Tag Archives: post punk

UV Pop

I MET John White aka UV Pop when I bunked off sixth form and went over to Doncaster with some girl I was seeing at the time to interview Marcus Featherby about his label, Pax. I’d come into contact with Marcus through the punk gigs he promoted at the Marples in Sheffield. I’d never met anyone quite like either of them before.

At the time, Marcus was staying at John’s two-up-two-down in Bentley. My most vivid memory is the heating not being on, despite it being a very cold Yorkshire winter, but then again, I was still living with my parents, and didn’t have to worry about paying for leccy. And I think my girlfriend was much more impressed with both John and Marcus than she was with me.

Marcus gave me a copy of the debut, Cabs-produced UV Pop single, and I was impressed enough to interview John for my fanzine. I have no clue whether we did the interview in person or through the post.

People being vegetarian seemed to be really important to me at the time (I’d gone veggie about six months earlier, so I had the conviction of the convert), and I had yet to work out the world was coloured in various shades of grey rather than the black and white certainty I so clearly craved.

I’d like to say my interview technique is more subtle and nuanced these days but it really isn’t.

I can’t find any activity for UV Pop (who eventually became a proper band despite John’s reservations), beyond 2012, but I hope John is still making music.

***

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Dennis Morris of Basement 5 and Urban Shakedown

EVERYONE knows the score, right?

Someone whose work you’ve admired for three decades is appearing in town – except you’re broke and worse, broken-hearted, because your girlfriend’s just walked out on you, it’s all still very raw and you don’t really know what day it is.

So you walk all the way to the Whitworth in the rain, and then when you get there, you’re soaked to the skin, you’ve no fags left, everything’s a bit surreal and you suddenly feel utterly disconnected from whatever the fuck ‘normal’ is.

You can’t find the insightful, carefully-researched questions in your pad, so you just end up asking questions about stuff that’s not very interesting, and forget all the stuff you really wanted to know about.

Everybody has been there, right? No? Yeah, me neither.

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Once Upon A Time/The Singles by Siouxsie and the Banshees (Polydor)

THESE days, buying records, actual vinyl, from Boots the well-known High Street chemist and purveyor of beauty products probably seems about as likely as the idea of buying, say, a vibrating cock-ring from Boots would have seemed 30 years ago.

But, of course, thanks to the unending onward and upward trajectory of civilisation, you can now buy vibrating cock-rings in Boots. Terrific. I’m glad. I am genuinely pleased that cock-ring enthusiasts are now catered for. I’m just disappointed that you can’t buy vinyl there anymore.

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Basement Shakedown

ONE of the last, great undiscovered bands of the Eighties, Basement 5 are completely unknown to most, forgotten by many and utterly loved by a lucky few. Kris Needs nearly went and spoiled it by writing a piece about them for Mojo last year, the bloody bugger, but luckily nobody seemed to take much notice. I’m only telling you now on the condition that you keep all this to yourself, so think on.

Formed, so the story goes, by Don Letts with one-and-a-half grand of Chris Blackwell’s money, Basement 5 occupied a space somewhere between Killing Joke and PIL – like a real-life collision between punk and dub reggae rather than a theoretical one. I only know their stuff because some guy I happened to sit next to during registration at sixth form sold me their 1965-1980 album and the accompanying dub 12-inch for a fiver in 1982.

“You have to play it very loud to enjoy it fully,” said control room wizard Martin Hannett some time later. “It was the most difficult production, I must say, the heaviest. It was 18-degrees in the shade, the end of August. As I recall it has been the most physical album that I’ve ever done. Made me feel like I’d been carrying bricks around. Heavy work. Putting the bass lines in the right place.

“But it was good.”

It’s probably a bit much to call it a ‘mix’ so let’s just say I’ve put together a sequence of music which includes Too Soon and Omega Man from the album closely followed by the Holocaust dub from the 12-inch, book-ended by Careering by PIL and Killing Joke’s Turn To Red, for no other reason than I can. You can download it here.

After Basement 5 split up, singer Dennis Morris went onto form Urban Shakedown, who I saw on some late night youth-orientated post-pub light-entertainment show – perhaps involving Jonathan Ross – in the early days of Channel 4. They looked just extraordinary, two post-apocalyptic punky, funki-dreads, one white, one black, on drums and bass. No guitarist. And their sound was easily as arresting as their look. Drums and bass, pure and simple. It was a tantalizingly brief performance but I never forgot it.

The song they performed on the show, Big Bad Wolf, was one of the first singles on Paul Weller’s Respect label. It never did anything and they sank without trace – though I was very excited when I first heard Some Justice by Mickey Finn’s Urban Shakedown project. I’d hoped it was the same guys I’d heard ten years earlier. It wasn’t. Good tune though, either way.

I bought the seven-inch of Big Bad Wolf, with the dub, Rap The Wolf on the other side, from the marvellous Action Records in Preston last year. Strangely, around the same time, the BBC put out a teaser viral campaign for a Dr Who plotline which involved Big Bad Wolf.

I had to get MP3s of Big Bad Wolf and Rap The Wolf together for a mate, so I thought I may as well share them too. And ChickitupPickitup has a tasty download of Basement 5’s Silicon Chip here.

Be quick now.

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