Tag Archives: Oi

Honey Bane – Zig Zag

From Zig Zag,1981

honeybanezigzag81picsmall

“Yeah alright mate. ‘Ow yer doin?” Jimmy Pursey grinned down at me, patted the offended organ and pushed a pretty, but crumpled little girl at me. “This is Honey Bane, I’m ‘er producer and she’s gonna be a fuckin’ star.” If she survives this lot. The doors opened and changing into a surfboard
I was swept inside leaving Jim and his protege hopefully about to ride the next crest.
When I next met Honey she had just signed a five year contract with Zonophone records, She looked completely different. Taller than I remembered with a Marilyn Monroe body. She assured me she was the same person, “But I was only sixteen then.” Of course, the ravages of time.
With Honey was her glamorous mother who could easily have been mistaken for another of Zonophone’s bright hopes for ’81. (After all Debbie Harry is old enough to be Honey’s mother). Or a croupier, I thought. “My mum lives in Cornwall (obviously not a croupier), and it’s taken about five hours to get here, so I’m very tired and I must look a mess.” She didn’t. In fact British Rail grime ought to be marketed. “I haven’t had more than about
six hours sleep in three nights. But we’re staying at Jimmy’s (Pursey) this week-end.”
Oh that’s alright then. The last time I went to Jimmy’s, the swimming pool was still full at 5.00 a.m., Sham could be heard in Guildford and the only person sleeping was some bird pissed out of her brain in the back of Dave Parsons sound proofed Roller.
And what were the plans following their quiet weekend in the country? Honey: “We go straight into the studio and start laying down tracks for the first single and possibly an album. It was so exciting today signing the contract. We all sat around this table in the lawyers office, it was like Knights of the Round Table.”
Did you drink mead then? Or was it just boring old champagne?
“Coffee.”
Zonophone’s A&R man jumped in quickly. “We like to put it into effort instead.” He then added limply “But if you like I’ll go and get you some champagne.” Oh god, decision time. Champagne or effort Honey? Orange juice in cracked cup seemed to be the compromise, the buck without the fizz. Record companies heady days are over — and that’s not a bad thing. An awful lot of bubbly has flowed into parasitic and talentless guts. Nevertheless, orange juice in a cracked cup . . .
Honey Bane was discovered by Jimmy Pursey about a year and half ago, although discovered is disputable. “He wouldn’t like that” said Honey giggling. “When I was about fourteen I started writing songs. I’d written a couple and I went to the Marquee and I saw this bloke and thought that’s Jimmy Pursey. I used to follow Sham at the time and I walked up to him and said ‘excuse me are you Jimmy Pursey? He sort of looked at me and went ‘yeah’, and I gave him these two songs. Then it was kind of ‘hello’ and that was it at a couple of gigs. Then about a year and a half ago I went to Hersham and he was playing football with some kids on the Green, and he came over. I started going to studios and things with him. He helped me a lot with things. Like getting myself together in the first place. Become a better me. Present myself in a better way than what I was. At one time I walked around thinking I looked fantastic with (giggle, giggle) great black eyes and different coloured spiky hair and everything. Swearing, carrying on and causing trouble and he said you can still be outrageous but you don’t need to make such a thing out of it. I wasn’t being myself, I was being what I thought people wanted me to be.
He helped me with the predicament I was in at the time. He’s a wonderful bloke, he really is.”
Honey’s ‘predicament’ was picked up by the media, naturally, and she doesn’t care to talk about it much now. “It’s not important anymore. I ran away from home at fourteen and was put in care. I wrote this song called ‘Girl On The Run’ which I recorded and a small label put it out. Nothing happened except that the press picked it up and did a big thing on it. Then that’s when I met Jimmy.”
Honey’s mother smiled carefully, obviously delighted to have her daughter back and temporarily helping run the small, but exotic, hotel she looked as though she might have. Honey mooted that if, and when things started to happen, they would have to move, but not to London. “I don’t like London to live in. It’s too kind of rushed. You can’t think straight you know. But then again I don’t like to be too secluded. I enjoy being at home but at the same time I don’t like being out of the way too much. So ideally for me, if I have to be in London, I’d like to be sort of outside of London.”
Hershamish? Why not? Everyone else seems to live there, Jimmy, the Upstarts, the Rejects, Kidz Next Door, Jimmy Edwards, Sham, er . . . Mike Read.
Honey agreed. “Yeah, I really like Surrey. I could also live in Birmingham. That’s a lovely place.” I would have thought Brixton was just as lovely — and nearer. We sipped our orange juice and swopped cigarettes. I noticed Honey’s mother’s beautiful nails. She had to be a manicurist. I wondered if there was more calling for that sort of thing in Birmingham.
Honey — real name Donna — is practical about her career, she is aware of the pit-falls and false values, thanks no doubt to Mr. Pursey, and is certain she will never change, however successful she may become. “I couldn’t just drop my friends ‘cos I was famous. Most of my friends are in the business anyway. I can’t seem to relate to other people, they want to know all about what you’re doin’, then knock you.”
Did your school friends envy you?
“Yeah really. I was always writing poetry even when I was very young and I suppose they didn’t understand.”
Do you find these experiences have helped your writing or can you write to order?
Honey was emphatic. “I have to be inspired by something. My music’s changing, getting better. I’m learning how to get across my ideas more. I’m not as punk as I used to be.”
Simon wanted to take pictures, Honey stood up, tightened her belt and said she didn’t want anything too sexy as that wasn’t her image. Perhaps he should photograph just her shoes in that case. Actually even they were quite sexy. Red suede affairs on thin heels, clinging seductively to her black stockinged curvaceous foot. Oh fuck it, photograph her spot. She must have a spot, everyone has a spot haven’t they?
“You can come to the Studio if you like on Monday I’ve invited all my friends.” Honey said to me before going out into the square to find a suitable tree for her spot. (Juxtaposition is a keyword in photography). It might be fun. Jimmy’s sessions are always tres amusant. We spend a good deal of the time throwing toilet rolls at each other and spilling coffee over the engineer and desk. The Tape Op. brings in fish and chips, a few of us drink Guiness and Pursey impervious to it all churns out the hits.
The tape ground to a clanging halt and Honey’s mother looked visibly relieved, reminding me of an air hostess whose plan had safely landed and who could now tell the passengers that a wing had dropped off earlier and it had been touch and go.

Joan Komlosy

Oi fans might be interested that she also sang on the Angelic Upstarts Two Million Voices album and was going out with Cockney Rejects guitarist Micky Geggus for a while.

Chestnuts

Five-O were a punk band from Sarf London that formed in 1978. They had one of the better tracks on the 1982 ‘Oi! Oi! That’s Yer Lot!’ compilation: Dr Crippens. Their singer Simon also did some poetry gigs.

We Don’t Sit Round The Fire Roasting Chestnuts Like We Used To, Do We?

We don’t sit round the fire roasting chestnuts like we used to, do we?
What? I said
Are you talking to me?

She nodded her head and went on:
Those chestnuts and fires and all those old songs
Where have all those days gone?
Where did the country go wrong?

I thought to myself
That’s just what I need
I’ve only come out to buy
the latest Cockney Rejects LP
and I’m getting her life history

I switched on her deaf aid
and said, Listen to me…
But before I could speak
her withered hand gripped my thigh
her head hit my shoulder
and she started to cry

I said, Listen luv, before you die (pause)
just think about that old fireplace
and the rotten old chestnuts
they threw in your face
Don’t you remember how you roared
“I’m not eating mine
I want the man-next-door’s”

Then you were too young to be heard
and as you grew up you were taught
not to say those words
and that’s why you feel sad
because you didn’t get anything
you should have had
And, y’know, that’s your own fault

Ah well, she said
This is my stop
I’ve gotta get off now
And off she got
And I couldn’t help notice that she had a very naughty glint in her eye

The next day I heard
that they’d knocked
on her door
You’ve got to move out
We’re sorry you’re poor
but you know the law is The Law
We know you’re not all
that quick
Here, let me help you
with your walking stick
(She motioned him to come close)

And said
“You’re always picking on young people, aren’t yer?”
And the Wak! The man in the blak mak she put on his back
And she roared just like she’d once roared before
“You can do what you like
Cos I’m on me bike”
And in the best of health she died

And millions of people read the story, shook their heads and said
Nutter
And they also said
We don’t sit round the fire roasting chestnuts like we used to, do we?

Si of Five-O
modsort

Rose Of Victory

Blitz were one of the hardest sounding of the Oi bands. In 1983 when they split into two different bands, a new romantic version of Blitz and Rose Of Victory it became quite the in thing to laugh at people with Blitz tattoos, who the week before had seemed quite tough and to question ’em as to their liking of Duran Duran. This letter in Punk Lives from a disgruntled punk captures the moment well.

Blitz_punklivesletter

roseofvictory

Nick Toczek Interview

A 2016 interview with Nick Toczek by Vic Wellock, with the added bonus of some questions suggested by Greg Bull.
Nick is a poet who was gigging before the Ranters but was crucial to many of the Northern Ranters in terms of support, editing, and giving them somewhere to gig. He promoted many gigs in Leeds and Bradford and the interview touches on these. He’s also a string of children’s books behind him, as well as published poetry, political books and even appeared on The Oi of Sex with Burial backing him.
He’s a top lad and is still gigging today. Quite right too.

Nick: I’m a bit excited at the moment. I recently found out that a pirate called Pew (or Blind Pew) in Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ was based on my six times great-grandfather named Pew. He was married twice and had 25 children and he raised them all. Naturally, with that many mouths to feed, he was a bit of a bugger. He lived in Whitby and he used to go out at night and steal his neighbour’s land by moving their stone markers back from his boundary. The locals were always complaining about him. He did bits of smuggling and bootlegging. And whatever else he could. I think he managed to be a low enough level crook that they didn’t want him hung; they just knew his circumstances and wanted him to stop pinching their land. I’ve been written into a book with my dog, I die in the first chapter, but I think that’s a nice family tie, that we’re both characters in a book… The dog survives by the way… I’ve brought some poems and stuff, have you got any questions? Shall I just start with some general stuff? If you are ever to make any money out of writing, you have to diversify. I write music columns, and music reviews for R2, as well as doing talks in schools. I travel the world visiting schools. I’ve visited 50 countries: India, Switzerland, Rangoon (now Yang gon), Myanmar, Shanghai, China, North Korea! I still make sure that I write every day.

When did you start writing? I was given a diary as a Christmas gift when I was about six or seven, and I quickly knew that I wouldn’t write in it every day as a diary, I knew I would get bored, so I wrote poems in it. I still write every day, and I have all my old books. Throw nothing away! I have everything I’ve ever written, but I write on a laptop now. I have boxes and boxes of manuscripts. Make sure that you get involved in things. I’ve been very lucky, as well as persistent. You have to make networks. People remember you, too, if you write well. For example, I also write factual books. I wrote ‘Haters, Baiters, and Would-Be Dictators’, which was published by Routledge in April 2015. I’m re-establishing myself as an adult author: children’s literature tends not to be taken as seriously as adult stuff, so… I’m in the process of writing another book. The publisher I initially approached about my new book said that my name sounded familiar. I told him who I was, and what I was writing and he asked me if I wrote ‘Haters and Baiters’, and he offered me a contract there and then. I thought that had gone off the boil, because I hadn’t heard anything for months and months and then a contract landed on my door step to sign. So, I’m working on that a lot at the moment. I’ve got a 30% acceptance rate, and that’s really high. You just have to know who you are sending your stuff to. There is no point sending a childrens poem to a historical publishers. And if you do childrens work, don’t send your work in with illustrations, you double your chances of your work being rejected immediately. Twice the amount of editors, and they both have to agree, you see? Like I say, I still write a bit of poetry every day. Even when I am dog tired: you never know what you will write. I got my most recent poem from watching it rain late at night on a sea front. I was going to go to my room, but I thought I’d write a couple of lines at the table. (ed: Nick then recited several poems and then continues) Do you know I’m also a magician? I have thousands of magic tricks and I practice all the time. I used to have a lodger in Undercliffe, an Asian lad called Steve… He started me up with it. He turned out to be Dynamo’s dad! I practise magic often too. Anyway, alongside all that, I still do interviews and group talks like this: I like to think that it’s worth it if you inspire just one person to keep going. Plus, I enjoy it. I really like getting out there. Questions?

Do you think poetry is better to music? I only recently did the stuff with Threshold Shift. I never did poetry to music before. But it was good, I really enjoyed it. It was something new, and a good laugh. It’s all up on the internet, I didn’t put it up, but you can find all sorts on the net. That’s about four years ago now.

Is it more fun to perform with a band? It’s different. When I was doing stuff in between bands at punk gigs it was different again. My early stuff was pretty shouty then, but it fit really well with the bands that I was sandwiched in between, so it worked well. But I was in danger of being called a one trick pony.

Do you think poetry is inherently anarchic? No. The earlier stuff was stream of consciousness, and it was pretty passionate, but you still thought about the words you used. Poetry is not inherently anarchic, because every word has to carry the same weight – this takes a lot of work. A lot of organising. Some poets are anarchic, but I work and rework everything. I like that re-working of words, especially when I realise that I have to cut something that I thought was intrinsic to a piece, and then you reject it and it changes the whole thing.
I have a much more considered voice now. I’m still passionate, but when you choose your words more carefully, you start to choose the textures of your poems. You can still get away with the ‘in your face’ stuff in song lyrics. No, it’s not anarchic, it’s artistic. I sit in front of a scene and I paint it in words. It’s all true. We notice things no one else sees. I’d say I’m still anarchic, and recently I’ve been doing a lot of activism with 38 Degrees. It works: people power still does change things. I’ve been involved in a few campaigns.

Why did you hand write/design the flyers for your gigs at Adam and Eves? I couldn’t afford a typesetter! I just drew them up because I had no money. Then I realised that when I had money, I couldn’t afford to make changes… in the end, I kept them as preference. I could change them really easily if bands cancelled or moved times. Plus, I enjoyed it.

toczek oi

How did the relationship with that venue begin? They got in contact with me! They gave me £50! They wanted to fill the pub midweek. I didn’t make any money: I made sure the acts got paid. That 50 quid helped a lot, in the early days.

I was going to ask if you made any money. No! We lost a lot of money, we made some later on, but we lost a lot.

Why did you put so many gigs on? Because no one else was putting gigs on. It got to the point where people would contact me to do a show. We put a lot of bands on. And we had an open house at that time, people stayed over every night. I think we must have hosted 7000 people over seven years. And I really liked the bands; we had loads of people on before they broke through. Sonic Youth. Sisters of Mercy… we paid them £80 quid; for them and support…

Why did you stop promoting gigs? We couldn’t afford to keep going. And we’d done it.

Who was your favourite band? Wild Willie Becket, the front man of the Psycho Surgeons. He was also the Shadow Minister for Health, in the Monster Raving Loony Party. His funeral was the last show. We raised some money and released “Kingdom Come, Bring It On”, on lime green transparent record. We had his ashes mixed in with the vinyl. So you’re playing Willie if you’ve got one. I don’t think anyone knew. The Fall were supposed to be really difficult. But they just knew what they wanted and wouldn’t take any mess. We lost hundred quid putting them on, but they were brilliant. Mark E. Smith came up to me later on and said I hear you lost some money. I asked him who told him that and he just asked me if it was true. I said it was, and he gave me 120 quid, the twenty was for a beer and a curry. He said he really enjoyed the gig and the crowd, said it was one of the best gigs he’d done.

Who had the largest crowd? The Fall. Bad Brains, they had a good crowd. Bad Brains stayed at mine for a week. Good people. We had a wall that all the acts had signed. It was the last thing we painted over when we left.

Who was your favorite gig? Toxic Reasons – an American band that I’d recorded with, Subhumans – we toured Canada together. We made a lot of strong friendships.

Who was the most fun band? Toy Dolls were fun but King Kurt were the best! But they made a right mess of the venues. We had to pay for proper cleaners to come in after they had been on. They wrecked everything. The fans brought flour and animal guts, and everything got trampled into the carpets. Stuff was up the walls, it was great.

Who was most miserable? The Meteors. Paul Fenwick pulled a knife on me. John Curd was their manager, he’d also managed The Rolling Stones, and he was well known… he poured a pint on a mixing desk after an argument with a sound engineer one time. That’s what they were exposed to. It turned out alright in the end. We seemed to reach an understanding me and Paul. They came back anyway! They wanted another gig within three months. Obviously, we discussed new terms. He said sorry for pulling the knife on me when I saw him next and thanked me for putting him on again. He said, “I enjoyed that second show. You’re alright. Thanks.” He threw a tour t-shirt at me, and then went back off into the dressing room. Paul was a man with no social graces.

Which bands do you wish you had booked but didn’t? Almost too many to mention! In 1976 I went to see The Clash in Birmingham, Barberella’s: there was 20 people in the audience. You couldn’t get near the following year. They were a brilliant band. I wanted to put on everyone I’d seen. The Ramones, Talking Heads, The Slits… The Prefects, later The Nightingales… I remember their gig very well. I don’t know how he managed to keep singing but he did. He [Robert Lloyd] had a mic and a piece of paper in one hand, and he was pushing his glasses back on. He wore a shirt and tie, the tie was loose and his shirt was ripped. There was this fella in the audience who was spitting at him. You know, cos it was a punk gig. He kept spitting. Bob told him to fuck off, but he just kept spitting, so at one point, bob had a piece of paper, the mic he was singing into and this lad by the scruff, all in one hand – every now and then pulling him in so he could push his glasses back on, then with his other hand he’d punch this fella in the face. Ha!

NickToczek