Monday, January 25, 2016

Music Monday: Anarcho punk 1984 in New Cross & Old Kent Road

'Not Just Bits of Paper', edited by Tony Bull and Mickey Penguin is 'A series of recollections, memories, imagined dreams perhaps from the collective memories of those who lived through the punk and anarcho-punk years' of the 1980s (available from Situation Books). It includes lots of flyers and other 'ephemera' and I noticed these two from the Transpontine area.

The first is from November 1984 and is for a gig at the Ambulance Station on the Old Kent Road. This famous squatted venue was in what is now the home of Blue Mantle Antiques across the road from Old Kent Road Tescos - confusingly it is generally known as the old fire station; maybe it housed both emergency services in its history (see more on the squat by the Ruinist). 

The line up for this gig looks good - Antisect were an incredibly powerful, almost heavy metal, hardcore band from Northamptonshire. 

No Defences, my favourite band from that scene, were very different - kind of mutant punk funk with mesmerising deadpan vocals. They recorded an album for Crass's label but it never got released - apparently there was too much bass for Crass to handle! Former members of the band are working on putting out some of that material now, so maybe it will finally get the appreciation it deserves 30 years later.

'No Defences' banner at the Ambulance Station-
'The worst thing imaginable is happening now'
(from Graham Burnett's anarcho-punk archive)

Karma Sutra were my friends from Luton, where I was living at the time. I travelled down with them in their van to the Ambulance Station a few times, and I know I saw them play there as well as Conflict, Chumbawamba, No Defences and State Hate, but I have no memory of seeing Antisect there,  so not sure if I was at this particular gig. Exit-Stance were from Milton Keynes and Sedition from Northampton.

The fire station in its hey day (opened 1903)

Hagar the Womb

The second flyer is for a gig at the Goldsmiths Tavern (now the New Cross House) on 12 May 1984. Headliners Hagar the Womb were originally an all-woman band which was very rare in the punk scene at that time, though later they also had male members including drummer Chris Knowles - who went on to become London acid tekno DJ/producer Chris Liberator. Hagar, once described by Billy Bragg as the new Shangri- Las, reformed a few years ago. Support act State Hate  were in the Conflict hardcore punk mode.

The picture below of Hagar the Womb was from an NME interview (11 August 1984), and was apparently taken in New Cross's Fordham Park in the rain. At least one member of the band then lived in the SE14 Nettleton  Road 1980s punk nexus (lots more about this band, and indeed the whole scene at the excellent Kill Your Pet Puppy site)


Mick H LIBERTY said...

had the pleasure of playing with all those bands except No Defences...or if we (LIBERTY) did i can't remember it. In the last couple of years have played again with Antisect and Hagar the Womb.
Loved playing with Karma Sutra, they were a very underrated band.
Cheers Mick H.

Unknown said...

funnily enough i was at the Charlton demo in the next article, been to most at home games. Altho I'm not an Addick...I am married to one.

Cozmickbrew said...

Hi, nothing to add about any of the gigs but you say you were friends of Karma Sutra and lived in Luton? Do you have any recollection of a woman called Claire who worked in the Dole Office for a time and was also a friend of Karma Sutra and lived in Luton, drove a black VW Beatle? Apologies for the random question ��@X