If punk rock changed anything, they’d abolish it….? No Borders Festival 2008

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October 6, 2008 by cosmoakacitizensmith

(N.B. You can check out footage and interviews from the night at the Video Generation Wales site here courtesy of Lucie.)

Anyone remember a venue called Rumours in sunny Eastbourne on the south coast of England?

It was the kind of place which is now sadly disappearing from UK life. That is, somewhere for all the freaks, weirdos, punks and social irritants to congregate, listen to strange bands and DJs, attend the odd alternative political meeting and smoke more than the odd spliff.

All this while straight life and towny hell goes on all around it oblivious, save from the odd anxious stare in through the windows.

Anyway, there was a legend attached to Rumours that involved one of Dick Fish’s bands – the Subhumans, Culture Shock, Citizen Fish, I remember not – and a gig that they did in one night there back in the day.

It was a sing-a-long anarchist social evening in a small English seaside town, and all the local punks were present. You get the idea.

Half way through the set, Dick Fish said something along the lines of: “Fuck this for a laugh, let’s go and trash McDonalds!” Whereupon all the attendant punks stopped pogoing, put down there pints and along with the entire band, went off and trashed McDonalds down the road.

The contagion was obviously contained that night, as we still appear to be living in globalised hell, albeit now teetering on a recession-filled precipice. But the point was made.

Punk rock was all about DOING something about it!!

(I aint suggesting you bust up burger bars, kids, but stick with me, I’ll come back to this in a minute……)

Fast forward now to the Legendary TJs in Newport, South Wales. The No Borders Festival, the first one of its kind here, happened last weekend and the most important thing to say is a big shout out to all the organisers, bands and punters who made this happen.

It was a labour of love, designed to raise so much-needed cash for the No Borders Wales group and awareness about the whole issue of our racist border controls and the effects they have on people’s lives, (primarily deportations – see the last entry below).

The local punk and activist community rallied round and pulled off a blinder. Despite a slightly lower turn out on the Saturday evening, some punters forked out the cost of the weekend (£10) despite the fact they could only manage to come on one of the evenings.

It was that kind of occasion.

Bands showed up from nearby, down the road from Bristol and as far away as Brighton and Yorkshire. Big shout out to Catch It Kebabs, (say it out loud), a relentless twelve piece ska monster who drove from Barnsley and back in the pissing rain and pulled off a storming set.

Spanner seem to have the art of hardcore politics and bouncing riffs that really get people going. Tracey Curtis‘ set also moved the audience, but in a different way. Her songs collide the innocence of childhood with harsh, adult realities. At a gig like this, the result is very emotional. It’s ok, punk, you can cry if you want to….

If you liked Kilnaboy‘s album Defy the Stars, you’re gonna love they’re new stuff. They showcased some of it on the Friday and it’s available on their website and on CD. Check out their rewired version of Tara Hill.

No Choice, Inner Terrestrials and Rejected are the kind of bands you can see a lot and not get bored of. They hit hard, and despite some problems with the sound, still won the audiences over. Politrix and Filthy Habits are new to me, but well worth a check out if you’re into the vibe. Robb Johnson and the Irregulars, (check out Anarchy in Hackney!) were the musical odd ones out in the line up. I’ve yet to see this man play acoustic and would really like to.

Jesus Bruiser‘s bassist came and joined the happy throng who were making and selling pizzas. Big shout out to you all – you know who you are. There is no such thing as too much vegan pizza!

Special thanks must go out to the loveable plonker (sorry) who managed to forget to bring the Smash EDO film to the venue on time on the Saturday, (Oi!! I’m mentioning no names here, right!!??) It’s such a good film though, everyone forgot the balls up once it was under way. It details a day of action against an arms manufacturing company based in Brighton and it’s well worth a look.

So much so that the local cops took umbrage when it was first shown in the city and tried to have it banned.

Anyhow, in conclusion, a top first No Borders festival. Big pats on the back all round.

A couple of pointers for next time. It would be good to include the people we’re supposed to be standing up for here in some way. I’m told there are a lot of Somali musicians in Bristol, for example. Definitely something to think about, I reckon, and I for one would be up for helping getting on the case with this next time. Any other takers?

And finally, going back to my first point. There was a demo outside the Passport Office in Newport on the Saturday afternoon to raise awareness of the fact that from November, ID cards are going to be compulsory for non-EU students and marriage visa holders, and then other foreign nationals will be issued with one in 2009. No doubt before being rolled out to the general population!! Big Brother is on its way for all of us, and there is defo a need to stand up and be counted. There were about 30 of us there but there should have been more.

Stuff like that worries me. It makes me wonder whether or not punk is just a lot of empty posturing.

Till next time x

You can read more about the demo here.

You can read more about ID cards here

Thanks for the corrections to the SWAG massive!

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