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.

Finnish punk rockers with disabilities to Eurovision Song Contest


This video from England says about itself:

21 December 2014

Finnish punks Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN) at the Lexington, London.

After Finnish hard rock band Lordi, who participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, and won (dressed like dinosaurs) …

From the BBC:

1 March 2015

Finland punk band PKN set for Eurovision

A punk band made up of men with learning disabilities is to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest.

The quartet, named PKN, was chosen by Finnish viewers on Saturday and has now been ranked by bookmakers as among the favourites for the contest.

The group, whose members have Down’s syndrome and autism, will perform their 85-second song Aina Mun Pitaa (I Always Have To) at the event in Vienna in May.

“Every person with a disability ought to be braver,” singer Kari Aalto said.

“He or she should themselves say what they want and do not want,” he told Finnish broadcaster YLE.

The group – full name Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat (Pertti Kurikka’s Nameday) – will also become the first punk band to compete at Eurovision.

They first got together during a charity workshop and appeared in an award-winning 2012 documentary called The Punk Syndrome.

This Finnish video says about itself:

The Punk Syndrome – Kovasikajuttu

12 February 2015

A Finnish punk-rock band formed by four mentally disabled guys.

The BBC article continues:

The song deals with the frustration of the rules of daily life, like having to eat healthily and doing chores like cleaning and washing up.

‘Changing attitudes’

“We are rebelling against society in different ways, but we are not political,” bassist Sami Helle told The Guardian.

“We are changing attitudes somewhat, a lot of people are coming to our gigs and we have a lot of fans.

“We don’t want people to vote for us to feel sorry for us, we are not that different from everybody else – just normal guys with a mental handicap.”

They are 5/1 to win the contest, according to Betfred, making them third favourites behind Italy and Estonia.

Heavy metal band Lordi gave Finland its only Eurovision win to date with Hard Rock Hallelujah in 2006.

The UK’s Eurovision entrant will be named on Saturday.

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.

Punk rockers unfairly linked to fascism on British TV


This music video from Britain says about itself:

Cockney Rejects- Oi! Oi! Oi!

15 September 2008

Cockney Rejects are an Oi! punk band that formed in the East End of London in 1979. Their song “Oi, Oi, Oi”, from their album Greatest Hits Volume 2, was the inspiration for the name of the Oi! music genre.[1] Their biggest hit record in the United Kingdom, “The Greatest Cockney Rip-Off”, was a parody of Sham 69’s song “Hersham Boys”. Other Cockney Rejects songs were less commercial, partly because they tended to be about hard-edged topics such as street fighting or football hooliganism. The band members are staunch supporters of West Ham United F.C., and their hit song “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” was a cover of a West Ham supporters’ chant, which had been sung since the 1920s.

The violence depicted in their lyrics was often mirrored at their concerts, and the band members often fought to defend themselves (often from supporters of opposing football teams) or to split up conflicts between audience members.[2] Jeff and Mick Geggus (who are brothers) had both been amateur youth boxers, and had fought at the national level. Cockney Rejects expressed contempt for all politicians in their lyrics, and they rejected media claims that they had a British Movement following, or that the band members supported the views of that far right group.

In their first Sounds interview, they mockingly referred to the British Movement as the “German Movement” and stated that many of their heroes were black boxers.[3] Jeff Turner’s autobiography Cockney Reject describes an incident in which the band members and their supporters had a massive fight against British Movement members at one of Cockney Rejects’ early concerts.[4]

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Punks Oi-rate over Channel 4 TV show

Saturday 17th January 2015

PUNK band Cockney Rejects hinted that it may sue Channel 4 after its music was used in documentary Young Angry and White to illustrate a supposed far-right association with the musical genre.

The longstanding group is reportedly threatening legal action as it feels song Oi Oi Oi was being associated with fascist violence.

In a recent interview with Louder Than War magazine Cockney Rejects guitarist Mick Geggus said he was so angry when he found out he “nearly choked.”

“My band and I have fought narrow-minded people from both sides of the political divide for over three decades now, and we have the scars to prove it,” Mr Geggus told fellow musician and music critic Joe Whyte.

“If it’s the last thing I do, I will not let Channel 4 get away with this slanderous act.”

The Cockney Rejects have been known to physically confront members of the neonazi British Movement who show up at their concerts.

UK Subs song Warhead was also featured despite having a a Japanese guitarist and a history of rejecting fascist politics.

This music video is called UK Subs “Warhead” (live).

Reminds me of my own UK Subs concerts memories …

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!

Deep sea snail named after British punk rocker


This music video from England is called The Clash - Live Manchester 1978. Songs: I’m so bored with the USA – London’s Burning.

And this music video from Manchester, England is called The Clash – Capital Radio / Janie Jones / What’s My Name / Garageland – October 1977.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Joe Strummer has deep sea snail named after him

Alviniconcha strummeri live beneath the surface of the ocean and apparently ‘look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s’

A species of deep sea snail with the bold, spiky aesthetic of early Clash fans has been named after Joe Strummer. Alviniconcha strummeri are golf ball-sized invertebrates that live around 2,000 metres beneath the surface of the ocean.

The Strummer-indebted snails are one of five new species identified in a paper that was published in the journal Systematics and Biodiversity. “Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment, we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon,” Shannon Johnson, a researcher at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel (via Exclaim).

Only strummeri have been named after a musician: the other alviniconcha species get their monikers from things like research facilities and gastropod experts. “The name highlights the ‘hardcore’ nature of Alviniconcha snails, that inhabit the hottest, most acidic and most sulphidic microhabitats at Indo-Pacific hydrothermal vents,” researchers wrote. “The name also recognises the surface of Alviniconcha shells: the spiky periostracum resembles the fashion of punk rock bands.”

Alviniconcha strummeri will now vie with Amaurotoma zappa, named for Frank, in the collections of malacologist music fans. Those who are not simply interested in snails may also pursue exemplars of the isopod Cirolana mercuryi, named from Freddie, Jaggermeryx naida, an extinct “long-legged pig” named after Mick, and Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, a spider who is apparently looking for a Heart of Gold.

22 December will mark the 12th anniversary of Strummer’s death.