Rebellion 2017 – Day 4

A Page Of Punk

And so it drifts to a close, we may want it to go for ever but most bodies can’t take the pace. There is a world out there to return to, families and friends to be cherished and minds to change. Again Rebellion has been a cracker, my years of animosity towards this festival were wrong for me. I spent a long time saying I didn’t want to see old fogies reliving their youth, but it’s great. The festival brings a community or, as Pete Stahl from Scream described it, a tribe together. We all have different parts to play in the tribe but it is ours.

I started late today, spent some time at the seaside, wishing the donkeys weren’t being used, before heading to see Pizzatramp. The venue was as packed as I’ve seen it for any on the intoducing stage. Pizzatramp are loud and fast. Their new drummer joined this morning which made for an interesting show. The blistering speed is fine if you’re used to drumming it’s only when bands decide to get cocky and include breaks in their songs. They even managed to play the same 20 second song 4 times.

Nicki Weller

John Robb’s chat with Jah Wobble co-incided but I head some of it. The literary stage isn’t there this year and it is a shame. The stories of punk rock are important and whilst we are there for the music it is necessary for the reasons behind it to be documented. Hopefully it will return next year. Barry Cain’s chat with Nicki Weller proves how important these talks are. Nikki spoke of managing the Jam’s fan club and correspondence they received. She was the curator for the From The Jam exhibition which made it to London and Liverppol and could yet travel to Amsterdam. barry cain sidetracked with his own stories but thankfully Nikki reeled it back in and told some lovely tales of her brother Paul.

Zounds were always trying something interesting when Crass and Conflict were challenging people with their lyrics and music. The arena had a huge crowd, many happy to rest their weary legs after 4 days but it was great to see Zounds on that stage.

Jon Langford is king to me. He would be my god if he didn’t eat meat so the see him Acoustic and with the Mekons was an honour. I don’t know what he eats but I do know he replied to a letter I sent as a 15 year old. I still have it somewhere as it’s the little things in life that can really matter. The Mekons were on stage with their original line up from 1977. songs like Fight The Cuts could have been written at anytime over the last 4 decades but it strikes me that we are back in those days, and it’s not nostalgia talking. Mekons were post punk almost as soon as they heard punk, they discovered country but always had the attitude of punk. It was, yet another, honour to sit and watch them play tonight. You’ve no idea how much.

I felt like a disloyal subject as I sneaked out of Jons acoustic set (sshhh don’t tell him) to watch a Page of Punk, but needed to. Japan know how to do extremes in music and A Page of Punk sure are extreme. This was a highlight of the unexpected. Incredible energy on stage and insane show. If ever you get a chance to see them please please do. The intensity of this band is phenomenal, everyone had a smile on their face.

Attila was back in the Opera House entertaining us all showing that there can be humour in the revolution. This splendid venue had hundreds of punks singing about prince Harry’s knob and the irony of it all wasn’t lost on Attila. The crowd in the acoustic room the other night were full of chat with their friends but opera house brought people in who wanted to see him and respected what was on offer.

Speaking of which Ruts DC burst the Almost Acoustic room yet again. You could slice the respect this crowd have for Ruts dc. Even though they can do no wrong they did everything right

Propagandhi were outside in the Casbah and were immense, in the rain. so much so that I barely caught the Skids but as I wandered home from Blackpool my dreams for 2018 had already started. To my tribe, thank you. Let’s keep on keeping on

Niallhope

Rebellion 2017 – Day 3

Rebellion 2017 Day 3

My introduction to los Fastidios came a few years ago. They had just finished an Irish tour that I missed out on. Their background is in oi music. They proudly proclaim football as an interest but also are anti fascist and animal rights exponents. Sure what’s not to like. Sing along intelligent anthems from Italy were the perfect post lunch punk tunes and as the new album proclaims the sound of revolution.

My journey to Rebellion music festival started when my brothers were bringing home/ punk records in the late 70’s early 80’s. I then started buying my own tapes and records and wrote to as many people as possible. AOA were one of the bands I wrote to. 35 years ago. I did an interview with them in my fanzine at the time and here they are now, singing anarcho punk songs to us. The topics they sing about are still the same with words being screamed on stage that none of us have any chance of understanding. Thankfully they talk between songs and have information on their records.

Radical Dance Faction were regular visitors to Ireland in the 90’s, amazing night how it doesn’t seem all that long ago. They are still banging out their white reggae whit lost post punk vocal.

The rhythmites played with nomeansno in mcgonagles, their reggae beat being the equivalent of what major promoters used to play through the speakers before the main band would come along. We decided we would provide our own soundtrack that night with nomeansno and rhythmites are still dancing to the revolution

The GAKK are from Dundalk and had their travelling home crowd out, complete with Dundalk fc flag. They play 77 style strong punk rock, lots of clash and ruts references. The travelling crew all ventured along to see Steve Ignorant and Paranoid Visions, but three days on veggie burgers meant I needed to get something else to eat. Amazingly Blackpool now has a vegan restaurant and top quality too. It meant missing out o. A selection of classic Crass, flux and Poison Girls songs being played by Paranoid Visions with vocal assistance from Steve a Ignorant. Some things you just have to live to regret.

My interest in bands like AOA slightly decreased when hardcore bands from Washington DC hit my radar, Scream being one of them. Today was special day, seeing Scream up on stage. I have been suspicious for years about bands reforming for events like this but as an attendee I sure am glad Scream are back. So tight, so good and with audience participation and a Bad brains cover to boot. Dave Ruffy, from The Ruts DC, will face competition for “drummer who makes it all look ao easy” as Kent played at breakneck speed right through and didn’t look like he broke a sweat. This was a lesson on hardcore history and I could quite easily have gone home content after this set

It was a huge contrast seeing the Tuffragettes. These, along with Brattakus and Petrol Girls are vital bands for our day. These are modern day Scream, they sound nothing like them but the energy and enthusiasm as shining. Synth punk smashing the stereotypes

Louise Distras played two sets tonight, her electric show last time was in the main Empress Ballroom but it was good to see her on the smaller Pavillion stage as well as acoustic. Tonight louise asked us all to fall in love and don’t fall in line. Wise words indeed that we all sang along to.

Ruts DC need no explaining. Part of the rebellion furniture at this stage, as vital as Steve Ignorant and TV Smith and as revered and respected as Cock Sparrer or any band that plays here. SUch good songs that have stood any test time may want to pass on. I danced and danced and delighted in the fact that I was here and this was happening.

Angelic upstarts had a huge crowd in the empress. Working class spokespeople and the 2,500 people were ready to give the fox a gun in any effort to bring back hunting. The upstarts have been on the go since 1977, 2 years prior to scream’s inception. Their tunes are more direct and as I wondered about the difference between the two bands I heard Mensi proclaiming from stage he will be the next James Bond and how surprised he was that “the lasses weren’t all rushing to the stage”. Their debut single “Teenage warning” came on and I then thought I noticed pete from gold blade and the membranes on guitar. I got confused as he was announced on stage as Neil. My eyesight is definitely going At least Louise distras calls it the Louise distras band and maybe the upstarts should really be the Mensi ensemble as he is the sole remaining original member

Bnorthen Irish punks took over in the form of Outcasts and Defects and we popped and pogoed into the late night

 

niallhope

Rebellion 2017 – Day 2

Before every trip to Blackpool I sit down, pore through the lineup and pick out the must see and the nice to see. I have a problem today. 34 bands are on the list. That may not have been an issue for 18 year old self but it is a problem. It will sort itself out over the 13 hours.

The way I see it is that I’m a sponge and rebellion is my education. I may never see some of these bands again, we may never be in the same country together so I want to make the most of it. Let’s go for 34

Poly-esters were new to me. Playing in the huge empress ballroom, home to Darts, they engaged and rocked the lunchtime crowd.

I’d been looking forward to seeing Petrol Girls. There’s a scene of bands out there that have wiped gender breakdown away. Of course it doesn’t matter what gender you are playing in a band but Petrol Girls are screaming out about misogyny and sexism and their toe tapping noise is a glorious soundtrack to that manifesto. Petrol Girls are top of the pile throwing away the punk stereotype and ready to challenge you if you’re too comfortable.

Matilda’s Scoundrels from Hastings have that folky punk sing along feel. You want to be in their gang. Im struck by the fact that they seem to be the first band not selling merchandise as the 6 piece take over the stage.

I guess the real mackenzies are a Canadian version of Matilda’s Scoundrels, it seems bizarre to me but Canadians in kilts singing about drinking and playing bagpipes is something I’ve missed out on. For years though I ignored drop kick Murphy’s and am now a convert so maybe there’s hope for me for the real mckenzies. To be honest I hope not

Interrobang are taking music and adding some theatre, trying to unsettle the crowd but playing angular music. It’s not in your face but they are looking to reach into your heart. Dunstan sings like he is starting in Chumbawamba once more and he is still angry after all these years and will never calm down. We need bands like interrobang telling us they as mad as hell.

I’ve been communicating with Doug from flies on you in various guises over 30 years it all started when he was bass player in nerve rack and talking about playing in ireland. That never happened and decades got lost. Now he is on the “new” band stage with flies on you who have two great albums out. Doug has dropped the bass but the acerbic sound remains and it’s a fall-esque sound, well starts with the fall and nerve rack and mixes a whole lot more in. Great to see them on stage.

The featherz brought some glam to the day, at least for the three songs I caught. Nice change to the wall of noise on offer elsewhere.

Dave dictor tempted us last night with acoustic versions but tonight was the turn of the powerful MDC, more relevant than ever.

I missed the FU’s when I started listening to American Hardcore. Boston punks exploded on the stage tonight. Even treating us to some straw dogs sings which is what some of the FU”s became for a while.

Subhumans never change, even if some of the personnel do. They are still as good as they were, and playing many of the songs they played in, the youth expression Centre in an early 1980s dublin. These are another necessary feature of Blackpool. Again more relevant now as our political structure becomes more similar to the 80s.

Same with DOA, Canadian punks screamed for change in the 80s. Lead singer Joey keithley ran for office. They wanted a better future. They got a different one, better in many ways but the question remains was it worth it? This three piece were are as fast and powerful as anything else today with some tunes there screaming out

 

Attila The Stockbroker is on great form. Not just politics but emotions too. It must be so frustrating for any artist with all talking going on in the background in the acoustic room as people settle in for a drink and a chat. Attila defied them and told us all about the band we should form called “winter vomiting bug” which was dedicated to the band sick on the bus. He gave some newer poems which detail how working class people are still second class citizens despite all the years of words

I never saw or listened to Frank Carter before except when he was in gallows who I didn’t enjoy that much. At one stage he got a circle pit going right round the hall and just like the junior b hurlers they ran and ran badly in that circle

It’s been an interesting festival as the politics of today has lead to a lot more statements from bands on stage. If we can’t talk about what’s going on what can we talk about?, and bands grasped that. They have also reached out to those struggling with mental illness and this punk rock community should know it’s ok not to feel ok and just talk if things are getting to you. We are all in this together, whatever this may be. Frank Carter reminded us of words Petrol Girls had spoken earlier, it’s fine to be down just share it and let’s look after each other.

Membranes are special to me. This is their home town, well it’s not really but it’s the original bands birthplace and singer john Robb, is the sole remaining original band member. They have diversified in recent years and the post punk sound is still there but drone and power are the main traits on display. Tonight they have the backing of a choir which just adds to the sense of surreal spectacular in this car park stage

Wonk unit are increasing in popularity by the day. Each gig sees them getting more popular. Second last band on the empress tonight and Earlier they played a stripped down version of their set in the acoustic room. Not even room to stand. Empress crowd weren’t left standing, we were too busy moving our feet.

Their good friends slaves followed them. For a two piece they can sure fill out a stage. For a drummer with two drums and 2 cymbals there is some sound on stage. At times it felt like maybe, just maybe, they were trying a tad too hard but the power was something else, as was the visuals

I wasn’t sure if their style of humour would suit that big stage. But it did. Alex treated the crowd as if we were visitors to his regal home, sticky dance floor and all. Wonk unit have been described as a modern day snuff and that’s not far off. They will play any gig, won’t get lost or worried in the trapping of success. And they listen to punk rock and know they are no different to us watching them. Perfect.

Kiss my acid were the first of many Irish bands for me to see today. Snotty abrasive tunes with green day playing grunge feel.

I am a car crash are gaining interest. It’s easy to see why, more rock than punk and more post the pre, it was great to see the dublin lads on the big arena stage.

Protex played the opera house. It gave us a chance to sit down, relax and enjoy their power pop tunes.

Lee Harvey’s have a 1978 feel to their sound but with power. Close your eyes and they could almost be part of that northern Irish good vibrations scene. Great set.

Paranoid Visions pack some power. Deko says they are tjebhate of the city’s well there’s a certain section thaysboroud of them. Singing and powerful as if killing joke had attitude for dinner. There is a large Irish contingent at rebellion playing and spectating. Most of these were in the large pavilion crowd tonight as the visions played more recent material and are as strong, prolific and valid as ever

Ok I didn’t quite make the 34 but managed to squeeze in songs from Godfathers, the Professionals, and Bono too

Niallhope

Rebellion 2017 – Day 1

Rebellion 2017 day 1

Simon and Carol captivate the acoustic room

And so we return. A little greyer, mostly a little bigger but no less enthusiastic. Blackpool 2017 for this first weekend of August is less kiss me quick and donkey rides and more punk rock nostalgia as the home of the 80s political conferences is taken over by the punks. 7 stages kicking off with bingo from max splodge of splodgenessanounds. Max regaled us all on top of the pops with two pints of lager and a packet of crisps please and now he is in the bar calling out numbers for bingo and that very same order over and over again.

Today’s festival began with a race against time. Four full days of live music ahead and my 10.35 plane looks like it won’t get there on time. I will mix Max’s bingo and Geoffrey Oicott. But I wait in hope that I can catch Epic Problem, the spoilers and the tuts.

One issue of having 7 stages is there are bound to be clashes. They usually work out as 4 songs from a band you want to check out is far better than never being in the same room as them but this three being on different stages at the same time was always going to prove problematic. It was a problem I didn’t need to give thought to as trains and planes conspired against me and time was the winner, or lack of it.

Bratakus were the first band I caught. Two piece abrasiveness from Scotland. Some racket for two people, excellent stuff. In evil hour were on in the empress and played to a large crowd. Strong solid rocking punk tunes

Simon Wells and Carol Hodge came over to Ireland last year to play our We Shall Overcome festival and delighted the crowd. They were back today in the acoustic room as simon played tracks from his new album, songs that are usually played with a fuller sound and lots of noise. It’s great to hear them stripped down bare and raw. Heartfelt music that is very special. Simon greeted nearly everyone personally from stage and we welcomed him and Carol from our seats. The set as mixed with some of Carols haunting yet soulful songs which added spice to the mix.

Carol played again later with Slice of Life.

Slice of Life. Rebellion 2017

There are a few people who can do no wrong with the vast majority of the rebellion crowd and Steve ignorant is one of these. Steve will be singing some songs with paranoid visions later in the festival, a selection of songs that influenced so many. For tonight he is living in the now and it’s a good place to be. Steve can’t avoid the fact that he was in one of the most influential punk bands. A band that could easily be described as one that maybe not led a generation but guided a community. It was an accident and he is humbled by it all he wasn’t trying to lead anyone he was just being one of us. And still is.

The pukes were a trimmed down version of their usual selves. 4 ukuleles and some washboard rhythms playing punk classics. They had a huge crowd in the acoustic room singing along and wondering when would they learn. There was something missing from the band on stage and when i did that head count I realised that Lorna was missing. Her infectious enthusiasm is a beacon on stage but the colourful tunes still brought a smile to us all

This was my first time to see Bar stool preachers despite them being perennial visitors. Sing along punk ska anthems that had the crowd singing along and me wondering what the words were so I could join in

Reletics were the only and I saw on the introducing stage. Powerful punky rocky sound. They proudly sang about being an anti fascist band which is worth proclaiming time and again.

MDC are one of those bands that just keep going but in reality it is just singer Dave Dictor. Dave, like many others here this weekend, pretty much acts the same as he did in the late 80’s early 90’s. There’s been hospital visits and scares along the way but he is still screaming, even at the acoustic show tonight. The acoustic shows leave singers with no place to hide and dave coped very well stripped down to a bass and an acoustic and those songs about Reagan and the crazy state of the world growing up in the 80s seems as relevant as ever, maybe more so.

Zillah minx from Rubella ballet is like the offspring of Toyah Wilcox with attitude and politics thrown in. Toyah flew a flag for women in a time when women were solely objectified in music. Rubella Ballet brought colour to an anarchist punk scene full of black with some red for good measure. Both played this evening in the seated arena. Rubella ballet competed with the Puke’s for most colourful band. Maybe an anarcho spizz energy complete with illuminious dancers. I never really listened to Toyah before and couldn’t tonight as there were no seats in the house spare for her performance.

I also never really listened to good riddance. Not sure why but alongside Strike Anywhere they are on my list of “must find out more”. That list is increasing al the time but after tonight’s energetic explosion of hardcore I can strike them off.

Roddy radiation had everyone skanking as if the specials never stopped. Ska and reggae in an original Style. While roddy was skanking tv smith was punking. Tim is in the same mould as Steve ignorant. A legend of a musician and still playing those adverts songs as if it was his first time. Only two words to describe this set. Tv smith. That first album is a classic. I defy you to say otherwise. Tv smith is the boss.

Leftover Crack are in Dublin on Saturday. This may not be a warm up for that show but if it was, then the gypsy rose will he on fire. Hard hitting political us hardcore punk band. They were on top form tonight.

sem futuro showed you don’t have to be North American to have that punky hardcore sound. These Brazilians sure did create a racket, can’t say if the words were politically motivated as my Spanish is pretty nonexistent

Penny wise and bad religion brought the tunes back in. It’s amazing to see Bad Religiin still filling out halls and better again to see over 2,500 people singing along. Flying end to the first day, despite my disappointing start of clashes and ultimately missed sets.

Rebellion 2017 Bratakus,

BRATAKUS

 

It’s not even four o,clock and I already have a new favourite band.
Girls and boys looking for contemporary punk role models need look no further
They are two-piece, so lazy comparisons with House of f
Freaks and even Carter the USM are inevitable, yet that shouldn’t take away from how original and powerful Bratakus are.

I love their song Open Your Eyes with its manic panic energy.
They did a wonderful cover of the Cress song Breakdown which again had an industrial-scale full-throttle force.

They are fast, frantic, fantastic and fun and show that the spirit of true girl power is alive and thriving in 2017. Their new CD is just out and boasting songs like I Know Nothing it is well worth checking out. They finished their set with Products a song proudly introduced as an animal rights song.
Michael

 

In Evil Hour
were a revelation when I saw them first at Rebellion two years ago. They have got even stronger in the interim. Packing a visceral push without sacrificing melody and boasting a commanding female vocalist they are well worth seeing if you like your rock. It is easy to understand why Niall splashed out on their album when we saw them last. They are still comfortable on the main stage and I look forward to seeing them move up the bill.
They move seamlessly from melodic singalong to growling shrieks with a pulsing rhythm of the classic four piece rock bands.
Michael

 

Pog
So sad to say that I missed them today, but we managed to buy three of their albums. The covers are just what you hope an indie band’s album covers would look like. Artful, beautiful, distinctive and evocative. And we got to meet the band-member who designs them too. Really looking forward to checking them out.
Michael

A week of punk

“Punk rock saved my life”, Derrick Johnston proclaimed one Monday night in the hut to an audience one could quite comfortably count with two hands and we knew exactly what he meant. My saving wasn’t on the form of punk but it certainly shaped my life. So many decisions I make on a daily basis has some basis in punk, or more specifically the free thoughts around d.i.y. and collectivism. These decisions involve purchases, food, sport, parenting and work. It is steeped in a belief that if you’ve something to complain about then you’ve something to change, and a belief in the strength of an individual being emboldened within the collective. And Derrick Johnston and Chris Snelgrove know exactly what that means.

It matters little how many people are at the gig it is the existence of the event that counts. That two people can travel from Montreal and Dundee respectively to our island and sing some songs to people that want to hear them is the vital ingredient. That they make no money in the process is secondary. We are all friends here, hoping for a better world and a fairer future.

Derrick runs make that a take records , books his aen shows and runs his ane festival. He sings his songs with passion and integrity and sings right from the heart. At times it’s uncomfortable as depression is just not a jovial topic. It’s ok though, he’s amongst friends and we care.

Chris has been playing in bands for 25+ years. Punk rock took him away from a path of succumbing to addiction and he is grateful for that.

This gig was sandwiched between ones in Belfast (smith street band) and the dublin gigs of Martha with Joyce manor and a few days later lemuria. All bands come from similar places. A love for tunes and punk rock but also an appreciation for people and a knowledge that life doesn’t revolved around the music industry.

Smith street band sang their anthems to a Belfast crowd ready to sing along with them but something felt like it was missing.

Martha seemed like they were one of the audience but when Joyce manor hit the workmans stage something seemed to be missing.

Lemuria were celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their excellent Get Better lp all great songs but still something not quite right. It was not quite the Joshua Tree extravaganza of U2 but a similar feeling around it. However Lemuria share that belief that the world can be a better place and music can help us along the way. And this is a world I feel I belong in

niallhope

May fest 2017

Hope Collective are delighted to be involved with Mayfest 2017. Mayfest is a celebration of Workers Clulture and is running nightly in Liberty Hall from May 1 to May 12.

Our event is on Tuesday May 2 with an event compered by Actor Bryan Murray. Joining Bryan will be Fran QUigle (booker of McGonagles in the 70’s), Smiley Bolger (Booked the New Inn and many others), Elvera Butler (Cork Promoter and main person behind Reekus Records). Peter Jones from Paranoid Visions, former Trinity College Ents Officer Edwina Forkin, the authrs of In Concert, Niall McGuirk and Michael Murphy. There will be guest appearances from Colm Walsh, Ken Duffy and Pete Holidai

All will be talking about their experiences in and around the music and punk scene in Dublin and ireland. It should be a fascinating evening as we continue to document what has gone before us.

Banter – Feb 21

On Tuesday February 21, myself, Michael and a number of those who’ve contributed to the book – plus some surprise guests – will join Jim Carroll at Banter to talk about the book, the notion of favourite gigs and read their selections as well. Audience contributions welcome too. Guests speaking include….
Ellie & Louise McNamara (Heathers) on The Mountain Goats, Bloomington 2011
Frances Roe (Jam Jar Jail) on Rocket from the Crypt, Dublin 2001,
Edwina Forkin (Zanzibar Films and ex-TCD Ents Officer) on Sonic Youth/Nirvana and early Therapy?, 1991
Elvera Butler (Reekus Records) on The Stranglers and The Who, 1970s
Suzanne Rhatigan (singer and promoter) on Grace Jones at Electic Picnic, 2015
Peter Jones (Paranoid Visions) on the Poison Girls at Sean McDermott Street, Dublin, 1983
Ferdia Mac Anna (director, novelist, screenwriter & Rock Devalera) on Thin Lizzy, Dublin, 1971
Peter Devlin (musician, producer and broadcaster) on The Specials/The Beat, Stardust, Dublin, 1981
Mick Heaney (journalist and DJ) on The Cramps, Boston, 1986

Tickets only €5.50 available here –
https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/banter-in-concert-tickets-31642900768?aff=es2

Banter on In Concert will take place at Wigam (Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1) on Tuesday February 21. Doors open at 6pm and the event will kick off at 6.30pm.
Like the book, all proceeds will go to the Irish Red Cross’ Syria Appeal.

A thought for the year

Since when

Since when

Has financial cost usurped human dignity?
Has the market dictates what we do for our people?
Is it ok to ignore human suffering?
Has our walk through life blinded us to the streets?
So let’s
Talk
Belong
Communication is vital to our sense of belonging
If you see a business you like
Buy something from it
If you see a business you don’t
Don’t
Remember that it’s ok not to feel ok
It’s ok to be worried
It’s ok to wish for change
If you want to see change
Seek that change
Be that change
Dream of a world where those who inhabit it seek to make it a better place for all
Where compassion overcomes profit
*****************
Having a dog gives one a great opportunity to get out in your local community. In my land of suburbia I imagine more people know my dog Strummer than they know of his namesake. My guess is more know him than me. Which is fine I travel incognito with my headphones for company many evenings as Strummer reacquaints himself with many garden pillars and trees. The smell of the city to him is a wondrous adventure. Over the past 6 weeks as he stopped every 10 yards I looked around in amazement at the homes and lights that enveloped them. My concern for global warming slightly waned as this led light wonderland brought a smile to my face. Christmas brings out that good feeling.
Of course there are many who don’t share that as the challenge of Christmas worries them it is a time when charity comes to the fore and people have a bit more time for others. I love it, I stick on it’s a wonderful life and smile. But now as the trees get shredded and the decorations are put away to gather dust for the next 11 months sadness does set in. A new year brings new challenges as we continue to try to make sense of our surroundings. It gives us a chance to take stock.
We have a chance to see what type of society we want to see. The Type of business we want to see stay open are the ones we should shop in. The life we want to see for our kids or our friends kids is the in we can lead. We have it in our grasp, it’s what I need so I can see those decorations come down.
Happy 2017
niallhope

Well, did I do it?

imageIt was during my Christmas break in 2015 that I set myself a challenge – Read 52 Books in a year.  1 a week – should be easy?

It all started with Steven Gerrard – a christmas present

The road to wigan pier followed closely.  George Orwells tale of how we can show a brighter future

As it was the centenary of 1916 Easter Rising there were plenty of books relating to that theme

Jimmy Wren’s The GPO Garrisson was one such story of all the people in the GPO that week

Kieran Glennon’s From Pogrom TO Civil War took in a slightly later time in Irelands Nationalist history

Roger Casement is not only a figure in Irish Nationalist History, prior to (and during)his involvement in Ireland culminating in his trial where he stated “Ireland has wronged no man, that has injured no land, that has sought no dominion over others – Ireland is treated today among the nations of the world as if she was a convicted criminal” he was a British Foreign diplomat.  His most notable work was exposing the slave trade in Congo and the  horrendous slaughter of Peruvian Indians.  The Devil and Misteer casement tells the story of Peru whole King Leopolds Ghost spoke of Congo

Russian troubadors Pussy Riot have had a lot written about them Words Will Break Cement is one of those

Kim Gordon has spoken a lot about how Pussy Riot are strong Women in a band and her Girl In  A Band book tells of her time in Sonic Youth and beyond

Chasing The Scream challenged my perception on the so-called War On Drugs and has really made me think about its relevance

As part of the challenge I asked my kids what book they would like me to read – Pele was my youngest ones choice.  A strange book about a character who exists in a world of stardom and almost seems like an alter ego of Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Luca Caioli asked is Messi More Than A Superstar and the answer is very much yes in his mind, interesting that humility is his biggest trait after being a superstar ball player

During Easter Week I decided to take a 360 turn and see how many Ross O’Carroll Kelly books I could cram in this year.  Ross is the obnoxious, sexist beast known to so many Dubliners. The teenage Dirt-Bag years is one of the early ones, his formative college years, a J1 American Visa and the theft of a statue from UCD all get the O’Carroll gloss.

One of the hardest books to read was The Wrath of Cochise, not for the level of detail of the blood feud between the Chiracuau Indians and the US Army but just the level of detail.  Terry Mort has a way with words, and it’s a long way. It was enlightening to read about the ‘White men’ being willing to loose lives in wars and use that as a tactic or about the Irish Bounty hunter James Kirker.  it is interesting that this small island has produced many people who travelled for different reasons and had an impact around the world. Kirker was a hugely successful bounty hunter, willing to work, and kill, for the highest bidder.  There were many Irish recruits into the US Army in the 1850’s – over 30% of those enlisted were Irish hunger having forced them from their homes. Then there were those being sold into slavery, a tale of woe that still continues.

I re-introduced myself to the world of pop punk and Lookout records through Larry Livermores two book and the story of Lookout. Interesting that a label with no initial aspirations other than to release records and get bands heard ended up as a multi million dollar business and the tale of how those millions made people want more. Another label I re-introduced my self to was K Records. Love Rock Revolution, the story of K was published a few years ago but I missed out on it then. It tells the story of Calvin Johnson and K, much like Lookout, a label that saw huge increases in sales when Nirvana got signed but thankfully unlike lookout K is still going.  Sarah records was another label I listened to many bands from and Pop Kiss tells its story with a glorious jangle.

The Lost Women Of Rock Music – Female Musicians of the punk era by Helen Reddington is still altogether too true as it tells the battle females have just to be recognised in rock.. Punk promised to breakthrough  as more and more females joined bands but the establishment re-established its hold and MTV had a different story to tell. It drove it underground

NOFX were a band whose antics when they were in ireland I had blocked out of memory. I knew there was a story around a fireplace and an inscription but the tides of time held no grudges. it was sad to read stories of how fireplaces in other cities, belonging to other peoples parents, were treated with similar disdain. Like spoilt children the drug fuelled lifestyle of nofx left casualties in their wake. We had to run other gigs after they left town, we had to mend a lot of bridges. This book is not surprising in its tome. Pity I like their music so much.

Jack Doyle’s autobiography slowed me down and made me realise I wouldn’t meet my target.  Instead of 1 book a week I went for one a fortnight.  It halved the overall number but still was hopeful and realistic.

This was bropught to fruitiion with somw time over Christmas allowing me to complete my final two.  How Champions Thnk gives some snippets into the mind of sucessful people and it finashed in style with the Aesthetic of Our Anger – a critique of anarcho punk, politics and music.  Although this book is aimed more at an academic audience it is an excellent reflection on the influence of Crass throughout popular culture.

So next year I will try and better this, wish me luck

This years List

1. King Leopolds Ghost

2. The Devil and Me

3. Steve Gerard – My Story

4. Jimmy Wren – The Gpo Garrisson

5. Kieran Glennon – From Pogrom to Civil War

6. Paul Howard – Ross O Carroll Kelly, the teenage Dirtbag years

7. George Orwell – The Road to wigan pier

8. Johan Hari – Chasing the scream

9. Pele – the autobiography

10. Kim Gordon – Girl In  A Band

11. Masha Gessen – Words Will Break Cement

12. The Wrath of Cochise – The Blood Feud That Sparked the Apache Wars

13. Larry Livermore – Spy Rock Memories

14. Larry Livermore – How to Ru(i)n a record label

15. Jeff Alullis – NOFX The Hepatitis Bathtub and other Stories

16. Kevin Prested – Punk USA – The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records –

17. Mark Baumgarten – Love Rock Revolution – The Story of K Records

18. Luca Caioli – Messi: More Than a Superstar

19. Michael White – Pop Kiss – the life and afterlife of sarah records

20 Helen Reddington  – The lost Women of Rock Musc

21.Dave Dictor – MDC

22. The Defects – Nervous Breakdown

23  Michael Taub -Jack Doyle The gorgeous God

24  Adrian Chiles – We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

25 William Macaskill -Doing Good Better

26  Bob Rotella – How Champions Think

27  Mike dines and Matthew Worley – The Aesthetic of our anger