Another Year Over

And so with one year passing and the initiation of a new one many blog writers are inspired or feel impelled to compile lists and look forward to the centenary celebrations of 1916

I prefer to look to the future while remembering the past and with that in mind don’t feel any necessity to remind you what you missed or experienced.

However for 2016 we need to redouble our efforts in creating the sort of society we wish to live in. We also have a chance to continue to use our spending power as one method of persuasion. Of course after Christmas excess where, as a nation we spend one month preparing for one day with rampant fervour and commercialism may seem the wrong time to talk about using our power. However if, whilst you were out shopping for presents, you felt happy to see a specific shop still in existence then continue to support that shop. If you came across somewhere you felt uncomfortable with supporting then try not to support it. This may mean you need to spend a little more money but if you can then try and do it. Maybe you saw an organisation you deemed worthwhile, try spend some time with that. Instead of Amazon or eBay maybe there’s an indie label or bookstore that could do with the business, or one that negotiates with unions.

Let’s keep trying to make a difference.

niallhope

Another Epic Record

Epic Problem

’11-’14

Boss Tuneage

EPICPROBLEM_pshot

http://bosstuneage.bigcartel.com/product/epic-problem-11-14-digipack-cd

 

I have raved about Epic Problem many times in the past and hope to be able to do in the future. They mark this 2015 with a compilation of releases from the previous 4 years. 17 songs from varioius ep’s since 2011

All tracks have that gruff vocal over fast guitar riff. All belters, coming at you fast paced and joyful. Right from the off we have the blistering guitar of Petrol Blue with Jake McCullogh proclaiming that “it’s a long way down” but then Blindside would have to move even those busking statues on many busy town streets. If they didn’t move during Blindside then Lines would have them jumping up and “whoaaaaaaaa-ing” as musch as any 7 seconds fan.

How can you say this is a classic in a way that doesn’t feature those words. Short, sharp, snappy anthems that are top top class.

niallhope

Verso Books end of year mayhem

Verso: The Year in Review
I received the following mail from Verso, now is your chance to read about the Village Against the World or how we can demand the Future.
*****
You can still download the Verso 2015 Mixtape: a FREE ebook compilation of extracts from some of our best books this year! With contributions from Patrick Cockburn, John Berger, Juliet Jacques, Tariq Ali, Pablo Iglesias, and Teju Cole; covering the rise of Islamic State, post-capitalism, transgender politics, disaster capitalism, the Anthropocene, and lots more.

Plus, there’s still time to get our books at a brilliant discount, with 50% off ALL our books until the end of the year! See our Gift Guide for book suggestions. Don’t forget that we have FREE shipping (worldwide) and free bundled ebooks.  Also 90% of all e-books

[technically some 2016 news but] We are very excited to announce that we’ll be publishing Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir, The Beautiful Struggle in February!

The best (non-Verso) books of the year, picked by Verso staff in London and New York, featuring Elena Ferrante, Nawal El Saadawi, Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Meek, and more. We also have a round-up of the most-read pieces on the Verso Blog in 2015, from writers including Judith Butler, Alan Badou, Teju Cole, & Joanna Walsh. In our Verso End of Year Highlights we look back on our own great year of publishing.
niallhope

Trouble Pilgrims – Instant Polaroid

Trouble Pilgrims

Instant Polaroid

Pilgrim Records

Any band that spawns from The Radiators deserves a mention here.  Any band that is supposed to play their classic album, released nearly 40 years and still a classic in many Dublin punks eyes, as part of a set opening for the Boomtown Rats and ditches a song in favour of a newly recorded one also deserves a special mention.

This band are the same in both instances and are called Trouble Pilgrims. Pete Holidai and Steve Rapid from the Radiators are now playing with Johnny Bonnie (Those Handsome Devils), Tony St Leger and Bren Lynott abd have released their second single, Instant polaroid.

The song is a guitar driven remembrance of the Man On The Bridge on Dublin’s O Connell Bridge.  Arthur Fields use to take pictures of couples crossing the River Liffey in Irelands Capital city and offer them to people on their journeys.  They are a story of a different Ireland, a time when the city shut at night in an era where Ireland was on the edge of Europe and we felt it.

Any flies on us?

Flies on You
Fan Base Repellant
diy digital only

Leeds avant garde punk rock duo have given us all a late Christmas present with the follow up to the excellent etcetera album which was released in march this year (still can just about say that)

They take a beat, repeat and doug talks acerbic over it, Some are catchy, some try and catch you out. The lyrics take in any punk rockers life, property and crass. At times I think maybe Chumbawamba could have headed down this road, its the kind of way they would head, if there were only two and a drum machine.

A great Christmas gift but even if not quite up there with the excellent etcetara

niallhope

Label of the week – Make That a take

The tale of Make that a take records is very interesting. If they want to see a band play, they put on their own gigs, if they want a film about it they make their own film. If they want a festival with many of their favourite bands they make their own fest and finally if they want to see a record from these bands they make their own records. Completely DIY and fully deserving of our support

If you havent’t heard anything from the likes of Kaddish, Stonethrower, Billy Liar or Maxwell’s Dead then use the opportunity over the next few days to download them for free and think about contributing to this great label.

http://makethatatakerecords.com/releases/all-2015-releases-freepay-what-you-want-download/

 

Steven Gerrard – My Story

Steven Gerrard
My Story
Penguin

Ask any parent what they would do for their kids and your stock answer will probably be whatever is needed. The true meaning of love is that you would step in the way of a travelling bullet and that is a starting point for your kids.

And so, with that mind, that is how Steven Gerrard’s new book ended in my collection. Footballers biographies don’t feature too large in number in my collection but they generally increase by one each Christmas. No, Im not a Liverpool fan and, as an Irishman, football for me is a game played by teams of 15 and you get a score when you kick the ball over the bar. So, soccer it is which is what Gerrard is now playing in the States.

Another salvo of what you would do for your children is read a 460 page book as it was bough for you as a present. At your first opportunity. And you know what, I enjoyed it. This story is Gerrard second book abut his life. 35 years old and two books. It is mostly/ made of of the 2013/14 season when Liverpool were challenging for the Premiership title (no this is not a spoiler, its kind of hard to avoid hearing about the English Premier League). The most startling piece for me is how many of the players are now with different clubs… Put that beside Gerrard who was with Liverpool since he was 8 years old. Many of the managers are different, how hard is it for footballers to express loyalty when really it is only the fans who seem to stay with the one club. Players move workplace like most of the worlds workforce and yet fans put so much faith in them.

If you like Liverpool, England or the idea of one player being with a football club for most of his/ life then this is worthwhile. If you believe in Justice fior the 96 people who tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough then, thankfully, this is worthwhile. If you believe that football players are actors in a soap opera then you wont get too much from this other than the fact that a player gets his agent to arrange holidays for them and they are shielded from so much of the real world.

niallhope

Joe Solo – Never Be Defeated

Joe Solo

Never Be Defeated

Resolve Records

https://joesolomusic.bandcamp.com/album/never-be-defeated

joesolo

 

It is no secret that punk rock has been the main ingredient for the overall music that have gone through my ears through the past 30 years. It, as a genre, has helped shape my entire life. I haven’t eaten meat since Flux sang about it and the last time I knowingly took dairy was in the 1980’s.

At that stage the miners had been defeated but the struggle these people went through also had a profound effect on me. I remember vividly interviewing miners who SIPTU had brought to Dublin for my fanzine at the time. The stories of hardship and struggle were always interspersed with hope. They couldn’t countenance defeat and I most definitely decided what side I would be on for the rest of my life during that struggle. I watched Red Wedge grow from it, always had respect for any bands who sang the union tune.

Of course over the intervening period the real world has caught up with me and I am a proud union activist who has seen both sides of the angry comments about organised labour. I am also a proud punk rocker and have continued to try and spread the community at any given opportunity, hence this blog, numerous fanzines, a regular radio show and a book on the matter.

In the three decades that has passed since the defeat of the miners we are now at the juncture where the last coal mine shut down. The industry is gone in the U, decimated – communities have been devastated and neo liberal ideology is the order of the day. Of course there could be a case made that burning fossil fuels is not going to save the planet and maybe unions could have foreseen this earlier, however the smashing of the miners was about politics and not the longevity of the planet where it creeps towards ruin, just like the coal industry.

Another vivid memory I have is of hearing of Joe Strummer’s death. Ever since reading Glen E Friedman’s Fuck You Heroes I have been more of Threat By Example person. Sure, there are good people, but there’s no need to revere them. We all use the toilet on a daily basis. However there was something special about Joe Strummer, front man of the Clash. He spoke for my generation, I disagreed with many of his life choices but knew that he would always feature in my community. Ironic that 13 years after this death I receive a cd in the post. Never Be Defeated by my friend Joe Solo. Solo is also influenced by Strummer, his trajectory is by using his voice and guitar. One man railing against the world.

As the anniversary of strummer increases annually Joe’s output of albums seem to increase at the same pace. This year it is the commemoration of the miners strike that is the theme for all 13 songs. Joe’s Christmas is about Solidarity, standing by the workers and NEVER EVER pass a picket line. Never!!!

I am in a punk rock community and Joe is busy being active in our world. His sound is the folk music of Christy Moore or the agit prop of Thee Faction or Dick Gaughan still believing after all this time that there is a better way. Union people believe there is a better, fairer way. Joe believes that we will never be defeated, I am behind him all the way.

I hope you are too

 

Please support Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign by visiting otjc.org.uk

Attilla The Stockbroker – Arguments Yard

Atilla the stockbroker
arguments yard
Cherry Red books

http://www.attilathestockbroker.com/argyard.php
attilla
I’ve often said that auto biographies are strange beasts. Maybe it’s my country of origin and how we are known as a nation of begrudges. I am conscious of that when I see my fellow troubadours doing what can only be perceived as “well. ” I wish to support that success in the first instance. Do when lynched appear on TV I’m happy. Not beside their appearance vindicated them as a band and certainly not because their being there vindicated the show. Just because they genuinely seemed happy to do that and to participate.

Has this relevance for an autobiography? Yep? To write ones own story will involve some participation in that historic sport “blowing your own trumpet”. Generally speaking I’m not on the side of those who excel in this game as people’s achievements are recognition of their efforts.  However in a book that details your life both good and bad well then you have to proclaim the achievements.

For any person who has made poetry their living over 35 years with no assistance from arts council grants and from hanging around the punk rock works well then there will have to be achievements. But this book is more that that. Attila has always spoken up for those that are deemed voiceless, he has been to the forefront of street protests and political campaigns. This is a story of many of these campaigns. We hear of the miners strike, printers strike, war on Iraq., poll tax protests and more. They’re not victories or tales of achievements just stores of the day.

I remember all these fights as someone living across the Irish Sea and looking into the distance. Bands like the neurotics, some men they couldn’t hang, Blyth power and billy Bragg all get pride of place here and you can tell the pride of which Attila writes about. These bands are part of my soundtrack and I’m proud to have been at their gigs and written to some of them too

Datblygu and anhrefn fly the Welsh flag in the tale of activism and many failed protests. Anhrefn, who played a big part in our own story of the hope collective. I have often though of the letters that went between myself and Steve drewett from the Newtown neurotics about the possibility of themselves and Attila coming to ireland. Plenty of plans were hatched but my final letter from Steve spoke of how they just couldn’t afford the ferry fare. There would be no advance from us in ireland and that dream ended. Attila doesn’t write of that but tells us of sharing a roof with Steve and many gigs with the neurotics. He writes of his first trip to ireland but sadly it was not of our efforts.

I never knew Attila was the catalyst for TV smiths solo career but we are regaled with story. And there’s many others too, all expertly written in an easy going light way

In his 35 years of protest poetry atolls has always tried topic in some humour and that isn’t far away in the pages of this book. I couldn’t put it down for a couple of days and always looked forward with great anticipation for my next few spare minutes. My instant reaction on finishing it was to put these words together. It doesn’t matter what I say about arguments yard but it does matter that you try and get a copy

 

niallhope

Hope *2

It’s been a little while in the making but Hope *2 is finally out. I asked a number of people one question, What was your favourite gig? I have to say I was pretty overwhelmed with the response and people were very willing to give up their time whenever possible..I received over 70 contributions from peers. People from bands like Fugazi, Chumbawamba, Youth of Today, Bear Trade, Paranoid Visions, The Winter Passing, Soulside and The Van Pelt.  People from record labels like Make that a take, Revelation, Slumberland. People from fanzines like Bald Cactus, Fear and loathing and Loserdowm. Photographers like Glen E Friedman, Shawn Scallen and Ricky Adam.  Authors like Philip O Connor and Michael Stewart Foley. There’s tons in the 54 pages

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€5 including postage to anywhere  It is a benefit for Pikpa Refugee Centre, Lesvos   Pay by paypal, hereFrontCover