Suedeheads, young mums, and grannies in London, 1971. Battersea’s Doddington and Rollo estate – a vast, high-density development built by Wandsworth Borough Council in the late 60s to house some 7,000 people.
Suedeheads, young mums, and grannies in London, 1971. Battersea’s Doddington and Rollo estate – a vast, high-density development built by Wandsworth Borough Council in the late 60s to house some 7,000 people.
Song from the always wonderful Graham Fellows’ 2018 album Weird Towns.
After an earlier Skins Against Nazis feature there’s kick back in the letters page of Sounds, 30 September, 1978. Eddy Morrison was a well know Leeds fascist and punk fan.
I read with both interest and amusement the full page blurb you did on ‘The Skins against the Nazis’. Obviously this new organisation with its hundreds of thousands of followers deserves a full precious page of your equally precious news print. It is a pity you could not have used four pages or even six pages, or perhaps a whole issue on the subject of ‘Skins against the Nazis’. It is obviously the most important development of the 20th Century, nay, since civilization first dawned.
I was glad to see that some skins are not going to be used anymore by the evil National Front and that they have been saved from this by the SWP, who will of course, not use them either!
Next week I suggest a lead article on ‘Men with Bushy Beards against the Nazis’. It is all great fun isn’t it? Since everybody is against the Nazis who are the Nazis?
E. Morrison, 36 Richardson Road, Leeds 9
The Eyes of a Foot Soldier
“Little ghetto boy, playing in the ghetto street, watcha gonna do when you grow up and have to face responsibility?” Little Ghetto Boy, Donny Hathaway
The following piece is a brief journey through an appreciation of punk and Oi! music as a fledging teenager to becoming obsessed with unblemished soul music as an adult. I can place a connection between the musical genres through honesty, integrity and rawness. The genres are both real street music that comes from the heart.
‘Oi! the Album’ was released in 1980 and led the way for a musical force that had been brewing away since the breakthrough in the U.K. of punk rock in ‘77. Sounds scribe Garry Bushell had been the flagbearer of the proto Oi! bands that led to him compiling the album. In ‘79 there was no bigger active punk band in the UK than Sham 69, The Ruts had just broken through, the Upstarts credentials were rising and the Rejects had shook the punk foundations with ‘Flares and Slipper.’ The substratum for Oi! had strong roots for new bands to take inspiration from to forge their own directions. These second wave of punk bands took a more direct rawer route from the streets than many of the art infused ones of the first wave.
I never swayed too far from punk between the years of ‘79-83 but Oi! music for me in 1980 meant unity, honesty, identity and the voice of my generation. It was also to me the spirit of the Carry On films, Henry Cooper, Minder, The Harder They Come, maverick footballers, the Beano, Irn Bru, On the Buses, Lager Tops, Slade, Budgie, jumpers for goalposts, Bronco Bullfrog, Tiswas, Fish Suppers, Roy of the Rovers, The Clash, Choppers, Dick Emery, Desmond Dekker and Kes. It represented me and my life!
When ‘Oi! the album’ was released I’d just broken through into my teenage years and had been hanging on every word written by Garry since making a decision to buy Sounds over the Enemy in 1979. At that time my family had recently relocated from England to one of the five Scottish new towns called Livingston. We moved there in the summer of ‘78 from a tight knit Nottinghamshire mining community where punk was of minor significance compared to Livi, which had a thriving punk scene. I found punk to be exhilarating, inspirational and soon became an avid follower of all things punk.
Making that decision to buy Sounds early in ‘79 was easy for me because they championed punk bands, both old and new. Forty three years later I’m still searching to hear new sounds, but with a much broader musical taste than I had back then. I produced a fanzine in the summer of 1981 called Oi! Division. I was aged 13 and was influenced by a variety of fanzines of the time that included Rising Free, Ready To Ruck and No Solutions. Growing up in Livingston was hard during those years because all new towns are built on three stages; building houses, attracting a population and then job creation. We moved there between stages 1 and 2. We all had to find our own entertainment and producing a fanzine was my escapism of boredom.
I had a bit of help through Garry and Lol Pryor supplying me with bands contact details. I’d then make telephone calls to the bands to either interview them over the phone or we would agree that a questionnaire would be sent. I included interviews with the 4 Skins, Blitz, The Partisans and local band On Parole in the first issue, which struggled from a poor print. Garry included a small piece on it in Sounds, which included payment details. I then started to get a healthy amount of postal orders and hard coinage via my local postman from across the UK, Europe and the USA. My postman once asked my dad what was in the sacks of letters that he was delivering. I also sold a fair few locally, mainly to friends at school.
The first ever interview that I did out in the fields was with the lead singer of a local punk band called On Parole. I interviewed Liam in Rabs Bar, Deans, Livingston. That was also the first time that I got drunk and also led to me getting involved in the band on a managerial basis for the next two years. At that point I was 6ft and had begun to outgrow schooling. I was looking for a different education and my attendance in my final two years was sporadic. I had a lot of fun over these years, but on the whole that’s a different story.
I thought with the second issue of the fanzine that I wanted to widen the horizon a bit to cover a broader selection of punk bands, so I changed the name to ‘A Way of Life.’ I decided to use drawings rather than images that I’d acquired from Sounds, like I had done with ‘Oi! Division.’ The overall print was much better because of this. The first two fanzines were printed A4 folded and saddle stitched. I included interviews with The Business, Infa Riot, The Last Resort, GBH and Peter & the Test Tube Babies.
The second issue of ‘A Way of Life’ and third fanzine was printed as an A3 folded and saddle stitched affair. I upped the ante with this one and used a local offset printer, which meant that I could use photos with the interviews. Overall it’s probably the most professional publication out of the four fanzines I produced. I included interviews with Theatre of Hate, The Outcasts, Blitz, Discharge, Chron Gen, Vice Squad, Conflict and more.
The final fanzine was printed in the first half of 1983. I’ll say that things were changing musically and I wanted to further widen the coverage with the inclusion of Twisted Sister, Big Country and Laurel & Hardy alongside The Business, The Exploited and On Parole. I used the name of ‘Streets Where We Live.’ At that point the family had been uprooted to Edinburgh, because I was getting into too much trouble. Punk and Oi! had been my survival mechanism in Livi, but in Edinburgh the street sounds had a different vibe. Things were evolving rapidly with many bands breaking up or heading into a new musical path. Blitz rocked Oi! music with the electronic vibe of ‘Second Empire Justice,’ Red Alert dipped their feet away with ‘Tranquillity’ and the Upstarts came out with ‘Still From The Heart.’ The 4 Skins with Roi folded their cards after a 3 date tour in spring of ’83, The Business split and Infa Riot jacked it in after a fabled short span as The Infas.
I spent six months living in Auld Reekie but decided in the summer of ‘83, aged sixteen that I would move back to England to live in Manchester. I spent a year living in Burnage, a long time before the Gallagher’s brought it to the attention of the world. I moved in with my eldest sister and this saw the biggest swing in my musical taste. I signed on for the year and got to see the Upstarts as many times as my giro would allow me, but my musical taste was further evolving. I remember being round a friend’s house called Doyle and reaching for his copy of ‘Bad Man,’ and he snatched it back saying that he hadn’t played that for two years.
The music of the streets in Manchester was heavily focussed on the emerging electro sounds mixed in with a strong soulful vibe. It was a slow evolution, but I started appreciating Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Whodini, Afrika Bambaataa, Newcleus, Shannon and D Train. I also saw the Redskins for the first time and they blew my mind with their soulful sounds. They were the gateway for me to start appreciating The Four Tops, The Temptations, Jackie Wilson and soul music. I eventually dug deeper with soul music, whilst favouring the little label singers that never got a break they craved for.
My argument is that I can place a connection between Oi! music and soul music. Singers like Roi Pearce, Mickey Fitz and Roddy Moreno sang every note like they meant it with great gusto and passion. Obviously tonally and the melodies are very much poleaxes apart from singers such as Otis
Clay, James Carr and Lee Moses, but the bond is tight with the working class roots. I’ll take any independent singer who gives their all over any major label puppet that has little or no substance. It’s always been the same for me right back to when I first got into music. I’d rather champion the underdog rising through adversity than a heavily backed major label dud! The rare soul scenes of northern and modern soul are comparable with the working class roots of Oi! music with both music and also fashion.
I never walked away from Oi! music, because I’ve kept my eyes on how the scene developed. The widening of the arena globally is something that Garry and Lol should be proud of. The fact that bands like Rancid, Agnostic Front and the Dropkick Murphys salute Oi! music, whilst touring globally to large audiences is a good thing. The fact that The Business, The Last Resort and Cock Sparrer are appreciated across the world is an amazing achievement through some difficult times. That’s not forgetting the newer bands that provide a different magic to the original punk and Oi! sound with Hard Wax, Lion’s Law, Crown Court, Slalom D, Himnos, All Out Attack, Bishops Green and many more because the list is endless. I’m finding myself listening to more punk and Oi! band’s these days because of the last couple of years events. The working class really need a voice after a systematic attack of suppression. There’s life in the old dog yet!
“In unity there’s each other and your friend becomes your brother and in the tyrant’s heart will be a lesson learned” Solidarity – Angelic Upstarts
The Bridge House and Skunx both close, as reported in Sounds, 11 September, 1982.
Last Orders: So farewell then to the Bridge House. The best pub in the world has sadly closed its doors to live music. Wiping away a tear, we here at Jaws raise our glasses to Big Tel Murphy, who gave most mod and Oi bands their first break.
Not such a fond farewell to Skunx, a good idea that sadly went wrong early on. Instead of promotoing punk/skin unity, it got riddled with arsehole skins who only wanted their own kin in. Puerile punk-bashing was the biggest fad going.
Letter about casuals in Sounds, 26 May, 1984 from Anti Social Workers singer, Paul Wellings.
I have nothing against the “soccer casual” music and clothes movement. In fact most of my mates wear the gear when we go to see West Ham and it has style. But I really must have a go at the “under five mentality” from the younger elements of the once glorious ICF, and other well organised crews like Pompey Glory Boys, Scouse Scallies etc.
Cos these kids dress to kill (sometimes literally) in all the Tacchini, Fila, Burberry and Head gear, they seem to think the movement means giving our own kind a good kicking or sticking Uncle Stanley in some ordinary geezer’s kidneys.
I remember all the times I’ve followed West Ham (way back to the original ICF, Rejects, drinking, having a crack etc), and Spurs and Luton Town and have gone with people to actually watch the game. And I follow these three teams (even though I was born in Wapping, East London and should by rights murder anyone who doesn’t support West Ham), cos I love their style of football, cos I’ve moved to different areas and cos most of all I hate the mindless tribal, territorial warfare similar to the Krays vs the Richardsons.
At least when the old bill get hospitalised, it’s a welcome change from attacking the other teams’ fans. Some, like the ICF, have the style and organisation to ruck without getting nicked (but most of it is brainless tribal war) and others have more suss to know the filth are the real enemy.
It’s a pity anger was not saved for the rich scumbags in the directors’ boxes treating football like a monopoly game for real, or the nazi wankers bringing racist shit into our grounds (it would be great to organise leafletting on same scale as we did at Upton Park, White Hart Lane etc in the ANL days – where we got a terrific response). I’m very much a lumpen prole.
It’s better to attack these sort of people and enjoy our game again than thrashing some working class geezer like me or you, who lives down the road or up North, cos their team is different.
Soccer casuals, if it means anything, means pride in your background, going to the football with your girl, laughs, self-respect, style, soul, lover’s rock, funk etc. Like Mod and Tamla, Skins and Trojan reggae, Punks and the Pistols, Casual both music and clothes, as Garry Bushell said, comes from the streets and not the industries, and for those into it, it hasn’t meant reconsidering your mortgage to buy the gear – cos the black market is booming. (Ask Scotland Yard! Look sharp, think sharp!) – Paul (Geezer) of reggae rockers the Anti Social Workers, Wapping.
Letter to punks, skins, teds, whatevers in Sounds, 12 August, 1978.
I’d just like to point out to the assorted knuckleheads who write to this column that live music is there to be watched, listened to, appreciated or disliked. It is not an excuse for the hordes of morons from housing estates, high-rise blocks or other working-class backgrounds to assemble and drunkenly set upon true music lovers with no consideration for either the band or the audience.
Punks, skins, teds, hippies, headbangers – all these so-called categories have their black sheep. To this lot all I can say is grow up and think about behaving responsibly – what you do is neither clever nor brave. Whether you’re a punk, skin or whatever, enjoy your type of music and let others do the same. Enough said? – P. Bennett, Hull
The Ruts in Sounds, 16 June, 1979.
The Ruts Bleed For You
It was going so well too, that was the point. So everyone assumed it was part of the act. I must admit I was a bit surprised, having seen the Ruts a fair few times without witnessing so much as a sprained pinkie, but here we were halfway through their set in Exeter’s Routes Club and Malcom’s forehead is gushing blood like a miniaturist Jellystone Park geyser. So he thinks he’s Iggy Pop or what?
The Ruts were halfway through ‘It Was Cold’, a comparatively slow, atmospheric number, when Malcom starts banging his bonce on Dave Ruffy’s cymbals and then staggers back to the mike, the blood trickling freely down his face. He looked stunned but it ties in so well with the music it must be part of the act. Look, he’s spitting now – he’s alright.
The crowd respond and his dapper black dicky is suddenly sodden with spittle mixed with liberated corpuscles, the sickly blend drip-drip-dripping even onto those hampton-hugging blue jeans, while one of his braces dangles loosely by his left knee-cap. As the song ends he winds down towards the floor in perfect synch — see, told you it was part of the act — then springs to his feet and collapses again like the proverbial pole-axed
ferret, HEY, he is hurt, ain’t somebody gonna . …
Too many nurses kill the patient, so sensibly people leave him in the hands of closest to him. Manager Andy and a couple of Ruts rush him away by ambulance to the nearest hospital for what turns out to be a nine stitches job. Later Malcolm tells me he didn’t even know he was bleeding. He was that out of it — post-flu antibiotics and alcohol go together like Enoch and Idi — that he thought it was sweat.
Now you can scoff if you like but I believe him, not only ‘cos he was a little umm, strange afore t’gig but because the Ruts have got where they are by solid heads-down
no-nonsense hard work and publicity stunt jiggery-pokery at this vital stage of their career would do’em no good at all. . .
THE RUTS came together one easy summer day (hotsy-totsy) when the two sevens were rashly clashing to mucho musical amusement all round. They were Malcolm Owen (now 24) vocals, John Jennings (aka Vince Segs; now 23), bass, Dave Ruffy (now 25) drums, and old lag of the band guitarist Paul Fox (now 28).
None of them had particularly prestigious pedigrees. Foxy and Dave had previously, performed in a 9 piece local circuit outfit called Hit And Run, Segsy (the lowest of the low) was a H&R roadie and retired postman, while Malcy had left school at 15 for six months as a tool maker before slipping into fronting bands and related rock culture enterprises (wink, wink etc — Man Of World Ed).
In January this year (1979) Sounds chronicled their early history (modesty prevents me from telling ya I writ it, natch) which boiled down to 16 months of relentless gigging, a lot of that time in RAR-type enterprises round the West London suburbs with Southall based reggae band Misty (thus the Ruts are known as a Southall band even though Dave and Segs live in Forest Hill and Foxy resides in Northwood).
1979 has marked their rise from relative obscurity to a degree of national recognition with a Top Of The Pops slot in the near future I’d wager. In January their first single ‘In A Rut’ / ‘H Eyes’ came out on the People Unite Southall co-op label and reached no. 82 in the national chart, selling over 20,000 copies and paving the way for two Peel sessions, a Kid Jensen session, and a signing with Virgin in April.
Last week the band’s second single ‘Babylon’s Burning’ materialised and set off on its chart bound course with a Ruts elpee scheduled for July recording and September release. Seems like things couldn’t look brighter for the boys.
EXETER ROUTES club before the aforementioned ugly incident is no exception, with the eight numbers they manage to complete giving ample evidence of their scope and strength, from the full-frontal powerpunk assault of ‘Society’ through the relatively restrained menacing rock atmospherics of ‘Sus’ to the stabbing guitar and reggaematic feel of the newest number ‘Jan Wars’ written about April’s anti-Front incidents in
Southall (of which, more later).
Just for the crack I hang about for the endearingly atrocious Aunty Pus and a hugely enjoyable if chaotic account of cranked up really high punk vaudeville from the dear old Damned and then head back to the hotel with Virge the Snap and Dave, the Virgin chap. Cept the hotel makes Fawlty Towers appear to rank above Panorama in the sensibleness stakes.
First off there’s the “I heard that. Pardon?” porter, star of such exchanges as “Four cheese sandwiches.” “What sort of damages?”, and even worse a madcap acid casualty on crutches following everyone about in a most pecular manner demanding to know where the party was.
The party, if you can call it that, was eventually found in Malc and Segs room. Malc nursing his stitches and Segs telling of previous encounters with our resident Sandy Richardson, over assorted sandwiches and a modicum of lager while Virgin PR Dave in his red coat tried to organise nobbly knee contests (this ain’t Rutlins y’know).
Sad to say my dears your jolly journalist was not at his best tonight, suffering as I was from high temperatures and assorted viruses (all tagetha: ‘AHHHH’) and so pretty soon it was my bed rather than my cassette recorder that I was reaching for.
Such a nice bunch of lads the Ruts. Rather than wait to see how I was in the morning they had the dithering porter lead them into my bedroom for a 3 am raid. All I can recall is calling them all the see you next Tuesday’s in the world and waking up at nine with a lampshade on me head.
Over breakfast the wretched Vincent explained they’d been looking for his escaped woollen budgie Baama (a creature possessed of legendary powers far too obscene for family reading). I said arseholes and arranged to meet ’em back in London at 2.30 for (trumpets, flares etc) The Interview.
This was a mistake. When they eventually hit Covent Garden at 4.30 I was just nipping back from Daddy Kool’s. “Alright Garry” hollered Malcolm before collapsing in a crumpled heap of failed humanity outside the office doors, while Paul led the others in obscure boozing songs. A backseat littered with drained scrumpy bottles told me everything I needed to know.
Inside the office that luvable card Mensi of the Angelic Upstarts was waiting for me, so I had him sober them up sergeant-major style, and led the lot up to our luxury conference room where eager secretaries made detailed notes of our every word. And now dear reader, exclusively in Sounds, we present the Ruts And Mensi in THE CONFERENCE ROOM TAPES.
Hard-headed., no-nonsense interviewer: Tell us about the contract. Malcolm: “It’s the usual Virgin eight album deal. We’ve had a £25,000 advance for the album.”
Segs: “Cept we took it to a solicitor and cut it down from 26 pages to about 20 so we don’t have to ‘ave coloured vinyl, or 12 inch singles, or a designated producer if we don’t want him. We took loads of things out.”
And you’re doing the first album in July?
Malcolm: “Yeah. It’ll be most of our established set, all the original numbers from the early RAR gigs till now. We ‘ave got a lot of other stuff held back which we’re rehearsing as well, obviously there’ll be a new set very soon, but the album will be all the familiar stuff cept we’re gonna do em sooo well…”
Foxy: “Also on the reggae tracks we’re gonna bring some of Misty in. Misty’s guitarist and their singers. And the punkier tracks, the faster raw tracks, we’re gonna do in an eight track studio rather than go in a big studio.”
Malc: “Our producer Mick Glossop (Lurkers etc.) is great. I personally think he done really well on ‘Babylon’s Burning’, he knows how to get the best out of us. Fr’example on ‘Society’ he kept making Paul redo his guitar bit at the end. First he said ‘You trying for a job in Deep Purple?” then ‘I think you’re a bit of a sap’ then I think you’re a wanky guitarist’ and Paul’s gone mad. After about 8 takes he’s so wound up he’s wanted to hit Mick and he’s done such an aggressive solo . . .When he came out Mick goes ‘I love you’.
” Dave: “We’ll be producing the album with him, the Ruts and Mick Glossop together.”
Still ill interviewer: “So you think ‘In A Rut’s’ gonna chart then?
Mensi: “In A Rut, who the fuckin ell’s he? Fucking hell Bushell fucking jump out that fucking window will you, you’re fuckin’ daft. What were you fuckin’ doing last night?”
Malc: “I can see ‘Babylon’s Burning’ in the Top 40, and of course we’ll do Top Of The Pops. If you don’t do it you must have some sort of hangup about something. . .”
Dave: “The point is that’s all the majority of people see, where else are they gonna see us?”
Mensi: “We wanted (the Upstarts) wanted to do it and they wouldn’t let us on.”
SHIFTING the ground to last Saturday’s edition of Radio One’s ‘Rock On’; apart from Malcolm saying in Southall they used to think a racist was someone who runs fast, you made the point that you’re not a political band, you deal in observation.
Malc: “I’ve got no big political intentions…I just voted Labour to keep the Tories out. The observation, see, where I come from and where you come from we see the same things and what you see has to come out in your lyrics,”
Paul: “Like the RAR gigs. We don’t do that for any political reasons. People who are racialists are blockheads, they just don’t think right, and we’re just totally opposed to people who think in that stupid way. We’re for the right to be a human, to stand against apathy.”
Segs: “We do get a few NF skin’eads come to our gigs but Malcolm can handle them, a few at a time. They ‘ave a good time dancing to the reggae an’ that and they go ‘ome and think ‘”angabout” ‘Alf of ’em it don’t mean nuffin to. You see NF demonstrations and the coaches pull out and I’d swear it’s the same people get out every time. They go from town to town. There’s only a small number of ’em.”
Mensi: “Yeah but they’re a fuckin’ dangerous minority.”
Agreed. Let’s look at some of the things your songs are observing then. Like the new single.
Malc: “Everyone’s singing love songs again so I thought why not go ”BABYLON’S’ BURNING/ You’ll burn in the streets/ You’ll burn in your houses”. It’s a short, simple statement and it all leads to one word anxiety. Everyone’s anxious. Everyone’s worried.”
Seqs: “Again it’s just an observation. It don’t provide any remedies. All we can say is come along to our gigs and enjoy yourself.”
They all start singing; “D’you ever get the feel’ing someones watching you / sussing information about the things you do / watching you from some shitty spyhole / listening in on radio control / a media controlled by hate / you’ve been programmed far too late”.
It’s a big brother song everytime you get pulled up more goes down about you. They know so much about you . . .”
Paul: “And I tell you it’s gonna get worse now Maggie Thatcher’s in. The Tories are in government for five years right? In five years time its 1984. Five years to build up.”
Segs (out window): “BASSTARDDSS! BASTARRDDSS!”
The Ruts song ‘Jah Wars (Southall)’ looks at another angle or state oppression it was written after the anti-nazi clashes with the police when the NF held an election meeting in Southall last April during which the Special Patrol Group hospitalised Misty’s manager Clarence Baker and wrecked the People Unite headquarters (An Spg constable is currently being interrogated over the death of anti-nazi demonstrator Blair Peach).
Malc: “Again ‘Southall’ is observation. I got there that night and wrote down everything I saw. I know a guy died but I didn’t know him. But I know Clarence – he got smashed up really bad.”
Paul: “They smashed the People Unite place. 50 of them went in there with truncheons, shields, the lot and they beat up nurses, lawyers anyone who was in there.”
Malcolm: “They had pictures of Clarence and Chrissy — anyone they considered to be leaders — and they went straight for them and beat fuck out of ’em”
Paul: “There was an Old Bill beatin’ Chrissie who’s a white guy, right, and Buf one of our roadies said ‘Don’t ‘it ‘im he’s got kidney trouble.’ So they turned him over and kicked ‘im in the kidneys.Bastards. They’re inhuman Animals.”
Mensi: “Aye, and it’s gonna get worse. It’s gettin’, to the point where you’ve just got to make a stand against the bastards.”
All: “Yeah, right.”
So what’s the answer?
Paul: “The answer lies in humans. That’s the only answer.”
Dave: “Everyone who reads this has got to make a decision for themselves.”
Segs: “I’ll tell you what the answer ain’t. It ain’t the Socialist Workers Party. There ain’t a straight political answer …”
Malc: “It’s down to humans, individuals.”
Paul: “All we stand for is basic human rights, for everyone. Whatever their creed or colour.”
AND HERE endeth the major discussion as more scrumpy passed around and talk turned to the boys loud demands to say hello to Phil Lynott and their plans to launch their own label called Ruttoons if/when they get successful. So they can give bands a break like People Unite gave them. Then Mensi brought up the philosophical paucity of Public Image Limited as he’s wont to do, and that lead into loads of related topics.
So I made my excuses and hurried to my sickbed. Mensi apparently later kidnapped one of our messengers and stole her away to South Shields (see Jaws) while the Ruts drowned themselves in scrumpy and were put out with the milk bottles by the cleaners in the morning. And to think they’ll be on Top Of The Pops by the end of this month.
I ask you, is that any way for popstars to behave???
My old mate Gavin Watson had a book of his photographs published in 1994. The photos have become iconic.
Gavin, myself, and John Cooper Clarke were all involved in Plan B’s film ‘iLL Manors’. At the premiere screening I was sat next to Gavin who laughed, loudly, every time something horrible happened on screen. Which was frequently.
There’s a decent little film of him talking about photography and being a skinhead.
Southend On Zine; Fifty Years of voices and stories from Southend’s
alternative press and fanzine underground Kickstarter Crowd funder
launch March 2022.
With over 200 pages and featuring a wealth of interviews and dozens of
beautifully reproduced full-page covers and original artwork, this book
by Graham Burnett is both a history and a celebration of Southend’s
often forgotten ‘alternative’ and DIY culture, as told through the pages
of the fanzines, people’s papers and community magazines made in the
town between 1971 and 2021.
Mention Southend on Sea in casual conversation to anybody that doesn’t
live here and it’s not unlikely that the response will be a
condescending snigger about Kiss-Me-Quick hats or else some quip about
Essex Girls, White Van Man or reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex. But
there’s always been more to Southend than the often grotesque
caricatures of diamond geezers, wannabe gangsters, fake tans, white
stilettos and tacky seafront nightclubs and boozers.
With interviews and oral histories covering seminal titles from the last
50 years such as Alternative Estuary, Alive and Kicking, Amon*Spek, Arse
Oats, Avant, Bang, Cheesy, Flowers and Beads, Grrrl in Print, Hard As
Nails, The Heckler, Iliad, Level 4, Managed Retreat, Mushroom, Naked
Tongue, Necrology, New Clear Product, New Crimes, Noisy!, Precinct
Press, The SLAB, Strangehaven and Trawler, to name but a few, and
reproducing a wealth of covers, artwork and photographs throughout,
Southend on Zine is both a history and a celebration of ‘alternative’
Southend, as told in their own words by those who were (and in many
cases still are!) there; the self-publishers, counterculturalists,
community organisers, activists, agitators, punks, sussed skins, young
folk rebels, independent promoters, street artists, jester minstrels,
anarchists, feminists, avant garde festival organisers, graphic
novelists, indie entrepreneurs, poets, film makers, mental health
activists, MCs, free-jazzers, allotmenteers, Essex Girl Liberationists,
bioregional explorers, riot grrrls, psychedelic dream makers and all the
other change agents who have in one way or another been involved with
Southend’s ‘peoples press’, and have contributed to the story that makes
this town buzzing, diverse, innovative, radical and amazing…
Please support here