Vague 13

Vague #7
October 1982 Southern Death Cult – American Indians – Sex Gang Children
William Burroughs – Glastonbury – Stonehenge – WOMAD – Elephant Fayre
Lovable Spiky Tops – Viz – Look Back In Anger

‘Vague is an above average, funny collection of opinions and bitcheries about post-sporran music trends. In issue 13 there was a really amusing cartoon section, a William Burroughs primer, a hippy-bashing Glastonbury piece, WOMAD report and pieces on Vague faves Death Cult and Sex Gang. Of course it’s mildly encouraging that alternatives to big girls’ blouses are pushing their way through all over the place but I’ve yet to be totally convinced by a slice of the new psycho-punkabilly music.’ Ray Lowry The Face 35

Southern Death Cult and the American Indian Movement – by Dave Hicks the Vague Manchester correspondent who went on to Lavolta Lakota and Peter Hook of Joy Division/New Order’s band Revenge.

When I first saw Southern Death Cult I had a feeling that they could be more than just a band but a whole new attitude within the staid morass of bands that exist at the moment. If they can wriggle through the record company jungle then perhaps their freshness and uniqueness will survive. My own interest in North American Indians obviously influences my liking of the band but their interest in the subject is a long way from the ‘redskin rockers’ tag they’ve been labelled with. Already they have had interviews in Sounds, NME and Zigzag; the latter by Tony D containing the most insight. However, Sounds especially perpetuates old stereotypes about Indians; eg. He has no ‘reservations’ about SDC. Ha ha, Keaton, you wanker.

Southern Death Cult consist of 4 individuals: Ian – vocals, Buzz – guitar, Barry – bass, Aky – drums. It is Ian who seeks Indian values and lifestyle and not surprisingly the other 3 members are considerably pissed off about being labelled as Indians and the new Bow-wow-wow. Many of the rock critics of today are just half-arsed piss-artists labelling everything into cosy categories because their moronic minds aren’t capable of analysing anything beyond grey. The band originated as Violation, based in Bradford, they catered for a punk clientele and the track ‘Vivisection’ dates from those days. However the band set their sights higher than this. With Buzz’s highly accomplished guitar playing – influences from Mick Ronson to Echo and the Bunnymen, Barry’s innovative bass and Aky’s powerhouse drums, they were set for bigger things.

Enter Ian to Bradford with roots in Canada and a deep interest in American Indians, with an appearance to match, and a dynamic cocktail was put together. Ian composed the name based on a Mississippi Hopewell valley tribe of circa 1500, but as he says, “It’s also a subtle dig at the system in the south that controls fashion and music, and the government’s based there too.” Southern Death Cult have a strong set of songs, each with that particular crucial edge that attacks you first time. To some, it may appear to be dominated by discord and the band will be something of an acquired taste. Many people must have seen them when they had the support slot with Theatre of Hate during February/March and at the London gigs in April. Each gig has increased their reputation as a departure from and a breath of fresh air to a stagnating scene.

Their set starts with ‘The Crow’, about a crow but going deeper into how in a vision the crow becomes mystical and then questions the west’s whole world view. Then ‘Girl’ slags off nightclubs in general and the phoney elites they set themselves up in. ‘Apache’, an instrumental, follows and then the soaring ‘Moya’, the future single, a double A-side with ‘Fatman’. This song tells of the apocalypse (kasota in Sioux) unless western civilisation can fundamentally change its sickness, ‘Uncle Sam meets the reaper at Wounded Knee again.’ Wounded Knee was the Indian slaughter of 1890 in the US attempted genocide of the Sioux nation. Next is ‘Crypt’, a fast song which Ian says portrays, “2 decades after an apocalypse, after living in a bunker, everything is dead and people are locked in total despair.”

‘Vivisection’ is based on the story of the love of Dr Moreau by HG Wells. ‘All Glory’ is a song about the heroism of war and in reality its grim harshness, in which Theatre of Hate’s influence shows. ‘Today’ is another heartfelt song; ‘Now the concrete’s all around, they put it there today, they’re killing us today and now we all decay in the shit-hole they made for us.’ Ian explains that it’s about how “the cycle of industrialisation is finished and the work ethic is fucked.” Then comes ‘False Faces’ with Ian contorting his face – perhaps he has experienced the content of this song about deceit and betrayal but it’s also a subtle reference to the Iroquois false-face dance. Finally ‘Fatman’, about greed and lust for money, completes the set. And they have 2 new songs, as yet unperformed, ‘Flowers in the Desert’ and ‘Ghost Dance’.

Altogether on stage it is an intoxicating spectacle. Recently they played at a packed Moonlight, where the doors shut before 9.30, leaving many outside. They also played Preston Warehouse, a real toilet, but again packed. They have the image(s); Ian’s swirling ribbons, feathers, bells and furs provides a visual display; the gawping girls in the audience are comparing the tightness of Barry and Buzz’s trousers; whilst Aky, hidden behind a set of drums and a cascade of black hair, powers on indomitably but I know the teeny boppers want him as well. Southern Death Cult have many good qualities, they have subtleties and double-meanings written into the lyrics which reflect the richness of the music in its variations. Admittedly I reckon you have to see them a few times before this can be appreciated. However, as popularity and pressures increase, the band may get sucked into the same old boring rock’n’roll circus by the lure of money held out by the record company sharks. But hopefully they can avoid these pitfalls, as they have done so far, and still find the rewards for over a year of hard graft.

It is hard to relate Red Indian culture to 20th century Britain but Southern Death Cult (ie. Ian) have made a start; in utilizing Indian beliefs and applying them to our present day situation with the result of a brighter future perhaps instead of ‘No Future’. Before I can talk about this connection, I think the stereotypes that many people possess, mostly unconsciously, need to be shattered. To a vast majority the image of Red Indians fits into 2 categories, either the old ‘uncivilised savage’ or the more recent noble, perfect ‘super-Indian’ (thank you Adam Ant). It is only in the post-war era that the white man has revised his image of the Indian and only since Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee that Americans really started to be oh so liberal. But this swing realistically means that instead of the Indians being despised as a spanner in the works of America’s manifest Hitlerite destiny, they are now pitied. It is one extreme to the other – reactionary shit to do-gooder, white liberal shit.

It is a fact that in white America instead of feeling justified in their continuing theft of Indian land, the new consciousness expounded by all the anthropologists and other ologist wimps is that of guilt. But of course they would rather be a little bit guilty than advocate any real change in the set-up – real change would destroy their domination and perhaps eliminate all the stupid stereotypes with which Indians are labelled. However, the current rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM) led by Russell Mears shows that the Indians don’t need white help. The establishment of Yellow Thunder Camp in the Black Hills (Pahe Sapa) of South Dakota shows the increasing strength of the young Indians who reject the rat race of America and instead seek out their old traditional values. Linking up with other ecological groups, the Indians, as ever, lead the way in the lifestyle that emphasises harmony with nature and is a complete antidote to the crushing western civilisation. But no doubt those good Christian white Americans know best – well, they did bring ‘God’ and ‘civilisation’ to the barbarian savages. You could overlook the fact that those with God and decent living on their side attempted genocide on those ‘Leathers’ who just wanted to be left alone.

Many believe, it seems to me, that the Indian was finished in the 1890s with the Ghost Dance. Well, perhaps militarily and to the eyes of the world. But since then, to the present, the Indian has been subject to more insidious pressures, the fact that the FBI and the CIA have got complete control of the land. In Europe you will hear nothing about events in America that may detract from its image as ‘the land of the free.’ The weapons at the disposal of the state are far worse than in the 1890s. American Indian Movement leaders are under constant threat of assassination – see Russell Mears’ scars, or imprisonment – Leonard Pettier in prison under threat of lobotomy. There is the reservation system from which Hitler got his ideas for the concentration camps, where nuclear waste is dumped poisoning everything, creating deformed kids and mutant animals. There is forced sterilisation of Indian girls, either surgically or through poisoning, and forced adoption of Indian kids, that is, kidnapping, and high infant mortality, as America in all its space-bound glory shoves the Indians under the carpet for good – ‘This ain’t rock’n’roll, this is genocide,’ as someone once said.

The general public appear to ignore the facts – the truth is far too uncomfortable. For example, an attorney called William Janklow raped then murdered a young Indian girl, Anna-Marie Aquash, and he is now Governor of South Dakota state. To the average Vague reader, whatever that is, this may seem far-fetched and irrelevant but think about it; once the American government has wiped the Indians out who will be next? The poor, the unemployed. Britain, too often America’s whimpering lap-dog, will inevitably follow suit if we don’t all become fried bacon first. As a reader of Vague you probably don’t care much for the establishment. Increasingly it seems to be crushing you – if you are unemployed, you are a problem, a social misfit – well, how does that feel? For too long punks and others have been squirming around in their own boring negativism, pandering to what society expects you to do, get pissed, sniff glue, be rebellious, get stoned maaannn! It’s an easy stereotype to follow – you might as well be a fucking hippy.

Young Indians, in seeking traditional values, approach life far more positively. Indians never accepted the work ethic and now we know why, it’s fucked. Britain must be the first to feel the full effects of the end of the industrial era because we’re the ones who started it. Indians offer an alternative and if some modern Indian attitudes were accepted by Britain’s youth the future could be a lot healthier. At the moment this state is becoming increasingly reactionary and dominated by outdated ‘enlightened’ and ‘civilised’ ideas, with a whole mass of academics to justify it – this same civilisation that perpetuates mass murder in its nationalist wars. Ian of Southern Death Cult has adopted Indian attitudes and he is no noble savage like that fat dummy Adam, but has deeper conscientious values that are reflected in his songs and appearance. Hopefully this influence will spread. I know Tom Vague would have preferred me to write on Indian culture but I felt that unless the basic stereotypes are destroyed and the genocide talked about then there will be no Indian culture to write about.

Sex Gang Children by Johnny Waller – the next most controversial Vague feature after Gary Glitter?

Sometimes I think Sex Gang Children are real wankers. They’re a great little band with a brilliant name (which does still scare old ladies and establishment fools), with perceptive and stabbing ambitions, which they’re a long way from achieving yet. For all their exciting boastfulness, they’ve so far yielded just one drably produced EP from their precocious talent. It’s simply not enough. But then sometimes I think I’m a real wanker too. I’m a great little writer but I spend too much time in an office full of dead-heads or go out to too many grotty, stinking hell-hole gigs, getting in free with no intention of writing about the pathetic cavortings on stage. The few brilliant articles I’ve written have been swamped by the rest of my work – best described as ‘patchy but hopeful’ – and the utter dross leaking from lesser talented pens at Sounds.

But wanking doesn’t come into it – it’s a question of frustration. This frustration oozes out of the crashing, darkly suspicious, vital noise that Sex Gang Children call their music; and I share it. We share a cup of tea and talk of frustrations, of people who are misfits and of hearts that beat like steam-hammers. “We want to provide something for people who don’t fit in,” spits guitarist Terry in his sharp Scots accent. “The people we attract to our gigs identify with us really closely – they tend to be away from the mainstream, they’re individuals who wouldn’t be at home at discos like Studio 54.”

“The atmosphere at our Anarchy Centre gig with UK Decay was a perfect example of something that’s been lost for a long time – and it’s something we want to recreate,” boasts singer Andi. “If we can get across to the kids who watch Top of the Pops,” he says, “maybe we’ll give them strength, they’ll be able to identify with us and not feel so alienated.” “The way I see it,” butts in Terry, “is that we’re trying to restore the balance – one extreme is superficial entertainment which only activates the pleasure centres for a minute, and the other extreme is actually fucking thinking about how nasty the world is – there’s definitely a place for us to get that over.” But no one’s denying you that, I counter. “A lot of people deny us that,” screams Terry almost in rage. “After we played the Embassy Club, somebody phoned up and complained that a band called Sex Gang Children should be allowed to appear. They felt threatened by us.”

It’s true – Sex Gang Children are a threat, to complacency, to boredom, to the pathetic attitudes of macho rebellion promoted by Garry Bushell and his cronies. Why else would he take every opportunity in Sounds to dismiss them? It’s just like Hitler blaming the Jews; it’s all fear. But the main attribute of the band is their captivating music which dances on the grave of new punk and threads dark designs from the twisting treats of early Roxy Music, the Ants and the Banshees. Go to see one of their gigs and you’ll see a brand new hell you’ll want to have your holidays in. Andi smiles in his determined way: “We have the power to make audiences think for themselves – and that’s dangerous.”

William Burroughs: Prisoners of the Earth come out – Storm the reality studio and retake the universe by Pete Scott

“Young people in the west have been lied to, betrayed and sold out. The best they can do is take the place apart before they are destroyed in a nuclear war.” Did anyone correctly identify the mystery voice? It was the author and former drug-addict William S Burroughs, giving his opinion on the youth riots of the 60s to interviewer Daniel Odier circa 1969. It’s depressing to note that Burroughs’ words are even more relevant today than they were when first spoken 13 years ago. By this time some of you may be wondering who the fuck William Burroughs is, so by way of explanation let me point out that he’s probably the most important literary figure of this century. He was born in St Louis, Missouri on February 5 1914, the son of Perry Mortimer and Laura Lee Burroughs. By all accounts he was a moody, restless child who liked to lose himself in books. He also seems to have been a bit of a tearaway – while in his early teens he developed homosexual tendencies, which he never outgrew, and dabbled in petty crime.

At the age of 15 Burroughs was sent to Los Alamos Ranch School, the very building where they later made the first atom bomb – ‘It all seemed so right, somehow,’ he later wrote. Then he went to Harvard where he studied literature, linguistics and anthropology. He graduated during the great depression and spent about a year drifting around Europe with ‘the international queer set’ before returning to Harvard to do more work on anthropology. He was drafted at the outbreak of World War 2 and the army medics certified him physically fit for unlimited service. However, they later cashiered him when it was found that he had a ‘nut-house’ record. Burroughs spent the war years working haphazardly at whatever jobs came his way. In New York in 1943 he met a woman named Joan Vollner and they were subsequently married. This probably seems like a strange development in view of Burroughs’ preference for young boys, but it was more than likely the result of a desire for stability and purpose on his part.

At roughly the same time he also took his first shot of heroin. Perhaps inevitably he soon wound up a fully-fledged addict, injecting himself 3 times a day. Despite his addiction, Burroughs continued to wander like a vagrant spirit of the dead. He moved from New York to Chicago, then to Texas, then on to New Orleans, and finally to Mexico City, where he studied Aztec and Mayan history at the Mexico City College. His relationship with Joan Vollner ended tragically when he accidentally shot her through the head at a party, killing her instantly. Burroughs’ first novel Junkie was published in 1952, thanks largely to the efforts of his friend Allen Ginsberg (who it seems will be appearing on the next Clash album). It was followed some 6 years later by his black masterpiece The Naked Lunch, a scathing and often wildly obscene attack on control, repression and bureaucracy of all kinds. Following the publication of The Naked Lunch, Burroughs was cured of his crippling addiction by a London doctor, who used the drug amorphine (morphine boiled in hydrochloric acid) to purge and balance his metabolism.

Burroughs then went on to write a series of important novels and essays, including The Soft Machine, The Nova Express, The Wild Boys, Exterminator, The Third Mind, White Subway and Port of Saints. As an artist, Burroughs has his own unique views and directions. He works with foresight and viability within a pattern devoid of rules or dogma. His books are highly detailed and obsessive. To read them is to experience an authentic glimpse of another reality – a tortured inner landscape where night lizards run in mysterious regions of being. In order to break down the lines of control imposed by the mass media, Burroughs often makes use of unorthodox methods of construction. Chief among these is the notorious ‘cut-up’ technique, which Burroughs uses to create what he calls ‘image-tracks’ and ‘association blocks’ – bizarre clusters of phrases assembled entirely at random. Like this: ‘The cold heavy fluid settled – hydraulic beginning, you understand – exploded time stops in blue metal – suburban galaxies on the nod – Blue silence in the turn-stiles – village of slate houses – this foreign sun in bottles – blue shadows – twilight – streets – frogs and crickets – criss-crossed my face.’

By making use of the cut-up technique, Burroughs is able to provide the reader with a concrete documentary of his own highly personal vision. The workings of his junk-ravaged brain are reproduced in passages of haunting intensity. His central concern is the nature of power. He has repeatedly stated that his work is “directed against those who, through stupidity or design, are bent on blowing up this planet or rendering it uninhabitable.” He refers to these agents of the apocalypse as ‘the Nova Mob’. To use his own terms, his plan for resisting them calls for ‘Total Exposure’; ‘wise up the marks’ – show them the rigged wheel of life-time-fortune. Storm the reality studio and retake the universe. The plan shifts and reforms constantly as reports come in from his electric patrols, sniffing and quivering down streets of the Earth. The reality film giving and buckling like a bulkhead under pressure – Minutes to go. Burnt metal smell of nuclear war in the raw noon streets.

The author and critic John Tyrell once wrote that Burroughs transmits ‘a feeling of desperate urgency, of apocalyptic disaster and warning.’ In The Job, a collection of interviews conducted by Daniel Odier, Burroughs expressed his view of the current state of the world in no uncertain terms: “War is absolutely necessary to the maintenance of modern society; they’ve always got to keep one going… a nuclear war is inevitable if the present controllers remain in power.” When Daniel Odier asked him about the value of such groups as CND, Burroughs was sceptical: “As soon as you have armaments, disarmament becomes very unlikely. The absurdity of spending money on arms in the first place is an outgrowth of the basic formula of the nation, and until that formula is attacked at its vegetable root, there isn’t going to be any disarmament; just a lot of talk and committees and nonsense.”

Elsewhere in the same book, Burroughs gave his own solution to the problem, addressing himself to young people everywhere: “If you want the world you could have in terms of discoveries and resources… you must be prepared to fight for that world; to fight for that world in the streets.” On a slightly different note, it should be said that Burroughs is essentially a young people’s writer, and ever since the mid-60s he’s played a part in shaping the world of pop music. His books have influenced (or at least provided the names for) groups and solo artists as diverse as David Bowie, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Richard Strange, Steely Dan, The Soft Machine, The Insect Trust (You do remember the Insect Trust?), Dead Fingers Talk and Naked Lunch.

Burroughs himself has appeared on quite a number of albums, including ‘Call Me Burroughs’, ‘The Nova Connection’, ‘Nothing here now but the recordings’ and ‘You’re the guy I want to spend my money with’. His cut-up and spliced tape experiments, described in books like The Ticket that Exploded and The Electronic Revolution, have been used extensively by Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle, giving rise to a whole new style of electronic music. At the time of writing, Burroughs is 68 years old and a legend in his own lifetime. It’s difficult to say anything about him that hasn’t already been said. It’s also difficult to know how to end an article like this. It contains no new information, but nevertheless, I think it’s a worthwhile piece of writing. Think of it as a respectful tug of the forelock to a uniquely talented, uniquely depraved old gentleman.

Glastonbury – Stonehenge – WOMAD – Elephant Fayre 1982 Vague festivals campaign amended semi-literate despatches

As well as Southern Death Cult and American Indians, Sex Gang Children and William Burroughs, Vague 13 featured reviews of the 1982 Glastonbury, Stonehenge, WOMAD and Elephant Fayre festivals.

June 18-20 My Glastonbury experience was: saw Black Uhuru, Aswad, Talisman, Osibisa, Funkapolitan, John Cooper-Clarke, Randy California, Roy Harper, Van Morrison, Sad Café, and the anti-CND plane flying over, my goth girlfriend Julia dumped me, got covered in mud, drunk on cider, and strip-searched by the drug squad. Before we even hit Pilton we were soaked. Spent the rest of the afternoon sheltering in the CND tent as Funkapolitan grooved through the rain. A couple of uninspiring speakers, a lull in the rain and half a gallon of paraffin disguised as scrumpy later and I was just about in the right mood for Black Uhuru, the best band of the festival. They had some bollocks unlike the other reggae bands that fitted in only too well with the laid back complacency of the whole affair.

And John Cooper-Clarke wasn’t the worst I’ve seen him but after that things definitely took a turn for the worse with Randy California, more rain, no room in the video Palais, then to cap it all I slipped up in the mud, making a right twat of myself. Ended up round a campfire, winding up some old hippies talking politics. When one of them started singing ‘Vincent’, we decided that enough was enough and grabbed some sleep in the Worthy Farm barn. Puddle, my partner so far in this festival folly, deserted in the middle of the night and headed for the road. Next day: met up with Julia and waded about through the mud until it was time for Roy Harper and assorted old farts to be dragged out on stage, including Van Morrison, the Blues Band and Sad Cafe.

The highlight of the Sunday was when some Tory MP flew over in a bi-plane with a ‘Support the Soviets: Join CND’ banner hanging from it. CND’s Bruce Kent joked that he wished he had an intercept missile handy. Aswad, normally my favourite reggae band, were disappointing and as for Talisman, it would be good to go to just one event where Talisman weren’t playing. Osibisa of ‘Sunshine Day’ fame and the Bishop of Bath and Wells were quite good. Then it was the Climax Blues Band and time to head for the exit, only to be strip-searched by some pig failing dismally to impersonate a hippy. I could say that sums up the only threat that Glastonbury is to society but drugs are just a formality. Hippies getting stoned in a field offers about as much of a threat to the establishment as Cameroon did to Italy in the World Cup.

Perhaps I went a bit far there, the fact remains that 60,000 gathered at Glastonbury for the cause of peace. Other good points were the multimedia attractions including David Rappaport, Kevin Turvey, etc, videos and stuff which I succeeded in completely missing. I suppose Glastonbury at least made a point, which is the last thing you can say about Stonehenge. June 21-23 After only one night to recover from Glastonbury, Puddle and me arrived at the Henge, to find that we had missed Hawkwind, Here & Now and Rats and Foxes, perhaps my luck was changing… (general hippy-bashing rant)… For a supposedly anarchistic free festival, there was an awful lot of capitalism going on… (etc)… In the morning I made a resolution never to say another bad thing about Futurama and headed for the A303.

Before the first WOMAD festival, I was woken up by the Burundi drummers practising round the back of the Paragon in Bath – thinking someone was taking the piss out of me playing Bow-wow-wow or the Ants. July 16-18 When we arrived at the Shepton Mallet Showground, there was an altogether more hopeful and enthusiastic atmosphere than at Glastonbury, and the weather looked like holding for the weekend. Initial hassles getting everybody in over, we laboriously set about putting up tents and missed the Burundi drummers’ first set, but the skanking rhythms of the Beat drifting out from stage 1 was a good introduction to WOMAD. Talisman were like a different band from the one that bored me stupid at Glastonbury. King Trigger started well but after a few numbers they just sounded like a disorganised Clash, for all their trendy haircuts and ethnic chic. Check out the b-side of ‘The River’ single though, it’s ace.

Then there were a few hours to kill in the beer tent before the evening concert in the Showering Pavilion. Only a few old hippies propped up the bar, post-punks rubbed shoulders with Rip Rigs. Espadrilles, cut-off sweatshirts and the nearest thing you could get to dreads was the order of the day. The tracks from the campsite to the outdoors stage and the pavilion were a colourful engulfing spectacle, not a dreary depressing routine. So engulfed in this multicultural spectacle, and Halls bitter, were we that we missed half of Simple Minds. On hearing ‘Promised You A Miracle’, we rushed from the beer tent into the pavilion, to be met with a scene not unlike Futurama. The Minds delivered in my opinion the best set of the festival. Sorry about being un-ethnic and too western but I’ll always go for menacing slices of new pop like ‘Celebration’ and ‘I Travel’.

Ekome’s bright and cheerful rhythms brought us nicely to the grandmaster and organiser of WOMAD, Peter Gabriel. But, for possibly the driving force behind the festival, his set showed little of cultural crossover and joyful celebration. This was what the hippy minority came for – monotonous sub-Numan electro-rockist claptrap – made slightly more bearable when Ekome joined him for the last few numbers and I had to admit that the encore of ‘Biko’ was convincing. Contrived or not, it was a heart-warming spectacle to see everyone together; punks, Rastas, other West Indians, hippies, Chinese, you name it. The next day: 23 Skidoo sounded like an elephant dying from the sanctuary of my tent (I was subsequently won over to this industrial-funk cause by ‘Coup’). The next time I stirred it was to the more basic honest rantings of Seething Wells. His poems have now become as familiar as the great bard Cooper-Clarke but apparently were not appreciated by the sparse Saturday morning crowd.

The Electric Guitars were predictable but fun, unlike the boring, uninspiring old jazz-rock of Pigbag later in the afternoon. I’m not that into the Beat’s self assured even bland pop but they definitely delivered the goods, and the Burundi drummers were nothing short of a spectacle – all the hype was entirely justified. The lovable tribesmen won a place in everyone’s hearts with their affable grins and exhilarating drumming. Uncompromising and relentless. 45 minutes of sheer energy. They just don’t miss a beat. How can you follow an act like that? From the poorest country in Africa to the city with the worst unemployment in the UK, making the cultural crossover complete, Echo and the Bunnymen, the act everyone had really come to see. They even got their camouflage backdrop back out for the occasion. McCullough was in usual stoned puppet mode and tonight they do it clean. The best I’ve seen them. When McCullough brought on a contingent of Burundi drummers for ‘Zimbo’ everyone was spellbound. If there must be a single highlight of WOMAD, this was it. ‘The heart of the world in the heart of the West Country.’

July 31-August 1 Our most far-flung trip to the Elephant Fayre in Cornwall was held up by a drug squad raid on the Paragon and me being busted for attempting to shoplift a bottle of vodka. The Elephant Fayre was more like a church fete, except that the Windsor Chapter don’t go to fetes as a rule. Really it’s just another boring folk festival. What made it different this year and the reason why thousands of us trekked to St Germans in Cornwall was that Siouxsie and the Banshees had chosen it for their only UK appearance of ’82. I squeezed my way into the big top, where I must have been the only one who remembered the intro-tape of Suzi Quatro, Sweet, Alice Cooper, except for a group of angels who were getting their kicks by belting any young punk who dared to dance in front of them. But this didn’t deter us and eventually the hairy relics were forced to fade away into their bygone age of sex and drugs and gratuitous violence. For possibly their last gig I was expecting, I must admit, a trip down memory lane, extravagant lightshow, etc, but the Banshees were still on the level. Siouxsie seemed to be going through the motions a bit but she’s still light years ahead of the rest…

October Bauhaus and Danse Society tour. Vague 13 came out. ‘Pass the Dutchie’ by Musical Youth and ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?’ by Culture Club were number 1. November 2 Channel 4 began broadcasting. November 10 Leonid Brezhnev died. November 22 Dead Kennedys at Bath Pavilion. November 24 Banshees at Southampton Gaumont. December 12 Greenham Common was encircled by women in protest at Cruise missile deployment. December 15/16 Iggy Pop at the Venue. December 20 Lords of the New Church at Bristol Trinity CND/Vague Promotions. December 30 UK Decay at Hammersmith Clarendon.


Tom Vague
(Vague Publishing, 1982)
now out of print