Please note the items you are about to read consist largely of scurrilous gossip, vicious back-stabbing and idle speculation. As Jon Stewart might say, its stories are not fact checked. Its informants are not journalists. And its opinions are not fully thought through.
THE GONADS! CHARLTON! SOUTH LONDON! STREET ROCK N ROLL! COCKNEY CULTURE! COCKNEY ROCK! OI-TONE! SKA! BEER! CURRY! WORKERS’ RIGHTS! FLAG-GIRLS! ENGLAND! OI OI OI! THIS IS WHO WE ARE!
Feb 28. We are shunting this blog into hibernation mode while the official investigation into Fit-Bird’s alleged influence on the band is underway. This means that we will only be posting occasionally over the next few weeks. We can however confirm that we are deadly serious about wanting gigs in the North East later this year and are open to all reasonable offers, sexual or otherwise. We will report back about the new Gonads EP, the coming GBX single and the 2022 US tour that Wattsie can’t ever know about whenever we have anything concrete to relay. We shall also update you on the recording plans of those two semi-mythical figures Fat Col and Terence Hayes, DM – and any break-throughs in the shocking Colin McFaull gnome slave labour scandal – when actual news arises. Until then, toodle pip!
PS. Gal’s latest Highway To Hell show airs at 11pm on Tuesday on Second City Radio. It’s very metal, very heavy and not at all ’umble.
Feb 27. We are looking for gigs in the North East later this year, particularly in South Shields, Jarrow, Newcastle, Sunderland and surrounds. This unexpected decision comes direct from the desk of Lord Waistrel who has business to attend to on Tyneside (What’s her name? – Ed) (No idea; frankly he can’t eff off back to Barbados soon enough for our liking – Blog monkeys). Local promoters please get in touch. Cheers and cheerio.
Random news: the Cockney Rejects filmed a video for their next single dahn Brick Lane, E1, yesterday… Oi! This Is Street Punk has been repressed on black and white splatter vinyl, the new edition comes with a free poster… Sebi from Stomper’s new band Plizzken have signed to Pirates Press and will release their debut album, ... And Their Paradise Is Full Of Snakes, later this year… finally, and most significantly, Fat Col is reforming hardcore pathetique combo Donkey Laugh with a more committed line-up; Col tells us he is hunting for “s***-hot musoes” (possibly a Lebanese side dish) and wants to release the band’s debut single on Randale.
Feb 26. Angry members of Club 77 have called for an independent inquiry into Gal’s personal assistant Fit-Bird and her “possible influence” on important band decisions. The club called on Lord Waistrel to clarify the PA’s position after yesterday’s blog report. Members fear that she is “taking a central role in running the band” by insisting the Gonads commit to only ever playing early gigs in the south east London area. A furious Effete El tells us he believes the “matinee and tea-time gig only line” has come from Fit-Bird rather than Gal. He fears it “would endanger the Gonads’ ability to play the Rebellion festival in August or indeed the US dates in May 2022 that Wattsie mustn’t know about”. Lord Waistrel has agreed to look into the claims, but insisted it was “incorrect” that Fit-Bird plays a central role in band decisions. “As far as I am concerned, Miss Management has the whip hand”, he said, before making strange Sid James noises and dribbling into a tea cup. Fit-Bird herself dismissed club members as “sexist dinosaurs, ain’t they?”
Feb 25. STOP PRESS. Lord Waistrel has ordered Gonads management to line up “an exciting and eccentric” array of gigs for when Lockdown lifts. Hurrah! Worryingly though, Gal’s PA Fit Bird is insisting that all of our future headline shows finish “at a reasonable time because Gal likes an early night, dun’e?” A mole close to Miss Management whispers: “Miss M is pulling her hair out. No one would mind playing reasonably earlier slots, but Fit Bird wants us to play matinees and tea parties – and none too far from south London. She reckons Gal is up for anything as long as he can get home to beautiful, downtown Chelsfield by 9pm for his bedtime absinthe.” Rock’n’roll!!
Here’s the link to the glorious new Rancid Sounds on Spotify. It’s a cornucopia of quality Oi, punk and reggae cuts.
Our terror correspondent Dom Cotton writes: ‘The sinister Gnome Liberation Front have struck at Colin McFaull. The extremist group have accused the frontman of legendary soft rock combo Clock Sparrer of imprisoning his gnome, Millwall Reg, and forcing him to stand in his front garden for no pay. A scrawled note on a Greggs the bakers’ paper bag was attached to a brick hurled onto the lawn at McFaull’s semi-detached Essex mansion. The note read: ‘This gnome toils in often dangerous conditions. You have committed numerous gnome rights violations and continue to allow slave labour! Reg will be liberated!’ I caught up with Colin in Aldi and confronted him in the middle aisle where he was buying an umbrella hat and a Yodelling Pickle. The geriatric singer, still in shock, said “No one can take away this memory, this gnome belongs to me.” McFaull’s milkman Ernie said, “These GLF people think this is a game of gnomes, well I for one have become very attached to ‘Reg’ and will miss him if he is forcibly removed.” Munching on a moist vanilla layer cake, Ernie added: “If we let them take our gnomes they will come for our bird-baths next.” The GLF are affiliates of Boston’s MPL (Midget Protection League). The Essex branch are considered to be particularly extreme and have been known to eat After-Eights at a quarter past seven.’ More from Dom Cotton later. Hopefully much later.
Feb 24. The third in our occasional series, In Praise of Forgotten Albums, brings us neatly to 1989’s The Joys Of Oi. Is this really a lost LP, you ask? Well, Captain Oi clearly forgot it when he compiled the six-album Oi boxset last year… The Joys Of Oi was the seventh official Oi album and the third compiled by the great Cockney street poet, Garry Johnson. Our Gal thinks it was recorded in late 1984 for Syndicate Records but because of “record company shenanigans” it wasn’t released until five years later, when it finally emerged under the Link Records banner. However leading Oi scholars Fat Col and Effete El now want the album reclassified as “a Gonads mini-album with guest tracks”. El tells us: “What makes this seventh compilation album significant is that in it was 70% a Gonads project. There are two songs credited to the Gonads – the title track itself and Eat The Rich, plus two from socialist spin-off band Prole (Chasing Rainbows and Working), one song from the Orgasm Guerrillas – Aloha – and the first ever track from Lord Waistrel & The Cosh Boys, to wit, Reg N Ron.” In addition to these obvious Gonads numbers, El reveals “You also recorded The Drinking Song under the guise of Sober Cyril & the Oi Oi All Stars, plus Willing To Kill by Vendetta; and The Blood – then managed by Gal – recorded the original version of Alconaut under a dubious alias which I’d rather not repeat. So although other bands were featured, slightly more than two thirds of this album was written by Gal Gonad, Steve Kent and JJ Bedsore in different combinations.” We put this to Gal and, although he acknowledges it’s true, he says he can’t remember why Garry Johnson needed them to contribute so many tracks. “I think there was studio time booked and another band didn’t show, so we did a couple of extra songs. The only person likely to remember the details is Fatty Lol.” That’s the former Link Records boss (and friend of Harry May), who as we know is “keeping it on a chummy one” somewhere near the Med… So there it is, a streetpunk classic, strangely overlooked by the Captain, and a significant milestone in Gonads recording history. Forgotten? Not by us! Fat Col says: “Wake up, Cap’n and reissue this gem as the Lost Gonads album of 1984.”
RANDOM noos: the Dropkick Murphys drop their new studio album on April 30th… Bad Manners have announced a lengthy UK tour starting in November and stretching into late January… work on the DM’s long-awaited solo EP, Badoe To The Bone, is set to begin at Easter; Tel will be whittling seven substantial new songs down to three.
Fat Col (yeah, him again) has reacted furiously to rumours that Meghan Markle will be our next flag-girl. Although Megs “clearly has many qualities that make her ideal for the post”, Col argues that she’d be extremely likely to “gob off and spill this great band’s intimate secrets to Oprah Winfrey or the gutter press”. Good point. Besides he says, it’d be disrespectful to Her Maj to side with Markle, better to offer the job to “someone more loyal such as Lady Amelia Windsor or Kitty Spencer – they’d look blinding in fishnets and bodices carrying beautiful England flags. I’m happy to do the auditions.” A ridiculous idea. Eliza Spencer we could understand… Anyway, we tell Col to have a go, secure in the knowledge that close protection plod will have him in a flowery dell by teatime.
Friends of James “JC” Cruttwell were last night forced to deny claims that he was planning a duet with Julie Andrews singing the popular musical number My Favourite Things from the Sound Of Music. The rumours started to circulate after JC shared footage of himself duetting with Jenny Woo on Facebook. Whispers The Bitch: “Now James has sung with the Wooster, all bets are off. All the other big names in streetpunk are up for grabs, like Julie Andrews and Cheryl Baker. Maybe even Bonnie Langford.” Blimey. Sock it to ’em, JC.
Feb 23. Thank you for all your kind words about Tony “Feedback” Morrison. Our former guitarist was a special man. As Wattsie said, “Beyond heartbroken, I feel like I’ve lost a brother.” We all have. RIP mate.
Gal’s latest Rancid Sounds show airs tonight at 11pm with songs from Sparrer, the Rejects, the Angelic Upstarts, Culture, The Business, Blitz and – finally! – us! Garry Johnson, the Dead Kennedys, Misty In Roots and many more also get an airing. You can listen live on 2nd City Radio. We’ll post the Spotify link tomorrow.
Here’s the video for the new song from The Business for You Know My Name, one of the strongest tracks on Oi 40 Years Untamed. Let’s hope the lads keep the flame alive with more new music. It’s what Fitzy would have wanted.
Feb 22. We are very sad to report that our former guitarist Tony Morrison has died after a long battle with Covid. Tony started out as Tony Perfect in Mod band Long Tall Shorty before joining the Angelic Upstarts in the early 80s. He was Tony Feedback in the 2009/10 line-up of the Gonads and co-wrote most of the Glorious Bastards LP, memorably including Buy Me A Drink You Bastards and That’s Oi. He was a lovely bloke and a great guitarist. Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this terrible time. R.I.P. Giffer.
Feb 21. Oi Oi troops! Here’s some bona fide ACTUAL news for you: the new Gonads EP will be finished next month and will be released later this year. Full details will follow at the end of March. Martin Sporrell (aggressive gooner) says the two new songs he’s heard are “as good as if not better than Federales… the band are on fuckin’ fire!” (Not literally of course, although cystitis can be a bugger.)
Feb 20. Fat Col has won over Phil Fury and Paul Power to his hare-brained scheme to record the 18 Stone Of Dynamite album this year. The “back-to-boots” epic was due to be recorded and mixed in Cyprus last Summer. Now, because of continuing Covid restrictions, a re-energised Col is pushing for us to make the record in South London or Southampton this May instead. His ego inflated by power, Col is also insisting that the entire album be recorded “pure punk for row people style-ee” – in just one day. He explains “Each song will get one play through and then we record it, no more than two takes per track and no fancy over-dubs or any of that bollocks, it has to be raw it has to be hard, it has to be proper old school Gonads.” Wattsie is unimpressed claiming Col is “strutting about like an over-weight Napoleon”, but everyone else is taking the burly oaf surprisingly seriously.
Is this the picture that proves that Gal Gonad was the first Cockney Rejects bass player? Um, no, we’d say. But conspiracy expert QAnon Kris claims that Gal actually was the band’s original bassist in the summer of 1979 but was “sacked like Glen Matlock” when the West Ham fanatics realised he was a Charlton supporter! Both Gal and the Rejects completely reject the story saying the picture stems from when they were just mucking about for the cover of the Flares & Slippers EP. But, sniffs Kris “They would say that wouldn’t they?” He knows, y’know.
Random Noos: Austria’s DeeCRACKS release their new album Serious Issues next month… the new Ship Thieves LP Irruption comes out on 12th March via Chunksaah Records… and a posthumous 14-track Chas Hodges album, Right At Home is out next Friday, consisting of ten originals and four covers.
Former Civet and Turbulent Hearts singer and guitarist Suzi Moon is releasing her first solo single Special Place In Hell. She tells us: “Going solo was a totally natural progression for me. It just took some time for me to be ready.” Long Beach born Suzi was 15 when she fronted Civet in 2006 and she’s been kicking up a stink on the California punk scene ever since. Making her solo debut was “a little bit scary,” she says, “But here I am, unapologetically Suzi Moon, putting it all on the line for everyone that’ll listen!” Special Place In Hell will be released digitally on April 2nd with her EP set to be released on Pirates Press later this spring.
Feb 19. Good news, bad news, better news. Good news: Lord Waistrel has surfaced. The venerable nob wasn’t on his yacht at all, he tells us that he had “a date with destiny” instead. That’s Destiny Coquenbouche, a 21-year-old double-jointed pole dancer from Streatham. Hurrah! Bad news: we didn’t reach him in time to clinch the GBX deal with Dave Wavrunek’s US labels. But better news – we didn’t need to because Car Records, a very cool LA indie label, have stepped in and will release the GBX single instead. It’s already scheduled for the first week of April. More details to follow.
That VLR lockdown rockdown is tomorrow night, not tonight. We were fed fake news by one of the participants. Now we’re even doubting his other tips – that Colin McFaul is a garden gnome thief, that Lars has signed up to be The Viking on the next Masked Singer series and that Meghan Markle wants to be our flag-girl.
Feb 18. After Covid sceptics, we now have Waistrel sceptics. Richie Rocker has dubbed his Lordship’s disappearance “an obvious publicity stunt designed to make him appear indispensable to the band – Joe Strummer did it 39 years ago to far greater effect. Unlike Joe, who was found in a Paris café, Waistrel is likely to be found hiding in Fat Col’s spare bedroom. Face it mates, Waistrel ain’t no Bernie Rhodes. More like Bernie Clifton!!” Such shocking disrespect. However, we have checked Col’s spare bedroom and it isn’t big enough to swing a cat let alone an 18stone feudal reactionary. More promisingly a reliable witness rang Nads HQ yesterday to say that he had spotted Waistrel tootling up the channel on his yacht, the Princess Shona (very difficult to board – Ed), with his pal “young Stanley” (Stanley Johnson, father of Bojo). We scrambled a bunch of Nads fans in Plymouth to contact them as they went past but as neither of the old codgers could read semaphore signals, they kept sailing on… Gulp! Is all lost?
Feb 17. Fears rise for the safety of Lord Waistrel after the day-long search for our missing manager has so far drawn a blank. An ashen-faced Effete El tells us: “His Lordship can normally be found in one of four places – the Carlton Club, the House of Lords, Madame Genya Glissante-Chatte’s House of Correction in Kensington, or in the Southend Pranksters’ Speakeasy masterminding the DM’s solo EP. Sadly he has not been seen at any of those places for days. The search goes on, but it’s a real concern.” Blimey.
Take your mind off the crisis by listening to Gal’s latest Sounds Of Glory show on Spotify.
Feb 16. While Clyde and Gal work around the clock to complete the new Gonads EP – the songs are sounding awesome! – there has been an incredible development on the GBX front. After sending demos to Dave Wavrunek, our man on the West Coast, to circulate, he tells us that two leading LA labels are now “super-keen” to sign GBX to something called a 360 deal. This would mean the Stateside release of Shona & The Alien b/w Harry On The Boat as “a taster single” by Easter followed by the GBX debut album in late September. The details are sketchy – Wavrunek is playing his cards close to his chest. But he is known to have great connections at both Star Trak Entertainment and Pharrell’s i am OTHER. He tells us “GBX are left-field, quirky and catchy enough to bag serious radio play here.” There is just one fly in the ointment. “The deal will have to be made quickly while the interest is strong, but we need Waistrel to sign the contract and I can’t get hold of him. Can you?” Um no. His Lordship is currently on the missing list. All blog readers are asked to be on the look-out for a portly feudal aristocrat with wandering hands as a matter of great urgency.
See the video for the new Business track You Know My Name live on Vive Le Rock’s Lockdown Rockdown this Friday.
Gal’s new Sounds of Glory radio show goes out live tonight at 11pm on 2nd City Radio… Rancid Sounds should air a week today.
Feb 15. And now for something completely serious: the Oi Organising Committee has given Vive Le Rock a D-minus for their history of Oi feature. The OOC report concludes that the article in the current issue contains “foolish errors” – including the claim that Daryl Smith had encouraged Cock Sparrer to reform in 1982 (when he was about eleven) – and that it is “significantly out of step with reality”. Other mistakes in the piece include the suggestion that the Cockney Rejects were asked to play the Hambrough Tavern gig (not true), and that Fleet Street photographers paid kids to sieg-heil inside the Bridge House pub – that never happened; photographers used to hang about outside, they would never have been tolerated inside the pub. More seriously, the OOC condemns the VLR feature for “placing an undue emphasis on one early gig and failing to provide context” – such as the long history of riots at rock concerts (even Genesis and Jethro Tull suffered), the general appetite for riots in the summer of 81, and the fact that previous punk bands and rock icons had “poisoned the well” with their blatant flirtation with Nazi imagery – the report specifically mentions Malcolm McLaren for his cynical use of swastikas, Bowie for his Victoria Station salute and Playboy interview (and selected lyrics), the Skids for their Third Reich fixation and Siouxsie Sioux of The Banshees who wore a swastika armband on stage and sang the words “Too many Jews for my liking” in the song Love In A Void, adding that “the intended dramatic irony would have been missed by many”. None of these bands were subsequently tarnished like the Oi bands unfairly were.
The report states clearly and accurately that ALL of the violence at Southall was instigated by those attacking the pub and not the bands and the audience inside. It also adds that the worst incident of gig violence over this turbulent period happened when Madness played Hatfield Poly in October 1979 – “the audience were attacked and viciously brutalised by the far-Left Red Action (formed by expelled SWP “squadists”) who were militant Trotskyists and unrepentant IRA supporters”. It goes on to say that these attackers “dimly viewed all skinheads and Mods as being far-right and misunderstood the meaning of red white and blue Mod designs”. (Red Action later realised the error of their ways and organised Oi shows of their own.)
Smaller notes on the article record that it “strangely overlooks Secret Records, Syndicate Records and No Future, mentioning only Link Records, which came several years later” and that it “ignores completely the many important Oi bands who formed across Europe, South America and in the Far East”. The report concludes that VLR has “taken the Daily Mail’s sensationalist and unreliable version of history as fact, i.e. that Oi was just for skins and all skins were Nazis” when neither statement was true. But, it adds, “what is true is that their misreporting attracted a flood of extremists to the scene, and resulted in physical attacks by Nazis on a number of Oi bands and individuals which in many cases led to rapid retribution… It is absurd to tar the whole streetpunk movement over one gig out of thousands, especially when far worse has happened before and since in other genres of music from Altamont to hip hop… Middle class rock writers systematically slur skinheads in a blanket way that would be seen as bigoted if it involved any other group. And although no one is suggesting skins were all angels, with or without dirty faces, that is a serious distortion of reality. That is why we ask all Oi and streetpunk bands to sign up to our Oi!-merta clause and never again speak to any media about these issues. Trust no one but ourselves.”
Feb 14. Happy Valentine’s Day! Calling all you love-birds out there, here is our list of loved-up punk songs to get you in the mood: 1) Teenage Kicks 2) Ever Fallen In Love With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve? 3) Orgasm Addict 4) I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend… and at 5) Make your day even more romantic with this tasteful ditty from our own back(door) catalogue.
Record Noos: Pure Hell’s Noise Addiction LP is available again on vinyl from PNV Records. Recorded in 1978 it wasn’t released until 2006 when it quickly sold out… Neville and Sugary Staple’s new single Let’s Get Together & Dance is out from Pick Out Records with a dub mix on the B-side… and here’s the video for DeeCRACKS’ latest track We Can’t Help It.
Feb 13. And now part two of our new occasional series, In Praise of Forgotten Albums. The second in this irregular romp down Failing Memory Lane is… the Oral debut album Sex. Written almost entirely by Gal and Steve Kent, this blistering 1985 release went on to become a cult hit and has just been re-released on vinyl in the USA. As previously reported on the blog, Gal had completely forgotten any involvement with the controversial, whip-loving all-woman NWoBHM band until an intrepid US researcher sent him the song-writing credits which proved beyond doubt that he was responsible for the lyrics to sensitive ditties like Love Pole and Pearl Necklace. He sheepishly admits that “excessive speed, lager and vodka intake” may have been a significant factor in this bout of Terence Hayes-style amnesia…
Feb 12. Green Day will be immortalized as dolls by figurine makers Funko Pop! For Gonads dolls see Punko Flops! And for the deluxe Mistress Material blow-up beauty, see Fat Col dahn Woolwich market. (But hurry before Wattsie takes legal action to change its face. Again.)
Feb 11. Good News #1: We’re pushing ahead with an EP of new songs in the style of Federales. It’ll include shit-hot numbers like Promised Land that we wrote last year. “There is no release date in sight yet.” Clyde tells us. “But blog sceptics need to know that this EP, unlike some projects, will definitely see the light of day this year.”
Good News #2: after a long pandemic-enforced break, Gal recorded three new radio shows yesterday – Sounds of Glory, Rancid Sounds and Highway To Hell. The first will go out on 2nd City Radio at 11pm next Tuesday (16th Feb.)
Good News #3: Iron Maiden have been nominated for the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. That’s despite Bruce saying five years ago that “It’s run by a bunch of sanctimonious bloody Americans who wouldn’t know rock’n’roll if it hit them in the face. They need to stop taking Prozac and start drinking fucking beer!”
Feb 10. Gal has had a dream, and like Martin Luthor King’s it’s big, bold and beautiful. He wants to put together an “Oi-Tone” compilation with streetpunk bands playing Ska or bluebeat flavoured originals and 2-Tone style bands giving the world their take on street rock ’n’ roll. “Some people will think ’e’s off his trolley,” sniffs Fit Bird, adding “Well, ’e is, I can vouch for that. But sometimes the maddest ideas make the most impact, don’t they?” There’s already record label interest. So come on chaps, who’s in? We definitely are – we were the first ever Oi-Tone band and this is street music history in the making!
Ska Noos: the Selecter’s Too Much Pressure album is re-released in a 3CD deluxe package on St George’s Day.
Fat Col, always keen to pick a fight, calls Nads HQ in a fury. “Did you know Billy Bragg nicked the opening of A New England from Paul Simon?” he blusters. “You listen to Simon & Garfunkel’s Leaves That Are Green. It starts with exactly the same words – ‘I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song, I’m twenty-two now, but I won’t be for long’. I’ve never thought much of Bragg – he’s never seemed right and he sings like a ruptured donkey – but I did always like that song. It actually cheers me up to know the tosser is a bit of a tealeaf.”
Feb 9. Could this be true? We’re told that a highbrow Hampstead theatre group are working on a reinterpretation of the Cockney Rejects’ story as a full-scale stage musical! A reliable source tells us that the musical, Rejected, is likely to have been subsidised by the Arts Council and is already at the advanced rehearsal stage. The band have not been consulted, though, which suggests the company have acquired the rights either through EMI or Bonnier, the new owners of John Blake Publishing. Apparently, the production includes a small dockers-and-nurses choir who sing Join the Rejects, Get Yourself Killed “like a hymn” against a backdrop of late 70s graffiti; War On The Terraces is “superbly choreographed”, and a “moving ballet” is performed to the show finale Cockney Reject. Acclaimed director Daisy Bhutt-Pauker is said to be keen “to meet the challenge of interpreting the band’s authentic lumpen-proletarian experiences through the medium of high culture and dramatic verité”. Blimey. The source reveals “Fighting In The Street is simply sensational, you hear the rhythm of loud finger clicking as the surly young actors appear, followed by quick, insolent interjections of woodwinds and brass. Every snap, flick of the wrist and audacious step is a declaration of bravado, arrogance and threat.” Presumably conflict ensues after a ruffian shouts, ‘I say chaps, do you want some?’.” The leading characters include Jeff and Mickey, Vince Riordan, Hoxton Tom, Grant ‘The Face’ Fleming, Gal, James T. Pursey and Cassius ‘Cass’ Pennant. “It’s not a cheapo juke box musical, far from it,” adds our insider. “This has Broadway written all over it, and not Stratford Broadway neither.” Sounds horrendous. And it’s not even April the First…
Feb 8. Club 77 have submitted this Top Ten of great Oi and streetpunk songs that didn’t make Gal’s Top 20: 1) Fighting In The Streets, the Cockney Rejects 2) The Joys Of Oi, the Gonads 3) Working Class Kids, the Last Resort 4) Running Riot, Cock Sparrer 5) Last Night Another Soldier, the Angelic Upstarts 6) Harry May, the Business 7) Banned From The Pub, Peter & The Test Tube Babies 8) Megalomania, The Blood 9, Generation Landslide, Prole 10) Riot, Riot, Upstart, Agnostic Front. But a now becalmed Effete El says: “We could go on, The Crack and Red Alert were just outside the Top Ten. This just goes to show how many great Oi songs there have been.”
Bored of Wattsie’s mean-spirited attacks, the indefatigable Fat Col announces that he has washed his hands of Ms Watts (again) and is going to marry into the Hayes family. Great news, we say, which one of Terry’s daughters is going to be the lucky woman? “I don’t mind,” he replies. “There’s three of ’em, all stunners, so that immediately trebles my chances of success before we even start.” Oaf. When we remind Col that he has made this announcement before, he replies: “Really? I’d completely, wossname, forgotten.” Like father-in-law, like son-in-law.
Leading street-punk stars are signing up to the OOC’s “Oi-merta” clause. If you haven’t you could be part of the problem.
Feb 7. Gal has broken his silence on his ‘controversial’ Oi and street-punk Top 20. He says he has “no regrets” and talks us through his choices thus: “It had to start with the Rejects, and where better than with Police Car – that raw cry of teenage rage? “Freedom? There ain’t no fucking freedom!” It was our manifesto! Sparrer wrote (and still write) so many classic songs they had to be high in the list too, so England Belongs To Me is next. Someone’s Gonna Die Tonight is classic Blitz, pure street-punk aggression, as raw as razor wire; and then come The Business with Suburban Rebels – the drippy middle class left put in their place by Garry Johnson’s proletarian poetry. It would have been dishonest to leave out the 4-Skins, so at 5, it’s Chaos – like a horror novella put to music, a terrifying vision of urban chaos and skinhead take-over.
“The Angelic Upstarts were incredible to begin with, and I’m An Upstart is arguably their hardest-hitting anthem – simple but effective (although you could make a case for Liddle and Last Night Another Soldier). At 7, the Last Resort with King Of The Jungle – not their hardest number but one that captures the mindset of the terrace warrior, calm and dignified. Vive Le Rock asked me not to have more than one song from each band, but how could I ignore Bad Man by the Cockney Rejects or Sparrer’s Take ’Em All, there at 8 and 9? If I’d had my way Fighting In The Street and Because You’re Young would have been in the Top 20 too. At 10, it’s The Blood with the inspirational rage of Stark Raving Normal with sharp lines like: “You were born but when are you gonna live?” and “Don’t worship the pampered, they don’t even know that you exist”.
“Infa Riot are in 11 with Each Dawn I Die – their strongest ditty; it was either this or their cover of Girlschool’s Emergency. The Dropkick Murphys started as an Oi band; Bar Room Hero is my favourite of their early songs, but Skinhead On The MBTA is catchier. Lars had to be here too – the bloke has lived and breathed Oi and punk since his early teens so Perry Boys by the Old Firm Casuals was a shoe-in. At 14, we have Argy Bargy’s Looking For Glory. Jon and Daryl write superb songs and need to do more! Behind them, come Lion’s Law with the excellent For My Clan. They’re one of the best new generation bands around and it was a pleasure playing with them for Human Punk at the 100 Club.
“Now I had five spaces left. Evil Conduct’s Working Class Heroes is what Oi is all about; and Roddy Moreno had to be here, Joe Hawkins is my favourite Oppressed song. If we’re talking street-punk, we can’t ignore hardcore bands like Agnostic Front who saw bands like The Business as kindred spirits, so Gotta Go has to go in the chart. Now we’re at 19, and there have been no pathetique punk bands. I could have gone for the Toydolls but Splodge were there from the start, serving the pilchards and bums community, and We’re Pathetique caught the mood. Finally, Oi was about street poetry and well as street punk and Dead End Yobs was Garry Johnson’s finest so he closes the list. Have I left out bands I rate and tracks I love? Yes I have. But there’s a strong case for every one of these twenty songs and I reckon that together they cover the full spectrum of this thing of ours.”
Asked about blanking the Gonads, Gal replied: “It would’ve been big-headed to include one of my own songs, and much harder to decide. Gob is as hard as we get, but Oi Mate would have been a popular choice.”
Feb 6. Punk veteran and blog loyalist Richie Rocker dramatically rallied to Gal Gonad’s defence last night. He told us “I think it’s a disgrace that Gal is being vilified for his Top 20 choices. As the Godfather of Oi he should be allowed the courtesy of picking whatever tracks he wishes. Although I must admit to being surprised there was nothing off the second Infa’s album!! Ignore naysayers such as Fat Col, who let’s be honest is turning into the Nigel Farage of Oi, jumping on any bandwagon so he still seems relevant. And as for Wattsie, it is of course her right to refuse the Covid jab, but I really do feel she’d benefit from a large injection! (Seconded! – Ed). Also don’t worry about their complaints being relayed to Terence Hayes, DM. Let’s face it, he’ll have forgotten them by tomorrow.” Gal’s legal team have promised to deliver his official defence tomorrow.
Random noos: Our mate Sebi Walkenhorst from Stomper 98 has a new band called PLIZZKEN whose debut album "... And Their Paradise Is Full Of Snakes" will be released later this year by Pirates Press. Unlike Stomper’s oeuvre, the entire platter is in English.
Feb 5. The backlash against Gal Gonad continues apace. A furious Effete El, speaking on behalf of Club 77, roundly condemned Gal for leaving the Gonads out of his Top 20 streetpunk list. He called it “the ultimate betrayal” and warned that our furry frontman was about to be “engulfed in a tidal wave of scandal and shame”. (What another one? – Ed) Where, asks El, are Tucker’s Ruckers, Rob A Bank, I Lost My Love To A UK Sub and Federales “in this so-called list”? El is making a formal complaint to Lord Waistrel, seconded by Wattsie and backed, perhaps surprisingly by Steve Whale and Terence Hayes, DM, who both insist the Gonads “should have made the cut”. Club 77 are now working on an alternative Top 20 of their own.
Feb 4. Oh no, Gal has upset Wattsie again, this time by having his all-time Top 20 Oi songs printed in Vive Le Rock! and blanking the Gonads entirely. Gal says his original list was different and included more songs by the Rejects and Sparrer but explains that he was asked by the mag to make it more varied. Were the Gonads in the original, we ask? “I’m sorry, you’re breaking up,” he replies. The phone goes dead.
Here’s a tasty new video from the Welch Boys.
Feb 3. Controversy corner. The next Harry Tyler book, the fourth in The Face series, pits Gal’s undercover cop against an East End rock band whose musical activities are a cover for their nefarious criminal ones. It’s a work of complete fiction, of course. The novel is due to be published in May…
The new Vive Le Rock! has a huge 14-page feature on the story of Oi! and street-punk “from the Cockney Rejects to Rancid”. There are a couple of small mistakes and one familiar irritation which we’ll get round to soon, probably, but other than that a pukka effort.
Vaccine sceptic Wattsie Watts has reacted with horror to news that Gal is getting the Covid jab on Friday. “I’m not having one, they don’t work,” she thundered. Sadly Fat Col’s offer to give her a little prick “to see if she likes it” has fallen on deaf ears.
Feb 2. Great news for Ska fans. The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry is organising the first ever major UK exhibition devoted to 2 Tone. The show will open on the 14th May as part of Coventry’s City of Culture celebrations. One part will be devoted to fashion and memorabilia adopted by fans including the 2 Tone suit, the Pork Pie hat, the Fred Perry polo shirt and the Harrington Jacket. Mercifully not Buster Bloodvessel’s white overalls – the tales they could tell! I’m told that the exhibition will “look at 2 Tone’s continuing influence on music, fashion, politics and culture.” It’ll include interviews and quotes from original band members and 3rd wave bands from around the world, famous fans and 2 Tone fanatics. It will also bring the story up to date. The show will climax with “an immersive 2 Tone experience” celebrating the energy and legendary sound of the bands' performances.
Rock news: Metallica will play live for the first time this year on Sunday, on a special Super Bowl Weekend edition of US TV’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, their first performance since November.
Feb 1. A quick update from the Oi Organising Committee. They want to make it clear that their policy of “Oi!-merta” extends to the so-called rock press as well as straight media. “Trust no one but ourselves alone,” says Ron Rouman, wisely.
Record noos: Less Than Jake’s 2003 full-length album Anthem has finally pressed on vinyl by Smart Punk. Their b-sides LP, B Is For B-Sides, is also now available on colour vinyl for the first time… ATV’s live album Viva La Rock N Roll is out now.