Alastair ‘Gords’ Gordon likes all things DiY punk rock and always knew he was out of step with the world. He’s been involved in the punk scene for longer than he’d like to remember. He became a ‘punkademic’ via an early, total rejection of formal schooling and its traditional teaching methods. He completed a doctorate on Authenticity and DiY punk under the supervision of Professor Mike Pickering (Loughborough University). Gords informs his academic research through playing in bands and remains active in the UK and international DiY punk scenes. He currently vents anger at the world singing, touring and recording with the band Geriatric Unit and playing bass in Endless Grinning Skulls. He is currently a senior lecturer in Media and Communication and De Montfort University, Leicester. He also co runs the Punk Scholar Network with Mike Dines, Pete Dale, Russ Bestley & Matt Worley. Gords fucking hates Tories of all political colours.
After seeing the Rezillos play in his Scottish home town in the summer of 77, Alistair Livingston cut his hair and shaved off his beard. In 79 he started work in a condom factory in London and soon discovered Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine and anarchist inspired punk. In 84/5 he managed the Mob’s All the Madmen record company. He married Pinki a punk who became a Greenham woman. After Pinki died he moved back to Scotland in 1997. In 2005 he started Green Galloway blog which was meant to be about windmills and psychedelic dreams but is now mainly about punk as a counterculture.
Alistair’s contribution to Tales from the Punk side was written for a conference on ‘Contemporary Anarchism in Theory and Practice’. Unlike most anarcho-punks, Alistair had become a self-confessed anarchist before punk discovered anarchy in 1976. Most accounts of anarcho-punk focus on its emergence as a musical style out of punk. But the intersection with punk also influenced anarchism as a culture of resistance. Written for an anarchist audience, Alistair’s account of anarcho-punk therefore focuses on the politics not the music and continues the story on through opposition to the Poll Tax in 1990 to the present and his involvement with the Radical Independence Campaign in Scotland.
Amanda Bigler received her BA in English Literature with a Creative Writing emphasis from the University of Kansas in the United States. In 2010 she was awarded the University of Kansas’ Creative Writing award for her short work, “Tightrope.” She then completed her MA in Literature with a negotiated pathway from Loughborough University in 2013. Currently, she is a postgraduate research student at Loughborough University. Amanda’s research focuses on contemporary literature, humanist American and British literature, and technology’s influence on current literature in a post-postmodern era. Amongst her publications are: “Unorganis(z)ed Chaos” (You Is for University), “On the River’s Edge” (The StoryGraph, thestorygraph.com), “Patriots, Lobsters, and Nudity: Exploring Situational Irony in Contemporary American Humorist Literature” (New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing), and “Cloven” (Goldsmiths Literature Seminar (GLITS) e-journal of criticism).
Francis Stewart grew up in Northern Ireland and discovered punk in her early teens (early 90s) through the late, great John Peel, the not late but equally great Terri Hooley and the fantastic pirate radio stations that came up Belfast loch. Despite finding punk the perfect soundtrack to the environment she left in the late 90s to attend university and “be a grown up”. That didn’t work out so well so instead she turned her love of punk into a doctoral thesis and now pretends to be a grown up by playing punk rock and talking about it (vaguely intelligently on a good day) at Stirling University while contributing to numerous zines on and offline.
The Outcasts (named after one of the most important but overshadowed Northern Irish punk bands of The Troubles) is a reflection of an early introduction to punk at a time when nothing made sense, everything was kicking off and blowing up and yet the angry outcasts were able to use their music to create their own community. It also reflects on punk’s propensity to look back at itself through rose-tinted glasses (or maybe that should be beer googles) and be highly selective with its back story.
Greg Bull heard the Sex Pistols as a 12 year old and liked the noise they made. He liked their energy. He liked their attitude. And he liked their dress-sense and their rejection of authority. He didn’t really know or understand this at the time as he just felt these things without understanding them. But he didn’t become a punk then.
Later in the early 1980s Greg met up with like-minded individuals who turned him on to “Black and White” bands such as Crass, and he met and went to see Antisect quite a few times as well. He listened to a wide-range of music though and avoided proper “work” until the mid 1990s. He is writing things down now from his memory of those times. And working on co-editing a few books on punk whilst his own work Perdam Babylonis Nomen is going to press Summer 2014.
“Always in search for the ideal world, but there is no such…” the psychologist told Isabel one day and it all made sense. It was not acceptance but the perfect explanation of her doings. It all started with Dracula at age 12 giving way to Goth Music in high-school, one of the many spawns of Punk yet the eeriest, walking every Saturday for 4 years to the Chopo Rock Street Market until becoming a singer herself of a very garage punk band while teaching English at a public high-school ever trying to change the minds. Woman, Goth, contester, ever questioning everything and everyone, herself included, Isabel became a Cybernetician and a Museologist, both professions paradoxically have complemented themselves in the pursue of the dream, to let people know that music can actually change the world, and for that she makes use of memory. Working on an oral history of Riot Grrrls in México, a digital library on Mexican and South American Rock, and as researcher on Street Art. Might not change the world but might make good noise to reach the ideal.
Lucy Robinson is Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Sussex. Her first monograph ‘Gay Men and the Left in Post-war Britain: How the personal got political’ was published by MUP in 2007. Since then she has published on Falklands veterans’ experiences of trauma, politics and pop music, and the history of radical teaching in universities. As well as academic publications, Lucy regularly appears in the media and collaborates with various popular cultural practitioners from songwriters, to documentary makers, and burlesque dancers. She jointly coordinates two projects; The Subcultures Network and the open access digital resource ‘Observing the 80s’. She is now writing a book on meanings of time, politics and popular culture in the 1980s. She loves Elvis.
Martin Cooper Martin Cooper is also known as Martin Fish, foul-mouthed fat man of the world’s only scatological punk rock/music hall crossover act, The Fish Brothers. After scratching around squats and Second World War bunkers in the “pathetically named” Salad From Atlantis, supporting fine bands such as the Astronauts, Blyth Power and Citizen Fish (no relation), the soon-to-be fat one decided to ditch the cod politics and write the songs that make the young girls sick. The Fish Brothers are currently working on a new album, provisionally entitled Go Fourth And Multiply, a sure-fire blockbuster that will be fit to follow the beautifully manicured Sgt Shitter’s Lonely Club Foot Band; Follow Thru; Number Two; and The Difficult Turd Album (spot the theme running through it?). El Fat Custard also had a short story published in Gobbing, Pogoing and Gratuitous Bad Language!: An Anthology of Punk Short Stories (Spare Change Books) and is co-author of the cult (sic) novel Seaton Point, http://www.thefishbrothers.com and Faceache.
Rebecca Binns is about to start a PHD at UAL on Gee Vaucher’s graphics for various outlets including Crass. She also writes for Source photography magazine and contributes articles on art, architecture, squatting and homelessness on a freelance basis to several other publications. In the 80s, Rebecca attempted to resuscitate 70s punk via the usual teenage routes of locking herself in her bedroom with a stack of vinyl and forming a band. This led to her discovery of an emerging scene full of similarly disgruntled individuals, intent on creating something alternative. Rebecca found herself pushed into living out her punkish rebellion when she ended up homeless at the age of seventeen. This contribution recounts Rebecca’s experiences living within a subterranean world of punk-squatters in London in the late 80s. To try to recapture the excitement and raw energy, her memories, refracted through age, experience and the formalised language of academia are interspersed with diary entries, photographs, letters and gig tickets from the time. Central to Rebecca’s interest is an exploration of whether punk identity was integral to people’s decision to squat, or something that was adopted through squatting. Her other focus is on what motivated people to squat, and how this experience provided invaluable freedom alongside new traps. She can be contacted via her linkedin account at: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=82338094&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
Robert Dellar is author of Splitting in Two: Mad Pride and Punk Rock Oblivion (Unkant, 2014), editor of the short story collection Gobbing, Pogoing & Gratuitous Bad Language (1996), co-editor of the anthology Mad Pride: A Celebration of Mad Culture (2000) and co-author of the novel Seaton Point (1998). Starting with the punk fanzine Breach of the Peace, he has published underground magazines prolifically since 1980, most recently Southwark Mental Health News. He works in the mental health field and lives in South London. He can be contacted C/O SAMH, Cambridge House, 1 Addington Square, London SE5 0HF.
Sarah Attfield is originally from London, but now lives in Australia where she works as an academic. Her work focuses on popular culture and social class and she is interested in the ways in which working class people are represented in pop culture and how working class people produce pop culture. This is due to her own working class background. She also writes and publishes poetry (her creative work deals with working class experience). She still listens to her hardcore punk records when no one else is home.
Ted Curtis had a somewhat sheltered working class childhood, but in 1983 he saw Crass and ran away with the anarchist punk circus. He thought they meant every word they said. He recently finished a radio play on the jam, the miners strike and the IRA, and is working on a collection of short stories about Swindon in the 1980s. Random samples of new work can be found at http://antsy-pantsy.blogspot.com/ During the nineties he had some success in the small press, but decided to concentrate on his drinking instead. He was very good at it too. Now he’s back.