British poet Attila the Stockbroker, nazis, anti-nazis, and Donny Osmond


This music video is called Attila the Stockbroker-Live @ Folk Fusion Festival-Paradiso-Amsterdam-Acoustic Set -12.02.2013.

By poet Attila the Stockbroker from Britain:

Anti-fascism, followed by canine passion at the Marquee

Tuesday 20th January 2015

On the road with Attila the Stockbroker

AS I mentioned in my last piece, I shall be doing very few gigs in the first half of this year since I’m completing my autobiography. It’s to be published on September 8, the 35th anniversary of my first gig.

So, instead of contemporary tales from the road, some of my next few columns will contain a few excerpts from it — stories you literally couldn’t make up.

Here’s one.

I’d always enjoyed playing the Marquee Club in London, the history-sodden rock venue in Soho’s Wardour Street, sadly now closed.

I did a show with my good mate John Otway there in the early ’80s and remember a tension-filled and storming night in 1989 when I supported Sunderland’s legendary Angelic Upstarts.

This music video says about itself:

Angelic Upstarts – The Murder of Liddle Towers

Classic debut single from the Upstarts, championing the cause of the Birtley boxer who died after a night in a police cell.

The Attila the Stockbroker article continues:

The previous year they had been attacked by fascists at a punk festival at the Astoria in London and the gig closed down, with the fascists vowing that the Upstarts would never play London again.

Anti Fascist Action laid down the gauntlet at one of the capital’s most high-profile venues, the fascists didn’t show and the gig was fantastic and a truly memorable night.

But the next offer I got to play there would be rather a contrast!

A Monday in January 1991. Phone rings. Can’t remember the bloke’s name after all these years, but the conversation is still vivid.

“Is that Attila? Hi, I book shows for the Marquee. Donny Osmond is supposed to be playing here tomorrow night but he’s pulled out.

“We don’t want to shut the venue for the night and we’re looking for someone to do a set. Would you be interested? We’ll pay you and give you as much beer as you want and as big a guest list as you like.”

I burst out laughing. “Well, I think I know the first verse of Puppy Love. Sure, I’ll give it a go!”

The deal was simple. Everyone who had booked to see Donny got a refund and the chance to watch Attila the Stockbroker for free. I had one day to ring round as many people I knew as possible and tell them that I was Donny Osmond’s understudy at the Marquee the following night —and there was free beer for anyone who made it along.

Unfortunately, this was of course way before the advent of social media, so I couldn’t put an event page on Facebook. I certainly will if it ever happens again.

The gig was sold out. About a third of the audience decided to take up the Marquee’s offer, which meant that I was confronted with a fairly large number of very disappointed ladies in their mid-30s — it was 1991, remember — plus a smattering of male partners, several of whom came up and told me that they were very pleased at the prospect of spending an evening listening to Attila rather than Donny. About 20 Attila fans turned up and got the promised free beer.

I started my set but by the end of the first 15 minutes half the Donny fans had walked out.

But the rest of them really enjoyed it. I got an encore. Yes, you’ve guessed it. I’d worked out the chords to Puppy Love on the mandola and memorised most of the words.

The rest is history. Never-to-be-repeated history, mind, but history nevertheless.

This music video is called Donny Osmond – Puppy Love (on Top Of The Pops) 1972.

7 thoughts on “British poet Attila the Stockbroker, nazis, anti-nazis, and Donny Osmond

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