Music and Politics – Johnny Marr

Music and Politics: Johnny Marr

This is a really interesting interview with one of the great guitarists of our time. I always loved how Marr made the guitar sound and how he collaborated with such a variety of acts. I got to see the Smiths a couple of times and was really swept up by the music they created both times. The first time was in Trinity when the Ents Officer Paddy Goodwin brought them over with about one week’s notice. There was little fanfare, and as I recall about 300 people there for one of the best gigs of my life. They were still in excellent form when they came back and played two nights in a SFX.

One quote really stood out for me. And I am putting it at the end of this blog entry. Marr finds fault with the original punk movement and it is great to see it questioned and critiqued. There was a fantastic piece of television on recently: a BBC show about Top of the Pops in 1978. I am going to write about that later. One thing that jumped out was how the BBC producers (who came across as a very conservative bunch) dealt with the punk/new wave bands with strong women singers. For Blondie and Debbie Harry with their pop smarts and her conventional good looks the camera lingered on her. For Siouxsie with more challenging and daring music and a more unconventional appearance the BBC authorities slapped on the special effects and made the band appear spooky and weird. Viv Albertine was her usual insightful and composed self in the documentary, and praised Siousxie for being so commanding and composed. A role model for lots of women who took up music.

“We were of that generation that came after punk and post-punk,” he explains. “We’re grateful for the revolution, but there was a bit of homophobia there, and sexism. There wasn’t in indie. People don’t talk about it now, but it was non-macho. If you were an alternative musician, you were political, because of the times [Thatcherism and the Falklands war]. It was taken for granted that the bands you shared a stage with had the same politics. I’m not sure you could say that now.” Johnny Marr 2013

PS for a great insight into Marr, The Smiths and the second-generation Irish in Britian check out Sean Campbell’s incredible book: Irish Blood, English Hear: Second Generation Irish Musicians in England


Hope Show number 10

New show is streaming live and ready for download. A bit of Geoffrey to start off mixed with classic DC punk rastas Bad Brains, DAn LE Sac gets me dancing across the room with Scroobius Pip. Weakerthans calm things down before Steve Drewett, the neurotics and Attila the stockbroker bring back sweet memories. The Mob were amazing live and Propgogandhi and the evens finish up. Enjoy


1. Geoffrey Oicott – I was Montys Double
2. Bad Brains – I against I
3. Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Letter From God To Man
4. The Ex – Listen to the Painters
5. Weakerthans – Elegy for Gump Worsley
6. Steve Drewett and the Indestructable Beat – Capital Radio
7. Newtown Neurotics – Does Anyone Know where the march is
8. Attila The Stockbroker – Washington Bullets
9. The Mob – I hear you laughing
10. Propogandhi – And we think Nation States are a bad idea / utter crap song
11. The Evens – Timothy Wright

Incredible web sites for people who love music.

I was reading about Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark on the Guardian website while eating my breakfast yesterday. In the comments section there was a link to this INCREDIBLE site. It looks like some Irish person has gone to A LOT of trouble to scan in copies of Smash Hits magazine from the 1980s. Most people probably don’t appreciate that before it became the exclusive domain of boy and girl bands for teens it actually covered some really good music. I know that term ‘good music’ is pretty subjective, yet the ska and two-tone of the early 80s was incredible music. A lot of the post punk music was interesting too. Anyhow even though I have no time these days for anything…I did manage to take a trip down memory lane via the scans of Smash Hits. The interview with Malcolm McLaren was really interesting. And the behind-the-scenes report on the new pop show called the Tube was also really interesting. Host Paula Yates came across really badly, while co-host Jools Holland came across much better. There was a really funny insight into how the bands and their management behaved too. Twisted Sister (remember ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’?) were very angry when the photographer took snaps of them during rehearsal. Their manager demanded the camera so he could destroy the film lest their fans see them without make up! Also mentioned was how Motorhead were really angry to avoid Iggy Pop who was on the same show as them. Apparently he had bitten one of them at a previous meeting.
Metal bands and manners!
Thank you to the magnificent blogger at Like Punk Never Happened.

The issue at the top of the page is 30 years old and features Malcolm McLaren, The Tube and the Jam. Does life get any better?


Happy New Year

I was watching the Jools Holland End of Year Show.

It was really interesting to see the respect he gave to the Dubliners. It is funny how a folk band who emerged in the wake of the Clancy Brothers could still command such respect and prominence on the TV across the Irish Sea. It makes me wonder about what other Irish acts from the 1960s would still be respected today if they were still around.

I really enjoyed Dexy’s too. Hard to believe that time has rushed past since my first ever gig when they played in the Mansion House in 1980. It literally changed my life. The Tearjerkers from Northern Ireland opened and there was a comedy interlude by a young comedian by the name of Keith Allen. He told jokes about the SAS which the audience didn’t seem to find funny at all as I recall. One of the most incredible things about the gig was how at the end Kevin Rowland announced that as there were no barriers between the audience and the band we were all invited to come and say hello and meet the band. I was faced with the prospect of missing the last 46a home…yet who could resist such an invitation? It led to a life of going to gigs and walking.

Happy New year
the wildheartedoutsider

Hope Show Number 9

Hope Show Number 9

So it’s a new year and for the tail end of 2012 I neglected my weekly radio ahow at Hopefully the technical difficulties that ensued in December have now been ironed out and I will be able to get the show up every Saturday for 9 pm. I playeed a mixture of old and new for this weeks show – playlist and reasons as follows

1. the evens – Competing with the till I’ve just got the new evens album and am delighted by how good it sounds. this needs to be shared

2. fawn spots Spanish Glass Best 7″ for me last year was this record by the fawn spots on the excellent Louder Than War label

3. American Steel – Love And Logic I always enjoy singing along to American Steel and this Song gets my loudest chant ‘Destroy their future before it kills us’ indeed

4. Los Fastidios – Cruelty Free One of the best live bands of 2012, vegan anti-fascist and diy and proud. What more could you want

5. The Membranes – Time Warp 1991 I am forever being accused of being stuck in a Time Warp – well before 1991 I’m afraid. The membranse turned me on to active diy and I’m delighted to see their names back on bills for gigs again.

6. Black Cougar Shock Unit We Don’t have a nail big enough for Peter Lorre I have great memories of Black Cougar Shock Unit playing in Dublin – not last year but it only feels that recent. I also picked up some great stuff from Dave at newest Industry recently so wanna share this

7. Duncan Redmonds – Romford Now a star of BBC Radio 6 Sean Forbes is guest vocals on this along with Duncan from Snuff playing Drums and telling us what they really think of the beautiful pictureque village of Romford. Sean is the skinhead leader of Hard Skin (well one of three hard leaders) who have a new album out soon – one for 2013 eh?

8. Jawbreaker – Chemistry Jawbreaker – what more can I say?

9. Flies on You – Slashing it Down One of the albums of 2012, with the great Nerve Rack bass sound of 1987

10. Ginger Wildheart – Internal Radio I saw Ginger play an acoustic gig in August – I knew nothing about him and was enthralled by the audience singalong.

11. Joe Solo – We’re All Gay Joe came over to Dublin as part of Lithium Joe in the 90’s. He’s now playig solo and kicking against the pricks in 2012 with new songs every week

12. The Ruts – In A Rut Best live band of the year for me – I was amazed when I saw these in Rebellion

13. Paranoid Visions – Outsider Artist Irish album of the year – this is their collabaration with TV Smith

14. the evens – Architects Sleep Wanted to finish on a high note, the baritone guitar doesn’t go too high but this really is a great album.


the evens ‘the odds’


the evens – the odds (dischord records)

before I start I have to admit to a vested interest here. The last gig I was involved in putting on (which total over 200) was the evens when they visited dublin in 2005. I have never said that I’ve stopped doing gigs, Im just taking a
break…. I haven’t given listening to music a break and whilst its harder and harder for a parent of three to keep up to date with new sounds (finance to buy, access to a computer to seek out as well as time not spent taxi-ing kids around to listen are my excuses – what are yours?) I am always happy when old friends release new music.

the odds is a continuation from where the evens left 6 years ago with the second album Get Evens. Since then a child has been born for the two-piece and they have had plenty of time domestically to hone their sound and write songs. The sound is baritone guitar (which as far as i can make out is a lower tuned guitar) strummed with a mixture of chord progression in a folk sense and string strumming in a punk rock mode and jazz fusion drumming (have I made it sound interesting enough)? It’s bare bones electric guitar and drums coupled with male and female vocals that are mixed evenly.

The songs are all well written collections and are tales of the world around us, when Ian sings “What if every single person was a deputy…jails in search of prisoners” in wanted criminals or amy communicating “We got to sort out how to share this place” in king of kings right up to both off them detailing “and the architects lie awake trying to forget all their mistakes” in architects sleep” we remember that another world is possible and the evens want in.

Listen there is history here, I don’t need to rewrite this but this is the present and you should treat yourself.


Seven Psychopaths

7PsychosSeven Psychopaths

In Bruges was a much better film for me the second time I saw it. Initially it felt like it was an OTT Irish tale of killing, vulgarity and misoginy. I lightened up for the second viewing and found myself smiling along with the helplessness of the characters.

7 Psychopaths is almost like a sequel with different characters but still helpless and likeable in some ways, ridiculous and mean in so many others. This is my review after one viewing.

It is the tale of Colin Farrell as an Irish screen writer with a drink problem (imagine that eh?). He is bereft of ideas but his close friend starts giving suggestions. Of course unbeknownest to Farrell he is getting an insight to his close friends life which is all about mutilation. It is tarantino like in its execution and executions. Blood is splattering everywhere as the story evolves and Farrell isn’t happy with this. Farrell wants peace love and understanding but the world isn’t quite ready for this type of movie.

There is an impressive cast of psychopath including Christopher Walken as a polish Quaker pacifist, Tom Waits as a serial killer of serial killers and most impressively of all, Woody Harrelson as the gangster killer who comes looking for his kidnapped dog. With Farrell and Walken pushing Gandhis policy of an eye for eye leaving everyone blind Sam Rockwell leaves us all amused saying that will leave one person winning out. he is delighted with this prospect as his two felllow travellers look on totally bemused. It is that kind of film, very entertaining.


The House of Silk

house of silkThe House of Silk
Anthony Horowitz (orion books)

growing up I was a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes movies. Nigel Bruce and Basil rathbone my favourite actors and Arthur Conan Doyle the best novelist ever. I never really read any of his works but those films held a special place in my heart.

As the cycle of life continues to revolve I make it my bsusiness to watch a couple of Holmes movies per year, usually at Christmas in between it’s a wonderful life and Willie Wonka.

I have watched many pretenders to the throne but no actor has been able to give me a real sense of Holmes as Rathbone. BBC’s recent series of Sherlock came pretty close but when I put the monochrome one back on my screen I was enraptured once again.

It was with this background that I started reading the New Shelock Holmes Novel. The fact that it was endorsed by the estate of Holmes’s creator was a positive start. From there the positives keep occurring. A novel that has me picturing BBC’s Holmes as much as my original throughout the pages.It captures the smog and dark streets of London perfectly.

The Houpse of Silk has all the elements for a Holmes and Watson story.

There are twists and turns taking us through areas of London that are unwelcoming to visitors, there’s Inspector Lestrade receiving plenty of stick from colleagues and Holmes but with him displaying a loyalty and respect for the Private Investigator. There’s the relationship between Holmes and Watson with an interesting addition of Watsons wife playing second fiddle to the sleuths relationship. There’s even a cameo by Inspector Moriarty.

It is one of those books that gets you chasing to the end, I’m not a big reader of fiction as I’m in constant search of information but I recommend yo get down to the library and give this some of your time.

niall hope

Here’s to a new year

Here’s a piece originating from a while back but still very true for today.

So goodbye 2012 you were a tome of badness! Well, you weren’t really but politically you were redundant. I wrote my first fanzine in 1984 and had pieces in it about capitalism being the wrong choice for the people. 28 years and a lot of mileage later we should be recreating those zines of yesteryear. We need a different slant to the anti-gang though. We now need to be the pro-gang. Don’t be anti-state, be PRO change. Reclaim our world and reclaim our words.

With that in mind here’s my new year revolutions

1) Keep listening to uplifting music. It may only need three chords, sometimes a lot less but music has the power to do so much more than entertain. Entertainment is good, it’s a start. We can use our music to spread knowledge and inspiration.

2) Support local business. Whether you are anarchist, capitalist or a pain in the ist you use money at some stage. This can pay rent, keep you warm or whatever but it is a chain we are cogs in. You can be a good cog and try and grease that chain.

Anytime you think of something that you feel would be a shame if it ceased then support it. In Dublin it was local shops. Let’s support those worth supporting.

3) All talk is cheap, talk Politics! Don’t be afraid to voice a reasoned opinion. let’s get dialogue going again. How can we get out of this mess? How can we assist each other through this (see point 2). Let’s have debates, let’s have fun, let’s be optimistic and let’s DO!

4) Don’t rely on elected individuals. Whilst I have no doubt that most people believe they can change the world, those that feel elections are the only avenue are misleading the rest. We can work within our communities to affect change. Sure, politicians can enforce decisions that effect us all but lets start local and in the meantime try and get those who might assist the people to be the ones in power.

5) Communities are the key. That could be punk rock community, residents community or work community we can work together to make our surroundings better. Help your trade union, help your local charity, help your neighbour. BE!

6) This one I have given a lot of thought to, let’s help our neighbours out. Invite them in for that cup of tea, car pool, food pool, work together. A group of parents hang out? why not swop babysitting sessions. Gonna go out for a meal? why not dine in and invite your friends. Organise some pot lucks (preferably vegan). Let’s work together and be in it for EACH other.

7) Henry sang it, I’ve said it but the words ring true Don’t talk about it, DO IT
With that in mind my pledge for this year. Remember it is not about what we are against anymore, it is about what we are FOR

Come here and i tell ya

come here to me
Come Here to Me!
Dublin’s Other history
(New Ireland Press)

Ive been a very interested observer to a few Dublin blogs over the past couple of years and high on the list has been There is always something interesting to view and stories to read. Bringing out a book with a collection of these tales is a perfect fit. I always prefer to have a book in my hand rather than a webpage so this has become vital for people like me. There is a sense at times when reading Irish history that this was a time for other people, when reading these short collections you can picture yourself on dublins cobbled streets. Very often Dublin is seen as a capital cosmopolitan city but come here to me shows dublins character.

As someone born and raised on Dublins northside with parents and grandparents close to the northside streets along with my wife and her parents all born within a stones throw this is something that assists with my pride. i am proud to be from dublin, it has many faults but this is my city. Come here to me and i tell ya is often heard on the streets and for anyone with some interest in our city this is a great read