Chris Moore reviews poonk shocksters Anti-Nowhere League in the NME, 30 January, 1982.
“Tell us where yer gonna be afterwards in case we get split up” – mock punks make mock arrangements before the music starts and the mock fights begin.
If “meet me at the barricades, babe” has passion, at least “meet me at the lost punks office on the corner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Rd.” has irony.
No matter, the punks are looking suitably punk, mohicans mirror-poised, studs positioned and stares posed. Only the skins retain any spontaneous sharpness, play cool spectators not fooled spectacle and eye the regular painted leather jackets who’ve turned out for the regular Tuesday night at the 100 Club.
This Tuesday: Anti-Nowhere League – last week number one in the independent charts, this year’s leaders of the panto-punk brigade.
Four old bikers (leather and chains) from Royal Tunbridge Wells appear onstage and get taken for a punk band.
The spikey-tops borrow a trick from last year’s leaders of the panto-punk brigade and play phlegm-throwers; the League steal a tune from an old folkie and trash ‘Streets Of London’.
Animal, Eugene Reynolds with knuckledusters, is the villain (he’s the one you hiss), Magoo is the ugly sister (he’s the one you feel sorry for). The League do a Ramones and do away with variation to play a one-speed, one-track, loop-film set leaving the punks to dance to the drums.
Lobotomised Revillos sing “I wanna get covered in mud” and behave just like Daily Mirror punks should: Little’n’Large without a TV contract, Sid Snot without the fag-throwing antics, low comedy without the jokes.
Old men stave off retirement by slave-producing comic strips for the infants who read the Beano or while away the hours before the day of pensioned reckoning conversing with toddlers in forced falsettos from behind a Punch & Judy canvas tardis as a last resort or . . . play snuff rock to the punks.
Way back, before Malcy dragged Annabella out of the launderette and Julie dragged Stalinist skeletons out of the closet, the punk public had the sense to shun a group of shorn, old wallies playing fast and shitless.
The Depressions never had Straight Music behind them to force the junk down our throats – Anti-Nowhere League are already half way down.
Stick your fingers in after them and chunder.