Monthly Archives: June 2014

Colum McCann – TransAtlantic

Colum McCann
Bloomsbury Press


If there’s one thing that our history should teach us is that we shouldn’t forget our history.

This is a decade for centenaries in Ireland, The Lockout was remembered last year. Battling is now taking place over who will be Lord Mayor in our cities when the 1916 Rising is 100 years old. After that it will be the War of independence and all the death and suffering that begot our people.

100 years is such a short space of time and yet the stories will all be second hand. My children have the same kind of glazed look painted on their faces when I speak about events I had that glazed look on for. “Yeah Dad, there was a bombing in North Strand, yeah there was a war. Yeah, people fought for the right to vote. Now can I get back to the tv?” We can’t force our children to pretend to care but we can be safe in the knowledge that one day they will care. Beacause of that we owe it to them to keep the flame of history burning by sharing our stories and documenting tales.

TransAtlantic is one such tale. It takes three seperate events in History and links them together on this island. It is beautifully narrated and when we read of Allcock and Browns travails across the Atlantic on the first transatlantic flight we are in the cockpit with them. I find it difficult to drive from one side of this capital city to the other without the aid of a sat nav, how they did it based on horizon only is beyond me. Their landing was photographed and written about in this version of history by descendants of a starving Irish person who was forced to flee their home during the famine. Of course it wasn’t any normal person it was someone who had come across Daniel O’Connell who in the course of his attempt at Catholic Emancipation for the rights of Catholic people to vote in this country came across Frederick Douglass who was on a speaking tour about the plight of Slaves in the US.

Everything is interlinked and this family returned to Ireland, settling in Northern Ireland and being caught up directly in the death and devastation that plagued this part of our island at the end of the last Century. I grew up in the South of Ireland with a fear of the North. Fearful of Protestants in case they would kill me and of Catholics in case they would make me kill. Of course that was wrong, but I had no wikipedia to tell me the truth, only my peers (and thankfully punk rock) to dispel the myths.

The beauty in McCanns writing is the story telling narrative. Very little direct quotes come at you, it’s all in the third person and it flows in a beautiful way that makes you reflect on history and hope we can remember our past whilst celebrating our future.

Sit back, take some time out join with Colum Mc Cann and think about our past

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Bear Trade – Blood And Sand


bear trade
Blood and sand
Waterslide Records

Where bear trade make a mockery of the concept of The difficult second album.

Paint a picture in your mind of Northern England and a band singing in the ruins of a derelict building, singing through the grime and dirt and greyness of a country split.

There’s a revolution going on you know, a musical one. Stuart Maconie wrote for a book, stealing a line from the KLF – ‘It’s Grim Up North’. In it it is questioned where Northern England starts. Bear Trade are based in Sunderland which is very much in the right land area but it’s the land mass that is home to the likes of Stay Clean Jolene, Dauntless Elite and most definitely Leatherface. bands that are buring the musical revolution torch. Bear Trade will have the inevitable Leatherface comparisons but I’m putting it to you they’re better. Not Superstitious is one of Leatherfaces finest moments. I’ll never forget hearing Frankie singing it live and thinking it doesn’t get much better. That feeling is replicated right throughout this record. I have a wry smile on my face typing this, that wry smile is constant once bear trade are singing.

These are not just songs, they are stories of life, tales of everyday travels. They are a continuation where the 6 track debut record left off. Whisky On A bluebird was my introduction to Bear Trade. An independent release, brought out by Waterslide records. I heard it and wondered why I’m not reading about this band everywhere. I then researched the band more and found that they had served their apprenticeship and well. Each of the 4 have been in various bands who have been hanging around the english punk scene for years. Punks who went in a different direction, punks that took a tune and gave it an English tyle. Bands like Blocko, Former Cell Mates and Southport. Maybe it’s the northern angle, maybe they just don’t have the ingredients for coolness. A guitar assualt with tunes galore blazing through and a siging style that almost feels like you are sitting having a chat with them.

Reviewing a record isn’t disimilar to putting forward motions at union conferences. The speaker (in this case the reviewer) gives some background to the motion (in this case the record) and ends with the usual line “I urge you to carry this motion” , Well I urge you to listen to the record, maybe even buy it.

My new favourite band

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Luvdump – Age of Austerity

Age of austerity (Pumpkin Records)


As someone born in 68 and introduced to music by punk rock I grew up with the protest song. That could have been the clash, the jam, crass or new model army bands seemed to have something to say about the state we lived in.

Of course that has continued but in a much more private way. Two things the recession has thought us is that
1) we were right to argue for a better way and
2) the art of protest is not dead.

Slowly bands are starting to sing about it once more and luvdump are shining the red and black light. Conflict like they pull no punches. Culture shock like they blend ska with these harsh words. Propoghandhi like they scream and about and plea for us to join them

Keep protesting and believe in making things different. Otherwise we’ve lost

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Positive Creed *23


These keep coming thick and fast. For anyone to do more than 2 zines in 12 calendar months is a huge achievement. Positive creed is regular as you can be when you are doing it all yourself. Basic enough Interviews with the vibrators, cockney rejects and Chokin’ Susan are supplemented by more wordy efforts from cub sports (know them? me neither) and a very interesting one with ex doorman and martial arts instructor Geoff Thompson. Geoff has written a book about his world and rob views him interesting enough to include in his zine which is good enough for me.

Some opinion pieces and a page on why to boycott tescos along with reviews is proper reason for you to read this. If you want of course.

£2 inc p+p to Ireland
Po Box 777, Exeter, Ex1 9tu, England.

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Suspect Device *55

Suspect device * 55
SD55 cover

So it’s been around for 55 issues and says fuck the mainstream in the front cover. The rest I could leave up to you but I won’t. Tony and fax have the same straightforward style since issue 1 and they aren’t gonna change now. Why should they? It’s not broke, it doesn’t need fixing. Interviews as fans with night birds, anti pasti, no statik, the live triangle. Reviews as fans of many boss tuneage records and columns written as people. People who live punk rock but think there’s something wrong with society that views an economy more important than its people

Get it
£3 inc p+p to Ireland

2 Pine Close, Ashurst
Hampshire, SO40 7BU

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