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.

World War I commemoration and folk music

The video of this punk rock song is called Siouxsie & The Banshees ‘Poppy Day’ Live 1979.

By Nick Matthews in England:

In Flanders Fields finds a new voice

Monday 13th October 2014

Inspired by John McCrae’s World War I poem, a new folk rendition was a highlight of the Derby Folk Festival, writes NICK MATTHEWS

I had a fabulous time at the Derby Folk Festival earlier this month.

At one point it did not look like it would go ahead after a fire at the Assembly Rooms — however a large marquee in the market place saved the day.

Bill toppers included Steeleye Span, Show of Hands and Kate Rusby.

Lower down the bill however there were some real showstoppers including an outstanding performance from the wonderful Martin Simpson and a lovely laid-back slot from Americans Dana and Susan Robinson.

The most moving performance by a long way however was that of In Flanders Fields by vocal trio Barry Coope, Jim Boyes and Lester Simpson.

They have been stalwarts of the festival for a long time and are one of my personal favourites.

That is not just because they release their music on the co-operative No Masters Voice label.

Their vocal harmony singing is sublime and they combine a mastery of the genre with tremendous wit and biting social commentary.

The folk world generally has produced some of the best musical offerings to mark the centenary of the first world war and as you would expect from folk artists, has done so from the bottom up.

This music video is called The end of “Gentle Men”, written by Robb Johnson and performed with Roy Bailey at the Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-Sea 24.7.14.

Robb Johnson’s Gentle Men, his family history of the war to end all wars, is very good indeed and so is Show of Hands’ Centenary, a mixture of song and poetry from the period.

This 18 June 2014 music video is called Show of Hands – Centenary: In Conversation with Steve Knightley.

Coope, Boyes & Simpson’s is a very substantial piece of work. It is both moving and funny and marks a 20-year collaboration, not only with the history but the place of Flanders itself.

Piet Chielens, co-ordinator of the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, argues that they have been at the forefront of the commemoration in the West Flemish Front region for 20 years.

Their body of work on the war can be seen as a “lieu de memoire.”

Indeed in Flanders, he says, no artistic initiative seems to have been more successfully involved with the theme than that of this trio.

In their show they bring together eyewitness accounts, contemporary poetry and songs specially commissioned for the town of Passchendaele’s peace concerts.

The album’s title, In Flanders Fields, takes its name from the poem written by John McCrae who was killed on the Western Front in the first world war.

Ironically the poem was used in army recruitment and its references to poppies made them an important part of later commemorations.

In the live shows the pieces between the songs are as well chosen as the songs themselves, including quips from contemporary music hall song, extracts from the Ypres Times — the satirical paper produced by the soldiers in the trenches — as well as poetry and letters home.

They give voice to the poor bloody infantry and their contempt for the sergeant majors and officers.

Never afraid to prick the bubble of the pompous they create a rounded image of the war that is deeply moving.

Visiting Belgium over two decades changed the life of Boyes in particular.

He now lives there after visiting regularly since the ’70s, before becoming involved in Peace Concerts Passchendaele, where he made many friends and later made Belgium his second home.

His involvement with the Flemish folk scene began when he released a solo album called Out The Blue.

It was the first thing he had done on the co-operative No Masters label which he had set up with John Tams.

Chielens, who wrote for the Flemish folk magazine Gandalf, had known of Boyes since his time in Swan Arcade.

He reviewed the album which contained a song, Down On The Dugout Floor, that he had written after a visit to play the Dranouter Folk Festival near Ypres.

When Chielens started the peace concerts, he invited Boyes to go over and play with some Flemish musicians.

Once there he was asked if there was anyone else that Boyes would like to involve.

He had just started working with Coope and Simpson and eventually they took part in five different peace concert productions in Belgium and England, performing on former battlefields like Hill 60, among the memorials at Tyne Cot and at the request of the town of Passchendaele for their 80th anniversary commemoration of the long and terrible 1917 battle.

Many of these performances are now contained on In Flanders Fields and there is also an impressive book to go with the two CDs.

At Derby they mocked the Guardian’s description of their work as post-modern folk. More like “post-mortem” they said. Sadly there is nothing post about this work — as we embark on another war, it is strikingly contemporary.

This work is beautiful, funny, passionate and angry and a terrific antidote to much of the jingoism that marks the centenary.

The artists argue that “the more we learn about war, the more important it becomes to sing about peace.”

Get to see them perform if you can and let’s hope that’s what everyone who hears them learns too.

Nick Matthews is chair of Co-operatives UK.