Please note the items you are about to read consist largely of scurrilous gossip, vicious back-stabbing and idle speculation. As Jon Stewart might say, its stories are not fact checked. Its informants are not journalists. And its opinions are not fully thought through.
May 29. In the spirit of his old pal Winston Churchill, Lord Waistrel has decided to meet Paul Devine's threats head on and "capsize them like the Tirpitz". His Lordship has decreed that 1) The offending picture will be published ON THIS VERY BLOG tomorrow "to show that the Gonads know no fear and will NEVER SURRENDER to blackmail threats from perishers like Devine" 2) After 24 hours the "vile image" will be removed and disposed of "to protect younger readers who might be mentally and emotionally scarred by the bally horror of it" 3) As a parting shot, Devine will be "fully charged" for his 48 hour wine and wench break at Crêches-sur-Saône, Burgundy with the debt to be recovered by our security enforcer the ferocious Martin Sporrell (aggressive goner). So mote it be.
Real news: We will be playing Polly-Fest in October (details to follow). The US tour talks are back on. And Waistrel's agents around the world are busy following up leads for more shows. Here for example is former fetish model turned rock photographer Antonia Moore (more-more) working hard on our behalf in Budapest...
Interestingly, ever since his Lordship sacked Lee Wilson as Gonads tour booker we have had a surprising number of direct gig enquiries – so was Lee claiming that we were unavailable and nicking our shows for Infa Riot? Or was he actively working with Devine as part of an anti-Nads conspiracy? As there is more chance of him buying a round for the entire Covered End than confessing, we'll chalk this up to coincidence. For now.
Talking rock snappers, Jim Jimmy James produced a limited edition punk rock photo book – to raise money for the Changing Tunes prisoners' charity. Londoner Jim approached punk and street-punk icons to shoot a series of portraits for his City & Guilds in photography.
Incredibly most of the legends he asked said yes, including Charlie Harper of the UK Subs, Stinky Turner of the Cockney Rejects, Mensi of the Angelic Upstarts and our Gal. Now Jim's unique pictures of ten singers, along with ten questions and answers, have been published in his book Gentlemen & Herberts. All of them have autographed the book. Jimmy tells us: "I wanted the images to show the true personality and emotions of the person that is usually only reserved for close friends and family. I hoped the interview with the same ten questions would show similarities but highlight some subtle but interesting differences between those photographed.
"All of the singers I photographed have at sometime had a reputation as having been a bit boisterous but they were all absolute gents who very generously gave up their time to help me with my college submission."
Jim is raffling an autographed copy of the book with the proceeds going to Changing Tunes, a not-for-profit organisation that donates instruments to prisoners to help with their rehabilitation. The other vocalists are Roi the Boi, Knox, Lee Wilson, TV Smith, liberal thinker Gary Hodges, and Glynn Barber of Chron Gen. Says Jim: "For all the stress & effort I'd love to raise a £1000 for the charity." His just giving page is here.
May 28. News of devious Devine's under-hand blackmail threat resulted in a flurry of angry phone calls and emails. Suggestions on how to deal with the crisis ranged from "kidnap him" (Fat Col) to the even more empathic "kill 'im" (Martin Sporrell, aggressive gooner) via "unleash me" (the Yeti, who thoughtfully attached a lingerie shot). Mercifully the more sensible Effete El managed to get to the notorious round-dodger first and bribed the wretch with a 48-hour free trip to Lord Waistrel's luxury wine and wenches retreat in Crêches-sur-Saône, Burgundy which at least buys us some more thinking time. This is not good people.
In other news Waistrel has SACKED Lee Wilson as our tour manager (number of gigs procured in three months – a big fat zero) and instead has called upon you, our barmy army of drunk and demented admirers, to scout out shows on our behalf. Expect developments soon.
Oh and GBH's The Punk Singles 1981-84 collection is now available as a coloured vinyl double album from Let Them Eat Vinyl. It features re-mastered versions of all of the band's early singles and EPs for Stoke-on-Trent's Clay Records.
May 27. A dark cloud festers over Nads HQ. A hand-written blackmail letter, delivered this morning, heralds "the blackest day in Gonads history", for it says 'I HAVE THE PICTURE' in large print followed by a barrage of abuse and demands. The letter has come from a man who signs himself 'The Gonads' Greatest Enemy', sparking speculation that Jello Biafra might be behind it, but no. On closer reading it has obviously been sent by someone closer to home, to wit Paul Devine, the self-styled 'cheeky chappy' also known as the Regent of Round Dodgers, the Monarch of Misers, the Tightwadosaurus Rex (That's enough nicknames – Ed)... and the only man alive who makes Lee Wilson look generous. "It's a bluff," thundered band security chief Martin Sporrell (aggressive goner). But when we texted the number of the bottom of the letter demanding proof we received a Snapchat shot of the hideous pic. Devine's note makes it clear that he will publish the offending image online on Monday unless he receives a) a legal guarantee that the Gonads will 'break up by Christmas forever' and b) £5,000 'in readies, no cheques, no IOUs and no fucking Euros'. Publication, he assures us, would 'destroy any last crumb of credibility attached to your sorry outfit'. An ashen-faced Effete El tells us "The time for sober reflection has passed, the time for blind panic is upon us."
May 26. The Garry Bushell Experience (GBX) are now accepting bookings from September 2017 on. Genuine enquiries only to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here come the judge... following a legal intervention we can reveal that Fat Col's dirty book Back Street Bunk-Ups can NOT now go ahead as planned. A High Court judge has instructed Gannon and his oppo Stalin to remove the names of any real person from the despicable collection of filthy fantasies. Finding for the plaintiff (S. Watts), Judge Constance Harm dismissed the defence plea of artistic freedom as "pitiful". We look forward to reading Col's fictional accounts of the bedroom skills of Betty Bondage, Pauletta White, Sheena Witsy Witts, Harriet De Braa and the rest in due course.
Don't forget that ticket prices for the Madness House Of Common event this August Bank Holiday rocket up on Thursday 1st June 1st so get in quick via here. The line-up includes the Skatalites. Desmond Dekker's band The Aces, De La Soul, Dennis Bovell, David Rodigan, Craig Charles and many more.
May 25. Best wishes to our old mate Ronnie Wood who is recovering after keyhole surgery to remove a lung lesion. Ronnie, 70 next Thursday, is expected to make a full recovery in time to join the Stones for their European tour which kicks off in September.
Noam Chomsky, the radical US philosopher, has intervened in the battle for the Gonads future. We're told that Noam has submitted a 30,000 word discussion paper to Lord Waistrel, entitled The Two Souls of Gonadery, which argues at some length that both traditions go back to 1977 and have been intertwined ever since. Evidence for the band's vaudevillian 'other self' include: Annie Auldiron from the Punk Pure For Row People ep, the entire pub piano side of the live double album, appearances on various variety bills and public endorsements from a number of leading blue collar comedians. Chomsky argues that the debate about the band's direction is "a false dichotomy" arising from "false consciousness and denial". That other great thinker, Fat Col, rebuts his argument however saying succinctly "No-one at Rebellion wants to hear Gal singing 'What beautiful fish are soles' just as no-one at Butlin's wants to hear him thundering and chundering through 'Gob'. My vote is for punk any day of the week but either way, the future for this great band has to be separation." Harsh maybe, but Col warns "Otherwise schiz-oi-phrenia will be our undoing." Quite.
Out now from Trojan, the Best of Dandy Livingstone and the Best of the Pioneers – both double CD sets... In other news, Queens of the Stone Age have finished their new album. Josh Homme reckons it's their best yet... and The Offspring have recorded four new ditties for their next album due out later this year – their first since 2012's Days Go By.
May 24. Here is Wattsie Watts taking part in the big Roll Out The Barrel charity event yesterday at the O2 with Rick Buckler from The Jam and Well Suspect. A platoon of rock drummers played on top of the Dome to raise money for African drought relief.
Wattsie, who stood in for our own Paul SkaNad, tells us: "When it came to my turn, I just clamped my teeth down on the stick and used my hands to work up a good rhythm" – words which by complete coincidence also feature in the Wattsie Watts chapter of Fat Col's shocking new book. We'd like to take this opportunity to point out that her involvement was motivated entirely by charity and had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that drummers are to Wattsie what old ladies are to Emmanuel Macron.
Louise Distras's new single Outside Of You is released this Friday. You can order a copy from here.
In other news, Sweden's Bash Brothers are now streaming another track from their upcoming album Life Lessons, out a week tomorrow... Tau Cross release their new album in July... Swiss ska punks Huge Puppies are streaming their new 15-track length album Cynocracy, which experts describe as "feel-good" and "horn-led" – and there we are back at Colin's book.
We have instructed our agents all over the country to hunt down That Picture (referred to yesterday). It's so notorious the Specials actually wrote a song about it... (there's a clue in there somewhere... but not a very good one).
May 23. Here it is chums, the big decision about this great band's future simply summed up in two photos. Should we go for route A) pure punk for row people – as shown by Wattsie posing with Mick Jones? Or B) the pure showbiz route as epitomised by Wattsie and... Bobby Davro on Sunday? This stark choice has split the Gonads in two. Lord Waistrel has come out firmly and clearly for option B – "vaudeville, Music Hall, variety, seaside postcards and rude reggae", while the band and our hardcore supporters in Club 77 (some from as far away as Tokyo and Phuket) have thrown their full force behind option A, arguing that there must be "no deviation" from our forty year history of brickwall punk, Oi, Ska and pathetique shenanigans. Both sides will be making their case in a series of closed meetings over the next few weeks. Expert opinion will be sought from such deep thinkers as Terence Hayes, PM, Professor Roger Scruton and Roy "Chubby" Brown, whose views will be listened to and examined at length. And after all that debate and all that anguish, Lord Waistrel will ignore everyone else and make his mind up like the retarded autocrat he is before flying back to Barbados for the summer months. The watching world can only sit and wait.
PS. Advance warning: we have been tipped off that another photo exists so terrifying that it could well swing the argument in favour of option A. Frankly this bloodcuddling picture sounds like an urban myth but if it materialises we will display it. That is our solemn pledge to you, our loyal readers.
May 22. A rather aggressive Steve Whale grilled Gal and Shona about our next seven inch release yesterday. Drunk perhaps from John Terry's testimonial, Whaley hunted the duo down in Dartford and insisted on knowing whether there will be "a song about Wattsie" on the e.p. which is recorded next month. The interrogation was said by shocked eye-witnesses to be "like something out of TV's Line Of Duty". It was almost as if the all-knowing Whale had heard rumours about a project so secret that even we haven't mentioned it. For we can now reveal there were advanced plans to record a new number called 'Wish I Could Be Like Wattsie Watts' to celebrate Gal's hitherto unmentioned transgender alter-ego Wanda Watts. The song is written, and modern art charlatan Damien Hirst had been brought in to direct the big budget promo video. Wattsie had even "applied the nail varnish" but the whole demented enterprise was derailed when Gal refused to shave off his beard. Effete El (the fighting poove) tells us "Hirst was furious and walked out. Martin Sporrell (aggressive gooner) was sounding out Vic and Bob about taking over as directors but Waistrel pulled the plugs. That's another story though." Indeed it is. Informed insiders tell us that Waistrel hated the whole Wanda Watts project which he deemed "unmanly" and instead wants to press ahead with an ep featuring guest appearances from his old friends Joe Pasquale, Bobby Davro, Brian Conley and Cockney controversialist Jim Davidson – which explains why Gal, Shona and Leah McCaffrey have been seen in talks with the 90s TV entertainers over the last ten days; in Davro's case as recently as yesterday. But Sporrell has launched a bitter, foul-mouthed attack on the idea calling it "the ultimate fuckin' sell-out" and "the death of the Gonads". El tells us "All the band are against it. It's only Waistrel who wants to do it, but he is the boss. We've asked Terence Hayes, PM, to have a quiet word in the hope that wiser heads will prevail." So mote it be.
The oddest thing about Steve Whale's lengthy interrogation is that we have already recorded and released a song about la belle Wattsie – 'Mistress Material' on the Glorious Bastards album. There has been some talk of re-recording it with an Elvis impersonator on vocals but we're assured that it won't happen this year.
May 20. Record Noos: Antiseen's 1988 debut album Honour Among Thieves is available again from TKO on coloured vinyl. LP includes 24" x 20" poster... The four track split single Heritage from Stars And Stripes & Lion's Law is out now featuring one new song and one cover of each others' songs apiece. The seven incher is on vinyl of colour and includes a digital download (Longshot)... and things are looking good on the East End Badoes album front, set to be recorded next month, after El Tel hit a creative writing streak. Gems under the PM's belt include the inspirational 'Blue Collar Man'.
May 19. Don't forget Black N' Blue Bowl is happening in New York this Sunday (21st May) with Gorilla Biscuits, Rest In Pieces, Terror, Token Entry, Donkey Dom, Maximum Penalty and more. Tickets available online at PitchforkNY.com, or WebsterHall.com, or in person at NYHC Tattoos and Generation Records in NYC, Lotus Tattoos in Sayville, NY, or Two Kings Barber Shop in Bluepoint, NY.
May 18 STOP PRESS. RIP Chris Cornell. Say hello to heaven for us.
May 18. The DEAD KENNEDYS have been confirmed for this year's Glastonbury. They'll be part of the Truth Stage line-up, which also includes NAPALM DEATH. The Truth sits right next to the Earache Express – the fest's first ever stage dedicated to metal, rock and punk. Curated by Earache Records, the London tube themed stage will also feature EXTREME NOISE TERROR, Singapore's WORMROT, the loud and proud DONKEY DOM and some bloke called Steve Ignorant. More acts tba. The Earache Express runs from 9pm-6am, Thursday 22nd June to Sunday 25th June.
Terence Hayes, PM, is yet again awarded hero of Oi status for his sterling work sorting an unfortunate "plumbing problem" at Prankster HQ last night. The Paul Newman of street punk was last seen with his arm stuck deep in an ugly wet area. Which reminds us, has anyone heard from the Yeti lately?
MODS will return to Margate for the annual Whitsun weekender. Great British Music Culture have put together a weekend programme over three evenings and two days. Friday night's headliner is JAMES HUNTER, Saturday's headliners are the PRETTY THINGS. All events are at OLBY's music room which has two DJ rooms as well as a main stage.
We're pleased to announce that Fried Egg are back with a new four-track e.p. Our favourite breakfast-themed hardcore band release 'Back & Forth' via Beach Impediment Records. Kevin Bacon is believed to be a big fan.
May 17. Oh no. Fat Col has done some dreadful things in his time, but nothing prepared us for his latest misdemeanour – he's only written a book detailing his most vivid fantasies. The slim volume, entitled Blue Collar Bunk-ups, is described as "a cross between Confessions of a Window Cleaner and a toilet wall in Rampton". Effete El (the fighting poove) has seen the grotty manuscript and tells us that it features a number of "extreme" imagined sexual encounters with well-known Oi, punk and Ska personalities including Beki Bondage, Pauline Black and, inevitably long-suffering Wattsie. We only pray that Diana Schuler is safe. We did ask leading legal authority The Beast if this filth can be stopped but he informs us that because the chapters are allegedly "transcribed from dreams" publication cannot be prevented on legal grounds. All Col needs is a publisher... gulp, no wonder he's been buying Stalin pints...
May 16. We're experiencing an unexpected backlash from loyal Gonads followers who are clamouring to see the big GBX debut show in July. Sadly this performance is just for members of the Jolly Pranksters, but we shall have a word with the organiser and see if we can run a plus-one ticket give-away for one lucky 'non-believer' unversed in the mysteries and privileges of Prankster lore. Gal Gonad's PA, Fit Bird, reveals that Gal is also planning a proper public unveiling for the full GBX show in London this Autumn. Will it actually happen though? Yes, she says, but there is just one small proviso. "'E needs to lose two stone first, dun 'e," she tells us. "It ain't impossible. All 'e'd 'ave to do is swerve beer, pies, chips and curries for six weeks or so." So that's a no then...
Oh no! It looks like even fictional TV soap characters are siding with Fat Col in his battle against Wattsie... But as Phil asks why is she Shona One-Inch? Shouldn't that be Col's nickname? Gail has been a Platt, a Tilsley, a McIntyre, a Potter, a Hillman and a Rodwell. But Gail Gannon? Yikes. What an unbearable pairing that would be. She is notorious for her poor taste in husbands, though, so it would make sense. You know why she's called Gail, don't you? Coz it looks like the wind blew her boat inside out.
We're shamelessly throwing our weight behind new book Diabolical Liberty by G. Llewellyn Barker largely because we want to write the soundtrack for the movie version which will inevitably follow. It's a comic fantasy which admittedly isn't the kind of novel we'd normally be in to. But it is the funniest book we've read for donkey's years and everyone whose opinions we respect agrees. Here are the critics' verdicts. Top author John King: 'Multi-layered, imaginative and very funny. A genre-busting masterpiece.' Punk legend Bev Elliott: 'Finally a comedy fantasy that resonates with us alternative fuckers... the sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll Discworld"
Psychobilly novelist Craig Brackenridge: 'It's a book that grips like the black leather-clad fist of a 1970s' pulp fiction anti-hero then shoves you into a long dark tunnel of terror. Mixed in with all this is a thick vein of black humour that bizarrely blends modern comedy with influences as diverse as Round The Horne and Spike Milligan's Q... '
Oi poet Garry Johnson: "The book JK Rowling wish she'd thought of ... " Steampunk sensation Colin Edmonds: 'A crazy train ride tearing along at a pace that would impress Usain Bolt on a Harley.' Millwall Mod Paul Hallam: 'Like Monty Python meets The Fugitive on acid'.
Street Sounds: 'A brilliantly funny, fast-moving romp.' Batttttty (webmistress to the stars): 'Fits perfectly under the wonky leg of my patio table'. Even big shot literary agent Jonathan Lloyd had this to say: 'A remarkable novel full of wonderful one liners.' You can buy a copy from here.
Even though we have cleared up the mystery of exactly why pages 41 and 42 are missing from the current issue of Street Sounds, internet rumours persist. One site claims that the deleted pages contained Popadom Max's in-depth guide to the gangs of South London – clearly wrong, that would take up three whole issues. While Richie Rocker asks "So there's no truth in the rumour that the pulled pages of Street Sounds actually contained the combination to Lee Wilson's wallet, and Lee was granted an injunction?" No, we say, adding this could run and run. "Just like Lee when it's his round," Richie replies.
May 15. Gal's birthday weekender was a maelstrom of madness that at various times involved popular entertainer Brian Conley, pie mash & stewed eels at Goddards in Greenwich, Terence Hayes, PM, a record-breaking Quasar score, real pubs, micropubs, a mental Northern bird called Faye, a slap-up Ruby, several hours of top quality Ska, a dubious casino, stand-up comedy, copious pork scratchings and "a whole lotta Rosie" (whatever that means). Just a typical Gonads weekend then...
Infa Riot have finished recording their new album at Pat Collier's studio... now there's just the small question of paying the bill... oh, what's that? Lee Wilson has mislaid his wallet? Well we never saw that coming.
The Interrupters' blinding second album Say It Out Loud is out now on coloured vinyl from Hellcat, produced by the living leg-end that is Tim Armstrong... In other news, US Ska band Spring Heeled Jack have released brand new album Sound Salvation – their first studio album since 1999's Songs from Suburbia. It's only digital at the mo, but vinyl & CD will surely follow... Suicidal Tendencies' European tour currently includes just one British date – the Download fest on June 9th... Seattle Ska band It Gets Worse release their debut album in July... Canadian Oi band Out Of Order tour Blighty for a week from May 27th.
Fans of the Anti-Nowhere League have launched a petition to keep the band at Rebellion following a misguided attempt to ban them for alleged 'homophobia'. This stems from the League song 'The Day The World Turned Gay' – written after George Micheal's arrest for "a lewd act" (aka Zip Me Up Before You Go Go) in a park in Beverly Hills in 1998. Animal talks about this at length in his in-depth interview with Chelsea Dom in the latest Street Sounds, saying: "I thought it was funny, one of the biggest rock stars in the world soliciting in a toilet with a policeman. Obviously other people don't find it funny. But okay there are a few lyrics there which are a bit iffy, but that was years ago and each song should be kept in the period when they were written, you can't drag my lyrics from 1980 (or whenever) and start hitting me with them, because I live a different life now and we're all different. I don't do that song now because I never really liked it that much anyway."
In a letter to Rebellion, Animal states: 'I am not homophobic, my little brother is gay, I love him and his partner dearly... No one in the band is homophobic, anyone that knows any of the members personally will testify to this. Yes the lyrical content of the aforementioned is pretty mean, but the League take the piss out of everyone equally. We have a song called 'I Hate People' and last time I checked there was people at are last show. So I implore all League fans to sign this so we can continue to play large festivals like Rebellion. Long live punk, long live the League.' The petition can be found here.
Some however take a more militant line. Fat Col, for it is he, condemns the League for "kowtowing to political correctness". He says "Whatever happened to free speech? Fuck the thought police. Bands should stop apologizing to these unrepresentative, po-faced nuisances. You can't say this, you can't say that... Seriously, fuck off." Col claims to have written a song called 'The Day The League Turned Gay' in response. We condemn him without reservation.
May 13. Happy bOifday, Gal! There may be a report of this weekend's festivities soon. Then again, there may not...
May 12. Our guitar star pal Micky Beaufoy was spotted outside a rehearsal studio in Upminster on Wednesday night. He was wearing a Cock Sparrer Harrington jacket with a Cock Sparrer metal badge, a Cock Sparrer t shirt and a Cock Sparrer belt buckle. He'd left his Cock Sparrer baseball hat in the car. We were telling this story when Dagenham Dawn asked us which band Mick was in and we just couldn't bloody remember...
By the way you must know Dagenham Dawn. Big girl, brunette, long arms, boxer's nose, a bit hairy. She was the original Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Chelsea Dom (aka Dom the Bod) contacts us about the latest Street Sounds. "Did you realise there is no page 41 or 42 in this issue?" he asks. "It goes from page 40 to 43." Infuriated, Dom continues: "Has Paul 'Stalin' Hallam dropped another clanger?" Absolutely not! The very idea! We can exclusively reveal that there was a page 41 and a 42 right up until the morning that the issue went to press, when a High Court gagging order arrived preventing that particular spread from being published. There is much online speculation about what those pages contained. Toes claims it was a picture of Wattsie without her wig. Others say it was the details of Leonard Cohen's "secret chord", or a vintage photo-spread of risqué dressing room pictures of Kiria captured by Fat Col's battery of hidden cameras. None of these suggestions are true, however because a) Wattsie doesn't wear a wig b) the secret chord is Bb dom 7 and c) Col is too scared of Kiria to try it on. In reality the spread, devoted to the Jolly Pranksters, inadvertently gave away some of the brethren's most fiercely guarded and explosive secrets. When the PM saw an early page proof, strings were pulled in very high places and yadda yadda yadda, the mag is two pages short... Great edition by the way, especially that Gonads in America feature!
Pete Way's autobiography is out today! Hurrah! No word on the album... In other news, Chicago punks the Mizzerables have released their new ep 'No Sleeves' via bandcamp... and Flogging Molly have showcased new track 'Welcome to Adamstown' online as a taster for their forthcoming album Life Is Good out on 2nd June.
May 11. Both John King of the People's Party of Great Britain (PPGB) and the nefarious English Liberation Front (ELF) have hit back at the League of Labour Skins (LLS) who criticised both organisations for failing to launch in time for next month's general election. Responding to news of the LLS condemnation, PPGB founder and lifetime leader John King simply said: "Who?" An aide tells us: "None of those present had a clue who the LLS were, although a passing professor overheard and tried to explain." Unfortunately at this point, The Leader's attention was drawn to the bar of The Clarence public house where a pint was being poured "with John's name on it", according to king-size security bod two-ton Tony Madras from West Drayton. But a party insider whispers: "It is worth remembering that The Leader has always said the PPGB will enter the political arena when he speaks about it outside of a session." However, according to Newsnight sources, John was overheard discussing policy after a single gulp, describing the current election as the warm-up for 'the main event'... A telephoned statement from the tight-lipped ELF said merely 'LLS are hopeless reformists. There is no parliamentary road to English liberation. The armed struggle will come.' To order, brethren.
PS. Reports of a midnight disturbance outside a chip shop near The Clarence, when three face-painted pro-EU numpties were allegedly assaulted, have been denied by well-oiled man mountain Steve 'Psycho' King (no relation) and his pal Vince.
In actual news, Social Distortion yesterday announced a string of US tour dates beginning in July and ending in September. It's been six long years since their last album, Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes... And here are Blondie performing 'Long Time' live on Tuesday night's Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Debs co-wrote the new song with Blood Orange's Dev Hynes. It's orff their latest album, Pollinator.
PRANKSTER Alert! Advance notice: this year's Summer Solstice takes place on 21st June, but the gathering will begin in That Wiltshire Place on the 18th with a special day of entertainment (including Tyrolean wrestling, Hebridean goat bothering and a display team from the Chatham charm school; Austrian trio Zillertaler Haderlumpen have yet to confirm). See your Tyler for details.
May 10. The good news: GBX will play their first ever gig on 7th July (7-7-17). The bad news? The show in That Essex Place has been organised by the Pranksters – specifically by members of The Ancient & Comedic Order of the Pig's Bladder, Rainham Lodge – and entry is by invitation only.
Behind The Beat, a photographic exhibition celebrating the last 50 years of music and youth cult fashion, is now open at Spectrum in Brighton. It 'celebrates the stories of Teds, Punks, Mods, Skins, Rudeboys, B Boys & Girls, Rave and Grime', through the pictures of Dean Chalkley, Elaine Constantine, Derek Ridgers, Ken Russell, Paul 'Stalin' Hallam, Gavin Watson, Olivia Rose, Stuart Griffiths and Ali Tollervey. Behind The Beat is curated by Miniclick and Ali Tollervey and will be open every weekend throughout May. This Saturday there's a free day of talks including most of the above.
Bored with old bands with bald heads, bunions and beer-guts? Check out the brilliantly eccentric Crazy & The Brains from New Jersey, Brighton's Dirt Royal whose new single 'Waiting For The Video' is out this week, and Posers from Philly.
Should Fat Col appear on Question Time? He's in our bad books, but it seems Colin has been sounded out by a rather posh BBC1 researcher who considers him to be "a prominent blogger" and a "radical voice". This is a worrying development given Col is roughly as PC as Marine Le Pen taking Trump up trap two with a strap-on. But should he appear? Too bloody right! He'd keep satirists in business for months.
Following an intervention by senior band members, Chelsea Dom shall now be known as Benefit of the Doubt Dom or Bod Dom. So mote it be.
May 9. Just a reminder, the new Street Sounds is out and we've got two pages in it. The mag also packs in Red Alert, the League, Cock Sparrer, Insane Society, Slaughter & The Dogs, the Hangmen, Secret Affair, the London International Ska Festival, Jenny Woo, Gal's Micky Fitz obit, Tear Up (controversially), more original skinhead memories, the hottest casual clothes brands around today and Garry Johnson's interview with potty-mouthed poet Sophie Cameron, who sounds like our kind of rude girl. A proper bargain for £2.50. Steal a copy today.
Big love to our dear friend Stief A'Billy, currently recovering from a vicious attack in the North East of England. Stief writes: 'I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has sent me get well messages over the past three weeks since some homophobic fucktard cracked a bottle over my head fracturing my skull. Well guess what fucktard, you may break my skin but you can't kill my soul.' You tell 'em, mate. Stief is out of intensive care and on the road to full recovery. We all wish him well... although of course that callous mug Fat Col has to have a dig. "Give Stief my best," he chortles. "It must make a change for him to be attacked for his sexuality rather than his stage performance." Oaf.
A furious Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner) tells us that Col is now "one fuckin' wrong move away" from being added to the official Enemies of the Gonads list, which entails many bad things including a gig ban, match day "taxing" (where the Hawkins & Joseph logo is ripped from his shirt, Branded style), "a permanent mark of shame on capture", and even more disturbing life-long exclusion from Raymond's pie and mash emporium.
May 8. Controversy is dogging our pal Chelsea Dom following his rave review for the new Cock Sparrer album in Street Sounds. Dom (now officially known as "No Show Dom" and "The Blow-Out Kid") awarded Forever an incredible six stars out of five in the latest issue, but his generous write-up has provoked an angry backlash led by The Bitch. This fearsome Essex-based character labels the review "ludicrous" claiming the long-awaited album is "all fillers, no thrillers... they all sound the same and the musical content is weak... basically it's a pile of shit". He or she goes on "Asking Sparrer groupie Dom to give this a fair-minded review is like expecting a thirteen year-old One Direction fan to be impartial about Harry Styles. It's a farce that does Street Sounds no credit." Gal disagrees with both of them, however, telling us: "The Bitch is way out of line. There are at least three pukka classics on this album – 'One By One', 'Every Step Of The Way' and from memory 'Contender'. Many of the other tracks sound solid and are definite growers. I think it only loses its way towards the end. I would certainly have given it a four star review, maybe four and a half. If I had any criticism it is that some of the tracks don't sound like Sparrer. There's a Jammy one, and one with an Irish flavour that sounds like they were written for a market rather than from the heart. But largely it's terrific."
May 7. We're in a bit of a shallow period for gigs, chums. We've held off bookings for the later part of the year because of the proposed US tour that may now not materialise, and although we've had recent enquiries from promoters in Germany, Canada and the Czech Republic, Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner) tells us there is currently nothing 100% confirmed. This has prompted some band members to ask whether Sporrell's own delicate style of negotiating (imagine Anthony Joshua with a cob on) may be contributing to this dry period. The trouble is, we're all too scared of him to mention it... PS. We are available for gigs in the UK too!
Fat Col's treachery has plunged new depths. After trying to oust Wattsie, he's now out to replace the entire band! A little bird (Tina from Swanley) tells us that Col has been making secret approaches to our old tribute band The Go-Mads with a view to them reforming and "out-Gonading the Gonads". In Col's seditious vision, Wattsie would be replaced by Carrie formerly of Buster Shuffle and Gal would be replaced by... a fat plum called Gannon. Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner) wants to "do" him, but Effete El advises caution. Not only is Col an active member of the Pranksters, he is also the leading light of Club 77 and a close confident of Lord Waistrel. "Slowly slowly catchee monkey," says El. We all nod in agreement but no-one has the slightest idea what he's on about.
May 6. The new Louise Distras single 'Outside of You' is a belter and it's released on 26th May via Street Revolution Records.
In other news, the Gonads have moved quickly to squash rumours, spread by Fat Col and his cronies, that Wattsie's role in the band is at risk. Ashen-faced spokesman Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner) told Sky News: "Wattsie Watts is an integral part of today's modern thrusting Gonads. If Col persists in peddling porkies he will find himself sleeping with the fishes" (believed to be a reference to Jeanette Gannon's cousins Shirley and Suzie). So mote it be.
May 5. As many as five new songs may be recorded when we hit the studio next month, and at least two of them will be released later this summer. More details when we have them.
In other news: the Old Firm Casuals have recorded a brand new e.p... Krimewatch have released 'Machismo' b/w 'New York Nightmare' on a flexi disc (Boss Tuneage)... the new Burnt Tapes single 'Oh, Marie' is out on 2nd June (and just up on YouTube)... New York's Remnants are streaming their album True Places Never Are... and One-Armed Joey's new ep 'The Best We Know' is released a week today...
May 4. Not everyone got home easily from Tuesday's secret squirrel rehearsal session in Guildford. On his way back to the south coast, the legend that is Clyde Ward was forced to take a diversion to reach the A3. The tortuous route took the great man down a narrow country lane that had recently been blocked with discarded rubble and a couple of piss-soaked mattresses. As he got out of his car to move the fly-tipped debris, an Old Bill motor pulled up behind him with its blue light flashing. "Are you responsible for this?" asked PC Plod. Clyde indicated his jam-jar parked on a verge. Not only was it immaculately clean, it was also far too small to have transported the small mountain of waste. "Yes but are you responsible for this?" Plod asked again. Clyde couldn't help himself. "You're never going to make detective, are you son?" he replied. The price of this acid quip? A further hour's delay while the wooden top checked his vehicle, tax, registration etc. What a drag. Mind you, if we get a song out of it...
Out now on vinyl: the Transplants' second album, Haunted Cities... the Bad Brains' album Build A Nation has been re-released on coloured vinyl (Megaforce)... and the Descendents' have brought out a 20th anniversary edition of Everything Sucks via Epitaph, the album comes with two unreleased bonus tracks on a 7inch and a download card.
Fat Col has formerly declared that he has fallen out of love with Wattsie Watts. Branding the enchanting chanteuse "cruel" and "a heart-breaker", Colin tells us "she has destroyed my dreams" adding "Wattsie Watts broke my heart in 17 places, including Bexleyheath Broadway". Col is now looking to woo another female singer whose identity we are keeping under wraps for the sake of the poor woman's sanity. Wattsie's less evil twin Shona is said to be "delighted" by the news. But Fat Col was Wattsie's biggest supporter. Without his backing, can she survive the coming band purge predicted by Popadom Max (AKA Maxtradamus)?
May 3 STOP PRESS. R.I.P. Lionel "Saxa" Martin, saxophonist with The Beat who died overnight in his sleep. He was 87.
On May 23rd, from 1 pm to 3 pm, around 50 drummers will be climbing the O2 in Greenwich, SE London to raise money for Third World drought relief. Buddy Ascott of Mod band the Chords is behind the charity appeal. The Jam's Rick Buckler and Steve White from The Style Council are confirmed to climb. Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Al Murray, The Pub Landlord, are also expected. They've both signed a bass drum skin to be auctioned for the appeal, along with Mick Avory of The Kinks, Dave Ruffy of The Ruts and John Coghlan of Status Quo. It's all on behalf of the Roll Out The Barrel Trust charity – a registered charity founded six years ago to address the problems of water distribution in the developing world. If you're a drummer and want to get involved drop us a line.
May 3. Hello people! Hello from the backstreets of beautiful downtown Charlton Village where the gutters over-flow with stale wine, leaking condoms, vomit, urine and blood. Yes, it's God's own country and we love it! You'll be pleased to know that the Gonads are very much back in business, folks. We had a pukka rehearsal in leafy Guildford last night and can confirm that we will be in the studio next month working on a killer single. For more information, you'll have to watch the blog.
Why Guildford you ask? Well our head of security Martin Sporrell (aggressive Gooner) was working on a tip-off – from our newly appointed Minister of Information, Popadom Max – that our Bromley rehearsal rooms have been bugged by a rival band desperate to steal our new songs. "This week Guildford, next month Dartford, Maidenhead or Pratts Bottom," Martin said, adding: "They will never out-smart us." Martin Sporrell is a paranoid schizophrenic with psychopathic tendencies.
Lord Waistrel returned to London yesterday and immediately flung himself into the General Election battle. In a speech made to fellow reactionaries in the House of Lords' Cholmondeley Room, his Lordship tore into "the detestable Eurocrat" Jean-Claude Juncker and dismissed EU demands that Britain hands over £100billion in a Brexit 'divorce settlement' as "balderdash and piffle". He went on: "I'll tell you what we should do with that £100billion. We should invest it in our armed forces, our army, navy and the RAF, and suggest that if Juncker and Merkel have a problem with that they should bally well have a word with a couple of Trident missiles." To mounting cheers, Waistrel dismissed Theresa May as "a snivelling pinko with the backbone of a jelly-fish" before insisting: "Britain must not give these useless civil servants a penny piece. If anything they owe us billions for conning us into their fifth-rate cesspit of an empire in the first place. And if they give us any grief we'll simply take Normandy and Minorca back." His Lordship went on to demand the death of capitalism and the immediate restoration of feudalism to rapturous applause. Unfortunately it all went downhill after that. Our spy at the bar whispers: "Waistrel has necked seven pints of champagne top and a bottle of port by this stage and became strangely distracted. He went off on a tangent saying that he would give his vote to any politician who campaigned for the exoneration of Admiral Byng." John Byng was executed on the quarterdeck of his ship 260 years ago to "the perpetual disgrace of public justice", according to Waistrel who was led away by stewards and was last seen spinning on his head in a Soho lap-dancing establishment. It's what Donald Trump would have wanted.