“Anyone there?”

A mini-series in wich I look back through the mists of time and reminisce about what I was doing this time last week – the highs, the lows, the absurdities. It’ another trip to the Blackpool weekend for ageing punks.
This year doesn’t get off to the most promising start. Myself and my mate travel up by coach on Thursday morning via Birmingham as usual. There seem to be less punky types getting the coach at Birmingham than the last few years. Is austerity beginning to take its toll? With that thought, and the fact I’m missing Trashcat, who I really want to see (on at 12.40pm), to cheer me up, we’re on our way.

Things don’t look too good at the B & B. Firstly a bit of background. Previously the it  was run by a nice woman who grew up in the sixties and has applied the decade’s free and easy attitude to running the B & B. You more or less automatically got booked in for next year, no deposit required! She was keen to insist that she knew we smoked “whacky baccy” in the rooms but this was fine. Thanks we said, but we don’t. She couldn’t seem to understand that. If you phoned up to confirm your booking she seemed bemused – of course you were booked in, why were you worried. Nevertheless we do phone, and this year found it was under new management who definitely did want confirmation, and hadn’t got contact numbers for us because the previous owner didn’t bother with anything so formal. We arrive to find that although we’d confirmed two single rooms, they are putting us in a twin room. This is not good, not least because of my snoring. We politely insist we want single rooms and they manage to shuffle things round.
With that sorted it’s off to the venue. I bump into a mate who insists that there’s loads of people, they all travelled yesterday, but I’m not convinced, it looks quieter than usual. Onto the highlights and lowlights.
CANCELLATION OF THE DAY  Trashcat were booked to play stupidly early. The programme describes them as “punk’s best kept secret” – presumably their slot is meant to keep it this way. Perhaps they thought the same because they didn’t turn up, so I didn’t miss them! Hurrah!
NEW BAND OF THE DAY A young Irish band called Checkpoint, playing melodic but powerful SLF/Clash type stuff. They look about 21, but the programme says they are “leaving school in June”!! I feel old.
GRIPE OF THE WEEKEND The sound which was shite in 3 out of 4 of the main venues. There have been problems in different venues on different years but this is the worst. A mate argues with me that this isn’t the point (someone always argues this) but I say we pay a lot of money for this weekend. Not happy about this one. Today 70s influenced Biteback seem to suffer particularly badly playing the Arena, in fact this youtube clip sounds better than it did on the day!

SHOWBIZ TROOPERS OF THE WEEKEND Sick On The Bus also play the Arena and pull in a big crowd. They laugh in the face of poor sound by just cranking up the volume and careering through their set, and everyone seems to be happy. Biff though is looking particularly the worse for drink, but manages to get through. It only helps to conform the authenticity of their songs about punk hedonism such as Never Enough and Drink Now,Pay Later.

BAND OF THE DAY – The Straps are on next and are a bit slicker, but that does no harm. They are a band who straddled the late 70s / early 80s punks scene and had a sound to match. For a few moments I’m concerned it may be one of those “original bassist with new line up” type affairs as there is no sign of frontman Jock Strap, but it’s ok, he’s just waiting for the bad to start to make a more dramatic entrance! The last time they played here it was a bit of “hope you like the new album we haven’t released yet” set and it didn’t really work. This time it’s a good mix of old and new stuff, although I’m not sure about the cover of Music To Watch Girls By. It probably seemed hilarious after a few beers at band rehearsal.
PACING PROBLEM OF THE WEEKEND Two years ago on Thursday I managed to fall asleep during The Exploited. Last year on Thursday I nodded off waiting for the Buzzcocks. This year I head back for a break at the B & B before headliners New Model Army. They were my favourite band when I was 15, and even if I lost interest  I’m looking forward to it as I haven’t seen them since 2000. This doesn’t stop me falling into the arms of Morpeus, as NMA would no doubt put it. I wake up at 1am – NMA were onstage at 12.45am. I make haste to the venue. NMA are playing to a half full ballroom. They are playing (as usual) mainly new material, which is keyboard heavy, and atmospheric rather than rabble rousing. Add to that the poor sound and Justin Sullivan seeming ready for bed himself, and it’s not quite the experience I was hoping for. We do get some old favourites like No Rest and Spirit Of The Falklands, but they don’t have quite the impact you’d expect. After an encore of I Love The World Justin Sullivan points out that it’s 2am and we need to get some sleep – good advice. Anyway here’s the kind of stuff not to play when headlining Rebellion!

My mate was bemuse by the woman sitting on someoe’s shoulders doing hand gestures – he didn’t go to goth/alternative gigs in the 80s.

20 thoughts on “REBELLION 2013 – THURSDAY

  1. aw, I still haven’t managed to see NMA live, I would have been the girl with the arms waving around in my dreams, but realistically, I would have been beyond fast asleep at that time of night/morning. Any pyramid building or people in clogs?

    Did you go up the Tower and eat a stick of rock? Hope the sound quality didn’t spoil the weekend entirely.

    • (I meant NMA fans in clogs, not a derogatory Northerners comment, I used to know die hard fans who clattered around in wooden clogs for some reason).

        • ah,thanks Shane. I knew there was a reason, but I was too scared to ask. The clogs sure did make the fans audible as they came clattering through the mean streets of Colchester with their lurchers and painted leather jackets.

      • Yeah it was Wakeley’s Clogs – used to have a pair myself – but they were forced out of their Hebden Bridge home when the mill went up in flames some years back, and although they still [apparently] exist, whatever commercial head of steam they had evaporated in the fire-forced relocation.

      • D’OH!
        Yunno, I just KNEW I hadn’t got that quite right t’other night: it’s Walkley not Wakeley.
        Looked them up out of curiosity this evening: still working out of the supposed “temporary” home they moved to after the Hebden Bridge fire. Went looking for that address when my old clogs – Derby work boots – finally died* and couldn’t find it; I might try again now; quite fancy a pair of purple safety riggers.

        * took about fifteen years of total neglect (I never cleaned/polished/dubbined them even ONCE!) to get them to the stage where they needed a repair I couldn’t do myself. When I told DsMam I was going to get them fixed, she told me in no uncertain terms that unless Walkley’s could fix the unholy stench that clung to them, not to waste my time! I reluctantly binned them.

    • No it didn’t spoil the weekend, it did spoil more than one band though. I would be complaining loudly about this on the Rebellion website but they’ve long since removed the comments section!
      I’m not keen on going up towers. I almost bought some rock but I had a bad enough diet over the weekend as it was.
      No pyramid building and I didn’t see any clogs. I know more than one person who did wear clogs back in the day though. I do remember seeing them in the 90s and seeing a huge crusty guy standing upright on his mate’s shoulders for an entire song, that was quite impressive. The first time I saw them was in 1988, at the time it was easily one of the best gigs I’d been to. They’ve changed a bit since then but I always have respect for a band who don’t get stuck in the greatest hits / first album rut.

      • I have great respect for the band and will always love the early albums and Justin Sullivan’s solo project, but I admit to not religiously buying the more recent ones.

  2. Amused by Beth’s comment about “townie NMA fans” – where I come from a “townie” is a trendy/casual – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one at an NMA gig unless you count my brother who came with me to see them wearing Farahs – he was 14 at the time though.

    • ah, I will explain. Where I was a student, there were the University Goths and the the Townie Goths who were older, scarier and only allowed into the university events if signed in as a guest of a student. They had real jobs and things and although there was some fraternisation between the camps, we were rather overawed by them (especially the big NMA fans).

      • They did have some big fans (as in big in stature). I remember crusties as a rule always looking thin and weedy until you went to a NMA gig where there seemed to be an entirely different breed of crusty.
        Goth has long been stereotyped as a subculture of arty, sensitive middle class types, and perhaps that’s what it became, but a mate of mine used to follow some of the 80s goth bands around and says that then there were a lot of “mad bastards” – and he should know!

  3. DSD – I distinctly remember the lunchtime news having a story about NMA reviving the clog trade in Hebden Bridge in about 89. Just looked for it on youtube but it doesn’t seem to be there. In fact Mrs wyngatecarpenter went there to get clogs long before I knew her.

    • Yes, that’d be about right. I was never a NMA fan, but as we drank in the same student pub (83-87), I couldn’t help but notice the footwear. Got my clogs around the end of the eighties after a while actually refusing to do so on some sort of inverted-musical-snobbery. They were ace for my feet both at work and in the crappy winter weather, but I didn’t half take some stick for having them . . . didn’t I, Gordon?!?!?!?!

  4. got back to checking the scene cupla yrs ago-checkpoint,rats blood,the jobseekers,naildrivers,section 4,the service etc all good irish bands a la melodic punk,ska,oi.stuff that a 52 yr old punk rusty can lep to!there last year,wb back nxt yr,why not!

  5. This weekend I was able to buy the floor model of a media shelf for $10. New it would have been $30. It was ralley roughed up, but that was fine since my plan was to put it in my closet and use it as a five-shelf shoe rack. I didn’t even have to put it together and it holds 15 pairs of shoes!

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