British poet Attila the Stockbroker’s 2015 in review


This poetry video says about itself:

The Corbyn Supporters From HellAttila The Stockbroker, 15th Oct 2015 at The Blue Boar Hotel, Maldon, Essex, UK.

By Attila the Stockbroker from Britain:

Thursday 24th December 2015

2015 has been a momentous year for me, personally, poetically and politically.

On September 12, I was just driving out of my adopted 1980s home town of Harlow, having done a storming gig there the night before celebrating the recent publication of my autobiography. The news came through that Jeremy Corbyn had been elected leader of the Labour Party by a landslide. I had to stop the car as I listened to his victory speech. Tears of happiness filled my eyes and I punched the air. But I forgot I was still in the car and I punched the roof.

That is true, funny and it hurt but I didn’t care. It was the culmination of a very happy few weeks for me. I’d recently been given the all-clear after an operation for suspected bladder cancer, was about to become a step-grandad for the first time, and the Seagulls had just soared to the top of the Championship.

Corbyn’s amazing, inspirational victory was the absolute icing on the cake. In fact, it was two layers of icing with a great big bar of chocolate on top of those, a chocolate seagull with a red star made of strawberries on its head perched on that and the whole thing topped off with a load of clotted cream and six pints of Dark Star Six Hop Ale. Magic.

Twelve years before, in my song Guy Fawkes’ Table, written as the Labour government voted to join Bush in his illegal invasion of Iraq, I had despairingly written off new Labour — “Aneurin Bevan, your party is dead” — and declared that: “We need a new radical party, but not the Judean People’s Front/Not another small sect but a movement, with the power to change and confront.”

This music video says about itself:

Punk poet Attila the Stockbroker‘s ‘homage’ to New LabourGuy Fawkes’ Table – live onstage at Belper Queen’s Head, Derbyshire, England, on Thursday, 21st May 2010 with backing vocals from David Rovics.

The article continues:

Against all the odds, sneers, put-downs and scare stories from the national media, many of whose so-called journalists’ tongues are a deep shade of brown from constantly ensuring that the rectal cavities of the likes of Rupert Murdoch are as clean as a Singaporean airport lounge, we got it.

And our “new radical party” is the one it always should have been — the Labour Party.

I did 37 gigs between September and December on my autobiography tour, all over England and Wales, and the vibrant new hope I have encountered everywhere has been a joy to behold.

As we know, local Constituency Labour Parties have had a huge influx of members — including yours truly — and a huge grassroots movement is growing. Even in constituencies like my local one, where literally a dead duck could get elected wearing a Tory rosette, the recruits are flooding in.

Of course, the power of the opposition is daunting, not least because some of it is from within the Labour Party itself. But the sneers and jibes of the Tory press are testament to how frightened the tiny, unrepresentative elite which controls it are that their power could one day be taken away and legislation passed to bring true media democracy to this country.

That day certainly can’t come fast enough for me.

I certainly fully intend to spend 2016 as I have 2015, travelling the country and further afield as Comrade Corbyn’s unofficial — indeed unsolicited — social surrealist Minister of Propaganda. With a few reservations, not to be mentioned here — you can’t agree with someone about EVERYTHING, that’s being sycophantic. I’ll be spreading ideas, drinking beer and having fun. Fun’s important, you know! Beery Clashmas and a Hoppy New Year to you all.

Attila the Stockbroker poem on Jeremy Corbyn


This video from London, England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn victory celebrations

12 September 2015

Thousands of Jeremy Corbyn supporters celebrate in Hyde Park the moment he is announced Labour leader, drinking champagne, hugging and chanting Jez We Did.

By poet Attila the Stockbroker from England:

Devil of a time with Jeremy

Saturday 19th September 2015

On the road with Attila the Stockbrocker

LAST Saturday was, quite simply, one of the happiest days of my life. I was driving out of Harlow after an absolutely fantastic book-launch gig in the town where I had been based for much of the ’80s and done all my early gigs when I heard the leadership election result.

I found a lay-by, stopped the car and listened with joy to Jeremy’s acceptance speech, immediately deciding to rejoin the Labour Party — which I’ve now done.

And, later that day, Brighton won to go four points clear at the top of the Championship.

Pretty much perfect, I’d say.

I know there are going to be some long, hard battles ahead and they’ve already started as right-wing journalists descend on Jeremy like a slavering pack.

“Freedom of the press,” my arse — it’s the freedom of three media billionaires to employ a bunch of abjectly contemptible and brown-nosing sycophants to vomit their propaganda more like.

Which is why the Morning Star is so important. It is our voice in this unequal battle and that means that people need to be able to buy it.

It pains me to say that in the first week of my tour I have searched for copies in at least ten different shops in Harlow and Lincoln and not found one copy anywhere.

As I travel round the country I shall continue my research and report back in this column. PLEASE get the distribution better!

Five gigs on the autobiography tour this week: Mitcheldean, Wolverhampton, Walthamstow, Worcester and Stroud. All details at www.attilathestockbroker.com.

And here’s my response to the brainless tabloid frenzy. Let’s take the piss out of them.

Corbyn Supporters from Hell!

Just look at us – we’re the scourge of the land
We’re Jeremy Corbyn’s favourite band
We all eat babies and we’re Commies too
And we’ve all got Aids and we’ll give it to you
With scaly tails and horns and hooves
We undermine everything that moves
You can read about us in the right-wing press
The Sun, the Mail and the Express
So don’t mess with us ’cos we’re Lefties and we smell –
We’re the Corbyn Supporters from Hell!

If your telly goes wrong or your car won’t start
You can bet your life we played our part
If your team doesn’t win or you miss the bus
Then ten to one it’s all down to us
If a dog runs off with your copy of the Sun
And brings it back with the crossword done
If your best mate becomes a Red
Or you find a squatter in your bed
We did it — and everything else as well
’Cos we’re Corbyn Supporters from Hell!

We make your pub sell proper beer
We banned the broadcast of Top Gear
We’re all pacifists, bi and gay
And members of the IRA
We love all asylum seekers
And make you pay for their posh sneakers
We won’t sing songs for the Queen
We think X Factor is obscene
So don’t mess with us, ’cos we’re Lefties and we smell
— We’re the Corbyn Supporters from Hell!

A Nobel Prize winner and a best-selling author are among the economists Jeremy Corbyn has selected to advise him. Joseph Stiglitz and Capital in the 21st Century author Thomas Piketty will develop ideas for the Labour leader and shadow chancellor John McDonnell: here.

Punk music police censorship in English football


This music video from Britain is called Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK 1976.

By poet Attila the Stockbroker in England:

Anarchy in the UK – but censorship in Gillingham

Thursday 5th March 2015

Now my autobiography is finished the gigs are beginning to start again. Today my wife and I are off to Lerwick for my first ever appearances in Shetland – hooray! Looking forward to that, and to sampling the ale from the legendary Valhalla Brewery — an extended report of proceedings will be in my next column.

And I had a brilliant show last Sunday at the Winter of Discontent punk festival in north London with Sunderland heroes and old mates Angelic Upstarts, Welsh anti-fascist legends The Oppressed and Edinburgh’s hilarious Oi Polloi.

Now a bit more from the book.

To set the scene — it’s 1997 and the crisis at my beloved Brighton & Hove Albion is at its height. Our Goldstone Ground has been sold to property speculators, we’re playing our “home” games at Gillingham, a round trip of 140 miles, and we’re second from bottom of the entire Football League.

To try and liven things up a bit, I’ve persuaded club chairman Dick Knight to let me be PA announcer and DJ, playing punk, reggae and ska. It’s Boxing Day 1997, at home to Colchester. A noon kick-off.

We’d obviously had to set off really early to get to Gillingham in time for the game and everyone was a bit bleary-eyed. So, for the first time, I decided to play Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols. It had been on for about a minute when a policeman burst into the box.

“Take that off! Take that off! Now!”

“Why?’”I asked. But I could see that he was really angry. So I did, and put the Clash on instead.

This music video from England is called The Clash – Janie Jones (live at the Belle Vue, Manchester, UK 15. November 1977).

“You can’t play that record at a football match. It’s banned. It’s on THE LIST!”

“What list?” I asked. “No-one has ever told me there was a list of records I couldn’t play!”

“Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it!’ he shouted. “It’s obvious!”

I stood there, the Clash playing in the background, perplexed. It evidently wasn’t “obvious” to me and the fact that he needed to explain further made him even more angry. “It incites violence in the crowd!” he exclaimed.

I thought for a few seconds. “Well, officer,” I said. “I bought two copies of Anarchy in the UK in the black sleeve on EMI Records on the day that it came out in 1976. I have played it and heard it many, many times since and not once has doing so given me violent thoughts of any kind whatsoever.

“I have also been to all 92 Football League grounds and every time I have heard In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins I have had to restrain myself from committing serious acts of criminal damage!”

He didn’t get the joke and, a couple of days later, Brighton & Hove Albion FC received a formal letter from Kent Police banning me from doing the PA at Gillingham any longer.

Dick Knight phoned me up. “I’m not having that, John!” He spoke to them and the ban was rescinded, on condition that I didn’t play Anarchy in the UK again. So I didn’t.

This music video is called The Damned – Smash it Up; Old Grey Whistle Test.

I did play Smash it Up by the Damned and I Fought the Law and White Riot by the Clash in the next couple of weeks though. No policeman appeared in the box. Obviously those three weren’t on THE LIST.

This music video is called The Clash – I Fought The Law (Live at The London Lyceum Theatre – 1979).

This music video is called The Clash – White Riot.

Attila the Stockbroker on his poetry and music


This 27 October 2014 music video from England is called Attila the Stockbroker – Farageland. The song is about Nigel Farage, leader of the UKIP party in Britain. The title is also a wordplay on, and the music is from, the song Garageland by punk rock band The Clash.

The lyrics of Farageland are here.

And this is a music video of Garageland by The Clash. Lyrics are here.

By poet Attila the Stockbroker from Britain:

I’m not counting the years, just the beers

Thursday 18th December 2014

On the road with Attila the Stockbroker

WONDERFUL night at the iconic and atmospheric Borderline club in Soho last Wednesday, celebrating 20 years of my band Barnstormer.

I started off as a punk bass player in 1977 and always thought I’d be in a band. But the bands I was in kept splitting up — partly because rather than standing meekly at the back as bass players were supposed to do, I wanted to write songs and play lead lines on the bass.

Some people, especially fellow punk musicians, didn’t understand this.

So in 1980 I started getting up on stage on my own in the breaks between bands at gigs, shouting the lyrics I’d written for the bands I was in that had split up. Add a stage name inspired by being told “you’ve got the manners of Attila the Hun” during a predictably horrible 11-month temporary stint as a clerk in a stockbroker’s office — the last “proper” job I’ve ever had — and that’s how Attila the Stockbroker, performance poet, came into the world.

For 10 years or so I was happy going solo, but in the ’90s I had a dream of forming a band to combine punk with my own take on medieval music, in much the same way that the Pogues combined punk with Irish music. I found a very sound bunch of local musicians, The Fish Brothers, called as such because of their drinking habits, and my band Barnstormer was born.

To be honest, we didn’t actually start as Barnstormer. For our first two gigs, our debut being at the legendary old Jericho Tavern in Oxford in November 1994, we were called Flounder and our bass player was Captain Sensible, incidentally.

Now, for me, as a coastal dwelling sea angler “flounder” only means one thing — a rather tasty flatfish.

But it was soon pointed out to me that the word had a rather different interpretation, to be completely useless. Since our band were actually quite good, I christened them Barnstormer and so we have been ever since. That’s apart from our first tour of Germany, where we were called Die Erbrechenden Rotkehlchen, which translates as The Vomiting Robins. Yes, I know.

We’ve done over 500 gigs, mainly in Germany. I’ve been a poet over here and in other English speaking countries and a band over there. It’s worked out very well.

Bands get treated much better in mainland Europe, where there’s free food, unlimited beer and accommodation comes as a basic rule of thumb which, any aspirant musician will tell you, is definitely not the case in Britain.

Above all, we’ve stuck together, so thank you to Dan Woods (guitar) and McGhee (drums) and bassists “Baby” David Beaken, Jason Pegg and Tommy Muir for being lovely, creative and talented and, crucially, for being able to retain those abilities on stage after vast quantities of free German beer.

And so to our celebration at the Borderline. I roped in my old mate John Otway to recite his Xmas hit — yes, he’s in the process of having one as we speak, thanks to a dedicated fanbase and the wonders of the internet — and Thee Faction, TV Smith and Blyth Power contributed hugely to a wonderful evening.

Another 100 gigs or so this year. Not quite as many in 2015 as I take some time out to finish my autobiography, timed for my 35th anniversary as Attila.

Hoppy Christmas and a Beery New Year to you all, comrades!