here’s The Daffodils (Paz) TOXIC REASONS Kill By Remote Control (Alternative Tentacles) MARILLION Real To Reel (EMI)
Cock Sparrer are one of the few bands saddled with the kiss o’ death Oi! tag with more than two brain-cells to rub together and not particularly a stunning record, this. Never mind, I will love this band to liddle pieces forever just for the megafantas ‘The Sun Says’ which slays the nation’s fave arsewipe in 15 natty verses. ‘Tis a pity they have been unable to cobble together a few more ditties of the same magnitude. Toxic Reasons have about the same grasp of the need for just a smattering of originality as the Sparrer boys and share the same whirlview (Mrs Thatcher is not a very nice person etc). The Toxic mob are American-type people and thus the hypocritical consensus of opinion that prevails in this paper deems them to be worth more than a sneer, a snigger and a casual toss into the waste basket. After two decades of half-choking on post-Kennedyian glop this writer struggles to disguise her righteous spite under the dubious banner of anti-cultural imperialism. The ‘Daffodils’ thingy is the brainspawn of self-confessed individualist libertarian (hippy) Marcus ‘I’m-only-doing-it-for-the-kids’ Fetherby who uses the sleevenotes to moan on and on and on about how the whole world hates him and wants to blow his kneecaps off. Diddums. This egotistical meemeemee ranting is both boring and an insult to the bands that are to be found lurking in the cramped grooves – some of whom are quite good esp. No Control, Leitmotiv, Demob and the definitely sycadelik-or-wot Unjust, who contribute the track that is at present puncturing these pert and tortured eardrums with probably the best poonk rock recorded for ages but, alas, they happen to be… er… Americans… whoops! In the great tradition of no-nonsense anti-pseud music for the kids on the streets is the incredibly down-to-earth Marillion. Like The Cure, The Banshees and Simple Minds these chaps haven’t got a pretentious bone in their bodies. They are able to relate to the snotty-nosed kids in acrylic anoraks wot ‘ang around on council estates studying for their CSEs in street credibility.