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Priddy Update

I recently received an email update from Paul Fraser concerning the story that he shared about the Green ‘n’ White Tipi. The email is below….

I am involved with others on the story of the other Tipi i was with during 1976 / 77. .the Yellow one pictured at the top of my story at Elan Valley . .this was a 30 foot Tipi made as a communal lodge by the people who went on to found Tipi Valley at Talley in mid Wales . .for reasons we don’t know the financiers and builders of this massive Tipi handed control of it over to a guy called Belfast Brian and his motley crew in early summer 76 , from which point he ran it as a free food kitchen which toured the festivals for the next 3 years , before coming to some vague and untimely end following a raid on a post office on the Gower in south Wales . . . a lady in Tiverton is collecting all the stories and memories of this Tipi coming in from Australia, Ireland and Spain as well as closer to home . . .when it’s done , which may take some time , i’ll send you a link . .i think you might enjoy it .

In the meantime, the guy who almost single handedly started the interest in Tipi living in Britain enjoyed making movies, Chris Waite, before he dropped out Chris had been involved in the movie industry in London and had actually played a role in a Steve McQueen film about racing at the Le Mans 24hrs . .at Chris’s funeral at Talley last year , i was talking to one of his friends from the ’60s…anyway Chris kept a movie camera with him into Tipi days and some of these films are up on Vimeo . .not good quality and in particular the ones of festivals are badly edited . .but this one i’m linking in was 1974 . .Chris , Jill and child had come from a winter in Ireland , called in at Glastonbury and the gone on the the 74 Windsor that was evicted by the police ,and moved to Stonehenge , which looks very wet . . . films of Henge 76 etc can be found on the Vimeo page as well , maybe you already know about this , but i enjoyed watching The Storm last night and thought i’d pass it on . . . .so if you have 30 minutes of down time in a busy life you may want to watch this piece of fundamental history of Tipis in Britain you have to click on Chris’s face on the Vimeo page to get the playlist .

Ok , see you later , all the best , Paul .

The Storm. from ChrisWaite on Vimeo.

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Protest, Resist, Live: An Interview with SLUG

Protest, Resist, Live: An Interview with SLUG

 To be honest, this turned out to be a bit of an odd interview. Three days earlier to meeting Phil, JJ and Trev on a sunny afternoon in the ‘Our Black Heart’ pub in Camden, London, they had announced that SLUG were no more. Posting a pensive-looking shot of them sitting on Brighton beach (very tongue-in-cheek) the band had decided to move on to other projects. At first, I wondered whether they would cancel the interview, but was relieved to find they still wanted to meet. It was also odd in meeting Phil again for the first time in just over 15 years. In a previous life I had taught him music in a college in Portsmouth. Although at home I listened to Crass, Culture Shock and other noisy shenanigans, I taught Schubert, Mozart and Debussy, all of which are a far cry from the stuff that Phil plays today.

Formed in London, UK, SLUG consisted of Brickett on vocals, JJ on guitar and vocals, Campos on Bass, Phil on guitar and vocals, and Trev on drums. With members from Active Slaughter (JJ and Trev) and Bug Central (Trev), the band played fast, aggressive punk, dealing with subjects such as animal rights, Britain First and class war. Discography includes the album Detect, Denounce, Destroy (2014) and the split Echoes of the Past…Reverberate into Our Future (2014) with Piss on Authority. I started with the obvious….

Me: Pleased to meet you all. Would you like to introduce yourselves?

JJ: Normally I answer ‘no comment’ [Laughs]. JJ, guitarist of SLUG, and Trev sitting next to me, we started the band three years ago, a few weeks before Phil joined. For about 10 years we both used to be in a band called Active Slaughter. So we started SLUG and then we dragged in Phil and Sam and a fella called Bruce who was in a band called Bug Central, which used to be Trev’s band as well. Bruce stayed for about 6 months and then left and we brought in Campo on bass.

Phil: I’m Phil, I play guitar in SLUG. I met the other members in a squat called Kernels, in South London. That was roughly about five years ago. Me and the singer [Bricket] joined the band about three years ago with the guys sitting with me. Yeah, and I’m from Pompey.

Me: Thanks. I’ve been listening to your album Detect, Denounce, Destroy, and I particularly like tracks such as ‘Class War,’ ‘Shoot to Kill’ and ‘To The End.’ I’d really like your thoughts on definition and thought I’d start with a loaded question: do you see yourself as an ‘anarcho-punk’ band?

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Sacred Songs: Religion, Spirituality and the Divine in Popular Music Culture

Call for Chapters: Sacred Songs: Religion, Spirituality and the Divine in Popular Music Culture

 

In March 1966, The London Evening Standard published an interview with John Lennon, entitled ‘How Does a Beatle Live? John Lennon Lives Like This.’ During this interview Lennon remarked upon the relationship between religion and popular music. “Christianity will go,’ he remarked, ‘it will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ’n’ roll or Christianity.’

Lennon’s controversial remarks highlight an often-ambiguous relationship between popular music and the sacred, where at different points individual musicians have endorsed or forcefully rejected religious ideologies via their music practice. For example George Harrison’s close affiliation with the Hare Krishna Movement, Bob Dylan’s return to Judaism, Cliff Richard’s open espousal of born again Christianity and Kanye West’s recent lyrics proclaiming that ‘Jesus walks with me.’ Entire popular music genres may reflect or help to constitute sacred practices as illustrated by Reggae’s relationship with Rastafarianism and Death Metal’s articulation of existential themes.

As Lennon observed during the 1960s, fans may elevate popular music artists to the stature of spiritual leaders, looking to them for guidance in uncertain times and sometimes dedicating their lives to emulating and pursuing the rock gods. The quasi-religious character of popular music genres and the role of the artists as avatars, are among the topics Georgina Gregory (University of Central Lancashire) and Mike Dines would like to explore in an upcoming volume on popular music spirituality/religion and the sacred in contemporary culture.

We are especially interested in the variety of approaches to the subject, which may include, but not restricted by the following themes:

  • Role of religion in lives of artists within the popular music genre
  • The incorporation of popular music in sacred ceremonies
  • Religious metaphor in popular music
  • Incorporation of religion within popular music practice
  • Fandom as a form of worship
  • Divinity and rock stardom (rock stars’ homes as sites of pilgrimage, etc.)
  • Pop memorabilia as holy relics

Those interested are encouraged to send proposals of up to 500 words via email to Georgina Gregory on GGregory@uclan.ac.uk or Mike Dines at miked71uk@gmail.com by 1st May 2017. Please included a brief biography.

Interview With Gerard Evans from Flowers in the Dustbin

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Gerard Evans is the lead singer and co-founder of the band Flowers in the Dustbin, author of The Story of Crass and is a practitioner of Mindfulness. I met him at his home on the south-coast of the UK.

I’m interested in the ways in which the anarcho-punk scene remains part of our critical consciousness. This interview came about because of your post entitled ‘The Journey and the Destination’ on the Everyday Mindfulness website. You begin your post in 1988, a couple of years after the initial split of FITD and a time when you initially moved to Brighton. Can you tell me why you moved to Brighton?

Yeah, when the band ended I was kind of listless. My mum and dad were in Bromley and they decided to go back to Liverpool because my dad had retired and he was in ill health. I was living with them (for the sake of vanity I wasn’t always living there) but at that point I was back with them. So I had an interview with a guy in Brighton, very much like the one I’m having now, and I told him I’ve got to find somewhere to live. He said why don’t you come down to Brighton because we’ve got a spare room. I was on the dole at the time and didn’t have many options, so I decided to come down.

In terms of what you initially asked, if we talk about FITD first, we weren’t as solidly in that network as much as other bands were. I don’t mean with that as a gripe. I’m very comfortable with that, because I would say that I probably feel more outside it on various levels, which I’m happy to talk about. I mean, we don’t get offered the gigs like other bands; it’s not that we say no, it’s mainly because no one asks us. And that’s because we’re not seen to be as much of a part of all that as, perhaps, as Hagar the Womb, who seem to be doing gigs every week. For instance, we never did gigs with Crass, Conflict, or Flux of Pink Indians. We were always further outside from that than our records would suggest. And that suggestion came about due to our association with All Madmen Records and Mortarhate.

Let’s go back a bit further. When we started, we just couldn’t get gigs [laughs]. But then we got offered a gig at the George Robey via some promoter who it just happened to be with either the Lost Cherrees or Omega Tribe, one of the two. During our soundcheck we got offered another gig at the same place for two days later one one. So the way it developed was that we were obviously playing with those bands, kind of second-generation bands, those who were not just having stuff out on Crass Records. So, we started to do that, but what I always wanted to do, because my favourite band was Adam and the Ants, and the bands I was listening to at the time were Southern Death Cult, Sex Gang Children, Bauhaus, etc., I wanted to do something as good as those bands musically. I thought that a lot of the anarcho bands music was shit to be honest, admirable politics, but the music just left me nonplussed a lot of the time, so I wanted to like mix the two things. Hence, the one step removed that we have always been.

But the ‘ideas’ side of things, that’s where it really did chime for me, and in particularly the protest movements like the big CND marches. I was very passionate about animal rights and vivisection – I used to know what all the E numbers were. Looking back, I wonder what I boring bloke I must have been! But that’s how I was.

And we lived in this kind of commune-type house – we being me and few other people, not the band – and that was very much a political activist-type place from which we were involved in the first Stop the City, for instance, and that sort of thing. With hindsight, I was sold the utopian line and I look back on that with cynicism because it was clearly utopian and the people who were older than us, I think, were being pretty dishonest. It was never gonna happen and I think that that kind of utopian-thing kind of weakens people. Particularly as it kind of gradually dawns on you that it’s not gonna happen. I also believe that it’s based on a very Judeo-Christian thing – I might be wrong as to the roots of it – but the whole thing about the perfectibility of mankind. Again, I think that’s a pretty poor line of existentialism. Humans are not perfectible, certainly not through listening to punk records,that’s for sure.

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From Stonehenge to Priddy: The Green ’n’ White Story

 

From Stonehenge to Priddy: The Green ’n’ White Story

Paul Fraser

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Yellow Tipi in Rhayadar, Elan Valley, 1976

Prologue…

It was cramped in the back of the van. I was used to cramped travelling conditions after hitch-hiking round Europe. I had hitch-hiked to India and when you’re hitch-hiking around India you get used to being cramped…nevertheless it was cramped going from Bath to Trentishoe, in early June 1976. The guy with the van had packed it with everything he would need for a week at a festival in north Devon, then he’d put his girlfriend and a couple of mates in, then he’d called at our squat in Bath to score a blim, and that’s where Terry and I got in. So when the van stopped and someone said to me and Terry and the others in the windowless back of the van, “we’re here,” I said “good”…and was completely unprepared for what happened next.

The door slid back and framed in that doorway, in the summertime English countryside, on the other side of a valley with a stream tumbling down its crevice was a large yellow North American Indian tipi…I was completely gobsmacked…what the fuck is going on here, I thought, I had been to a couple of the Windsors, I had been to Watchfield…but I had never seen anything like this. It wasn’t the structure of the tipi itself, they make them for movies, it was the fact that such a massive one was at a fairly random free festival where I knew I was going to be amongst friends and on home ground when it came to alternative thinking and living. Most people came with a rucksack and a small tent, or a car or van…the presence of the tipi made me aware that something more than individuals and small groups of friends were attending the free festivals…to get this thing here, across the stream in the valley and erected on the far side must of taken some serious effort…who did that?

I didn’t find out. We made our camp with our small tents and the van, stayed for the weekend and went back to Bath. Then Terry went to Stonehenge, came back and said there had been a site meeting, the festival was moving from the Henge to Elan Valley outside Rhayader, mid-Wales. I hitched up there, coming out of Rhayader, on the “mountain” road to Elan Valley I got picked up by some people in a Mini Minor, cramped again, we came over the top of this hill, the valley lay spread out below us and there it was, the massive Yellow Tipi, surrounded by smaller tipis, tents and a festival…in this setting the view from the van at Trentishoe was relinquished to a taster, here it was omnipotent, completely at home in the large rolling Welsh landscape…the sight of it cut through the trivial shallow efforts of 20th-century motorways, television and all the other meaningless trappings of modern society to something almost timeless, that was just so right with the landscape that had been here before any of us…and this time I got involved.

That festival got evicted, the land belonged to the Water Board…having arrived with my rucksack and small tent I teamed up with Copper Paul from Bath, who had a van. We were going to make a tipi. We went to Cheap Charlies in Newtown and bought some army marquee walls for canvas, we went up in the forestry and bought some poles off some guys with chainsaws. We were skinning the bark off the poles when several bus loads of police turned up and evicted us. The unity that had brought the festival from Stonehenge carried through. A site about 10 miles away had been scouted and the whole festival moved down there, Pontrhydygroes. Paul had a large van, we packed our makings of a tipi on, took some women and children and loads of people’s belongings and drove slowly past this long column of walkers, new age refugees from a fucked up society heading for the next camp.

At Pontrhydygroes we pitched a tent that vaguely resembled a tipi and asked someone to keep an eye on it while we went back to Bath. I had to sign on and Paul had some business to attend to…he never made it back but I did…and found we had pitched next to the Yellow Tipi people…they were a free food kitchen…the tipi had an open door policy…no-one actually owned it…I was about to get involved in tipis and the people who lived in them…

Story Proper…..

In the spring of 1979 I was living in a squat in Rochester Road, Kentish Town, north London. A large four story terrace house, it mainly had people from the free festival circuit staying in it, people who had been connected to the Yellow Tipi which had been a free food kitchen during 1976 and ’77. One evening in the large communal front room a conversation was taking place that I had a distinct interest in. A deal was going down in a nearby pub and it involved an unwanted tipi that was causing a problem. I walked round the corner to the pub, a typical large Victorian London pub, ran by a Turkish landlord who catered to the local working population. It was busy with early evening trade. Opposite the long bar, with tables and chairs grouped in front of it, was a small stage with a girl going through a striptease routine on it, and at a table off to the side of the stage were the three people I was looking for. Nick Jelinek, John Elric and Sinister Dave, I joined them and got the story as to why there was an unwanted tipi. Continue reading

Insurgent Subliteratures: Fictions of Resistance by Mark P. Williams

Insurgent Subliteratures: Fictions of Resistance

Mark P. Williams

 

This article is concerned with the fictional forms of cultural resistance and experiment of the last twenty years, which I have called alternative fictioneers. These are networks of fictions whose cultural politics have been operating against the flow of dominant culture, in some cases for many years, but whose resistant qualities have become far more pertinent to twenty-first century literature in the wake of the political struggles, and economic and social upheavals which have come to the fore during the last decade. First, some further explication and refinement of my terms is necessary.

I use ‘alternative fictioneers’ to describe networks of writers and collective cultural producers outside of the current dominant literary modes who are attempting, on whatever scale, to transform contemporary writing to their own purposes. It describes an essentially modernistic, transgressive impulse defined by dissatisfaction with present conventions and an attempt to create alternatives by a mixture of technique and unlicensed exploration. I suggest that ‘Fictioneers’ is a useful way of describing experimental innovations because it suggests comparisons between writing as a technical enterprise on the one hand, i.e. fiction-engineers, and writing as an adventurous and possibly illicit practice on the other: fiction-privateers.

The status of alternative fictioneers is outside national writing traditions but involved, either by inclination or by the accidents of cultural hybridity, within and between the trans-national networks of writing (for example, via ‘cult’ or ‘pop-cultural’ points of contact). I am particularly interested in those alternative fictioneers who resist being appropriated to particular traditions, who actively employ their interstitial status for their own critical and creative agenda within experiments with form/content. Alternative fictioneers whose writing embeds its marginal status to test the cultural politics of the dominant culture form what I call insurgent subliteratures.

 

Protestas Estudiantiles in Santiago, Chile, June 2011: can political insurgence offer a useful category for reading para-canonical literatures? [Image by Davidlohr Buesounder a CC-BY license]

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