Anthrax – One Last Drop 7″

Anthrax cover

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No, not that one, the proper one.

This is a limited vinyl pressing (300, each numbered) of their first new studio tracks in 25 years, originally released on MCD in 2009. The band have put this out to raise money for Bradford’s legendary ‘1 in 12 Club‘, who are facing large bills for essential safety work on their building.

Which means the first thing you’ll get for your money is a warm glow from having helped out a punk institution.

You’ll also get a heavy fold-out card cover with a piece about the club, lyrics to both tracks and some classic Anthrax artwork. They even include the MCD for free. Oh, and there’s a record.

Never mind the 25 year gap, this is about as fresh as punk gets. The pace may have slowed a fraction but the urgency hasn’t diminished one bit. The A side has a really powerful sound, almost an Oi! feel but with more depth to it. The flip is more traditionally moody @-punk, perked up with a simple semi-acoustic refrain along the way. The whole thing is like the second EP on steroids, and I’m really impressed with the progression. I’d even go as far as saying that, as a whole package, it’s the best thing they’ve done to date.

The whole deal is £4 plus postage direct from the band at or buy it on ebay for a little bit more.

OP’s opinion: Five

Squat The Lot!

Squatingt benefit CD poster

I’ve been using whatever remnants of knowledge and wisdom I have in my head to help a young punk put this benefit compilation together. And I’m very excited by how it’s turning out.

There are some great acts involved, covering the whole gamut of punk, ska, folk and other related noise, and they’ve all given their time and tracks for free. Things like this just reinforce why punk will always be a central part of my life and why it’s about so much more than just the music.

Stay tuned for the release date, you’ll hear it here first.

Never Surrender, Never Give In!

In recent days, punks in Aceh, Indonesia, who were attending a benefit gig to raise money for orphans, were arrested en masse, humiliated, and put into 10-day religious fundamentalist ‘re-education’ programmes. Their crime? Being punks.

The Aceh state government implements a form of sharia law. Having a weird haircut, wearing black clothes, and hanging out with people of the opposite sex, apparently breaks that law. Never mind the fact that these kids, who generally don’t have much of their own to start with, were raising cash for those with even less. Or that, on the whole, punks tend to respect human dignity, embrace equality and show compassion to the wider world around them. No, the only thing that matters to these religious nuts is blind obedience to their own fucked-up ‘morality’.

In response, punks from around the world (including yours truly) are getting their shit together and doing whatever we can to show solidarity with our Indonesian brothers and sisters.

First off, protest. Most countries will have an Indonesian embassy or consulate that can be contacted. Check out this list for yours. Send them a polite email or letter protesting against the actions of the Aceh authorities. Here’s the one I sent if you need a starting point:

Dear Sir / Madam

I am writing to you to express my concern at this report on the BBC website:

I find this action by the police in Aceh to be totally unacceptable, an affront to human rights that paints your country in a very poor light. I would suggest that the problem is not with the young people, it is with the intolerant people that they have to live among.

I was once a young punk, complete with the haircut and fashion. I am now a 46-year-old adult and would still call myself a punk, even if I no longer look like one (it’s not just about the clothes and hairstyles). As a punk, I have been to university and I am now a youth worker supporting homeless young people. I still love punk rock and go to many punk rock concerts, and I have met punks from all over the world (including from Indonesia). The young punks I meet are, without exception, kind and compassionate people. They are involved in human rights campaigns, many of them are vegetarians, they stand up against fascism and racism and believe in equality and dignity for all. Surely these are values that we all desire to see encouraged in our young people?

I would ask you to use whatever influence you have to persuade your government to intervene in the situation in Aceh, and ensure that the police service allows these young people to enjoy their punk culture and grow into happy and compassionate adults. Instead of imprisoning and humiliating them, I would suggest that people just take some time to talk to them.

Yours faithfully

People are also starting to organise protests at Indonesian embassies / consulates, such as this one planned for the UK next week. Keep an eye on the social networks, or organise one yourself and get spreading the word.

Depending on where you are, other options could be available. The important thing is to make sure that the Indonesian authorities know that we’re watching them while we watch each other’s backs.

Secondly, put a solidarity mixtape / CD-R together and pass it on to the folks at Aborted Society Records. They’re collecting as many as they can, ready to be packed up and shipped out. At some point early in the New Year, they should be off on their journey to punks who could do with a bit of moral support right now.

Making mixtapes for each other is something of a punk tradition, one that I’m proud to have maintained (albeit with more modern media), and I’m putting a vinyl selection together as I type. Once it’s done, I’ll post it up here too.

For an absolutely brilliant insight into the positivity some of these misfits generate, with not much more than a bunch of ukeleles, watch this:
Marjinal Punks doc

Book ‘Em, Danno!

Book flyerFollowing on from yesterday’s little exercise in improving police-community relations, I’ve branched out into literature. This flyer can be downloaded in a convenient 4-to-an-A4-sheet format ready for printing, then cut up and surreptitiously inserted into all manner of inflammatory material. These seditious publications can be found in your local library, bookshop or children’s school.

Remember, in the wrong hands, words can be deadly to the current social order, and have even been known to cause uncontrollable urges for liberty, equality, and solidarity. If we must allow people to have access to words, then we also have a responsibility to point out the perils of using them recklessly.

Grass War

Clip from Operation Griffin briefing paperIn the last couple of days, Brit cops have issued a news bulletin asking people to snitch on any ‘anarchists’ they know. Quite what they define as an anarchist beyond their cut ‘n’ paste job from Wikipedia is anyone’s guess. Local librarians who let you borrow anarchist books? Retailers (I’m looking at you, Amazon!) who will sell you anarchist books? Performances of plays by that dangerous anarchist queer Oscar Wilde? Having shared tea-making facilities for more than five people? What about babies, those natural born anarchists?

As a good citizen, I’ve knocked up this sticker design (8 to an A4 sheet) to help the Old Bill along. Download a ready-made sheet for your printer in either black and white or colour (ODT format, which will open with Open Office (free open source software) and Microsoft Word / Office) and use it widely in your community.

Cop sticker - colour

I used an open source DTP program called Scribus (latest developmental version) to lay out the sticker. And, like all of my graphics, the image was edited beforehand with GIMP (yep, you guessed it, an open source alternative to Photoshop).

Punks Against Tsunamis!

I’ve been asked to give a shout out to a benefit gig organised to raise some much-needed cash for Save The Children Japan. There are some cracking acts on the line-up running the whole gamut of punk rock, from ranting poetry to pounding crust. So make a date in your diary and get along if you can.

Tsunami benefit

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The ever-indefatigable Mike Park of long-running and staunchly DIY label Asian Man, and founder of the Plea For Peace Foundation, has also put together a deal with every penny going to a charity aiding in the tsunami aftermath (voted for by the punks themselves). For $40 (plus $6 for post if you’re in the US and $18 if you’re in the UK) you get 8 CDs and an AM t-shirt that together would normally cost you $76. He’s also selling a chunk of test presses for $100 a piece, so now’s your chance to get your hands on some ultra-rare chunks of plastic from the likes of Bomb The Music Industry!, Kevin Seconds and The Queers.

Even if you can’t support either of these efforts directly, I’m sure you’ll find your own way to show the Japanese people that they’re not alone. It’s what we punks are good at.

Mobs v. Mobiles

Under the slogan ‘If They Won’t Chase Them, We Will’, UK Uncut has called a day of action this Saturday to target Vodaphone and Philip Green (owner of British Home Stores, TopShop etc.). Just between these two, they have cheated the nation out of billions of pounds through blatant tax evasion and cronyism.

UK Uncut want to hammer home the point that

At the same time as making massive cuts to public services, this government is letting rich individuals and corporations avoid billions of pounds of tax. Join UK Uncut’s Big Society Revenue & Customs (BSRC) and become part of an army of citizen volunteers determined to make wealthy tax avoiders pay.

The first action in October shut down 10% of Vodaphone’s stores and disrupted many more. That’s a great starting point 🙂

Nuts To The Cuts!

The Best Cut

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It’s simple. The ongoing and proposed cuts in public services, including education, are nothing but class war. The Tories want everything in private hands, so that they and their capitalist string-pullers can bleed as much as they possibly can from us. The LibDems are happy to collaborate with their dirty work, such is their desperation for a sniff of power. And if they were back in government the Labour Party would screw us the same way they always have, slightly less violently and with a bit more lube. It should come as no surprise to anyone – when you’ve all been to the same schools, sit in the same boardrooms, have shares in the same major businesses and inhabit the same luxurious neighbourhoods, then your political ‘differences’ really are only superficial.

Other people are making the anti-cuts arguments far more eloquently than me (some with a half-brick, some with a sense of humour). But to really help put things into concrete terms, the place to check out is False Economy. Here, you can witness first-hand the very real effects of this vicious assault on individuals, families and communities. You can also add you own information and experiences to the database.

While at first glance it might seem depressing, False Economy sends out a powerful positive message – we are all under attack and we are not alone. Start to build links with others in your workplace and community who are (or soon will be) at the sharp end of the cuts. Learn from what’s happened in the past (Poll Tax anyone?) then plan and organise in whatever way you can. There is space for a whole range of tactics, from the peaceful to the confrontational. The more we vary our responses then the more people we can get involved, and the more difficult it will be for the forces of the state to deal with us.

Putting the wind up Camilla and Charlie was just the start.