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Punk Rock Promoter Ron Watts

RON 

RON WATTS PUNK PROMOTER 
Friday 17th November 2006, 30 years since Punk detonated, and I had the pleasure of sharing a few drinks with Ron Watts in my home. Ron promoted many of the early bands, and organised the now legendary Punk Festival at the 100 Club on the 20th and 21st September, 1976. Ron’s just published a great book which documents those heady and (for those lucky enough to have been there) exciting times. I switched on the tape recorder, put some wine on the table and off we went, talking about our mutually favourite subject. Music! I hope people will find this interview as interesting as I did, he’s a top bloke with some great memories.
Rob Maddison, Tamworth, 19th November 2006. 100 Watts, a life in Music. Written by Ron Watts and forward by Glen Matlock. ISBN 0-9543884-4-5. Available from Heroes Publishing, the Internet (it’s on Amazon) or even a bookshop!
RM) Ron, firstly, why did you write the book?
Ron) I was approached by the publishers, who said “would you be interested in writing your life story”. I thought about it, for about two days, and then thought yeah. Yes, I’d do that, you know what I mean.RM) How on earth did you remember everything?
Ron) Most of it was in the house, still. I just had to find all the old diaries and booking sheets and things, and it jogged my memory, you know. RM) You kept all that stuff, then Ron?
Ron) Well, yes, I suppose you would, really, wouldn’t you. To be honest, I sold some stuff off at auction, about 10 years ago, when I was skint. One thing was the Sex Pistols contract from the Punk Festival, which was handwritten by Malcolm McClaren.RM) Who bought it?
Ron) I think it was the Hard Rock Café in Central London, to put up on the wall.RM) When’s your next promotion Ron?
Ron) Well, I haven’t been promoting for a while, but it’s in my blood, and people are expressing an interest in me doing something. I’ve got 2 venues lined up for the new year, look here for news, come February. We’ve venues in Oxford Street and High Wycombe, but can’t say too much at this point!! These gigs are to be known as Ron’s part 1 and 2…RM) Who are you promoting?
Ron) What I did in 1977. RM) What, new “Punk” bands, such as The View etc?
Ron) No. Same bands I did in ’77. Same bands in the same place. Some of them are reforming, I’ve been on the bone mate!!RM) Who are you still in touch with from those days, Ron?
Ron) Virtually everybody. People from the Sex Pistols, met some of the Clash quite recently, Damned I’m still in touch with, no end of people. RM) Glen Matlock wrote the forward to the book and is obviously a decent bloke.
Ron) Glen is a nice bloke, and definitely part of the Pistols, but is his own man.RM) Did you ban Punk?
Ron) No. Punk was banned around me, and while it was banned at one venue, I still considered doing it at another, the Nags Head in High Wycombe. At the first opportunity for it to go back into the 100 Club it went back in. It’s a false supposition to suggest I banned it. It was banned because the police and Oxford Street traders association objected to Punks standing in queues outside their shops waiting to get into the club. At this time Oxford Street was the premier shopping street in Europe. I’d be getting complaints, so would go out into the street and try and get people to move out of shop doorways etc, but as soon as I went back in the club they’d be back in there. And of course there’d been some real bad violence. When a girl loses her eye that’s a pretty serious thing. You have to remember that I didn’t own the club, I just promoted there. Simple as.
RM) Did Sid Vicious throw the glass that injured the girl’s eye?
Ron) Well, I presume so, the barman saw him do it. He didn’t know Sid from Adam, but he pointed him (Sid) out and told me it was him that threw it. I don’t think Sid meant to hurt anybody, except the Damned! If it had caught Captain Sensible on the head he’d have liked that! Funnily enough I was down at the 100 Club a couple of weeks ago, and Michelle Brigandage, who took some of the photos in the book, was telling me that she was actually sat with the girl who lost her eye. Apparently she was an art student from South London, never wanted any publicity and was broken hearted, as anyone would be who lost an eye, especially at that age. She was only 19 at the time. Michelle was sat with her when it happened, she was her mate, and it’s the first time I’ve had a real chat about it. She said herself that though she accepts that it was Sid who threw the glass, he hadn’t intended to do that. But at the same time, he had thrown the glass with malice, and might’ve done even worse damage to someone else, you never know. So in one sense, he’s exonerated to a degree, and in another sense he’s still a malicious Pratt.
RM) Was there any collusion to get Sid off by discrediting the barman’s story?
Ron) No, but so many people went down with him, to the police station, and said he didn’t do it that the CPS probably thought 250 against 1 and dropped it.RM) Were you surprised by Sid’s eventual demise?
Ron) No. You know, his mother, Ann Beverley moved up to Swadlincote, near here. She got some money from Sid’s estate, and the Pistols gave her some money. She got a cheap house and a few bob in the bank, and when she’d run through that she topped herself. As for Nancy, the police weren’t looking for anybody else, but we don’t know, do we.RM) Ron, how proud are you of your role in Punk, and could it have happened without the 100 Club?
Ron) Yeah, it would’ve happened anyway. It might have happened in a different way, but I suppose the traumatic birth it got, and the big hand it got via the Punk festival etc helped, otherwise it might have taken a bit longer. RM) Could it have started in any other city other than London?
Ron) I think it needed London. It gave it the credibility. It might have happened somewhere else, and it might have been more interesting if it had happened, say, in Liverpool or Newcastle or somewhere, but it would have taken longer to be accepted, and London would have taken longer to accept it.RM) I suppose the Pistols, who catalyzed the movement were a London band, and people like Paul Weller, Pete Shelley etc always say the seeing that band is what galvanised them.
Ron) Yes. They were the catalyst. We needed to have them in the Capital, playing in the middle of the Capital. It was always going to be a shortcut for them, you know. So yes, it would have still happened elsewhere, but in a different way.
RM) Whose idea was the 1976 Punk Festival at the 100 Club?
Ron) Mine. My idea, yeah. I approached Mclaren, as I knew that I needed the Pistols to headline it. And the Damned, they said that they wanted to do it, and The Clash agreed immediately, then we had to cast around to find some more. The Manchester bands were got down by Malcolm (Mclaren). Siouxsie approached me direct, although it wasn’t much of a band. Then, the Stinky Toys were volunteered by Mclaren, although I’d never heard of ‘em, and hardly anyone’s heard of ‘em since! Never mind, they got on eventually on the second night!RM) I read in the book that the Grande Piano on the stage got used like a climbing frame. Were you actually liable for damages if things got broken?
Ron) The piano wasn’t going to get moved off the stage. It always stays there. Thing is, you’ve got to remember that it was a running, 7 nights a week club, for Jazz and Blues mainly, and the piano was a part of all that. The owners of the club left me to it for my nights, very seldom that they were there, even. If the place had been wrecked, it would’ve been down to me, I’d have had to pay for all the damage, you know.RM) Punk 77’s owner wondered if you thought the Banshees sounded as bad as he thought they did?!
Ron) Well, in ’76 they weren’t really a band, you can’t comment. What they were doing was performance art, just getting up onto the stage and doing something off the top of their heads. They didn’t know any songs, and it sounded like it. It was weak, it was weedy. Sid just about tapped the drums. Siouxsie was doing the Lords Prayer and stuff like that. You couldn’t say it was a gig, or a rehearsed act, it was just people, getting up and trying to do something. I let them do it, you know, I might have done something like that at their age. I don’t think Siouxsie really lived up to her reputation, if you like. Well, not initially. RM) I didn’t like them, but the Banshees went on to become very skilled, musically.
Ron) Yes. By then she’d recruited some good blokes. She’s been living in France for a long time now, I don’t see her.
 
RM) Were the early Punks, like Siouxsie, middle class students? If so, how did they feel when Punk was taken up by the masses?
Ron) No. The early Punks were solidly working class. There was the art college mob, they weren’t numerically very strong, but they were the most vivid people, because of their appearance. They set the standard, the tone, you know? But immediately behind that, by the time of the punk festival of ‘76, the bulk of the audience was being formed by young, working class people and they took it to their hearts at once. RM) Were the movements roots biased towards the fashion element or more towards the music side, or was it one package?Ron) The fashion and art side, you know, was where Siouxsie was coming from. They took it very seriously, it was a new movement and they only had the one band to start with. It was very arty, but it was an art movement that worked. If you’d been there the first night I put the Pistols on, I think it was March 30th 1976, and you saw the Bromley Contingent coming in! They didn’t all come at once, they come in dribs and drabs. Each time, it was breathtaking and jaw dropping just to see them walk through that door.RM) Were contemporary Londoners shocked by the appearance of the early Punks?
Ron) Initially, yeah. They’d got used to it by the end of that year. But initially, like in the early months, absolutely.RM) The summer of ’76 is famous for its heat wave. I bet you’ve great memories of it?
RW) In that summer, and remember that it was the hottest, the best summer in living memory, it was the summer, people still talking about it now, and nothing was happening, everybody was asleep, you know. Anyway, this New Zealand film crew turned up to capture London. They’d been dispatched from Auckland to film London, in the summer. They were bright enough to cotton on to the movement, and they were haunting me! I mean, they got so many yards, so many miles of film, some of it’s not even been seen yet. All the main punk films, like the Rock ‘n Roll Swindle, The Filth and the Fury, were relying on their footage. They were amazed when they got their first, full on, Bromley Punk. They could not believe it. They said “You guys are 200 years ahead of New Zealand!” RM) Were you interested about the politics in Punk?
Ron) I tried to keep it at arms length. I wasn’t interested in sub-divisions.RM) What about The Clash?
Ron) Didn’t know that they were! (political). I think they were just trying to make it, I mean, they latched on to it. The Pistols had got a lot of the market wrapped up with their attitudes, so The Clash had to find some attitude, and they probably cooked it up with their manager, I reckon. What attitude can we have? Well, the Pistols have got this, that and the other and they found the one that they could go for. RM) I’ve read that the purists hated them, but I loved The Jam. They flirted with politics early on, and then really got involved, with Paul Weller joining Red Wedge later.
Ron) The Jam were some of the biggest winners out of Punk. There was such a lot of talent in that band. That band was so tight.RM) Did you get more involved with them once they’d started to get bigger?
Ron) They wanted me to help them with their American tour, by going ahead from city to city publicising it. But this was ’77, and I was amazed that their manager John Weller had asked me, and I would’ve loved to have done it. But, I was at the height of my promoting career, and I realised that. So I said “No, I’ve got to stick with this.”
RM) The Jam always felt like a band that, as a fan, you had a stake in.
Ron) I tell you what, they did a show for me at the 100 Club, when they’d been doing really huge venues like the Hammersmith Odeon. They’d always said, when we get there, we’ll come back and do one. They ended up doing three for me. One at Wycombe Town Hall, one at the Nags Head, which is a pub, you know! And, the 100 Club. They were really good like that, and I appreciate what they did for me and I love ‘em to bits.RM) It’s weird that there was all that acrimony between those people, and even stranger that Rick, and now Bruce, are playing in a Jam tribute band. (The Gift).Ron) Good drummer. I think, and this is my opinion, as I’ve no proof of it, that the girls all used to go for Bruce Foxton. The band was great, and they knew the band was great and they loved Paul Weller. But, in their hearts they all fancied that they’d get off with Bruce Foxton. When I did the box office at the 100 Club, there’d be all these girls turning up in school uniforms. I’d be saying “How old are you?” and the answer was always “19!” Am I really going to sell these girls tickets?!RM) I read somewhere, years ago, that Sid Vicious and Paul Weller had a fight after arguing about the Holidays in the Sun/ In the City riff. Did you hear that one?
Ron) No. I can’t see that. Paul Weller was from a tough, working class background. A fight between him and Sid Vicious would have lasted about 8 seconds. He would have dealt with Sid in no time at all. It didn’t happen. Sid would need to have been tooled up, and I’ve had to fight him 3 times when he was. And I’m still here. Sid came at me with a chain, once. I confiscated it, and wish I still had all these weapons, as I could put them up for sale at Christies, couldn’t I?! And I saw Sid with a knife, threatening Elle, the singer out the Stinky Toys with it. I took that off him and gave it to Malcolm Mclaren. Wish I’d kept it. RM) Ron, did you have much to do with Rock Against Racism (R.A.R)?
Ron) Only in as much as I endorsed it. And, I wouldn’t have any racist behaviour, as it says in the book, in any of my venues. I just wouldn’t. No way, I mean my bouncers were black, a lot of my acts were black, and I wasn’t going to have it. There were a few occasions when it surfaced, and I did the natural thing and let the black guys sort it themselves.RM) Empowerment?
Ron) Yeah. At Wycombe Town Hall, the British movement guys were having a go at my bouncer, Gerry. One black guy against twenty or thirty of them, so I said to him “I’ll take your position, don’t be long, go down the pubs and get your mates.” And he come back in with a dozen big black lads. I said to them, “Look, you’re here to look after Gerry, not to kill these white guys.” So, Gerry stood in front of them, and there wasn’t a word out of them again! They moved out of the way, and went down the other side of the hall, these bullies. They saw the odds evening up a bit, and given the other 8 or 9 bouncers I had stood in the hall, we would’ve murdered them.
RM) Jimmy Pursey went on-stage with The Clash at R.A.R in Victoria Park. Was this damage limitation on Pursey’s behalf? He seemed to get his fingers burned when the Skins affiliated to Sham 69.
Ron) Exactly. And I don’t think he liked that one little bit. See, now, Jimmy Pursey is another guy, like Paul Weller and Joe Strummer, probably all of them at that time. Underneath he was a much nicer person than the media, and the world, would realise and portray. He was an alright geezer and he caught the wrong end of the backlash. People were believing what he was portraying and singing about, and that wasn’t necessarily him!RM) Did Sham 69 dance a bit to close the flame? They could be perceived as “rabble rousing”, if you like.
Ron) They were looking for something to hang their stick on, if you like. The Pistols found it in one. Joe Strummer looked around with The Clash and thought about it and did it, you know. The Jam done it through their potent mix of soul and punk, and I think Jimmy Pursey thought he’d go with the hard boys in the East End. The skinheads, and the mobsters and the ruffians, you know. RM) Musically, Sham 69 were similar to the Pistols…
Ron) Yeah, closer than some. I liked Sham 69, they were alright. I think Pursey is another guy who hung his hat somewhere, and that hat got on the wrong peg.
RM) How fast did Punk spread throughout 1977?
Ron) Well, it got going in ’76. The Wycombe Punks, because they had me to promote at the Nags Head, got their first Sex Pistols gig there on September 3rd, which was actually 3 weeks before the 100 Club Festival. They were on the case really early. In ’76, Wycombe and the surrounding towns were full of Punks. By the end of that year, they even had a black Punk in Wycombe, a guy called Marmite. He had black hair, with a silver zigzag stripe in it. By ’77, it was all up and running everywhere. By January or February 1977 almost everyone under the age of 18 or 19 was a Punk.RM) When did the press really get hold of it?
Ron) Then. But they were on to it before the Bill Grundy Show, the Punk Festival was before that show and from then it was just….you know. I used to get phone calls, from NBC and CBS in America asking if anything’s going on, or coming off, could you let us know.
RM) That’s odd, being as the Americans claim to have invented Punk!
Ron) They were a year or two ahead. It’s like most things. It’s like the Blues. We had to take the Blues back to America for White America to know about it. Cream, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, those sort of people. RM) America’s too big and too diverse. It couldn’t host youth movements like Punk and 2-Tone.Ron) No. It had to come from somewhere else. I mean, in New York it was a club scene, in Britain it was a national scene. RM) What did you think of those American bands?Ron) Some of them were really good. I didn’t think New York Dolls were as good as bands like Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. They were probably the best Punk band I ever saw, actually.
RM) And Blondie?
Ron) Well, Blondie. The bass player, Nigel was a guy from the Nags Head. Tigger, we used to call him. That was his name round Wycombe. He played at the Nags Head before he was in Blondie. I’ve got to say that Tigger and Blondie didn’t get on. Maybe she fancied him, and he didn’t fancy her!

RM) He would’ve been the only British male in the late ‘70’s who didn’t, then?!
Ron) Perhaps he knew something we didn’t!RM) Back to the serious stuff, Ron. The Clash flew to Belfast, had some nice photos taken near some barricades and murals. Then they flew home. No gigs played. What do you think about all that?
Ron) Well, it’s up to them. Sometimes, promotional events can take over. You can be wise after the event, it might have sounded like a good thing at the time. Who knows, I mean, it might have been sincere. I didn’t see them as a band who had very political motives outside of the publicity. I’m not saying they didn’t have a heart, but sometimes publicity sows a life of its own, you know.RM) If they’d played, this would never have been an issue with people over the years.
Ron) No, but they would do benefits and things, R.A.R, and one just before Joe died, for a fireman’s benefit. RM) It’s ironic. The Pistols and Strummer/Jones last gigs in England were both strike fund benefits. And the Pistols, apparently, never cashed their cheque from that Christmas Day one.
Ron) I wasn’t a party to any of that, but yeah, that was a good gesture. A lesson. A guy came down to interview me, and he lived near Joe Strummer. Lived in the same village and he was a long time journalist. He said that he thought that Joe Strummer had a lot of heart, and it was very typical of him that he’d go out and do a benefit as The Clash, but commercially would only do The Mescalero’s.

RM) Back to the Pistols, now Ron. What was their early live sound like?
Ron) I’ll tell you something now that I’ve never told anybody before. Musically, when the Pistols started, I thought that they were, or sounded like, a youth club heavy metal band. Not the songs, or the vocals, or even the presentation but the actual sound of the band. It wasn’t a weak sound, but it wasn’t particularly pokey. Within three months, they’d perked it up a lot.
RM) How big an influence was Dave Goodman to their sound?
Ron) He brought a lot of stuff to them. He gave them a lot of advice. He’d make them sound a lot more pokey, he’d get them to do things. I spent a lot of time with Dave Goodman, as when you’re a promoter, you’re there to open it up. And Dave used to arrive early, you know, he’d arrive at four in the afternoon. I’d give him a hand in with some of the gear, and we’d spend some time together as we’d be the only ones there for a couple of hours. I’d be answering the phone and stuff, doing other things like that, but I got to know that guy. He never actually spoke to me about Punk. He mentioned the Pistols, but he never actually spoke about the Punk movement. I wish I’d recorded all those conversations!RM) Did you always fill the 100 Club?
Ron) Well, after the first couple of months, it filled out, yeah. I mean, the Pistols didn’t pull a crowd for about their first six gigs. We’re talking about 50 – 80 people, the Bromley Contingent and a few interested parties!

RM) Some people must’ve come in to watch the Pistols out of curiosity? Maybe just walking by the club, then deciding to see what was going on in there, and finding their lives would never be quite the same again?
Ron) Yeah, I think that younger people who come down to see it would change. They’d come down the first night with long hair and flares, and by the third night they’d seen them they’d come down in drainpipes and Punk haircut, you know?

RM) What about the other clubs, Ron, like the Roxy?
Ron) Went to the Roxy, yes, many times. It was a bit of a pokey hole actually. The Roxy didn’t last long. The Vortex I went to. The stories I used to hear about that place! It was more of a disco crowd, actually. Rent-a-Punk, you know? It wasn’t for the faint hearted, not very savoury! RM) Did you get to read many of the fanzines?
Ron) Yeah, I did. I used to see them all. We had one out in the Home Counties called the Buckshee Press, which is a piss take of the Bucks Free Press, of course there was Sniffin’ Glue, we used to see that at the 100 Club all the time. There were others, too, I came across them all over the place, actually, some of them were just one issue, you know, and just a couple of pages.RM) Did you know Mark Perry and the music hacks the time?
Ron) Yeah, I knew Mark. Caroline Coon, too. Caroline has been very kind to me in her books, and things, you know. In fact she blamed me, or congratulated me for the whole of Punk in one of them, special thanks to Ron Watts, and that’s nice! Caroline was the first dedicated journalist who wanted to see Punk happen. And, I’m glad in a way that it happened for her, too, because she put her money on the table, you know? Same as I did. She ran that Release thing, which got all the hippies out of jail for cannabis. She was ahead of her time, I mean seriously, you can’t lock someone up for 6 months for smoking cannabis! RM) Changing tack again, Ron. What did you think of Malcolm Mclaren?
Ron) I like Malcolm personally. No doubt, you know, I’m not just saying that. On first impressions he looked like an Edwardian gentleman. He’d got that off to a tee, I’d never seen anyone look like him, actually. I never had any bad dealings with him, and he was always very straightforward.RM) People either loved or loathed Mclaren. John Lydon isn’t a fan.
Ron) Yeah, I think it was more of a financial thing, but I mean, John Lydon should also remember that without Mclaren he probably wouldn’t have been in them. Mclaren set the scene going, I was the first to pick it up, from that, before recording deals, but he never stuffed me like he stuffed the record companies. They made a lot of money, initially.RM) Did the record companies drop the band so willingly because it was Jubilee year?
Ron) Well, the Pistols were full on and did it. I mean, “God Save The Queen” become one of the biggest selling British hit singles, didn’t it? It’s still selling now! And they wouldn’t let it on the shelves, would they. Bless ‘em! RM) You were on the legendary ’77 boat trip up the Thames, when the Pistols played and Mclaren got arrested. What was that like?
Ron) It was lovely! You should’ve been there, honestly. The band were ok, they just did their normal gig. I enjoyed seeing people that you wouldn’t expect, talking to each other. When you’ve got the boss of Virgin, that business empire, talking to Sid Vicious, can you imagine what sort of conversation they had?! I’d loved to have taken a tape recorder in there! RM) Do you think the police raid on the boat was planned?
Ron) I tell you what, I was amazed at that. I was actually on deck, and the boat was going downstream, back towards Westminster Pier. The Pistols were playing, and it got a bit jostley. You know, a bit of charging about in a small space ‘cause it wasn’t very big, the boat, really. So, I went out on to the deck by the railings, and a couple of other people come and joined me. There was plenty of food and drink, and I had a beer and a chicken leg or something, you know. And I’m looking and I can see these two police boats, and they were a way off. Downstream, I could see two more police boats, and they were a way off, too. I carried on eating the chicken and drinking the beer, looked round, and they were all there, together, at the same time! I mean, the degree of professionalism was just amazing! And then they were on that boat, in force, like about twelve or fifteen coppers, in moments. The boat was quite high sided, but they were up there. And you know what they were doing, they were up there and on that boat and we were escorted into the Westminster Pier basin.RM) Then Mclaren was nicked. Do you reckon he did just enough to get the publicity of an arrest without being charged with anything serious?
Ron) I saw that. He got a lot of press out of it, yeah. He knew. Everybody turned to me, to try and sort it all out. One of them was a Countess!
RM) Ron, you mentioned that no other bands were on the boat. Was there a real rivalry between these new bands at the time?
Ron) The Jam were the young upstarts according to the Pistols, you know. The Clash were their biggest rivals at the time. The Damned, they had no time for.RM) Why don’t The Damned get their due credit? In my opinion, they should.
Ron) I don’t know. A lot of people say they’re just a Punk cocktail act. You don’t see a lot about them, and yet they were the first to get a single out and they could play. Scabies could play. Brian James come up brilliant, but then he’d have done anything, if they’d have asked him to join Led Zeppelin he’d have done that, and Captain (Sensible), well I like Captain.RM) Buzzcocks were, from what I’ve heard on bootlegs, a bit rough to start with. They really hit a rich seam once they got up and running.
Ron) If the Buzzcocks could make it, anybody could. I wasn’t impressed, really. But what’s in the future’s in the future, you never know what is at the time. They blossomed.

RM) And Magazine? Did you rate them?
Ron) Yeah, I did. Brilliant guitarist, John McGeoch. And Penetration, they were a good band, and X-Ray Spex.

RM) Which bands are you the most pleased to have seen play?
Ron) Well, I mean, it’s all of them. But where do you start?! Alright, the Pistols and The Clash, definitely, yeah. The Jam – pleased to see them anywhere, anytime. I did enjoy the Damned at an early stage, but they’re not in the top 5. And Sham 69, and The Heartbreakers.RM) I heard “Pretty Vacant” on the radio in my car earlier today, and I got the old goose bumps. Does any of the music from that time affect you the same?
Ron) All the early Pistols stuff, yeah!RM) What’s your view on Punk and Reggae getting married?
Ron) Yeah, if people want to get together and cross pollinate ideas, then that’s alright. It was the underbelly, twice. You had the white working class and the black working class responding to each other at last! RM) Some Punk bands who had a go at playing Reggae were better than others. Ruts, SLF and of course The Clash all cracked it in their own styles…
Ron) The worst Reggae act I ever saw, were The Slits. Actually, probably just the worst act! RM) Do you think that Punk and Reggae blending in ’77 was the root of Two Tone?
Ron) Yes. I’m sure it came out of that. I used to have a lot of Reggae acts on in that club, aside from Punk and the Blues and everything. I’d put on Steele Pulse, or an American Blues artist like Muddy Waters, as long as it was what I liked.
 RM) Your best front men and women?
Ron) I’m thinking about this one…The best oddball front man was Wayne County. Best front woman, from what I saw, Faye Fife.RM) You rate Faye Fife over Poly Styrene?Ron) You’re putting me on the spot there! I’d put them equal for different reasons. Faye used to put on a great act. They were perennially at the club and at the Nags Head. Because I had so many venues, when they were coming down again, I needed to know, because that’s three bookings to give them. It was always like, “get your diary out, mate, when you coming down?” If I gave them three bookings, they’d come down, and they could fill it out with other stuff, do the rounds. X-Ray Spex were good, too. Really good band. The Rezillos are still going, actually.   RM) I watched a documentary on TV the other night about that Stiff Records tour. The one where they hired a train from BR.
Ron) They did the first night for me, at High Wycombe, yeah. There were some funny people there! Wreckless Eric was at the Punk thing I did in Blackpool this year. It took me about an hour to recognise him. I kept looking and looking and vaguely remembered him. Not a nice bloke. RM) Here’s the last one, Ron. Punk lit a fuse for many people. I’m one (albeit two years late), the other people who contributed questions to this interview are others and there’s millions more. As Ed Armchair puts it, his fuse is still burning to this day, and has affected virtually every aspect of his life since it was lit. Do you have the same feelings about Punk as we do?
Ron) Yes. I got going through that and it still survives. My first love in music was, and is, Blues. I see a lot of similarities between Punk and Blues. They both come from the underbelly of a society, and they’ve both triumphed against all the odds. They both spoke for their people of that time and place. They’ll reverberate forever. Punk freshened up a stale music scene and the Blues were the bedrock for twentieth and twenty-first century music.RM) Ron, thanks for your time and best of luck with your new projects.END
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MOTÖRHEAD Drummer PHIL ‘PHILTHY ANIMAL’ TAYLOR Dies At 61

Former MOTÖRHEAD Drummer PHIL ‘PHILTHY ANIMAL’ TAYLOR Dies At 61

November 12, 2015

Another Legend goes to the Great Gig in the Sky 

Ex-MOTÖRHEAD drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor died on Wednesday, November 11 at the age of 61.

Taylor‘s former MOTÖRHEAD bandmate “Fast” Eddie Clarke posted the following tribute to his colleague: “My dear friend and brother passed away last night. He had been ill for sometime but that does not make it any easier when the time finally comes.

“I have known Phil since he was 21 and he was one hell of a character. Fortunately, we made some fantastic music together and I have many many fond memories of our time together.

“Rest in peace, Phil!”

Taylor played in MOTÖRHEAD from 1975 to 1984 and again from 1987 to 1992.

In a 1983 interview with Artist magazine, Taylor stated about his drumming approach in MOTÖRHEAD: “Well, once [MOTÖRHEAD bassist/vocalist] Lemmy starts playing, he’s sort of out there on his own, in a way. It’s something that came naturally; but when Robbo [Brian Robertson, guitar] joined the band, we started working it out a bit more. When Eddie was with the band, I played more with the guitar than I did with Lemmy, because he’s not really a bass player. Lemmy always plays so fast that it’s always been down to the guitarist and me to keep the rhythm and melody going. Lemmy is just non-stop playing all the time, so for the highs and lows of the numbers, the ups and downs, light and shade — whatever you want to call it — it’s basically down to Robbo and myself. I’d never played much before, so it’s probably a lot more difficult for Robbo than for me. He’d always played in bands that had a proper bass player, so to speak.”

Pictured in his early days as a 1960’s Skinhead

Clarke and Taylor rejoined their former bandmate Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister on stage on November 6, 2014 at National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England before Clarke, Lemmy and current MOTÖRHEAD drummer Mikkey Dee ripped through a blazing rendition of the MOTÖRHEAD classic “Ace Of Spades”.

Asked in a 2011 interview with Guitar International if he had any plans to ever reunite with Taylor and Clarke, Lemmy said: “No, because these two guys with me now have been with me longer than the original two. They played ‘Ace Of Spades’ more often than those two. They played ‘Overkill’ more often than those two. Why should I put Phil [Campbell] and Mikkey on hold to go off with guys who probably can’t play them as well? They’ve been out of practice. It’s ridiculous to think of it. Then I would be a nostalgia act. I’m all for the now and the future.”

Regarding whether he still talks with Phil and Fast Eddie, Lemmy told Guitar International: “Now and then. I like Phil, he was my best mate. Eddie was kind of a friend except he was always complaining about something. It got kinda tedious. Last time he left, we laid low. Before, one of us would go off and bring him back. It was a shame he shouldn’t have done that, we had a lot going for us back then. He should have stuck though it. It was the Wendy O. Williams thing and I couldn’t understand that (reference: recording ‘Stand By Your Man’, a cover version of the Tammy Wynette with Wendy O. Williams). He just gave up on it because Wendy wasn’t immediately perfect on it, she just needed to go through it a few times and he left the band over it. I couldn’t fucking believe it. I think he was expecting to be talked back in. Phil came in the room and said, ‘Eddie‘s left again.’ I said, ‘Whose turn is it to go talk to him?’ [Laughing]. I said, ‘Fuck it, I’m not doing it.’ That’s the way it went. Wrong decision on his part.”

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Tony Van Frater of The Cockney Rejects dies.

Tony Van Frater, the guitarist with Sunderland punk band Red Alert, has died, reportedly of a heart attack. He was 51.

He was a mainstay of the group, who were formed in Sunderland back in 1979 and went on to tour nationally and internationally.

He also played with the Angelic Upstarts and Cockney Rejects, and was one of the most respected figures in the North East punk scene.

Tony – real name Anthony Frater – was a founder member of Red Alert, who made three studio albums and released several singles which reached the UK Indie Charts Top 30.

Red Alert broke up in 1985, reformed four years later and continued touring and occasionally recording.

Meanwhile, Tony, who was known as ‘Tut’, played with South Shields band Angelic Upstarts, and, since 1999, with the reformed Cockney Rejects.

Away from music, he used to have an ice cream van, and it is believed he had recently been working as a taxi driver.

Tributes started flooding in today on social media sites.

Official announcement from the Cockney Rejects.

Dear friends and supporters worldwide, most of you are probably aware of the tragic circumstances of this past week in which we lost our beloved brother and friend Tony Van Frater. Due to this catastrophic event we have no option other than to cancel the forthcoming UK tour forthwith as a mark of respect for the man and his family.
none of us knows what the future holds at present, we wish to enter a period of mourning and reflection on the massive contribution and impact that Tony made on all our lives.
All tickets will be refunded and we apologise for this, and we hope that we have your understanding and co operation in these difficult times.

Thank you one and all. The Cockney Rejects.

Tony played for us at Concrete Jungle Festival for us in 2007, and has been a big part of the Cockney Rejects band since he joined 

“The founding member of Red Alert and Cockney Rejects bass player was one of the scene’s true gentlemen.

“His talent and friendship will be missed by many. RIP big man – our thoughts are with your family and friends.”

Red Alert singer Steve ‘Castiron’ Smith wrote on his Facebook page: “Best mate, brother, legend, thanks for the memories son, see u up there.”

I was actually to be seeing Tony tomorrow, as i am DJ’ing a festival in Bavaria. we are all deeply shocked by this, and our thoughts go out the the Rejects and all Tony’s friends and family, it makes you realise once again, how short this life is, and we have to keep on keeping on. Stop the negative infighting, and enjoy the life we have. We are all brothers and sisters in our old punk and skinhead subcultures. Symond

The show will go on, and a pint of two will be drank in Tony’s name. Big respect will go out to Tony ifrom Bavaria, and across the Punk and Oi! world

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Monty Neysmith Reggae Legend

Symarip (also known at various stages of their career as The Bees, The Pyramids, Seven Letters and Zubaba) were a ska and reggae band from the United Kingdom, originating in the late 1960s, when Frank Pitter and Michael Thomas founded the band as The Bees. The band’s name was originally spelled Simaryp, which is an approximate reversal of the word pyramids.[1] Consisting of members of West Indian descent, Simaryp is widely marked as one of the first skinhead reggae bands, being one of the first to target skinheads as an audience. Their hits included “Skinhead Girl”, “Skinhead Jamboree” and “Skinhead Moonstomp“, the latter of which was based on the Derrick Morgansong, “Moon Hop“.

They moved to Germany in 1971, performing reggae and Afro-rock in Germany under the name Zubaba. In 1980, the single “Skinhead Moonstomp” was re-issued in the wake of the 2 Tone craze, hitting #54 on the UK Singles Chart.[2][3] The band officially split in 1985 after releasing the album Drunk & Disorderly as The Pyramids. The album was released by Ariola Records and was produced by Stevie B.

Pitter and Ellis eventually moved back to England, where Ellis continued performing as a solo artist, sometimes using the stage name Mr. Symarip. Mike Thomas, who had moved to Switzerland and met a Finnish girl there, moved to Finland where he worked as a musician, doing the groundwork for the Finnish reggae culture through his band Mike T. Saganor. Monty Neysmith moved to the United States, where he toured as a solo artist.

In 2004, Trojan Records released a best of album that included a new single by Neysmith and Ellis, “Back From the Moon”. In 2005, Neysmith and Ellis performed together at Club Ska in England, and a recording of the concert was released on Moon Ska Records as Symarip – Live at Club Ska. In April 2008, they headlined the Ska Splash Festival inLincolnshire as Symarip, and later performed at the Endorse-It and Fordham Festivals. Pitter and Thomas now perform in a different band as Symarip Pyramid. Their Back From The Moon Tour 2008-2009 was with The Pioneers. In 2009, to celebrate the rebirth of the band and the reunion of the two original members, Trojan Records released a compilation album, Ultimate Collection. Pitter holds all copyright and trademark rights for the name Symarip Pyramid.

Monty Montgomery was born In Port Antonio, Jamaica. This talented and charismatic singer started to write and create music in his early years. While studying in London, England, Monty met with fellow Jamaican musicians on the weekends.

This led to the creation of the worldwide known

SYMARIP / PYRAMIDS

With hits like: Skinhead Moonstomp, Traintour To Rainbow City, Skinhead Girl, Mexican Moonlight,

All Change On The Bakerloo Line, Must Catch A Train to Night, etc.

This band reached the British Charts and toured all over Europe. Monty collaborated with the legendary “Godfather of SKA” Laurel Aitken and Eddie Grant.

Monty holds numerous awards and is listed in the Guiness Book Of British Hit Singles. Voted as one of Top Reggae Artists of all times by Billboard magazine. Monty’s versatile songwriting genius is his biggest asset. His many years of performing all over Europe, USA, Africa and the Caribbean, including the annual Sun -Splash in Jamaica, has given him the experience and skills that makes him the ultimate professional that he is today. Several of his songs have become staples on the list of many young SKA bands around the world. Sharon Woodward’s “Thank you, Skinhead Girl”, a documentary film made in the UK, includes Monty’s penned “Skinhead Girl”. Monty Montgomery’s albums: Seeds, Massive Are You Ready , Crucial Vibes and Back To Jump Street established him as a solo artist in the reggae world.

Miss Goosy (Audio and Video) is an ideal party mix and the video is very funny. It is now available @ CDBaby.com

Monty also was a finalist in 2008 Jamaica’s Festival with the song “My Jamaica”.

Now his latest work “Yah Mon” ranges from SKA to Reggae, and will with no doubt stand out. Songs like “Yah Mon”, Sweet Suzie”, “It’s time again” and “Kingston City”, just to name a few.

Monty’s latest single “The Freak In Me” was produced and arranged by Grub Cooper, from the number one band in Jamaica, known as FAB 5.

Monty and Jump up Records teamed up to release four new titles on vinyl. “Spirit Of 69 ” is a must to listen and dance to.

Monty’s live shows are engaging and energetic, and he always leaves his audiences feeling positive and happily skanking, begging for more.

FORTIS FOREVER

Monty is now a stand alone artist playing both the Symarip classics and his own work written over his years as a reggae legend

for bookings please contact Symond at subcultz@gmail.com

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Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton, Big 6. 2016

Tickets for 2016 are available HERE

CONFIRMED ACTS

INFA RIOT Punk – Oi! 1982 Legends   

ROUGH KUTZ

FECKIN EJITS

THE HACKLERS – SKA

GRADE 2

CROWN COURT

TEAR UP from Watford, A brand new young oi! act

Dekkertones a leading British Ska Tribute act, to get the party started

PISTONES  (Finland)

SPECIAL GUESTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT THE EVENT

Facebook Event page

Bands and DJ’s wishing to perform, all info and enquiries, contact Symond at subcultz@gmail.com

Video made in 2013

The Great Skinhead Reunion, Brighton, www.subcultz.com

The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton Every Year, the first weekend of June, Skinheads come from across the globe to Brighton seafront. for full event details go to www.subcultz.com

Posted by Skinhead Reunion Brighton on Saturday, 2 April 2016

FULL 3 DAYS EVENT, YOUR WRISTBAND IS VALID THROUGH OUT, YOU CAN USE IT FOR AS LITTLE, OR AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. THE EVENT WILL SELL OUT, AND THERE WILL BE NO ADVANCE DAY TICKETS AT A REDUCED DAILY RATE , IN ADVANCE.

The line-up maybe subject to change, as so many band members and dj’s are involved. Babies coming along, alcohol, world wars and famine can be unforeseen, but the Great Skinhead Reunion, is more about coming to Brighton to see all your friends and making some more, for 3 full days of mayhem.

SKINHEAD ONLY HOTELS .

Add to your experience, by getting a room in our Skinhead only hotels. Conveniently located, with a short walk to the venue, and no moaning neighbours to worry about. The rooms vary in size and cost, to fit your needs. all within an easy walk to the skinhead reunion venue. We have hotels exclusive to the Great Skinhead Reunion guests and bands.  Party party !! please email subcultz@gmail.com with your requirements, to be booked into the Skinhead Hotels

For those on a low budget, its worth checking Hostels and campsites, but my advice, is to get in the reserved hotels, for a nice stress free, clean and comfortable holiday in Brighton.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Brighton is situated on the south coast of England, approximately one hour from London. London Gatwick is the nearest airport. There are regular direct trains and National Express buses. The next nearest is Heathrow,  There are also direct trains from Luton Airport . Its advised not to fly to Stansted, as this is a long way, and you risk losing valuable drinking time

The nearest ferry port serving mainland Europe is Newhaven -Dieppe . Newhaven is about 20 min drive to Brighton. Dover is about 2 hours to Brighton

PARKING ZONES – one of the worst aspects of Brighton, is a lack of affordable parking. my advice is to use street parking on the suburbs of Brighton, its a reasonably safe place. a good bus service will take you into brighton centre (churchill square) and a short walk from there to the sea front. worth allowing the extra hours work, to save yourself serious parking charges

All Event Enquiries email Symond at subcultz@gmail.com. phone (uk) 07733096571

The Facebook community group Facebook group

Facebook page

Continue reading Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton, Big 6. 2016
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The Hipster

Last week, anti-gentrification protesters took to the streets of London’s East End as part of a series of parades organised by the anarchist group Class War.

One of their targets, the Cereal Killer Cafe, was bombed with paint and scrawled with graffiti that read “scum”. While businesses such as this one are a symptom of the city’s extreme gentrification, rather than its cause, they have – in the eyes of some – become symbolic of this rampant and unwelcome redevelopment.

The subsequent media coverage, whether earnest or cheeky, drew attention to the establishment’s hirsute and tattooed proprietors, Gary and Alan Keery. Why were the bearded brothers subjected to such ire? Apparently because they’re hipsters.

It has become fashionable to hate the hipster. They are blamed not only for big issues such as gentrification, but also for the style crime of donning distinctly unhip fashions (at least in the eyes of other current or former subculturalists).

Why hate the hipster? Scott Hart/flickr, CC BY

However, in this instance, many commentators rightly highlighted the fact that while hipsters and their quirky businesses – cafes that charge A$11 per bowl of cereal, for instance – are easy targets of scorn, they are only symptomatic of larger socio-economic realities and problems.

Following this story, I could not help but think what future cultural historians might make of the early twenty-first-century hipster.

Is the introduction of the long beard into mens fashion a deliberate attempt to normalise the religious muslim man into Europe

Historicising youth subcultures

Over the last decade, in both popular media and scholarly work, there has been a surge of interest in the historicising of post-war youth subcultures. TV documentaries celebrating these narratives, such as the recent Street, Sound & Style (2015) and films like This is England (2006) and Northern Soul (2014), exemplify this growing trend.

The 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story depicted youth culture in New York City. Fred Fehl/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

On the academic front, the Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Subculture, Popular Music and Social Change (currently based at the University of Reading) is made up of scholars from around the world who work on projects highlighting young people’s contributions to history. Many of these academics are interested in constructing narratives that attempt to make sense of why youth subcultures or lifestyles arose when they did.

Youth cultures characteristically embody the various sensibilities of an era. For instance, my own work on Mod culture depicts the original British subculture of the early 1960s as one that firmly wanted to put the trauma of war behind it by adopting all that was ultra-contemporary and up-to-the-minute. Instead of necessarily trying to reinvent neighbourhoods (though, to be fair, some Mods were also ambitious entrepreneurs), Mods focused on reconceptualising themselves.

erick hrz aguirre/Flickr, CC BY

The first iteration of the subculture saw male Mods cut dashing figures across London’s grey East End in their European-style suits and atop sleek, Italian scooters. For them, reaching for the “now,” the “new” meant looking beyond Britain’s shores.

The more commercialised, mid-sixties “Swinging London” version of the culture embraced pop art and space-age motifs. Female Mods wearing paper dresses or white and silver miniskirts jauntily reflected this forward-thinking.

Numerous authors have described the advent of punk in 1970s Britain, with its “no future” ethos, as a reaction to the economic crises of the decade. Recent ruminations on the 1980s New Romantics position them as make-up-laden yuppies – Thatcherites in disguise.

While it’s important to recognise nuance and variation within all youth subcultures or trends – and not paint any of them with one, totalising brush – it is also an intriguing exercise to consider how young people’s interests, sensibilities, and actions are symbolic of their times.

The hipster as a reaction to neoliberal values

Since reading about the London protests, I have thought about what future historians might make of the hipster. Attention has already been paid to the hipster as a possible manifestation of and/or reaction to the neoliberal values that have come to dominate contemporary life in the developed world. While some academics and cultural commentatorshave critiqued the hipster more generally, others also have discussed the group’s neoliberal sensibilities more specifically.

While some might see hipsters as “progressive”, this tag may be limited to their appearance alone. They are far from radical. Hipsters, as purveyors of pricey artisanal goods, are not trying to buck the system or advocate for social change. They are not “angry youth”.

Cecilia Sánchez Sánchez/Flickr, CC BY-SA

If anything, their ardent embrace of entrepreneurialism and D-I-Y craftiness suggests that they have wholeheartedly accepted the fact that “the market” rules one’s lot in life. If living and thriving in hyper-expensive cities like London or New York requires opening a business that charges A$11 for a bowl of cereal, so be it.

Seemingly inherent to the hipster’s philosophy is the pragmatic acceptance that one’s possibilities are determined by the economic and political systems in place.

The fact that the hipster’s mode of operation has inspired such disdain – often among those who identify with more traditional youth subcultures such as punk – is likely because hipsters are seen as selling out (or buying in) rather than trying to resist or subvert mainstream realities.

The recent flowerbeard trend. Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/www.shutterstock.com

While a full sleeve of tattoos may suggest more historically familiar notions of “rebellion”, the much-ridiculed Amish-style beard alludes instead to an austere, old-world sensibility. It is more than likely that many of those youths involved in the London protest would perceive hipster identity as the antithesis of their own.

In thinking through the existence of the hipster – and why he (see footnote) has become the target of such ire – it is important to ask ourselves this: Why is there still an underlying expectation that any seemingly “non-mainstream” group of young people are rebellious or want to “question the system”?

In a more pessimistic response to such a question, those who dislike the hipster may say that we have entered into an age where many young people are just happy to accept what is; that hipsters see themselves as living in a world that is both post-subculture and post-rebellion.

It is certainly easy to see how precarious employment, inflated costs of living, and heightened levels of surveillance would prompt capitulation on all fronts – making even the supposedly “hip” not quite what they seem.

A less damning and more supportive reading of the hipster would argue that young people do not have to “fight the power” or “system” because they are the system (and are reinventing it). The agency and empowerment offered to the millennials through their mastery of digital media has not only provided the world with Silicon Valley Wunderkinds, but hipster entrepreneurs, too. They are two functions of the same app.

While I am not the first to speculate on why the hipster has come to be a part of our contemporary world, I will certainly not be the last. What will the hipster come to symbolise about life in the early twenty-first century when historians of the future reflect on this era?

Note: Yes, “he”. The hipster is most always perceived as male, though there are certainly many millennial women who take part in this subculture or lifestyle (minus the Amish-style beards).

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The Beard, Jihad or Hipster

Is the Hipster a naturally organic manifestation of fashion, or was it a planned style to normalize the beard, not seen in mens fashion since the pre-punk days of the early 1970’s ?

More than 10 years later, the consequences of the September 11 attacks are still being felt by Muslims all over the world. There are still stories about Muslim Americans having to hide their religion, by changing their names or appearance, or by practising their faith discreetly. A cloud of distrust still hangs over many ordinary Muslims, not only in the United States, but around the globe.

In one terrible moment, the disgraceful attacks of 2001 tarnished the name of Islam. What was once known as a peaceful, loving religion is now mistakenly identified by some as a backward faith that promotes aggression and oppression.

Friends returning from studies in the US describe their experiences as filled with caution. The change in attitudes towards Muslims was almost simultaneous with the attacks. For the prejudiced, Muslim identity is no longer a statement of faith but an insult or an accusation.

One of the most identifying feature of the Muslim man, in the west is the facial beard

Hipster Beard, a coincidence?

Undoubtedly, media have played a major role in the misrepresentation of Muslims in the subsequent 10 years. Video, print and online content disseminates images such as those of Muslims pumping their rifles in the air in Afghanistan. This has little to do with faith. Images depict Muslim men as being uneducated, dangerous extremists while Muslim women are shown as oppressed.

September 11 was a sad day for all faiths, but Muslims in particular continue to feel the repercussions.

For Hollywood, we have become the bad guys. Movies, TV series and even comedy shows write “the Muslim terrorist” stock character into the script as the main villain. News reports play up the images of Islamist training camps and suicide bombers, enforcing the stereotype that Muslims are extremists by nature.

Having a long beard, wearing a hijab or headscarf, or praying in a mosque is now grounds to be harassed, and in some cases attacked, by ignorant groups or individuals. Many Muslims, including American citizens who had spent years building their lives in the US, have begun practising their faith more discretely or have even returned to their countries of origin out of fear for their safety.

In the UAE, we have the advantages of a rich, multicultural society that allows religious and cultural tolerance in our daily lives, at work, in schools and in public. Yet that is not to say that we don’t have our own fair share of stereotypes. It is only natural to draw conclusions about a faith, nationality or group characteristic, sometimes based on superficial traits.

Whether we like it or not, everyone’s subconscious automatically makes assumptions and builds them into stereotypes, regardless of how open-minded we believe we are.

And while we can fairly condemn discrimination against Muslims in the United States and Europe it cannot be denied that we have inherited our own stereotypes, in the UAE and in many other Arab and Muslim countries, directed towards people based on how they practice their faiths.

By 2015 beards have become a very normal part of Hipster Europe

An easily visible manifestation of this relates to men who choose to grow out their beards. Many times, I have overheard sniggering comments made about long-bearded men. Behind closed doors, accusations of extremism are made, perhaps in jest, but these ideas take root and can become damaging innuendo and rumour.

I saw this firsthand when a colleague of mine decided to grow out his beard. He was on the front line of our organisation and dealing with customers, and so his beard – bizarrely – became an issue of concern for colleagues and management. At first, it was a few harmful jokes about its length; later, a “friendly” suggestion to shave was passed down from management; and, in the end, an indirect threat was made.

My colleague, being one of the most peaceful and patient men I know, decided to stay the course. And his efforts paid off. After exhaustive efforts, he was able to convince management of his ability to do his job, and even outperformed most of his colleagues to prove that he was an asset. Even with a beard.

This is what many fail to understand about men who choose to demonstrate their faith by growing out their beards. Just as with other faiths, piety in Islam does not imply extremism, but rather a commitment to peaceful existence with everything and everyone around you. In the UAE, a Muslim country and also a tolerant one, we must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of stereotyping religious men and women.

Quite the opposite in fact, we must continue to promote the truth about Islam as a peaceful religion and its powerful benefits for a person’s life at work, at home and as a part of a community. In that way, we can persuade the rest of the world that the harmful stereotypes that followed September 11 have nothing to do with Islam.

Taryam Al Subaihi is an Abu Dhabi-based political and social commentator who specialises in corporate communications

On Twitter: @TaryamAlSubaihi

added content ‘The Hipster’ by subcultz

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Stomper 98 Confirmed for The Great Skinhead Reunion, Brighton, England 2016

Stomper 98 are confirmed for the great skinhead reunion in Brighton England june 3-4-5th 2016. Brighton is seen as a birthplace of the skinhead subculture, with mods and rockers fighting on the beaches in 1964, by 1967 the skinhead had spread across the uk, a solid British working class subculture. Saturday afternoon saw mobs of skinheads fighting for their territory and team on the football terraces, by night, Stomping to Jamaican reggae, wearing the cutting new clothing of quality British design and cloth, handmade leather shoes and boots. After a dip came the rebirth, with the aggro Boot Boys and explosion of Punk Rock from 76, the Sham Army. 79 saw the 2tone revolution, bringing the Punk and Reggae sounds together. By 1980, the largest number of skinheads in history were on the streets of Britain. Then came a backlash against the middle class system, which had controlled the people for centuries, this music was known as Oi! Music. Direct action through music. As riots spread across the UK skinheads scared the government, an army of angry disenfranchised street kids, ready to Ruck. Margaret thatcher put a ban on oi music, clubs and pubs refused skinheads entry, record shops took the vinyl from the shelves. The SPG ( police) Attacked Skinheads across the country . But we refused to die. We went underground, created our own scene, our own clubs, promoted by fanzines and word of mouth. ‘skinheads, a way of life’ like martyrs through the centuries. a faith, which is stronger than any latest fashion. So by the mid 80’s Skinheads were popping up across the planet, fed by the media scare stories, of the anti Christ. By photographic images and books. But also by skinhead bands playing around the globe, for a few beers and a hot dog. Gone are the days of territorial violence and racial conflict. The political infighting designed to divide and destroy, thrown aside. What’s now, is a world wide community, living A skinhead way of life. Every year we celebrate the skinhead subculture, in all its positive eras. From 60’s ska to 21st century oi! And with that, We invite Selective bands each year to come represent their country and scene. We are very pleased to announce Stomper 98 from Germany will be performing at the Great Skinhead Reunion, Brighton, England for 2016. tickets are already 1/3 sold out for 2016, so dont miss out, on what is set to be a sell out event www.subcultz.com

Stomper 98 sind für die Great Skinhead Reunion in Brighton/England bestätigt, die vom 3.-5. Juni 2016 stattfindet.

Brighton gilt als eine der Geburtsstätte der Skinhead-Subkultur, denn im Jahr 1964 war es eben genau in Brighton, wo sich Mods und Rocker ihre ersten Schlachten an den Stränden und in den Straßen ablieferten. 1967 hatte sich die Skinhead-Bewegung bereits über das gesamte Vereinigte Königreich ausgebreitet und war fester Bestandteil der Subkultur der britischen Arbeiterklasse. Samstag nachmittags sah man Skinhead-Banden im Umfeld von Fußballspielen für ihre Städte und Vereine auf den Straßen kämpfen und nachts konnte man die Skinheads dann zu jamaikanischem Reggae tanzen sehen. Bei all dem achteten sie darauf stets smart gekleidet zu sein. So trugen sie qualitativ hochwertige Stoffe im typisch britischen Design, sowie handverarbeitete Lederschuhe und Stiefel.

Die Zeit verging und durch die Boot Boys und und den nicht mehr aufzuhaltenden Punk Rock erlebte dieser Kult eine Wiedergeburt im Jahr 1976. Drei Jahre später braucht der 2Tone zusammen, was zusammen gehört und kombinierte die Klänge von Punk und Reggae.

Es war in 1980, als man so viele Skinheads wie nie zuvor in den Straßen von Großbritannien finden konnte und als eine bestimmte Musikrichtung die Leute aus ihrem Mittelschicht-Winterschlaf reisen sollte. Diese Musik war bekannt unter folgendem Namen: Oi! Mit dieser Musik gingen viele Unruhen und Krawalle einher, sodass die Skinheads bei Staat und Polizei ein Gefühl der Angst verbreiteten. Margaret Thatcher verbot Oi! in Clubs und Kneipen, veranlasste gar ein Hausverbot für Skinheads und sorgte dafür, dass keine Oi!-Platten mehr in den Plattenläden zu finden waren. Die Polizei griff uns Skinheads scharf an, aber wir ließen unseren Kult nicht sterben! Die Bewegung verschwand zunehmend in den Untergrund. Wir betrieben unsere eigenen Clubs, veranstalteten eigene Konzerte, brachten eigene Fanzines heraus und lebten unseren “Way Of Life” abseits der Masse. Wir waren wie Märtyrer. Der Stolz auf diesen unseren Kult war und ist stärker als jeder Trend und wird überleben!

In den Medien verteufelt verbreitete sich der Skinhead-Kult über den ganzen Globus. Doch nicht nur den Medien gelang es Diesen Kult zu verbreiten, sondern auch Bands, die die wahren Werte dieser Subkultur in die Welt hinaus trugen.

Fernab von territorialen Auseinandersetzungen, jeglichem Rassismus und unzähligen Versuchen der Politik die Bewegung zu Spalten oder gar zu zerstören, lebt der Skinhead-Kult unbekümmert weiter wie eine weltweite Gemeinde am Rande der Gesellschaft.

Und genau deshalb feiern wir jedes Jahr unsere Subkultur in all ihren positiven Epochen. Vom Ska der 60er Jahre bis hin zum Oi! der heutigen Tage.

Jedes Jahr laden wir wohl ausgesuchte Bands ein, uns die Szene in ihrem jeweiligen Land zu präsentieren und wir freuen uns ganz besonders im Jahr 2016 die Band Stomper 98 https://www.facebook.com/Stomper98?fref=ts aus Göttingen/Deutschland in Brighton begrüßen zu dürfen.

Ein Drittel der Karten ist bereits verkauft und wir rechnen auch in 2016 wieder mit einer ausverkauften Great Skinhead Reunion.

www.subcultz.com

tickets here

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Enoch Powell, Rivers of blood speech

Enoch Powell

Enoch Powell stood in British Parliament, and made one of the most famous speeches in history. This speech has been debated ever since. Was is a genuine warning, or did it actually make immigration a ‘Race’ issue.  To date its estimated there are around 10 million immigrants and their descendants now living in the UK, with hundreds of thousands joining every year. No longer from just ex British colonies. making up around 15% of the UK population as a whole, but a much higher percentage of younger generation. 

This is the full text of Enoch Powell’s so-called ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, which was delivered to a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham on April 20 1968.

The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature.

One is that by the very order of things such evils are not demonstrable until they have occurred: at each stage in their onset there is room for doubt and for dispute whether they be real or imaginary. By the same token, they attract little attention in comparison with current troubles, which are both indisputable and pressing: whence the besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present at the expense of the future.

Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles: “If only,” they love to think, “if only people wouldn’t talk about it, it probably wouldn’t happen.”

Perhaps this habit goes back to the primitive belief that the word and the thing, the name and the object, are identical.

At all events, the discussion of future grave but, with effort now, avoidable evils is the most unpopular and at the same time the most necessary occupation for the politician. Those who knowingly shirk it deserve, and not infrequently receive, the curses of those who come after.

A week or two ago I fell into conversation with a constituent, a middle-aged, quite ordinary working man employed in one of our nationalised industries.

After a sentence or two about the weather, he suddenly said: “If I had the money to go, I wouldn’t stay in this country.” I made some deprecatory reply to the effect that even this government wouldn’t last for ever; but he took no notice, and continued: “I have three children, all of them been through grammar school and two of them married now, with family. I shan’t be satisfied till I have seen them all settled overseas. In this country in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”

I can already hear the chorus of execration. How dare I say such a horrible thing? How dare I stir up trouble and inflame feelings by repeating such a conversation?

The answer is that I do not have the right not to do so. Here is a decent, ordinary fellow Englishman, who in broad daylight in my own town says to me, his Member of Parliament, that his country will not be worth living in for his children.

I simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think about something else. What he is saying, thousands and hundreds of thousands are saying and thinking – not throughout Great Britain, perhaps, but in the areas that are already undergoing the total transformation to which there is no parallel in a thousand years of English history.

In 15 or 20 years, on present trends, there will be in this country three and a half million Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants. That is not my figure. That is the official figure given to parliament by the spokesman of the Registrar General’s Office.

There is no comparable official figure for the year 2000, but it must be in the region of five to seven million, approximately one-tenth of the whole population, and approaching that of Greater London. Of course, it will not be evenly distributed from Margate to Aberystwyth and from Penzance to Aberdeen. Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population.

As time goes on, the proportion of this total who are immigrant descendants, those born in England, who arrived here by exactly the same route as the rest of us, will rapidly increase. Already by 1985 the native-born would constitute the majority. It is this fact which creates the extreme urgency of action now, of just that kind of action which is hardest for politicians to take, action where the difficulties lie in the present but the evils to be prevented or minimised lie several parliaments ahead.

The natural and rational first question with a nation confronted by such a prospect is to ask: “How can its dimensions be reduced?” Granted it be not wholly preventable, can it be limited, bearing in mind that numbers are of the essence: the significance and consequences of an alien element introduced into a country or population are profoundly different according to whether that element is 1 per cent or 10 per cent.

The answers to the simple and rational question are equally simple and rational: by stopping, or virtually stopping, further inflow, and by promoting the maximum outflow. Both answers are part of the official policy of the Conservative Party.

It almost passes belief that at this moment 20 or 30 additional immigrant children are arriving from overseas in Wolverhampton alone every week – and that means 15 or 20 additional families a decade or two hence. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant-descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre. So insane are we that we actually permit unmarried persons to immigrate for the purpose of founding a family with spouses and fiancés whom they have never seen.

Let no one suppose that the flow of dependants will automatically tail off. On the contrary, even at the present admission rate of only 5,000 a year by voucher, there is sufficient for a further 25,000 dependants per annum ad infinitum, without taking into account the huge reservoir of existing relations in this country – and I am making no allowance at all for fraudulent entry. In these circumstances nothing will suffice but that the total inflow for settlement should be reduced at once to negligible proportions, and that the necessary legislative and administrative measures be taken without delay.

I stress the words “for settlement.” This has nothing to do with the entry of Commonwealth citizens, any more than of aliens, into this country, for the purposes of study or of improving their qualifications, like (for instance) the Commonwealth doctors who, to the advantage of their own countries, have enabled our hospital service to be expanded faster than would otherwise have been possible. They are not, and never have been, immigrants.

I turn to re-emigration. If all immigration ended tomorrow, the rate of growth of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population would be substantially reduced, but the prospective size of this element in the population would still leave the basic character of the national danger unaffected. This can only be tackled while a considerable proportion of the total still comprises persons who entered this country during the last ten years or so.

Hence the urgency of implementing now the second element of the Conservative Party’s policy: the encouragement of re-emigration.

Nobody can make an estimate of the numbers which, with generous assistance, would choose either to return to their countries of origin or to go to other countries anxious to receive the manpower and the skills they represent.

Nobody knows, because no such policy has yet been attempted. I can only say that, even at present, immigrants in my own constituency from time to time come to me, asking if I can find them assistance to return home. If such a policy were adopted and pursued with the determination which the gravity of the alternative justifies, the resultant outflow could appreciably alter the prospects.

The third element of the Conservative Party’s policy is that all who are in this country as citizens should be equal before the law and that there shall be no discrimination or difference made between them by public authority. As Mr Heath has put it we will have no “first-class citizens” and “second-class citizens.” This does not mean that the immigrant and his descendent should be elevated into a privileged or special class or that the citizen should be denied his right to discriminate in the management of his own affairs between one fellow-citizen and another or that he should be subjected to imposition as to his reasons and motive for behaving in one lawful manner rather than another.

There could be no grosser misconception of the realities than is entertained by those who vociferously demand legislation as they call it “against discrimination”, whether they be leader-writers of the same kidney and sometimes on the same newspapers which year after year in the 1930s tried to blind this country to the rising peril which confronted it, or archbishops who live in palaces, faring delicately with the bedclothes pulled right up over their heads. They have got it exactly and diametrically wrong.

The discrimination and the deprivation, the sense of alarm and of resentment, lies not with the immigrant population but with those among whom they have come and are still coming.

This is why to enact legislation of the kind before parliament at this moment is to risk throwing a match on to gunpowder. The kindest thing that can be said about those who propose and support it is that they know not what they do.

Nothing is more misleading than comparison between the Commonwealth immigrant in Britain and the American Negro. The Negro population of the United States, which was already in existence before the United States became a nation, started literally as slaves and were later given the franchise and other rights of citizenship, to the exercise of which they have only gradually and still incompletely come. The Commonwealth immigrant came to Britain as a full citizen, to a country which knew no discrimination between one citizen and another, and he entered instantly into the possession of the rights of every citizen, from the vote to free treatment under the National Health Service.

Whatever drawbacks attended the immigrants arose not from the law or from public policy or from administration, but from those personal circumstances and accidents which cause, and always will cause, the fortunes and experience of one man to be different from another’s.

But while, to the immigrant, entry to this country was admission to privileges and opportunities eagerly sought, the impact upon the existing population was very different. For reasons which they could not comprehend, and in pursuance of a decision by default, on which they were never consulted, they found themselves made strangers in their own country.

They found their wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, their children unable to obtain school places, their homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition, their plans and prospects for the future defeated; at work they found that employers hesitated to apply to the immigrant worker the standards of discipline and competence required of the native-born worker; they began to hear, as time went by, more and more voices which told them that they were now the unwanted. They now learn that a one-way privilege is to be established by act of parliament; a law which cannot, and is not intended to, operate to protect them or redress their grievances is to be enacted to give the stranger, the disgruntled and the agent-provocateur the power to pillory them for their private actions.

In the hundreds upon hundreds of letters I received when I last spoke on this subject two or three months ago, there was one striking feature which was largely new and which I find ominous. All Members of Parliament are used to the typical anonymous correspondent; but what surprised and alarmed me was the high proportion of ordinary, decent, sensible people, writing a rational and often well-educated letter, who believed that they had to omit their address because it was dangerous to have committed themselves to paper to a Member of Parliament agreeing with the views I had expressed, and that they would risk penalties or reprisals if they were known to have done so. The sense of being a persecuted minority which is growing among ordinary English people in the areas of the country which are affected is something that those without direct experience can hardly imagine.

I am going to allow just one of those hundreds of people to speak for me:

“Eight years ago in a respectable street in Wolverhampton a house was sold to a Negro. Now only one white (a woman old-age pensioner) lives there. This is her story. She lost her husband and both her sons in the war. So she turned her seven-roomed house, her only asset, into a boarding house. She worked hard and did well, paid off her mortgage and began to put something by for her old age. Then the immigrants moved in. With growing fear, she saw one house after another taken over. The quiet street became a place of noise and confusion. Regretfully, her white tenants moved out.

“The day after the last one left, she was awakened at 7am by two Negroes who wanted to use her ‘phone to contact their employer. When she refused, as she would have refused any stranger at such an hour, she was abused and feared she would have been attacked but for the chain on her door. Immigrant families have tried to rent rooms in her house, but she always refused. Her little store of money went, and after paying rates, she has less than £2 per week. “She went to apply for a rate reduction and was seen by a young girl, who on hearing she had a seven-roomed house, suggested she should let part of it. When she said the only people she could get were Negroes, the girl said, “Racial prejudice won’t get you anywhere in this country.” So she went home.

“The telephone is her lifeline. Her family pay the bill, and help her out as best they can. Immigrants have offered to buy her house – at a price which the prospective landlord would be able to recover from his tenants in weeks, or at most a few months. She is becoming afraid to go out. Windows are broken. She finds excreta pushed through her letter box. When she goes to the shops, she is followed by children, charming, wide-grinning piccaninnies. They cannot speak English, but one word they know. “Racialist,” they chant. When the new Race Relations Bill is passed, this woman is convinced she will go to prison. And is she so wrong? I begin to wonder.”

The other dangerous delusion from which those who are wilfully or otherwise blind to realities suffer, is summed up in the word “integration.” To be integrated into a population means to become for all practical purposes indistinguishable from its other members.

Now, at all times, where there are marked physical differences, especially of colour, integration is difficult though, over a period, not impossible. There are among the Commonwealth immigrants who have come to live here in the last fifteen years or so, many thousands whose wish and purpose is to be integrated and whose every thought and endeavour is bent in that direction.

But to imagine that such a thing enters the heads of a great and growing majority of immigrants and their descendants is a ludicrous misconception, and a dangerous one.

We are on the verge here of a change. Hitherto it has been force of circumstance and of background which has rendered the very idea of integration inaccessible to the greater part of the immigrant population – that they never conceived or intended such a thing, and that their numbers and physical concentration meant the pressures towards integration which normally bear upon any small minority did not operate.

Now we are seeing the growth of positive forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population. The cloud no bigger than a man’s hand, that can so rapidly overcast the sky, has been visible recently in Wolverhampton and has shown signs of spreading quickly. The words I am about to use, verbatim as they appeared in the local press on 17 February, are not mine, but those of a Labour Member of Parliament who is a minister in the present government:

‘The Sikh communities’ campaign to maintain customs inappropriate in Britain is much to be regretted. Working in Britain, particularly in the public services, they should be prepared to accept the terms and conditions of their employment. To claim special communal rights (or should one say rites?) leads to a dangerous fragmentation within society. This communalism is a canker; whether practised by one colour or another it is to be strongly condemned.’

All credit to John Stonehouse for having had the insight to perceive that, and the courage to say it.

For these dangerous and divisive elements the legislation proposed in the Race Relations Bill is the very pabulum they need to flourish. Here is the means of showing that the immigrant communities can organise to consolidate their members, to agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens, and to overawe and dominate the rest with the legal weapons which the ignorant and the ill-informed have provided. As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”

That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the century.

Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.