As the fifth of November brings bonfires and fireworks to brighten dark winter nights, the legacy of Guy Fawkes needs a rethink. The official line in history is that he was a traitor. The burning of his effigy has been a part of English culture since 1605. I think Guy Fawkes was the first punk rocker and a foiled underdog, that’s why there has always been an undercurrent of sympathy for the guy in British society. He was caught with a keg of gunpowder trying to blow up parliament; this action is the ultimate embodiment of the A for Anarchy symbol you’ll find on a hardcore punk’s leather jacket.
The inspiration for the vigilante mask in the V for Vendetta series and in the Occupy Wall Street movement; even the conservative Telegraph newspaper has recently joined in the argument with an article asking to forgive Guy Fawkes because “he has become a global brand,” arguing that he’s “an icon of the complex and flawed nature of human beings”. Whether he was a terrorist, freedom fighter or simply misunderstood, I can’t think of anything more punk rock than that.
In the spirit of this, I want to share the classic “Person’s Unknown” by the anti-establishment, staunchly feminist anarcho-punk band, Poison Girls. At the band’s inception the lead singer/guitarist, Vi Subversa was a middle-aged mother of two that wrote songs exploring sexuality and gender roles. The lyrics of this song are dedicated to all the disaffected, those left on the outside of society looking in and it’s sheer brilliant poetry set to a hypnotic rock riff.
“Hey there Mr. Average, you don’t exist, you never did,
Hiding in shadows, persons unknown.
Habits of hiding soon will be the death of us,
Dying in secret from poisons unknown.”
When I went to the Liverpool Psych Festival I missed out on reviewing several acts because of DJ duties. One band on that list was a favourite of mine, the Cult of Dom Keller. I’ve seen them several times, recorded their gigs to broadcast on my radio show and it is remiss of me not to finally mention them here. These mesmeric dream drone merchants pack a powerful punch live and are a definite must for those who love it loud and fuzzy.
If you always had a hankering to pop into a time machine and go to a Lush gig back in the day, you need to give Star Horse a whirl. They may be from modern Stockholm, Sweden, but they create a pure reproduction of early nineties UK shoegaze/dream pop. All the classic ingredients are present, indecipherable lyrics and soaring harmonies loaded onto haunting guitars that spin into a hazy gazer heaven.
I am pleased to announce that Paper Dress Vintage has reopened at 352a Mare Street, in Hackney Central, E8, with two floors for double the retro clothes and music joint fun. I’m delighted to be DJing at their eight year birthday event on Saturday November 7th. There is killer live music on offer, with some sweet, loved-up California dreaming from LA band, Lovey Dove and The Soul Naturals giving you a soulgasm of sounds. I take the decks after 12 am with my psych, soul, freakbeat and old style rock ‘n’ roll feast until the wee hours.
I will also be DJing at Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, SE14 on Friday November 6th. It’s free entry and I’m in the back room from 10:30pm to 3am with 80’s electro, 90’s danceable fun and old skool hip hop.
To keep with the punk ethos of the piece, I’d like to share a Kool Kitchen from the vaults. Here is my interview with Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols as he chats with me about being a teenage Pistol and working with the Small Faces and Iggy Pop.