I STARTED writing this piece about three years ago. This displays a shockingly shit work ethic, so apologies to everyone I talked to. I am such a lazy arse.
What did John Lennon say? Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Then again, he also said, Yes Yoko, we will give over an entire floor of the Dakota building to refrigerating your fur coats, laa – so maybe we shouldn’t hold him up as some kind of arbiter of good taste and time-management.
Where was I?
Around the time the 10 Inches Of Fear package came out, I tried to sell a feature to a few of the glossy music-numpty monthlies but they weren’t having any of it – perhaps not so surprising given that it’s all about a collision between two musical big ideas for which they have no great liking in the shape of anarcho-punk and acid house. Their loss.
But I thought I’d do it anyway. Why deprive readers of this blog just because those miserable cunts in London don’t know their arses from their elbows? I set about interviewing as many of the people involved in the project as I could.
Unfortunately, after I’d talked to everyone else, the interview I did over the phone with Mark Wilson from the Mob was blotted out by the dull throb from a lousy landline and I kind of lost all enthusiasm for it. It just began to seem too much like hard work.
I didn’t so much put it on the backburner as wrap it up in a couple of carriers, stick it in a bin bag and bury it at the bottom of the garden.
I eventually got around to giving it another go, though I still couldn’t make out half of what Mark Wilson said. It’s a bit of an epic one, so I’d make a cup of tea and put your feet up.
Grumpy old punx should also note that I talked to Donna / Honey for quite some time and have plenty more material which didn’t really fit into this piece. I’ll get it together and write all that up at some point in the future.
See you in 2013.
UNLIKE Spinal Tap, Colin Latter, Kevin Hunter and Martin Wilson didn’t have any unexpected chart success in Japan to tempt them into reforming Flux of Pink Indians. But they did have Steve Ignorant.
Although there had been many lucrative offers to get Flux back together since the band split in 1986, it was the chance to appear at last year’s Feeding of the 5000 spectacular – where Ignorant and an all-star backing band performed the whole of the incendiary debut release by Crass at Shepherds Bush Empire – that finally did the trick.
“First of all we said we’d think about it, thinking that the guy would go away and we wouldn’t have to worry about it,” says Latter, who barely seems to have aged a day in 25 years. Only after “some very serious consideration” did they agree to do the gig and even then you get the impression that they didn’t really understand why.
As Latter commented on the Southern messageboard at the time, “Moment of madness? Dunno. Punk defined my life, so a chance to make a racket once more was too tempting.”
“I think it was the fact that it was Steve,” says Kev Hunter. “That was the single most important thing, that he was someone that we admired and respected so much. I don’t know if we would have done it for anyone else.”
“Obviously, if the gig had nothing to do with Crass, we wouldn’t have done it, but the fact that it was Steve kinda swung it for us,” agrees Latter.
“It shows you how in touch I am,” laughs Martin Wilson. “I just thought, Shepherd’s Bush Empire? Us? No way. There’s no way we’d fill a place like that, us and Crass. Who’s going to want to see us these days?”
THANKS to the wonders of the modern mechanical webnet, I can tell you with some certainty that the following interview took place on Sunday, August 25, 1984 at the Leadmill in Sheffield.
I can’t tell you much else about it though. Flux didn’t like specific quotes being attributed to individual members in their interviews, so who says what will have to remain a mystery – though I do remember that Col Latter and Derek Birkett seemed to do most of the talking.
Flux had just released The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks a few months before and were just about to release a brace of singles in the shape of Fuck Off Thatcher and Taking A Liberty. We spoke midway through their miners’ strike benefit tour alongside Chumbawamba, D&V and KUKL.
Reading it now, like so many of the interviews I did back in fanzine land, it seems like something of a missed opportunity. If I’d spent more time thinking about what Flux were trying to say and less time being deliberately obnoxious, we might have got somewhere – but I didn’t.
Don’t judge me. It was a long time ago.
* * *
DO YOU think Fuck Off Thatcher or anything like it will ever change anyone’s opinion of Thatcher?
“Well, why won’t it? I mean, the way you emphasise the way it’s presented ..”
I’m talking about little old ladies who go down to Conservative Club bridge evenings.
I WATCH the postman wheel his cart down the other side of our road and wonder if eil.com can have got my order to me by today. I get a bit excited all of a sudden.
A few minutes later, he’s coming back down our side of the street. He’s a couple of houses away. I hold my breath. Come on lad, I think, you can do it.
The buzzer goes. “Package for you,” it says in a metallic Mancunian monotone.
Two seconds and three storeys later, I open the front door and take the 12-inch cardboard mailer from the unsuspecting postie. If only you knew what you‘re delivering, I think to myself, idiotically, as I thank him.
I make myself walk back up the stairs at a more sedate pace. It’s a big effort. When I get back in the flat I sit on the settee, open the package and slide the album out of its protective sleeve to reveal the savagely androgynous figures on the cover, still every bit as striking, ugly, perverse and compelling as the first day I saw them.