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Idles, Ultra Mono. This Moments Never Mind The Bollocks.

In regards to my recent posts, the latest news on the frontlines of keeping comedy alive. Today the famous Frog and Bucket Comedy club in Manchester, where I worked for many years, has been told by Arts Council England they will receive no financial support because in their words they are, "Not culturally significant." Also today a young woman with cerebral palsy, whom I've worked with in community outreach to help facilitate her dream of having a go at stand up comedy, also got in touch to say she's very angry about the situation myself and other comics are in. Her hero is Francesca Martinez. We plan to make a video together soon as part of ongoing pleas and demonstrations that we are indeed "culturally significant." Never mind the bollocks? You better believe it bruv.

So I thought today I'd get away from all that and write about something that makes me happy. And that something is the band Idles. When folk ask when I first realised I loved the arts I often give them the romantic answer that it was with the Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks. This is a fib. I like many other small children in the 70's actually got into music via Gary Glitter. And you have to admit The Leader is still a banger of a tune. If you actually look at Glitter's entry on Wikipedia it unbelievably states that his music particularly appealed to children. If it wasn't for the fact that the tunes were written by someone else, this may indicate he's some kind of evil mastermind. So for the sake of quite rightly whitewashing history, we'll print the legend and say it was the Sex Pistols that brought me into all things art, as opposed to a paedophile wrapped in tinfoil. Of course even your hero's can challenge you. John Lydon has been in the news for declaring his support for Trump and Brexit. He's also been in the same news in regards to how he's been acting as a carer for his wife Nora who has Alzheimer's. Maybe that will be his greatest work. I think his refusal to conform with what people expect pretty much follows the narrative he's always perused. After all, it was Anarchy for the UK he was suggesting, not nice cuddly liberal attitudes. I prefer to remember that 1000 yard stare and the fact that for a year four kids had the British establishment on the run. A feat that's never been repeated since, and never will be. Even by Idles. However to declare their work in the same bracket as The Pistols is the highest accolade this fan can give. They've both got their fingers on a similar pulsebeat. (Perhaps yet to come) Civil unrest and upheaval.


Idles, for the uninitiated, are a Bristol punk band whos latest LP Ultra Mono went straight into the charts at number one this week. They were brought to my attention by a North East singer/ songwriter who sent me a link to one of the songs from their first album one day, saying, "You'll like this lot." The song was called Mother and features the famous line, "The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich." Along with regular football type chants of the word Motherfucker. The video features Idles frontman Joe Talbot in a pink suit, singing through clenched teeth and smashing up household tatty ornaments. The rest of the band wear pink dresses. How my friend knew I would find this so alluring is a mystery to this day. You can enjoy it below.


I've been with Idles since the start, from before they were famous. Their first LP Brutalism didn't chart, their second, Joy As An Act of Resistance got to number 5, and now they top the charts. It's fair to say they've caught the mood and connected with something deep in UK society. In particular among the working classes. This week comedian Stewart Lee described their music as "Oi Snowflake." Oi became a recognised genre in the latter part of the 1970s, emerging after the perceived commercialisation of punk rock, and before the soon-to-dominate hardcore punk sound. First-generation Oi! bands such as Sham 69 and Cock Sparrer were around for years before the word Oi! was used retroactively to describe their style of music. In 1980, writing in Sounds magazine, rock journalist Garry Bushell labelled the movement Oi!, taking the name from the garbled "Oi!" that Stinky Turner of Cockney Rejects used to introduce the band's songs. The snowflake part of Lee's description reflects the bands commitment to social justice and respect for our fellow human beings. They've written songs about toxic masculinity, immigrants, safe spaces, Brexit, small mindedness, pretentiousness, class perception and all round cries for let's all get along and love one another. Lead singer Joe insists they are not a punk band. It can be tough when the world wants to bracket you. They are as much not a punk band as the Pope is not a Catholic. Sorry Joe.

So let's have a quick look at their latest release. This was the so called tricky third album. Would they be able to keep the momentum going achieved by the first two. I have to admit as a fan I thought they'd never pull it off. Most bands never do. The ones that do manage it go on to become national treasures. Well done Idles you're now a national treasure. It's their best album yet. I'm not going to go on about what is great about it. It's for you to go find them. One thing I do love about them is they employ humour in their attack or approach to stuff. Both in Joe's lyrics and the way the band present and conduct themselves. You'll see that in the post above and the videos below. I'm a huge fan of Joe's lyrics. Of course the back lash has begun, and he get's accused of using clichés etc. It's all Bollocks bruv. His lyrics are direct, accessible, fun and uplifting. See for yourself. I'm going to include a couple of tracks from Ultra Mono below, more for their lyrics than their musicality. They have many better tunes than these. But the new album is all killer no filler so these are good too. After that I'll post my favourite track Great, which is indeed all about Brexit. A good song about Brexit? Shouldn't be possible. Never mind the bollocks.


Carcinogenic Idles

Work the people down to the bone on their knees 9 to 5 every day of the week is Carcinogenic (carcinogenic) There's a minimum wage While your boss takes a raise As he lies through his brand new teeth, he is Carcinogenic (carcinogenic) Over-working, working nurses and teachers Whist you preach austerity is Carcinogenic (carcinogenic) You only die once You'll never come back You're gone when you're gone So, love what you can You only die once You'll never come back You're gone when you're gone So, love what you can Cramming people into high-rises While selling their welfare for low prices Public spending gets big slices While ignoring the true prices Where were you when the ship sank? Probably not queuing for food banks Probably waving your Union Jack Probably rallying for new tanks Probably to blow up the ice caps Because the lunatics have taken over the asylum Ah-ah You only die once You'll never come back You're gone when you're gone So, love what you can You only die once You'll never come back You're gone when you're gone So, love what you can Methamphetamine, crack and heroin And living your life on tik is (Carcinogenic) Ten pints of G, Mad Dog 20-20 Two packs of Bucky and some boozey-oozey is Carcinogenic Class division and bear-baiting On television for better ratings is You only die once You'll never come back You're gone when you're gone So, love what you can You only die once You'll never come back You're gone when you're gone So, love what you can You only die once You'll never come back You're gone when you're gone So, love what you can


Grounds Idles

You will not catch me staring at the sun Not sucking on a dum dum Not turning round to run No Hallelujahs and no kingdom comes So you will not catch me staring at the sun Do you hear that thunder? That's the sound of strength in numbers Fee fee fi fi fo fo fum I smell the blood of a million sons A million daughters from a hundred thousand guns Not taught by our teachers On our curriculum Do you hear that thunder? That's the sound of strength in numbers I am I Unify (hey) Not a single thing has ever been mended By you standing there and saying you're offended Go ahead, tell them what I've intended I'll say what I mean, do what I love And fucking send it Do you hear that thunder? That's the sound of strength in numbers There's nothing brave and nothing useful You scrawling your aggro shit on the walls of the cubicle Saying my race and class ain't suitable So I raise my pink fist and say black is beautiful Do you hear that thunder? That's the sound of strength in numbers I am I Unify I am I Unify, unify, unify Do you hear that thunder?


Great Idles

Blighty wants his country back Fifty-inch screen in his cul-de-sac Wombic charm of the Union Jack As he cries at the price of a bacon bap Islam didn't eat your hamster Change isn't a crime So won't you take my hand, sir And sing with me in time G-R-E-A-T G-R-E-A-T Blighty wants her blue passport Not quite sure what the union's for Burning bridges and closing doors Not sure what she sees on the seashore Islam didn't eat your hamster Change isn't a crime So won't you take my hand, sister And sing with me in time G-R-E-A-T G-R-E-A-T You can have it all, I don't mind Just get ready to work overtime 'Cause we're all in this together



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