Monthly Archives: February 2016

My Favourite Gig – Vique Martin

This is the fifth in a series all taken from the Fanzine Hope *.2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world.  All asked the same question What is Your Favourite Gig. The zine is €5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos   Pay by paypal, here

In a week when Jon Brunch from Sensefield was tragically removed from this Earth aged 45 I thought it would be apt to feature Vique Simba’s piece for this weeks ‘My Favourite Gig’  Vique is former editor of Simba fanzine and was involved in putting on bands in the UK.  Her writings in the 90’s were some of the most heartfelt I have read.  It was no surprise when she left her home in the UK and turned up working for Revelation Records as so many of the bands on that label had lyrics mirroring Viques style of writing.

Vique Martin– Revelation Records, Simba Fanzine

Revelation records 25th Anniversary show



“In 1987 I had a crush on a boy called Sam Cook. He had four t-shirts that he always wore and eventually my curiosity fueled four record purchases; Minor Threat, Youth of Today, Black Flag and The Descendents.  My introduction to hardcore and punk exploded and I was never the same again. I developed a lifelong passion for this music and my life became enveloped within a subculture and community that shared so many of my politics and values. Eventually I had my own zine and label, booking shows and touring with bands extensively. I visited the East Coast of the U.S. on many trips, for months at a time. Developing strong bonds with the friends I’d previously been writing to and attending many shows with them. Like the first Dayton Festival in 1993. Where I cried like a baby holding SevaPriya’s hand watching Into Another for the first time. So many shows, so many happy tears. How to pick just one to share in the pages of this book is such a challenge…

But I think it has to be the Revelation Records anniversary shows in the summer of 2012.  Seventeen years ago I took a job at Revelation Records and I’ve been living in California ever since. I’m the person that processes all the orders that ship to Europe. I’m the person that orders represses of Bold’s records and orders the shirts to make the Quicksand merch, for examples of a few of my daily tasks. Sometimes it still amazes me, as I’m picking the colour to press the Inside Out 7”s on next. I can’t believe that this is my life and I get to do this.  My life is not defined by my work, but it’s a huge component of it. And I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d never had a crush on Sam. Life changing.

In the summer of 2012 Sam came to visit for the twenty-fifth anniversary weekend for Revelation Records. I introduced him to people as the reason that they knew me. We watched all the old Rev bands along with my friends of twenty years and more. That weekend was incredibly special to me. So many friends in town, from near and far. So many bands I’d seen before, like Sensefield and Quicksand, playing their hearts out. The feelings that flowed back as though it had just been a few years and not decades. Standing in a room of 800 people that knew every word. That never thought they’d get to sing along to those words live again. Magical.

As was Into Another. Made all the more so because my Into Another partner of nineteen years ago was by my side. SevaPriya and I once again held hands and cried. The emotions of hearing the songs that got me through some terrible times caused more tears than normal. Seeing and hearing the band get emotional also causing more tears. So much emotion for so many people, the energy in the room so strong and intense. Everyone feeling so much more than they expected.

I mean, seriously, who expects to cry watching Crippled Youth? I didn’t expect it, but I certainly cried. Seeing your favourite straight edge record played after all these years was actually possibly the best moment, for me, of the entire weekend with regards to bands on the stage. It’s very likely I’m the only person that felt like that. But that’s what makes an event like this so magical, is that each band means something different to someone else. And everyone has different favourites and different amazing moments.  A large part of my weekend was spent getting people to sign the book I’d orchestrated for Jordan [the owner of Revelation Records] as a gift. I’d had many past employees, band members, and friends, write articles about when they met Jordan and memories of Revelation Records. It was all laid out in a little hardback book with tons of photos. I spent a large part of the weekend sneaking around behind Jordan’s back and getting all the band members who I either hadn’t had contact information for [or missed the deadline] to sign Jordan’s copy of the book. I had to be subtle about this and I somehow managed to do it without him seeing.

At the pinnacle of the show, just before Quicksand went on stage, I gave it to Jordan. It seemed to mean the world to him, and everyone got a little emotional. I’m so glad that we have this keepsake that reminds us why we do this. Why our lives revolve around shows and music and records and books and politics and community. Because we are fucking so lucky to have fallen down this particular rabbit hole. To be part of this community. One that shares stories about what they love about music and the scene. That pulls together to make something happen when people need our help. That benefit shows and benefit books and doing things for other people is a real way of life. It’s twenty five years of shows for me. Of knowing the people that I started this journey with. That I would hope will be right next to me for the Revelation Records 30th anniversary, and on, and on.

I leave you with a picture of myself sandwiched between Sam Cook and Seva Priya. This was taken by the amazing Chrissy Piper. Could the three of us look any happier? The two of them hadn’t met before this weekend but you’d never have known it. We were just about to watch Underdog I think. We went from one band to the next, one show to the next, in a daze of happiness that seemed surreal. But, as amazing as the bands were, it’s the community of my friends that is the real tear jerker when I reminisce. The quick catch-ups and the long hugs. The meals snatched and laughing ’til we cried. The creation of a whole lexicon of new inside jokes within that weekend. The avoidance of the exes and the flirting with the crushes. The same stuff that I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced at so many shows.  And possibly the best memory of all? Sharing thoughts and feelings on the drive home with Sam.   Verbal diarrhea of excitement and happiness from us both. Smiling so widely our faces hurt.  The best weekend of shows ever.”


vique simba


Leave a comment

Filed under hope

Brian McMahon Brand New Retro

Brian McMahon Brand New Retro

Brian McMahon Brand New Retro
It is only natural that the 1916 Rising Centenary has seen the launch of, literally, countless books, exhibitions, tours, talks, radio and TV programmes. Yet, as Niall Hope’s review of From Pogrom to Civil War: Tom Glennon and the Belfast IRA indicates, what makes history interesting, important and relevant are the real life stories of everyday people. That was also what I learned from Michael McCaughan’s insight into R.F. Foster’s book, the Vivid Faces: the Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, about the Rising: it’s all about the people. It sounds simple enough, yet sometimes we only learn about the great people (generally men) and the great moments in history. It is as if they came from nowhere. This is clearly not the case.

It is clear that sometimes everyday people find themselves in extraordinary times, or at extraordinary moments. To me, history’s great task is to help us understand not just these moments and events but the people and their everyday lives.

That is why I think that Brian McMahon’s Brand New Retro is not only a brilliant book; it is also a really important one. It is a lavish tome: hardcover, 208 pages, meticulously researched and beautifully designed. It is very clearly a labour of love. It might even be a work of art. I should make it clear that I don’t know who the author is, just in case this fountain of praise makes it sounds like I do. He is behind the brilliant blog, Brand New Retro, which has consistently uncovered and displayed gems from Ireland’s rich, bizarre and unusual popular culture history. It is one of the three Irish culture internet sites that I have learned the most from. The other two are the equally brilliant, Come Here to Me site, and the equally meticulous, Irish site. The book Come Here to Me: Dublin’s Other History (Fallon, McGrath and Murray) was my previous ‘book of the year’.

Back to Brand New Retro. Why do I rate it so highly? Here is one reason: I have spent so much time reading it and looking at it, and only now, for the first time, have I noticed that the stool on the front cover is glossy. Now that is care and attention. As I said, a true labour of love.

To understand the Irish music industry, we need to know the details of the small bands, the unknowns; most of information, naturally, comes from the big stars. That skews our perception of the industry and how it works. And here we have pages of material on the little bands, the might-have-beens, as well as the early features on the future stars. For example here we have pages from the incredibly important Black and White fanzine. U2 and the Blades were featured in 1979 and the magazine champions both of them. What is key about the early Irish music fanzines of the punk and new wave era is that they positioned local acts on the same playing field as international acts. The fanzines (Raw Power, Heat and Vox were the best designed) were not just writing about how much they loved local bands. They were also writing (and interviewing) the international acts they loved too.

This is really important. They were placing the local acts alongside the best new international acts. The fanzines were champions of a global music sub-culture: and very importantly for the local scene, they were stating that local Irish acts belonged to that global scene. This was revolutionary. The fanzines clearly argued that a new youth culture was challenging the accepted order, a youth culture with a Do-It-Yourself attitude, and Ireland was part of it.

And here, McMahon’s pages reproduced from Black and White invite the reader to consider how in same issue included articles about the Virgin Prunes, reviews of the Dead Kennedys, Fad Gadget, Cabaret Voltaire and bootlegs too. This was not the mainstream. The book’s section on Music and Showbiz, over 40 pages of images, really brings home how the local music scene developed. It also captures the creative spark of Irish youth, even in the 1960s when Ireland was very remote from the global music industry. It also captures some of the bizarre local offerings from the Irish music industry. Brand New Retro includes ads for Michael Landers: the ‘five-year-old singing sensation’ whose parents decided to send him touring the music venues of the land. It is worth noting that the politician, Oliver J. Flanagan, argued strenuously that it would be a violation of his rights to prohibit what many saw as exploitation of a child.

The local music industry was shaped by domestic and international factors and the book includes images of early Rory Gallaher, Phil Lynott, RTE Guides, Big Tom and the Mainliners, DC Nien, Joe Dolan, nightclubs, discos, early gay rights campaigns, as well as visits from Madness, The Specials, Depeche Mode and Rod Stewart. The latter remind us that the second wave of ska, originated in Britain, was a huge cultural force for Irish youth in the 1980s. Ireland was at the crossroads and this is well documented here.

The sections on Sport, Readers’ Lives, Lifestyle and Fashion also show Ireland at work and at play. Brand New Retro then is not just a series of snapshots, or a scrapbook of ‘how things were’. It is a vibrant document of a changing society. A society being challenged by forces from inside and outside. And as McMahon makes clear in this incredible collection, popular culture was often a means by which accepted practices were challenged. This was a world where Youghal Carpets were a source of national pride and Cork possessed a competitive cosmetics firm. Take a bow, Melinda.

It was a land where people were consumers, increasingly young people. As we see here, they were urged, cajoled and persuaded to buy Dingos jeans, Clarkes shoes, Glen Abbey tights, and Dulux paints. And they might even get Green Shield stamps with those purchases.
If the book is a shrine to love it is features a fair share of heartbreak. While some forces advance youth culture, there will also be others who will exploit it. The 1971 magazine advertisement for Hibernian Insurance, for example, features a crying, vulnerable young mini-skirted lady. The emotive headline reads: ‘Sue won’t be going to the dance tonight’. Why? Because heartless thieves have broken into her flat. She made the mistake of not having insurance and she now dabs her eyes with a hankie amongst the strewn remains of her possessions: including a box of Weetabix, coat hangers and boxes of matches. Presumably the Gardai were now looking for well-dressed, breakfast-hating, non-smoking criminals.
McMahon points out how the advice given in Ireland’s ‘problem pages’ generally consisted of: ‘discuss with a priest’ or send off for that special book from Easons (book shop)’ (p. 179). But this highlights how prominent the clergy were in Irish cultural life during this era. Yet, this was often in under-documented and surprising ways.
Some of the most startling images are the early 1970s covers of the magazine, An Gael Óg (the Young Irish). They evoked music, fun, freedom and even boys and girls having fun together. The poignant drawings, which must have been cool in their time, feature a young man playing records as well as a young woman playing guitar with concentration. Listen to, and playing, music was a source of pleasure. Another cover features a young man and woman singing, notably she is the guitar player. One even features what appears to be a joyously happy telephone conversation between a young man and young woman. Perhaps the most surprising image though, is of a young couple on a motor bike. The mountain scenery in the background looks familiarly Irish. Yet the smiling young woman holding onto a young man as the motorbike transports them together was not the traditional Irish establishment image of a rigid separation of the sexes. In one of the book’s many surprises I learned that the magazine was published by the Christian Brothers order whose vice-like grip on Irish education has been well documented, often chillingly, elsewhere.

The book perfectly encapsulates an ever-shifting cultural terrain. And it is clear that the consequences of these shifts were important. The gleeful images shine with important examples of struggles over consumerism and commercialism; uniformity and self-expression; as well as craft and identity.

A fun book. A beautiful book. An important book. Everyone who wants to understand Ireland’s history should get their hands on it.

Michael Mary Murphy

1 Comment

Filed under books, wild hearted outsider

Zine of the week – riot 77


Riot 77 fanzine

po box 11342

dublin 2

I love reading Riot 77.  Cian does a really great job with his interviews. They are always good conversations with insightful questions. I’m sure he spends a lot of time researching the interviewees.

in this issue we get to read about original Northern Irish punks, the undertones and the outcasts. We also get cheetah chrome from the dead boys and Paulie bearer from New York street punks. Sheer Terror.

Worth it for those alone but we also get some good reviews of of 18 months of gigs since the last issue came out. Gigs from North America and ireland

Andy higgins has an excellent piece on Alex oggs Dead Kennedys book and there’s an extensive review section.  Can isn’t trying to be your mate with this zine but for anyone with a passing interest in the history of the punk scene this really is a must read



Leave a comment

Filed under Fanzines

Book of the Week – From Pogrom To Civil War


From Pogrom to civil war
Tom glennon and the Belfast IRA
Kieran Glennon
Mercier History


Available here

Disclaimer, I know the author. We used to go to gigs together and we have many mutual friends. My only time seeing him this century though is at St pats football matches. For Kieran is a big fan. Me! I just like football. Having said that, what an interesting read.

This is a story starting and finishing with Kieran’s grandad Tom and his part in the Belfast pogrom and subsequently role in the Irish army

The dictionary tells me that a pogrom is an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group more commonly used in conflicts representing Jews however Belfast in 1920 saw a populace being undermined due to their religion. I had never heard of the Belfast boycott, organised during the first Dail (Parliament of ireland). Some catholic workers were expelled from shipyards and other workplaces so the Dail decided to boycott Belfast. Interesting in these days of talks about boycotting Israel that we have precedence from our very first parliament. Which, of course, people had set up themselves. The effectiveness of this boycott was the “equivalent of A summer shower threatening cave hill” and it petered out.

One captivating part of the book, like most that reflect a particular time, is the mention of torture and death with the sunglasses of history. Of course time can heal wounds but ambush and murder is spoken about in practical terms and the people doing the ambushing and killing get certain forgiveness nearly a century later.

The Pogrom ultimately finished with a truce but not before another Bloody Sunday where homes and lives were destroyed. At this stage Tom Glennon was incarcerated in the Curragh, a prisoner of war for all intents and purposes. However there was a musical backdrop to their day. While the prisoners were out stretching their legs the trumpeters of the Huzzar Regiment were practicing their musicianship, not just bugle calls but music for the prisoners to remember their time by. Many of you reading this will associate a moment with a particular song. For the prisoners their memory will be the music of the Huzzar regiment. From there it was like a scene from Escape to Victory as plans were hatched for freedom.

Although dealing with events around 1921 it mirrors much of what happened 50+ years later. Bin lids being smacked on street concrete to create a cacophony of noise as a warning for locals that the security forces were entering their communities. Talks of truce, talks abandoned. Extensive killing just as it seems like there may be a respite on the cards. And kidnapping. Removing people from their families to progree your political aims. We get a run down of historic events. As plans for a northern offensive were gathering pace we hear of the facts that for the second time in six years orders were given to commence an insurrection but the countermanding order didn’t quite make it through. And so, somewhat like the opposite of 1916, some soldiers knew there was a cancellation in their plans, however word didn’t make it to all quarters. Also the plans for ira divisions to support their northern comrades by fighting alongside them were also rescinded.

And then the real cat was thrown amongst the pigeons. A line was drawn across the country and the army split. Imagine playing on a football team throughout a cup tournament and getting through to the final days of the season when suddenly the team implodes. Management decisions are questioned and the effectiveness of the direction the team are going in is questioned. Some decree that if they stick together they can make the breakthrough for promotion. Others feel that they are doing well enough and promotion will come another season. The team splits into two and they fight each other rather not than taking on the league for that final push. Ireland’s recent history can be viewed like this. It can also be stated the team might never have got promotion and could have disintegrated. But a split happened which then left northern members exposed more so.

As for Toms tale. He escaped from prison and got £10 and a posting in Donegal. Soon after the Anglo Irish treaty was signed. Not known at the time but Ireland’s war of independence was soon to be Ireland’s civil war. Tom transferred to the newly established national army which found themselves ensconced in what was previously enemy barracks

Much of the book is taken from recollections by people and published stories of the day. These can cause confusion as different versions emerge. However the amount of research Kieran must have gone through is phenomenal. For each event is painstakingly researched and detailed. We are reminded of more facts like the first election in 1921 after our war of independence was done using the voting register for 1918, had it been updated would there have been any difference in the outcome? We can never know.

And what of the IRA soldiers who fought in what was to become Northern Ireland? After the partition of the country “being left short of train fare could serve as a suitable metaphor for the provisional governments treatment of the entire Northern IRA throughout the period following the signing of the treaty…the Belfast brigade..had finally stumbled to a wretched halt”

A feature of this book is how it takes the facts and makes them a stark reality. Consider this, a new state has been set up. The island is partitioned to different and at times violent opinions. The previous force for law and order was disbanded and a new one created for the partitioned part. This didn’t reach all areas and some people who were only recently fighting for a different cause alongside some of the new force they vehemently oppose. is tragedy highly likely or inevitable. We look back generally with an overarching view, Glennon recollects the stories

The civil war petered put and elections in 1923 showed that the majority of those who voted were pro treaty and therefore ready to accept the country as was then, for the short term at least. A tense peace followed.

The climax of the book tells of tom Glennon and how he left his history behind, barely speaking of his soldier days. We also get some analysis of IRA activities up north and the repercussions of these. But ultimately this is a tale of the grandad of a St Pats fan and his journey of knowledge gathering is described to great effect in the epilogue. Fascinating


Leave a comment

Filed under books

Label Of The Week – Southern Lord

Label Of The week

Southern Lord

Southern Lord is an interesting label. Since its first release in 1998 Thorr’s Hammer Dommedagsnatt ithas been inflicting powerful noise on peoples ears, including many re-issues from punk / trash bands like the offenders, Poison Idea or Battallion Of Saints.

It doesn’t stop there, pretty much the whole roster has some beginning in noise, like Pelican’s instrumental power or Sunn O))) heavy heavy beats.

The label was formed in 1997 by Greg Anderson in Los Angeles, CA. Initially it was founded to release albums by Andersons’ personal projects (Thorrs’ Hammer, Burning Witch, Goatsnake, sunn O))) ) but developed into a force far mightier than originally envisioned! Over the last 17 years Southern Lord has worked with artists such as: Dave Grohl (PROBOT project) Wino (St. Vitus, The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand), Sleep, Earth, Wolves In the Throne Room, Today Is The Day and Pelican.

The label continues to release albums by artists/family close to Anderson (sunn O))), Goatsnake, Brotherhood). As Andersen himself said “I’m extremely grateful that people have connected with what Southern Lord puts out. The main reason I do this label is to turn people onto music… it’s like tape trading, from back in the day, magnified one hundred times and turned into a career. I know it sounds cliché, but everyday I wake up and I can’t believe my job is turning people onto music. I think what the label does works because it’s about going with our gut and not putting out records to be rich and famous. If we wanted to do that we’d have to put out a lot of albums we don’t care about.”

The latest addition to the label are Like Rats

Several members of Like Rats also hold rank in Chicago-based powerviolence/grindcore faction, Weekend Nachos, yet with this alter-ego, the focus of the beatdown is much more heavily influenced by death metal, with generous helpings of caveman swing, and with a catastrophic end result one may imagine by crossing the old-school slaughter of Incantation, Celtic Frost and Obituary over with the modern devastation of the likes of Nails, Black Breath and Dead In The Dirt.

Like Rats upcoming full-length, II, delivers eight new tunes, with thirty-three minutes of pure savagery. Recorded by Andy Nelson (Dead In the Dirt, Harms Way), the Weekend Nachos crew has spawned an entirely different beast with Like Rats, and the damaging proof lies in the band’s Southern Lord debut. II will see release on LP, all digital platforms, and marks the band’s compact disc debut. The CD version will also compile every filthy note the band has ever recorded, including their previously vinyl-only releases and the new II album, with twenty-two tracks in total.


Leave a comment

Filed under hope