From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Sunday 05 August 2012
I experienced a moment last weekend that I can confidently say was a first in over 2,700 gigs.
I was playing a benefit for the Friend animal sanctuary in Tonbridge, and in the middle of my set a deer called Leroy wandered in.
He just stood there and watched. He didn’t fawn over me at all.
Do excuse me that awful pun. I’ll get on with it now.
This weekend has been rather a different type of affair.
Unless you like wall-to-wall punk rock in a huge leisure complex with about 4,000 variously adorned punks, skinheads, rude boys and girls, crusties and other variants on our subculture, you’re probably glad you’re not.
Welcome to the Rebellion Festival at Blackpool Winter Gardens.
It’s always seemed a bit weird to me that, to many on the left, the term “political song” is more or less exclusively associated with the folk tradition.
Of course, there are some true heroes from that scene, but we punks are very much a part of it too, and some of the great stirrers of the last 35 years are here.
Belfast’s anti-sectarian Stiff Little Fingers are here. So too are punk reggae crossover pioneers Ruts DC from Southall, the mighty Rancid from California and, last but not least, in this fine jubilee year, former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon with Public Image Limited.
I’m not sure how radical the latter is these days though – I’ve heard he has a tendency toward sycophancy.
Despite the fact that many of the acts – yours truly included – can fairly be described as having been around for a while, there is a healthy presence from a new generation of bands, and the audience is truly diverse both in age range and nationality.
I’d say at least a third are from mainland Europe or further afield, and many are half my age. The punk spirit is alive and well.
But it must be said that despite the huge range of bands and performers doing their stuff, I’ve had my favourite moments watching TV – and I don’t mean the Olympics on the Beeb.
I mean the truly awesome TV Smith, one time frontman of seminal outfit The Adverts, now an articulate and inspirational singer/songwriter with a string of wonderful solo albums to his name.
He did two blistering shows here – one solo, one with his backing band The Valentines – and absolutely brought the house down.
If you like clever, subversive lyrics and great tunes check him out. You won’t be disappointed.