Hagar the Womb
Punk rock karaoke band
Shocks of Mighty
Sarah Pinks’ Gravediggers
21 July 2018 (from 16:00)
451 Queensbridge Road, London E8 3AS
£10 on the door
Today is the official launch gig for Gail Thibert’s new book Soap the Stamps Jump the Tube. “Come early and purchase some fab grub (vegan and veggies options available) – grab one of the 100 free goody bags for early birds. Anyone attempting to blag their way in old school style will be awarded a pint of cider and a dog on a string (joking!)”
It’s 1983. Convent-educated teenager Gail dyes her hair blue and escapes suburban boredom in Surrey to live a more exciting life among the colourful punks and squatters of London.
Leaving behind the twitching net curtains and disapproving looks of beige Morden (A.K.A. Bore-don), Gail places a music paper advert to seek out likeminded ‘friends and weirdos,’ and so her adventure begins.
Along the way, Gail meets the good, the bad and the just plain crazy while riding the crest of the anarcho and post-punk wave of music which defined the early 80s underground.
Invited to join punk band the Lost Cherrees as keyboard player, Gail points out that she can’t play any instruments. When the band laugh and reassure her that they can’t play either, she takes the plunge. For two years, the band tours dive venues and releases cult records, and Gail combines the lifestyle of a punk musician with holding down jobs ranging from Camden Market stallholder, to sandwich making and cycle couriering.
Living in squats around the capital, Gail mixes with drug dealers and drunken casualties, at times living life dangerously close to the edge. Encounters with various lunatic personalities leave her nerves frazzled, and a horrific rape at a party leaves her scarred for life, yet she deals with it by campaigning for justice for rape victims.
As Thatcher’s 80s march on, boyfriends and marriage proposals come and go. Mike introduces Gail to motorbikes and before long she is zooming around on an old GT500 which she acquires through ‘cosmic ordering.’
She meets Bill the witch and learns the art of psychic protection and how to read tarot cards, which she finds she has a natural skill for. A new career as a psychic beckons, but although older and wiser, Gail finds she still has a knack for encountering the freaky and surreal.
Soap the Stamps is a true and sometimes harrowing story about a girl finding her way in a London that no longer exists.
Remembered with a sense of humour, Gail’s storytelling has an authenticity that that only an autobiography can provide and a memory for detail that will have you smiling and laughing.
Including snippets from Gail’s diaries you will recognize many musicians and personalities from the underground scene from that period and letters and fan mail that she lovingly kept all these years.
(And the title? A reference to ‘sticking it to authority’ and saving money by travelling on the London Underground without a ticket, and rubbing soap over stamps so the postmark can be removed and the stamps reused. Both popular punk pastimes!)