Saturday 28 September 2013



I admit it
I threw that stone,
my sweaty nail-bit ten-year-old paw
finger-gripped that hard shrapnel
and launched the missile
that shattered Mr Siser’s window,
the splinter-sharp detonation both
breath-catch crazy with scary exultation

and this is why
Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger
and Danny of The Bash Street Kids,
they throw stones, they shatter windows
frame-by-frame in the kid’s adventuretown
I’m forever excluded from,
do it, they hiss-whisper in itchy-urge
throw that stone,
hear that splinter-sharp smash that goes
CRASH!!!’ in big red block letters,
it really does, do it, do it,
so I did it

I remember it,
how I threw that stone,
I did it, this is why, I was ten
Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger
and Danny of The Bash Street Kids
are still ten in a snigger-frame
kid’s adventuretown this bored adult
is still excluded from,
hard shrapnel finger-gripped tight,
do it, do it they itchy-urge,
I hesitate…

Live: ABC at Sheffield City Hall, 1982

ABC at Sheffield City Hall
(Tuesday, 9 November 1982)

While this tour was still being premeditated, rehearsed, and micro-adjusted, I suggested to blonde alto-saxist Stephen Singleton that ABC work from an essentially cerebral base. He didn’t disagree. Each stage of their irresistible rise has been scrupulously thought out, and as a culmination of the year in which IT ALL HAPPENED writ large this multi-city slog is too important to allow any angle to remain uncovered. Despite some early slight imbalance on the sound mix, their pre-planning works with the precision of flying knives, and they serve up a hi-octane set of a heat-intensity that near crisps the speakers. Borne on visual flash in glitzy show-biz lavishness, with a rhythm pulse to answer every question, and sharp intelligent songs, they fly and they fly eight miles higher than you ever thought possible.

‘Unique’ is a vastly overworked adjective in Rock-crit, and usually gets related more to hair-style than to musical originality, but ABC re-invest the word with some currency value – who else unveils their set with an “Overture” spun out in ice-blue light by a sextet of girl violinists? And from that point on the ABC Molotov Cocktail is a hermetically-tight sixteen-piece organism taking the full-house assembly of uncritical devotees through a punishing extreme lexicon of hits. An elongated Funk-slanted “Tears Are Not Happy”, a blistering “4-Ever 2-Gether” with its vocoder-scrambled vocal motif, and “Valentine’s Day” with Mark White trading lead guitar for chiming repetitive xylophone figures. The songs deal in lyrical interplay and never condescend to market demands for nursery rhyme simplicity – but they programme their way through a no.1 album and a clutch of hit ‘B’-sides that everyone here already owns, so there’s little new territory. And the formula functions squeaky-clean according to blueprint, a state of constant turn-on with nowt left to chance.

There’s just one unpremeditated sourness – midway through the epic “All Of My Heart”, the lush orchestration fades dramatically to allow maximum emotional emphasis for Martin Fry to breathily emote the title – only, with a split-second timing worthy of the band itself, an audience saboteur whips in and yells it out before him, stealing the phrase! Martin – forced to merely echo the line, is audibly shook up, he hasn’t allowed for such imperfections or unplanned occurrences. I’d guess the strategic infiltration of Fry’s solo slot could also include a miscalculation, it provides some textural variation (and allows the rest of the band time to switch from black glitter jackets to gold lamé!), but his voice – perfectly mixed and matched to group compositions, sounds awkwardly unsuited to Sinatra’s “I Wish I Were In Love Again”. Fry is no natural extrovert, which means he’s forced to play his role harder, and in this instance he sounds miscast. But the best is yet to come. Cranked up to a solid wedge of sparkling hits the show peaks super-hot on perfect power, an exuberantly celebratory “Alphabet Soup”, a “Poison Arrow” delivered right on target, and an opulent “Look Of Love” that leaves the audience emotionally shredded.

Precision can be a safety harness, an over-compensation for imagined inadequacies, and this first national tour carries a hell of weight for ABC. But as the show, and the inter-city trek, grains momentum (and confidence) then that balance too will be fine-tuned. They are too meticulous, and too cerebral, to do otherwise. ABC will wilt you, permanent. They are here to stay…

Thursday 26 September 2013



Book Review of:
(Allen Lane, 2006, then Penguin Books,
2007 ISBN: 978-0-141-03535-2)

Gaia is a metaphor. A useful metaphor, but a metaphor nonetheless. Because the interactive dynamic Earth-systems in some ways resemble those of a living organism does not mean that it is a living organism. James Lovelock makes this distinction clear in his first few paragraphs. ‘Gaia’ – the name of the Greek Earth-goddess, was proposed in 1969 by ‘The Lord Of The Flies’-novellist William Golding, as an appropriate designation for ‘the Living Earth’ idea. That its leading champion, James Lovelock, is then ‘unrepentant’ about persisting in employing this useful metaphor as part of his didactic arsenal, with conscious purpose, sometimes lends ammunition to the New Age mystics and Loony-Tune Pagan groups who take Gaia on face-value. Lovelock speaks misleadingly of the ‘goals’ of Gaia. Inanimate systems cannot have goals. The fragile temperate biosphere we inhabit is more a state of equilibrium, a random and shifting compromise between forces, with ‘checks and balances’ resulting as these complex interactions fine-tune and adjust against each other. Only sentience, the accidental by-product of this chaotic fluctuation, has goals. If Earth has a consciousness, it is the resident naked apes who provide that brief experimental state.

As Crispin Tickell writes in this book’s Foreword, Leonardo da Vinci presciently saw the human body as a microcosm of the Earth, and the Earth as a macrocosm of the body, without being aware of just how much the human body is a symbiotic assemblage of tiny elements of life – bacteria, parasites and viruses, which are often at war with each other. Pretty much as Gaia is seen to function. Or now, it seems, to veer into malfunction. We’re all familiar with the vocabulary of Global Warming. We’ve watched the poignant TV-docs of polar bears on vanishing ice-floes, seen the satellite scare-photos of reducing ice-caps. We’ve no excuse for not knowing that the systems that govern climate have shifted into a dangerous instability, and that negative feedback-loops are accelerating the process. Other planets have vast and turbulent weather-systems.

Other planets have, or show evidence of having had, geothermal activity. Only Earth in the entire immense cosmos is known for certain to have biota. That’s why the ‘Curiosity’ probe is trundling around arid Mars now. That’s why it’s important to determine whether Mars does, or did ever harbour even primitive microbial life. Many extra-solar planets have been tentatively identified. It seems that planetary systems occur with some degree of frequency. But life is something else entirely. Its likelihood is so far impossible to ascertain. It’s impossible to draw up a chart of statistical likelihood with only one sample. So far as we can be certain, Earth is still the only world to evolve biota. And that thin shell of biosphere is another of the interactive elements that determines the conditions of Gaia.

Chaos Theory enters into the equation round about here. The idea that very small environmental changes can produce huge and unpredictable consequences. As with butterflies and hurricanes. This is not just fancy theory. The poisonous atmosphere of the newly-formed Earth was subtly altered over millions of years by bacteriological activity. Enabling plant-life, which accelerated the process further. Ushering in the kind of atmospheric composition that allows it to become this planet of the apes. It’s just that now those clever naked chimps are inflicting their own hazardous changes on the planet.

Science Fiction talks blithely of terraforming Mars. While out-of-control forces are already transfiguring our own planet in ways that can only become increasingly apparent, in ways already suggested by enviro-disaster movies such as Kevin Costner’s ‘Waterworld’ (1995) and Roland Emmerich’s ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (2004). Even the title Lovelock selects – ‘The Revenge Of Gaia’, adds a SF slant, as though this is an ongoing episode from the epic ‘Star Wars’ cycle. And yes, imagination is a useful tool against short-termism. A single lifetime – let alone a political term of office, is not long enough to register the changes going on around us. Science provides the necessary template. Imagination can populate past and future with incident. This can provide the overdue tool necessary to envisage what Lovelock describes as the ‘coming crisis’, warning that ‘nothing so severe has happened since the long hot period at the start of the Eocene, fifty-five million years ago’. How are we expected to conjecture such conditions? Does he overstate for effect? Unlikely – the ‘climategate controversy’ demonstrates just how quickly deniers seize on any evidential inconsistency to fuel their smear-campaigns. But that episode does serve to illustrate how much indeterminacy there is within the calculations, and how unpredictable results can be.

Sci-Fi has been here before. We’ve lived with imminent apocalypse since Hiroshima, since technology took over from biblical visions of armageddon. Why should Climate Change be different? We got through the Cold War by a hair’s breath combination of calculated self-interest and luck. Neither is an option now. And so far, the twenty-first century has been misguided by the stupidest free-market economic concepts, what Crispin Tickell calls the ‘deeply entrenched fashionable delusions about the supremacy of market forces’ (and Lovelock calls ‘the mess of current energy and transport policy’). With policies that are based around the unprincipled principles of limitless expansion gorging itself on profligate acquisition, which are the direct antithesis of the responsibilities required if Global Warming is to be addressed. To Lovelock there is an ‘extraordinary degree of international effort and carefully planned sequences to implement’ ahead of us, but we are ‘tribal animals’ with deeply embedded behavioural-DNA resistant to coordinated change. Things don’t look good. Politicians tweak at percentage-reduction in greenhouse-gas projections for the coming decades in the full knowledge that they will not be fulfilled. While whatever fuel-economies or renewables-implementation are achieved are simultaneously swallowed up by the expanding energy-needs of a world-population nudging nine-billion. And globalised civilisation is so precariously stretched that the slightest environmental tilt will have terrible and far-reaching consequences. As Lovelock says, ‘the planet we live on has merely to shrug to take some fraction of a million people to their death.’

We are victims of our own smartness. Victims of our own success. Ten-thousand years of superstition, prayer, religious piety and ritual sacrifice saved not one plague victim. A brief few centuries of rational medical science, balanced diet and hygiene has expanded life-expectancy and reduced the threat of early death, to such an extent that population-levels are already unsustainable. The overpopulation bomb adds to an instability that will adversely touch every Earthling over the coming century. Lovelock has written elsewhere about how ‘we have grown in number to the point where our presence is perceptibly disabling the planet like a disease.’ To Tickell the answer is ‘how to achieve symbiosis.’ There’s no problem on Earth today that could not be resolved by reducing its human population to pre-industrial or medieval figures. That’s my assertion, not necessarily James Lovelock’s.

So Global Warming is now generally – if grudgingly accepted, as Lovelock concedes in this highly-readable book. While ultimate outcomes remain impossible to predict. Climate changes will happen as systems adjust against each other, until a new stable equilibrium emerges. What that equilibrium will be is still anyone’s guess. Whether the ongoing escalations continue indefinitely, beyond the optimum temperatures for life as it did fifty-five million years ago in the Eocene. Or simply, if devastatingly, restabilises at a new, if different, level, to which a much-reduced human civilisation will have to awkwardly adapt. All planets achieve a kind of equilibrium. Mars has one that’s remained unchanged for millions of years. Venus has one. Neither has one capable of supporting life. There’s so much unquantifiable theoretical data involved, each with its own built-in uncertainties, that no amount of computer climate-modelling can foretell it. As Lovelock gloomily predicts while tinkering with his ‘Daisyworld’ simulations, breeding pairs of humans will likely survive. With the full scientific and technological resources at our descendents disposal, some kind of SF future will happen. What that future will be is still the stuff of speculation.

He laments what we have already lost. The pollution and rape of his once-familiar English landscape. Although obviously Green by necessity – his ‘The Gaia Hypothesis’ (1972) provided a vital catalyst in the Global Heating debate, Lovelock has antagonised the Green Movement by embracing nuclear energy as a temporary fix to tide civilisation over until nuclear-fusion provides a more lasting solution – as though such a technology is inevitable! And by advocating ditching ‘extravagant and intrusive’ wind-turbines in favour of massive sea-defences for threatened coastlines. Governments must, must, must he hectors. Surely aware that governments – fixated on electoral think-tanks and focus groups won’t, won’t, won’t. Not until there’s absolutely no other alternative. But he has a point, about the sea-defences anyway. We don’t need Atlantis to illustrate previous inundations. Just beyond the reach of recorded history, the North Sea was the forested ‘Doggerland’, home of human tribes and animal species. This happened at the end of the most recent glaciations, the last time the ice-caps melted, ten-thousand years ago. A blink in time for Gaia. Yet nature is resilient. There have been mass-extinctions before. In the lifetime of Gaia it’s no big deal.

Even taking on Lovelock’s most bigoted Right-Wing Big Pharma, Military-Industrial, Big Petroleum and Agri-business free-market fundamentalist critics on their own terms, and conceding – OK, Global Warming isn’t happening, it’s not our fault, it’s part of a natural cycle of climate-fluctuations… by implementing more rational policies, we still come out with a cleaner more-sustainable energy-efficient and more tolerably inhabitable planet. Yet mere stability – as James Lovelock relentlessly emphasises, is not enough. It’s equivalent to a terminal lung-cancer victim anticipating a cure by belatedly quitting smoking. Because the processes are already in motion to counteract the viral blight of the proliferating ape. Our racial hubris could so easily be checked – Gaia-wise, by a single species-jumping pandemic. There’s no sentient element to such a solution. It’s purely a random series of events. But, as with the model of climate-change, it has the effect of a self-regulating health-check on an endangered Gaia. This is where the checks-and-balances built into the Gaia concept come into play. Gaia is a metaphor. Earth is not a living thing. Human beings are.

Wednesday 25 September 2013



Album Review of:
(One Little Indian TPLP 1172, August 2013)

‘Punk belongs to the Punks, not the businessmen,
they need us, we don’t need them…’
                                              (“Take Heed”)

If you were there, if you were part of it, you already know this. If you weren’t… well, there was a time, before the Boy-Bands won. A time when there was more to music than just celebrity status. Although there was mischief aplenty, Flux Of Pink Indians’ strivings were always at the service of their radical politics causes. Which were the regular Anarcho-Punk short-fuses of anti-nukes, veggie Animal Rights, anti-sexism, anti-religion and anti-closed-mind bigotry. A litany of values pretty-much consistent throughout sub-culture protest in general. But nevertheless urgently delivered with painful sincerity. Those concerns, always off the mainstream, are even more distanced now. So it’s all the more important that these voices should be reignited, heard again, compelling you to wonder just what we’ve lost out on over the intervening years.

As the first wave of the primal Punk ‘Big Bang’ bifurcated, some into mainstream New Wave chart celebrity, others – the more politically focused groups, gravitated into the more considered ground-level ethos expressed through the messy fanzine underground. Formed out of the ashes of The Epileptics in 1980, in the unlikely environs of Bishop’s Stortford in sedate Hertfordshire, Flux Of Pink Indians (‘Flux’ for change, ‘Pink’ for Gender Politics, ‘Indians’ for marginalised and victimised Native Americans) were contemporaries of Poison Girls, and more especially of Crass – with whom they shared bills many times.

In fact their devastating debut EP ‘Neu Smell’ was produced by Penny Rimbaud and originally released in 1981, on Crass Records. Supported by John Peel radio-plays the first side consists of a stunning suite of three linked tracks, intro’d and outro’d by short poems. The first sound is of crows. A distant dog barks. Then a gnarly accent voice, ‘Can ye smell the neu smell, travelling through the air?’ it enquires, ‘Aye, I can lad, it’s a-coming from over there’. The strange dialogue continues ‘over the hills, down in’t valley, there’s no buildings there, there’s a nuclear dump-site there...’ with the punch-line kicking in ‘Parliament says it’s safe, so why not dump it THERE?!?’ An explosion. A nagging bass figure. Rim-sharp drums. Crashing guitars. Hoarse razor-tongued vocals. ‘I love tube disasters, I wanna marry a tube disaster, I wanna ‘nother one like the last one, ‘cos I live for tube disasters’. The short sharp Punk-dumb Ramones-minimalist absurdist lyric delivering the exact counterweight necessary for the book-ending spoken-word bits. Is it gratuitous shock for shock’s sake? Or a metaphor for society hurtling towards disaster? Either way, it closes with tube-train noises. Then a more considered poetic dialect piece with apocalyptical visions of existential bleakness, ‘and oh, as yes the sky did turn to night, I shield my eyes and hide from the bright of day’. Daringly iconoclastic, a brilliantly luminous noise, this brief sequence is just about as perfect as anarcho-Punk would ever get.

The second side of the EP consists of “Sick Butchers” and “Background Of Malfunction”. Both scathing attacks on meat-eating, the first lending voice to cows who end up as car seat covers, giving ‘my soul for your soles of shoes’, the second extending to the hypocrisy in which there’s public outrage when a menagerie lion kills a zoo-keeper in ‘cold blood’, while humans tuck into a ‘lovely steak’. The full story explained in the typewritten text of the full fold-out EP-sleeve manifesto. Adopting an exaggerated ‘Posh’ voice to caricature the safe middle-class diners, “Background Of Malfunction” is carried on a ‘Pretty Vacant’ forward-drive. While “Sick Butchers” is all high guitar squeals, insistent tom-tom drums, and an impassioned ‘meat is murder’ howl of protest. ‘You may like my taste. It might say in the Bible that you can kill me…’ (yes, it does) but ‘I don’t want to die.’ Told from the animal’s POV, I ‘used to graze in the field. Used to breathe. I used to be alive. Now, sold in supermarkets’, ending with a cow’s plaintive mooo drowned out by electronic whines. Sonically, the 2013 re-mastered reissue reinforces the songs’ uncompromising message – angry punk rock, spine-cracking backbreaking riffs that smite pomposity and corruption, played hard and fast without unnecessary polish, a visceral reminder of just how fiercely politicised the underground music and sub-cultural landscape of the time could be.

The ‘Neu Smell’ line-up consisted of Colin Latter (vocals), Derek Birkett (bass), Andy Smith (guitar), Neil Puncher (guitar) and Sid Ation (drums). Yet by the time of their 1983 debut LP, ‘Strive To Survive Causing Least Suffering Possible’ – issued according to their DIY ethos, on their own Spiderleg label (1983, SDL8), just two of that original line-up survived – Latter and Birkett. Reasons are up for grabs. Ation was also gigging with Rubella Ballet, and quit Flux to play with them full-time. Simon Middleton (who replaced Andy Smith) and drummer Dave ‘Bambi’ Ellesmere both returned to the Insane from whence they’d come. In a fanzine interview (in ‘No Class’) the break was blamed on the group shoutily espousing veggie issues, whereas two members were still carnivores. Well, maybe. Meanwhile, guitarist Kevin Hunter who had been a part of the Epileptics – who name-changed to Epi-X after bad-taste accusations from the British Epilepsy Association, re-emerged, and re-joined. The reconfigured line-up was completed by Martin Wilson (drums).

If the album doesn’t quite serve up the aural variation promised by the EP, falling short of its concise compressed perfection, that’s more within the nature of the format. When extended and multiplied, something is lost and something gained. Greater consistent emphasis. With no personal dimension, and every fibre given over to vibrating disgust and insurrection. Thuggish riffs, gleefully wrathful rants, and guitars drenched in Molotov cocktails. It could be accused that maybe their sometimes inept strivings are in the cause of their sometimes poorly-understood issues, but don’t tell me they don’t mean it, and each track has the saving grace of at least one clever line.

The first of its twelve tracks, “Song For Them” is a straight serious poem read over a background of scatological inter-band dialogue, taking just forty-nine seconds to attack the global imbalance of wealth coexisting alongside extreme poverty. Exclaiming how it’s ‘hard to believe their plight is accepted, while money so wasted could be redirected’, that those in drought and famine are ‘not some race that don’t feel pain’ and that ‘starvation is something you don’t become immune to’. “Charity Hilarity” extends the theme, its speed-thrash making the neat point that ‘the money we donate to charity is too small to be of real consequence, but large enough to ease our conscience’. “Some Of Us Scream, Some Of Us Shout” makes the same point, with the chanted equation ‘feed starving people: fuck your bombs’ (partially recalling Allen Ginsberg’s ‘go fuck yourself with your atom bomb’ in his poem “America”), while expanding the scope to militaristic social conditioning, with ‘they shove toy guns on impressionable children, their future soldiers of war’ as guitars squeal in pain. It closes with Colin’s exasperated ‘fuck off’ howled from an air-hungry throat.

With the general ideological terrain of uninterrupted invective established, in dead earnest, “Myxomatosis” focuses on a menu of ‘experimentation, vivisection, devastation, starvation, torture, war’, balancing the equation ‘animals feel pain: people feel pain’. Jostling, squealing with dive-bombing guitar runs, there are dual voices, one high and ranting, vocal chords strung as tense as clotheslines, the other adding low commentary like a manifesto, ‘to live in peace, we must reject all oppression on all levels… there can be no compromise’. With solid near-Sham 69 vocal attack, the track preceding it concerns those victims of animal testing who are deliberately “Blinded By Science”, by having chemicals dripped into their eyes. And those who look the other way in the hope it’ll go away. The slow bass of “Tapioca Sunrise” re-mangles John Lennon’s sloganeering into ‘war does not pay’, its ‘Road-Runner’ scratch-riff perforating down the fret aimed at the then-current Mutual Assured Destruction madness of Cold War superpower posturing. There are atom bombs on land, in the air and at sea, threatening innocent animals and people (animals first, people second!), using military might as proof of what is right. More manifesto than song, but none the less potent for that.

Throughout the album there’s few concessions to any kind of Green Day-style melodic song-content, with everything reduced down to high-impact high-velocity urgency. But it’s never less than energising fun, and always immensely enjoyable. Two further tracks face up to the dilemma of voicelessness in the face of structures of power, with the guitar jangle of “They Lie, We Die” – a title that’s stubbornly chanted over and over again, a slogan, a street-chant, an anthem, addressing the suspect implementation of nuclear power to generate electricity, pointing out ‘don’t wait to be asked, no questionnaire will come’. While opting out (or in hippie-speak ‘dropping out’) is the only meaningful response to “Progress” – ‘you want to devastate… all I want to do is breathe’, propelled by Martin’s double-drumming. Modern life, it seems, is rubbish.

In the absolute certainty of their anger the targets that Flux attack are religion, the State, patriotism, monarchy, capitalism, career politicians – all the manipulative social elements that distort human behavior away from the simple truths of the mutual co-operation of free and equal peoples. With the egalitarian group-structure offered as the perfect self-sustaining alternative model. An assertion that “Take Heed” clarifies, a detailed virtual analysis of the way the idealism of the original Punk-movement was sabotaged by the monetising greed of the music industry. An appropriately jerky dislocated noise, the voice is mixed well back, from which hectoring phrases emerge and submerge, before tailing off into haunting slithering feedback. The lyrics were nevertheless printed on the album inner-sleeve, making their stance clear. With no possibility of missing the agenda. Anti-materialist. No time for hesitation. No space for compromise.

There’s none of the open-ended uncertainty of earlier generations of protest. Nothing is blowing in this wind. Yet there are two tracks that admit the possibility of questions. Accumulating in spiky mass, the accelerating twittering and rasping of “Is There Anybody There” verbalises a crisis of faith in its ‘I’ve worked hard, lived in fear of judgment day’, before appealing ‘is religion really true, or just another tool used to control and manipulate the things we do?’ While the stately rhythms of “TV Dinners” – a longer more structured piece, comments on the diet of media violence through which ‘we’ve all learned to love to hate’, which ‘isn’t acceptable in any form’. Untypically generous in conceding ‘the blame lies not within the system, the blame lies not with the State, the blame lies not within religion… it lies within each and every one of us’, as its riffs, overlaid with Kevin’s stinging guitar, accelerate suddenly, tempo-shifting with accumulative power, before this garbled syntax of apocalypse collapses into a cacophony of discordant noise and yells. Then the closing track “The Fun Is Over” announces ‘the nightmare has started… the end has arrived’. It’s time to stand back and reject it all. Now’s the time for action.

Although this is the album that defines Flux Of Pink Indians, and best encapsulates what it was all about, the fun was by no means over. It was followed by a second LP, ‘The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks’ (Spiderleg DLP SDL13, 1984). Then, by 1986 Birkett had ignited the fledgling One Little Indian label, through which the group released its third and final album, ‘Uncarved Block’ (1987, One Little Indian TP1) produced by Adrian Sherwood, with the band-name abbreviated to Flux.

Appropriately, it’s One Little Indian that re-mastered and re-issued ‘Strive To Survive Causing Least Suffering Possible’ (on 8th July 2013), in various formats. With a double vinyl pressing augmented by original album demos plus the now-highly collectible EP ‘Neu Smell’. All formats restore the original 1983 artwork, while the CD and download package adds a live set from Shepherds Bush Empire, captured in November 2007 by a one-off reformed line-up playing support to ex-Crass singer Steve Ignorant’s ‘Feeding Of The 5000’ show. On this night Flux was completed by bassist Ian Glasper, who’d met Colin and Kev while researching his authoritative book ‘The Day The Country Died: A History Of Anarcho-Punk 1980 To 1984’ (Cherry Red Books, May 2006), his sequel to ‘Burning Britain: The History Of UK Punk 1980-1984’ (Cherry Red Books, January 2004).

For the accompanying publicity release, Martin admits to initial reservations over reforming, ‘considering all the principles and beliefs that Flux stood for, I had mixed emotions as to why we should play the show,’ but ultimately discovered ‘I was astonished at how much interest there still is in Flux.’

‘The opportunity to play all those great songs from ‘Strive’, and alongside Steve of Crass, was too compelling to say no to’ rationalises Colin. And ‘we were able to reproduce the album with more power than we ever had before.’

‘I wasn’t sure how it would feel playing a gig with the band again after a break of twenty-five years,’ concurs Kev, ‘especially as I’d hardly picked up a guitar in the interim, but as soon as we started rehearsing it just felt right.’ And it does.

Inviting people to think, to question, to protest, is not a significant element of what’s going on in music today. And Flux Of Pink Indians were always bottom-up, not top-down. More concerned with igniting activism in their audience, provoking them to form their own groups and their own labels, to work through an underground network of not-for-profit fanzines, to join an activist demonstration. This was more vital than getting their ID-mugshots across the cover of the ‘NME’. That might have been a part of it. Although not, by any means, a significant part of it. Things are different now. I download the digitalised version of the album package. How would Flux have originally dealt with downloads and online subversion? As “Take Heed” eloquently documents, they always distrusted and were fiercely opposed to Big Music industry machinations. But downloads is an even more efficient way of circumventing monolithic industry structures… isn’t it?

“Punk will never be dead,
as long as some of us refuse to be led…”
                     (“Take Heed”)