and here we are again - with no future in England's dreaming. this 'coalition' running every thing into the hands of their public school educated friends companies - sell it off cheap and reap the rewards. so as i drift through this green and [un]pleasant land - i return to the original DIY aesthetic - PuNk RoCk. Scrawled sleeves and instructions as to how to release a record. [Or in Macolm's case - a manifesto - how we'll miss him. Next question.] This was the beginning for the kids like me - not that i was part of a scene [heavy on the music scene]. I was only 7 when the PiStoLs imploded - so i'm not going to claim that I was at the Manchester Free Trade Hall and witnessed it all.
But something was lit in these pitiful industrial towns - that would lead to youth congregating round 'the clock' [insert other suitable central town monument - where young uns can meet] and scaring the 'old' folks with their sub cultural two fingers waving in the air.
Not that the old were scared - you see they'd fought in wars - so a couple of pierced - bondage clad - post punk teenagers were hardly the nightmare vision of England that had really been fought and defeated. To be honest - i always thought PuNk was a fairly individualistic ideology chiming happily with the advent of Thatcher's Britain. In fact if you ever have the chance to watch PUNK:ATTITUDE by Don Letts - that's the mantra repeated ad nausea - except for Wayne Kramer - but i'll save the MC5 for another post - another time.
I mean - Siouxsie Sioux - 'You could wear what you want - it was liberating' - you know give me a fucking break.
And this is where we came in - seeing this country changing into something that will be alien to me - the dismantling of education, the NHS, public space and the capitalisation of every element of existence - brings me to those 'sparks' that lit fires in young scunthorpe hearts.
My brother and I used to walk to the town centre - on a Saturday - early morning - less people around. we never caught the bus - he didn't do that much human contact and besides we would have more money for records, tapes and in my cases crisps [scunthorpe market - Christies Cheese and Onion - stock up for the week - you get me] We were typically obsessed with music - i with Rock and Roll and him with the new wave - post punk cacophony of the Ants/ Blondie and stuff - to be honest - i'm not sure how he tapped into that post punk thang - he was good with picking this up - not that he spoke to anyone about it other than me.
And there used to a number of places to buy records in those days - you could work your way across town hitting the shops and picking up sounds from the end of Doncaster Road - right down to the Market. Independent retailers,secondhand stores, established players and market stalls. You see we wanted something to hold - something to look at - to cherish and love. I don't want my MP3.
admist the retro seditionnaires t-shirts - where Tom of Finland met John of [middle] England and wool stalls and jeans shops was a record stall located in the outside part of the market - deep in the back that stocked a range of left of field sounds, t-shirts, posters, badges and patches. To be honest we thought it it was too metal for our liking - but he had a new wave/ punk section and we often gave it a look.
now - we weren't rocking a post punk look - i didn't have a piercing - i wasn't spiking my hair and rubbing butter on my face - we weren't and never would be postcard punks and all that went with it. He had a leather biker jacket - i had a green bomber with patches on - he wore 14 holed docs - i had a pair of Dr Peppers - i kid you not - my mum wouldn't let me have docs [why my brother was allowed - doesn't quite make sense - but there you go]- so i had these clunky steel toe-capped monster boots.
We both had coloured laces.
so on this typical heavy grey skies sort of morning we had arrived at the stall - and were looking through the seven inch singles - i think this was most likely 1980 i should get better with dates [you see PUNK'S NOT DEAD - i know - PUNK's not DEAD - i know it's not]and Paul pulled out this record - it looked al hand drawn and amateur and chaotic. THE FALL - TOTALLY WIRED b/w PUTTA BLOCK - it was a Rough Trade record - it was ours for 99p.
To describe the The Fall is a waste - you just have to immerse yourself in Mark E Smith's world and you end up better off. This was small town punk - this was taking the mother right on - 'you don't have to be weird - to be weird'
herein lies the philosophy - the ideology - sometimes you have to work harder to hide your hate and contempt.It's too easy to opt [in] and out - i wasn't a rebel - but i had a rebellious jukebox [now]- and last night when we started arguing over the futility of PuNK and it's sell out - no holds barred capitalist sprint to the finish with off the peg AnARchY [whimsy]and i got all defensive - it's because of moments like discovering the FALL and realising that yes - all of this is vacuous throwaway rubbish - but it meant something and made me laugh and carried me through the northern nights of sulphur and smoke.
I said Doncaster - eat this grenade.
so here is THE FALL - Totally Wired[Live]