Pride Parade 2012

“He’s just a stereotype” is what the Specials sang many years ago. I remember the night the Specials first played in Dublin. I remember getting the bus home from town and some rude boys were travelling out to the Stardust to the gig. I was envious but it was a case of too much too young as my parents decided that me as a 13 year old would not be going. Instead I had to content myself with my rude boy badges on my black (and then red) harrington. This was my uniform, my statement to the world. I like the Specials, I like punk rock, it doesn’t matter what you make of it.
Interesting that 21 years on I was to attend a parade of people making a similar statement. It all started when my union conference passed a motion a couple of years ago to participate in Dublins Gay Pride Parade. There was much discussion over this and thankfully the motion passed practically unanimously. Our union would parade in solidarity with members whose sexual preference was for people of the same sex. I had never attended a pride parade (my reason being that I didn’t feel any wish to express my sexuality in public) and didn’t attend with my union colleagues that year, nor the next. However something changed at our conference this year. Firstly I got elected onto the Unions Executive Committee so there is a certain responsibility that goes with that. Secondly it was mentioned that the motion previously passed in regard to parade was in danger of being ignored this year. Turnout from PSEU was very disappointing, in much the same way as people can be hesitant to come out in public, many people are hesitant to be seen to be union activists, especially a public service union. So with that in mind I made it my duty to ensure we would be represented. Many people feel unions are irrelevant in todays society, I would never subscribe to that view but can totally see the reasoning behind it. So much work has been done in this country to better the conditions of the working man and woman and with most improvements in working conditions there is a strong union propping them up. Unions are relevant when people require decent working conditions, when they are looking for pay rises, when dealing with work expectations and leave arrangements. If these hard earned gains are already in place then where’s the relevance? Of course it is there to ensure these conditions aren’t eroded beyond repair. Anyway union talk can come another day (and will). I’m here to talk about pride.

The day of the parade came and we had banded together a dozen assorted folk to go along. As I boarded the bus (going in the opposite direction to that Specials gig 21 years ago) I suddenly became self conscious. “What if people see me on the March….oops parade”? I was thinking, “Would they think I was gay?” And suddenly it seemed to matter. I was amazed at this internal reaction. Of course I reasoned it out with myself but I couldn’t prevent that initial feeleing. I have spent all my adolescent and adult life saying it’s ok to be what you want and do what you feel. Your actions and how you treat others are what count and yet something very simple like walking down O Connell Street in full public view with a bunch of amazing people dressed in some of the most outrageous and colourful costumes you ever will see felt a little uncomfortable. And this is where society comes in, this is where organisations like PSEU and other trade unions can lead the way. it is ok to be gay, it is ok not to be gay. It really doesn’t matter and until society fully accepts this there will continue to be a need to have Pride day.


niall hope


Euro 2012 – dreaming about you.

Now that was a nice distraction. All discussions around bail-outs and currency and interest rates and EU/IMF were concentrated on events on the football pitch in Poland and Ukraine over the past month. From the kick-off in Poland to the trophy being lifted in Ukraine all European matters revolved around football in my house. My 3 kids were driven to distraction by my demented warblings about the political situation in Ukraine. European history was discussed around whatever game took place. Russia and Poland – let’s talk about Glasnost – England v France – gentle rivalry across the channel – Germany v well anyone really and World War 2 raised its head. And then there was the Spanish – my son’s project on Spain became about Homage to Catalonia and how it was notable that the Spanish team don’t really sing the country’s national anthem (maybe like the Irish rugby team they could make one up……)
But what about the football?? I coach an Under 11’s team and have been drilling into them for the past couple of years the importance of passing the ball and trying to keep possession. Goalkeeper must roll the ball out and players must rotate all positions. If you don’t start a game one week you sure as hell will be starting the following one. It is all about learning the game and how to play as a team for these lads. Of course that means they make mistakes (the best way to learn) and they score less goals than the opposition in some games. But every game they do something worthwhile and it doesn’t involve any mirror image of the way Ireland or England played in the tournament.

How disappointing were the Irish and English national teams? I felt Ireland were going to have a torrid time as the three teams in our group were so superior but I had hoped that we could achieve something notable against them. I suppose we did this, but for all the wrong reasons. Least passes? Ireland, least shots on target? Ireland, most goals conceded? Ireland. Our neighbours across the Sea may have fared better with results (they finished the tournament unbeaten) but their football was awful. It was a worrying trend this season when Chelsea won the Champions League. I am all for the underdog but can’t accept Chelsea being the poor relation of Bayern Munich or Barcelona. They played a bad brand of football and the English national team played like them in the Euros. Thankfully Italy put paid to theat style.

Imagine saying that that about Italy, but they were great to watch – as were Spain. Every pass was a joy for me. I can now prepare for pre-season training with what will be the Under 12’s safe in the knowledge that it is ok to pass, it’ll pay dividends in the end. Stay true..

ticket prices, more olympics…

What happens when ticket prices fall?

Jim Carroll on ticket prices for the Van Morrison gig. When the country is in such desperate financial straits should the authorities charge less for the use of their property? That way promoters would not have to take such big financial risks when putting on gigs?

The promoter is the person who sets the ticket price. The artist’s booking agent gets as much money for their client as possible.


More about the Olympic Closing Ceremony.

Priya Elan writes that: The closing ceremony proves that we’re still stuck in the 90s. I thought it would be interesting to analyse the music selected to represent Britain. My idea was to see when the original songs had been released.

So I went to the very handy, and so far very accurate, site

You can enter any artist, song or album and find out when it appeared on the Top Forty pop chart.

Emeli Sandé – “Read All About It 2011

The Beatles – “Because” 1969

Madness– “Our House”  1982

Blur – “Parklife”  1994

Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girl”s 1985

One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful” 2011

The Beatles – “A Day in the Life” 1967

Ray Davies – “Waterloo Sunset” 1967

Elbow “Open Arms” 2011,

Elbow “One Day Like This” 2008

One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful” 2011

Kate Bush – “Running Up that Hill” 1985

George Harrison – “Here Comes the Sun” 1969

Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”  1975

John Lennon – “Imagine” 1975

George Michael – “Freedom” 90 1990

George Michael  “White Light”  2012

The Who  “Pinball Wizard” 1969

David Bowie”Fashion” 1980

Annie Lennox – “Little Bird” 1993

Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here”  1975

Beatles “I Am the Walrus” (The Beatles cover) 1967

Fatboy Slim – “Right Here, Right Now”,  1999″

Fatboy Slim The Rockafeller Skank” 1998

Jessie J – “Price Tag” 2011

Tinie Tempah featuring. Jessie J – “Written in the Stars” 2010

Taio Cruz – “Dynamite” 2010

The Bee Gees – “You Should Be Dancing” 1976

Spice Girls – “Wannabe”, 1996

Spice Girls “Spice Up Your Life” 1997

Oasis – “Wonderwall” 1995

Monty Python – “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” 1979

Muse – “Survival” 2012

Queen – “Brighton Rock” 1974

Queen – “We will Rock You” 1977

Take That – “Rule the World”  2007

The Who “My Generation” 1965


Then I looked at the release dates to see what decades were represented. In other words what songs and what eras did the organisers decide should be included to represent the music of the country?

Queen, the Bee Gees, John Lennon and Pink Floyd are the only representatives of the 1970s.

Madness, Pet Shop Boys, Kate Bush and David Bowie are the four from the 1980s.


The really interesting thing is that there is only ONE song from the decade 1999 to 2009. What had happened to the industry here? Or do we only remember songs from the distant past and the very recent past?

Of course my thoughts then strayed to what would be included if someone tried to celebrate the pop music of Ireland in 36 songs!


the wildhearted outsider

behind the SCENES with Green Day – Cometbus *54

*54 In China With Green DayThe great DIY Vs Major Label debate is generally presented in black and white. There is so much talk about ‘selling out’ that we sometimes forget that some people live in both worlds simultaneously.

Niall Hope got me the latest issue of Cometbus fanzine and it is fascinating. It also gives a great insider prespective on what happens when a band moves from DIY to major label.

While Loserdom is still my favourite current zine, this issue of Cometbus (number #54) may well be my favourite issue of a zine in ages. It is a 93 page diary of Green Day’s former tour manager reunited with the band (as their paid guest) on part of their Far Eastern tour. Most people who pen a loving tribute to any band who provided such a trip, but not Aaron Cometbus.

Instead he uses the zine to detail his feelings about being in the Far East, being around a band he used to work for unpaid, and to reflect on some of the people (including Green Day’s early drummer who has never cashed to cheques sent to him by the band!.

This is a very rare piece of rock and roll writing. It lives in the great gray area where real people do real things even in the surreal surroundings of a great American band playing to stadia of young Asians. Additionally there are some interesting insights about the various audiences in the different countries.You’ss have to read it to see which country has a strong cultural taboo against putting you hand on anyone’s head!

One interesting insight is the bond of friendship shared by the three members of Green Day. Rare in this industry and after so many years. The enduring image from this mini-book is the band (along with the fanzine writer and one of their touring musicians) playing Scrabble together in the hotel at night.


the wildhearted outsider

Blackpool v West Ham – Championship Playoff 2012

Do moral victories mean anything? I’m here on the train watching the beautiful countryside intersect with electrical pylons throughout middle England and I just can’t get the ill taste out of my mouth. It is certainly not the ill taste of food as the fare today has been exemplary. Planet organic after the game was preceded by some vegan cake from bumblebee and vegan treats from vx in kings cross. The food today has helped temper the feeling after watch west ham beat my beloved Blackpool today. Yep I’m biased, I have my tangerine memorabilia on as I type this but damn did west ham play awful football. I have attended many many games throughout my 2scoreandfour years and west ham were a reminder of some seasons going to the Carlisle grounds to see my other seaside team, bray wanderers.

Goalkeeper kickouts typified it today. When England international rob green put the ball down at the edge of his six yard box every one of his team mates congregated in a 20 yard circle each side of the half way line and towards one side. It was like the space used before a game to play 3 v 3 games, except there was 20 players in that area. It reminded me of the many disorganised protests I have been to down through the years. Instead of spreading out and making it seem like we were more in number we huddled together for strength in solidarity. Now while that may be ok if you are protesting about Israeli behaviour on Palestinian people or trying to make people more aware about he horrific barbaricity of vivisection but for a football team of professionals it seems just as wrong to me as eating meat (guess that still leaves me in the minority). Anyway there was a “football” match today. West ham were pre match favourites but the thousands of tangerine clad people were like attendees at a barak Obama rally believe we said, hope was in our hearts as the little guy went to bat against his rich counterpart. It didn’t start out quite as planned for the cockney team as Blackpool created some good chances.

Matt Phillips was on the pfa team of the championship this year but it wasn’t for his finishing. He got into 2 great opportunities but after fluffing the first one his second effort went just wide. We believed, we hoped but then the hammers scored. Mark noble played a great long ballot Carlton cole after some wrestling our the wing. Cole showed his class against Ian evatt and scored before Matt hills could reposition himself correctly. West ham fans, your team has some great players. Demand that they are allowed play!!!!! And so at halftime we were 1 down. What was to happen next? I had an eye on the clock as I has to get back to euston for 7 o clock. When Blackpool came and really took the game to west ham in the second half I had all sorts Rolf permutations going round my head and most of them involved missing the ferry!!! When we got the equalised there was a sense that something could be achieved today we pushed and tried to get that winner. We kept at it and with ten minutes to go it seemed that If the game wasn’t foing to be extended by extra time then it would be because the pool got the winner. And so we sang, we held our arms aloft and we believed. And then we were shut up. We were put back into our ideological cubbyhole. Hammers won a scrap played some quick passes and suddenly the ball was in the net. Don’t ask me how but the team with the money had muscled their way into the lead. We tried to hit back, tried to our sing those fans but their bubbles were too loud. Our bubble has burst and all that was left was for me I run out of the stadium and catch my train. So I pondered on today’s fare whilst eating my treat in planet organic, football mirrors life sometimes the good guys win but NOT always. Good luck to west ham in the premiership next season, they finished third in the league so natural justice belongs to them

2012 Olympics – Remember them?

The newspapers around the world had a mixed response to the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

Here are a few of the negative ones? I picked them because you can learn more from mistakes than success.

Do you agree with the criticism?

What criticism do you have of the ceremony?

“Music meant pop music of course, but having just been stirred to the bone-marrow over the past two weeks by the dedication and graceful modesty of athletes, it was a bit galling to see an X Factor parade of stars, banging out numbers they could probably do in their sleep.”

“Instead of symbolism we got celebrity – and mostly mediocre ones at that.

If we’re hoping that the legacy of these Games will be an end to the inanity of talentless non-entities such as Brand and One Direction it seems we still have a long way to go.”

Read more:

“The second act, the much hyped “Symphony of British Music,” was a massive, exuberant celebration of British pop eccentricity, not complete or comprehensive by a long shot, and certainly lacking in star power, but chaotic and cheesy, shamelessly overwrought, overdressed and obsessive in the best British showoff style.”–london-2012-closing-ceremony-a-dystopian-pop-pageant

I wonder what people would have enjoyed more?

If we use the Spice Girls as the dividing line between nostalgia acts and ‘recent’ acts, do Taio Cruz, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, Emeli Sandé, Ed Sheeran, Kaiser Chiefs, Muse, Elbow, One Direction and Russell Brand represent the best of the past 18 years in Britain? The Spice Girls were over by 1998, they only lived on in Karaoke and brief and not very successful reunion tours. I am not including Liam Gallagher in the ‘recent’ list because he was there covering a hit from his previous band Oasis. We must remember that the song he ‘performed’ with Beady Eye was from the before the Spice Girl’s two year period as chart toppers.

What acts would you have included in the show?

What would have made it better?

the wildhearted outsider

Patti Smith Just Kids (London: Bloomsbury, 2010)

Just Kids

Patti Smith punk icon + author extradionaire The Patti Smith autobiography is written with the most incredible craft. The words are used with care and skill and convey a startling depth and intensity.

Naturally I am interested in any Irish angle and it appears early on. While describing her childhood in Pennsylvania she conjures up this image of playing with her young brother and sister:

“In the winter, we built snow forts and I led our campaign, serving as general, making maps and drawing out strategies as we attracked and retreated. We fought the wars of our Irish grandfathers, the orange and the green. We wore the orange yet knew nothing of its meaning.” pp 6-7

The book is a celebration of the life of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and the mutual muses of two artists blossoming in New York. Patti Smith is one of the key figures in punk and her appeal to the early London bands to work hard was a sublime piece of guidance.

She was one of the first of the ‘new wave’ of artists to visit Ireland. This was at a time when few international acts came to Dublin. She did a reading of her poetry in the Project Arts Centre. According to a report at the time by Ireland’s best rock critic, Bill Graham, she was heckled onstage. Apparently some sensitive soul decided to question Smith before a live audience about her personal views on reproduction.

I wonder if Smith’s “Irish grandfathers” whose wars she re-enacted as a child in the New World would have been surprised at the reception she recieved from the Irish audience in 1977.

I’m recommending this book to people who are interested in punk, women in punk, the ‘art world’ of New York and people who will be as spellbound by the story and language as I am.


The Wild Hearted Outsider

All radio should be active

It’s always bizarre to reminisce about life in the 20th Century. It is so common for us all to now take to the internet in search of any information that is required. Access is at your finger tips should you wish to find out about music, stamps, food, news, sport. Heard there is an uprising in Egypt? Take to twitter and see what the participants are saying.

As with anything that is current it is hard to imagine a time that was different. Dublin in 1992 sure was different than 2012 (and a lot different to 1972 life in the capitl City). Radio was the starting point for many people to be turned on to new music, radio and hanging around record shops. For the punks it was more a case of hanging out in Freebird or Comet Records to hear the sounds doing the rounds. There was little on the airwaves to satisfy our punk craving. Some stations were dipping their toe in, capital radio had a twentieth century promised land show which I had helped out on. I had applied to some stations looking to put a show on that championed local bands and those on independent labels. Most of my responses were thanks but no thanks.

And then came Radioactive 101fm. On July 12 1992 it broadcast its first show from a flat in Dublins North Inner City (now officially known as an apartment). It quickly became a mouthpiece for those involved in alternative culture across the city. It had an ethos of no advertising and was collectively run. DJ’s paid subs weekly which paid for the station and no-one got paid. I had the privilege of having a show on air for a good while. As I was involved with Hope promotions putting on gigs at the time the show was originally titled “The Hope Show”. I had the Saturday evening slot from 6 to 8 so would get the football results off the tv and read them out over the airwaves and chat about upcoming gigs as well as playing tracks from punk rockers like Chumbawamba, The Ex, Fugazi, NoMeansNo and plent of irish bands too. I would get bands in and talk football and music and politics. It was a real labour of love. We were trained in the art of evading raids and where the transmitter needed to be thrown in the event of being visited by the powers that decide who broadcast what. It was exciting and refreshing and it felt like we were part of something positive. Life eventually got in the way for the hosts but it ran for 4 happy years all on 101fm on the radio dial (of those who lived close enough to be able to receive it).

But now, 20 years later, we were treated to a reunion night which we dj’d at. Of course some of us where there with the same vinyl that we had played 2 decades previously but the discussion on the night featured the advent of internet radio. Where we used to talk about becoming the media we now can share our thoughts and music on line AND not have to worry about a transmitter needing to fly into the air and vanish. So all the grey haired dj’s are getting lessons in how to put together a radio show on a computer. Most of us need to become familiar with the art of mp3 but we still have the enthusiasm we exhalted in the early 90’s (and we can always ask out kids for tips now!!!!)

Radioactive 101fm led the way for many in Dublin and put together an eclectic bunch of people and hopefully these people can come together once more as we have plenty still to say abot this city and the way we live our lives.


niall hope

10 bands that I loved seeing live:

Dexy’s Midnight Runners
New Model Army
Senseless Things
Rollins Band
Jane’s Addiction
Rage Against The Machine
That Petrol Emotion
The Wild Hearted Outsider

Rebellion top 5’s pt 3

Top 5 ways to improve Rebellion

I loved the festival this year, although I’m a recent enough convert over the past 5 years this was my favourite one so far. Lots of good diverse bands and with so much to do. I love that it’s on in Blackpool as the tatty slightly decaying seaside town is such a perfect home for the punks. As with everything there is room for improvement, here’s my suggestions

Liase with Blackpool Tourist Agency – it’s not enough for the Blackpool Gazette to welcome the punks in their editorial more of the local restaurants and businesses need to recognise the value of attracting 6,000 people into theire shops over the weekend. I noticed one cafe doing a 15% discount for attendees, some more of that would be very welcome.

More VEGGIE Food – It is obvious by the empty fridge section in the nearby Holland and barrett and the sparse salad shelves in M&S that a punk rocker likes thier vegetarian food. unfortunately we’re not all vegan but there is a large contingent of us that are. In the Winter Gardens itself the catering on display isn’t great for the veggies but it is all in house. The nearby chippers (of which there are many) have greasy fare of fish and chips and battered sausages, many of us don’t want this type of grub. If some influence could be put on winter gardens to have a better selection for us animal rights championers that would be a winner

Records – It’s an independent music festival celebrating punk rock and its alternative culture. There are many stalls selling items from punk rock key rings to coasters and clothes and some records. Bands get a look in when they are on stage and set up pop up stalls along the way. How good would it be to have stalls dedicated to up and coming punk and indie labels. Labels like Boss Tuneage  who do a great job publicizing the old and the new. It’s not all about Captain Oi!!

Fanzines – It’s not just where have all the bootboys gone you know? What happened to all the zines. I know they are a bit sparse but no way have they all vanished. Are people allowed sell zines at it? How great would it be to have a stall with zines, it could lead to a resurgence in this way of documenting our scene

Books – it is great to hear the interviews John Robb does on the literary stage, fabulous insight into the history and hopefully will be recorded some day. Why is it only books from people speaking at these go on sale? Let’s push our counter culture, let rebrellion be the stage for those putting out their own books, their own records, their own zines. Let it be a voice for creativity.


niall hope