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Soap the Stamps - book launch - gig poster

Nick Hydra
Rubella Ballet
Hagar the Womb
CTRL
Punk rock karaoke band
Shocks of Mighty
Sarah Pinks’ Gravediggers
Kathy Freeman

21 July 2018 (from 16:00)
The Victoria
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!)

Gail Thibert. 2018. Soap the Stamps, Jump the Tube. Unbound Digital. ISBN: 9781912618187, 1912618184.
Official book web site | Buy online

https://unbound.com/books/soap-the-stamps/

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Rowetta Idah of The Happy Mondays appeared on a feature on this morning’s (27 June 2018) BBC Breakfast news show on BBC One, discussing the past and future of the compact disc format.

Amongst the handful of personal CD favourites that she brought in from the collection she plays in the car was the Crass compilation Best Before.

Best Before - BBC Breakfast

Charlie Stadt. “You see, I’m not familiar with this.”

Rowetta : “Crass. They were my favourite band when I was a kid. So I love this. And I’ve got Stations of the Crass at home, that I play on vinyl. This is my favourite CD of theirs.”

The replay of this morning’s show is only available on the BBC iPlayer until 09:15 on 28 June 2018, and the segment starts at around 08:44 on the show’s timeline.

Credit to Martin Hardy who spotted, and Graham Burnett who shared information about, this.

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EXITSTENCIL PRESS HAVE now published the eagerly awaited complete collection of International Anthem magazine.

The first issue of International Anthem (a ‘nihilist newspaper for the living’) was put together by Gee Vaucher in 1977-78, when she was living and working in Manhattan, New York, as newly formed punk band Crass began to emerge from the rehearsal space at Dial House.

This soft-bound, full-size collection brings together the full contents of all five issues, including rough early drafts of the never-before-published issue four (‘Ireland’) and issue five (‘War’).

The book includes a brief introduction by Vaucher, and a short scene-setting contextual explanation for each issue (together with a timeline of political events for the year of publication).

The complete International Anthem can be ordered direct from the Exitstencil Press site.

Created from 1978-1982 by Gee Vaucher, International Anthem came into existence as a vehicle for Vaucher’s own work and that of friends who she felt had something worthwhile to share. Amongst others, these included Penny Rimbaud, Eve Libertine and Steve Ignorant… Overall, they represent, and are the realisation of, a dream that Vaucher had carried throughout her early years as a political artist.

International Anthem - collection - Exitstencil Press - cover

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Penny Rimbaud -Noisey - Vice
 

WITH THE RELEASE of What Passing Bells: The War Poems of Wilfred Owen, Penny Rimbaud discusses the project (and life, the universe and everything else) with Noisey’s Jamie Thomson. Of his work on the Wilfred Owen project he says:

I wouldn’t have done it if it was just a horror story. Because certainly, equally, his poetry is more powerful than any I know of describing the horror and the misery in the trenches, but at the same time there’s this sort of strange, deep love of the people who he was there with, which is the very love that he went back. I mean, he was hospitalised and actually could very easily not have gone back, but he did go back. He went back not because he believed in the war, but that he did believe in his men and loved his men.

Jamie Thomson. 2017. ‘War all the time: a conversation with Crass’ Penny Rimbaud’, Noisey, 10 November https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/ne394x/a-conversation-with-crass-penny-rimbaud

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IN THIS MONTH’S edition of Wire magazine, Penny Rimbaud is invited to identify and comment on a series of recordings from an ‘invisible jukebox’ compiled by Phil England.

Phil England [testing Penny Rimbaud]. 2017. ‘Invisible Jukebox’. Wire, No 404, October, pp.24-27.

Each month we play a musician or group a series of records which they are asked to comment on – with no prior knowledge of what they are about to hear. This month it’s the turn of Penny Rimbaud. Will the veteran anarchist find The Wire‘s mystery collection crass?

Rimbaud - Wire - October 2017

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CRASS ARE THE subject of the ‘Hello / Goodbye’ feature in the back-end of the November edition of Mojo magazine.

Roy Wilkinson [in conversation with Penny Rimbaud]. 2017. ‘Penny Rimbaud and Crass’, Mojo, November, p.138

CRASS FEATURE IN the one-page ‘Hello / Goodbye’ feature in the current issue of Mojo magazine. Based on an interview with Penny Rimbaud, Wilkinson compares how Rimbaud now describes his original expectations of forming Crass (‘Hello’, 1977) with his current reflections on the drivers of Crass’ endgame (‘Goodbye’, 1984).

Penny Rimbaud and Crass - Mojo - October 2017

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All Around Was Darkness - front cover

THE NEWLY PUBLISHED ANTHOLOGY, And All Around Was Darkness is “the third in the Tales from the Punkside series; a collection of books whose main concern is to provide a space for stories, anecdotes and various other shenanigans by those persons rarely heard – the fans and everyday participants in the punk movement.”

Published by Itchy Monkey Press, the book is A4 size, 288 pages, and full to bursting with essays, reflections, memories, photographs, flyers, poems and drawings. The first edition is a limited run of 100 copies, and can be ordered for £12.00 (plus £3.00 p&p, in the UK) via Paypal. Contact Mike Dines to confirm order and arrange payment.

Greg Bull and Mike Dines (eds.). 2017. All Around Was Darkness. Itchy Monkey Press. ISBN 978-1-291-74025-7

Contents

  • Introduction, Mike Dines
  • So You Joined a Band to Change the World, Gregory Bull
  • Recording No Doves/Laughing, Mark Wilson
  • Confessions of a Pre-Teen Punk, Chris Low
  • The Girl in the Band, Kathy Freeman
  • Anarcho-Feminism and Greenham Common, Lucy Robinson
  • Tales From the Ghost Town, Alan Rider
  • “No, It’s a Zine, Not a ‘Fan’ Zine”, Anth Palmer
  • Punk in Norway, Viggo Mastad
  • Should We Help the Miners?, Andy Hardcore
  • Poems, TS Paviour
  • The Mob Touring Finland (2016), Antti Lautala
  • Crass, Graham Burnett
  • Green Anarchist, Graham Burnett
  • Hyper-Active as the Day is Long, Neil Transpontine
  • A Woman in a Male Dominated Industry, Gail Thibert
  • Notes Written on a Tattered Page, Nick Hydra
  • Tales of a Teenage Punk, Andy Owen
  • How Much Longer?, Russ Bestley
  • Increasingly Right Wing, Ted Curtis
  • Fifteen Shades of Grey, Rich Cross
  • When John Met Clem, Rich Cross
  • The Stranger in the Pit, Francis Stewart
  • The Mother of all Soapy Stamp Stories, Phil Hedgehog Tonge
  • Amebix Art, Jonny R
  • Stopping the City – A Micro Memory, Stephen Spencer-Fleet
  • Smash the System, Persons Unknown
  • ‘Running Wild in the Disco’, Mike Dines

All Around Was Darkness - front and back cover

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