Lest We Forget


Cranberry, Orange & Port Sauce

Apparently, there’s some kind of event coming up that involves scoffing loads of roasted stuff. This is a simple but quite fancy sauce that should go nicely with that sort of thing. It’s quick enough to knock up when needed, as long as you’ve got an hour or two for it to cool before serving.

Makes about a large jam jar’s worth.

  • 250g fresh cranberries, washed
  • 100ml fresh orange juice (2-3 oranges)
  • Grated zest of half an orange
  • Grated zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tbs port
  • 150g sugar
  • Small piece of cinnamon bark

Put all of the ingredients in a small pot over a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring from time to time. Don’t be scared by the popping cranberries!

Reduce the heat as low as possible, cover, then simmer for 15 mins. If the mixture bubbles up and out of the pan, just leave a small gap at the edge of the lid.

Remove the cinnamon stick with a clean spoon and either pour straight away into a freshly-sterilised jar, or allow to cool and put into a covered container then keep it in the fridge until needed (where it will theoretically last for several days).

Serve with all manner of savoury roasts and pies, or anything else that sounds like it would go well with it.

The Plebs Are Revolting!

Here’s another entry in my occasional series of crude political propaganda. This one has a space for you to add a relevent rebellious website address. Rad.


Click for larger printable version

Noms, Not Bombs!

Soy Not Oi! 2The people behind the classic vegan punk cookbook ‘Soy, Not Oi!’* have got back together to produce a second part in honour of their friend and original SNO! contributor Joel, who sadly died earlier this year.

They’re looking for contributions to the new book – anecdotes about the original SNO!, stories about Joel, special features on vegan living, and original recipe contributions from anyone who’d like to send them one to test out.

I’ve submitted a handful of dishes already. Two have been accepted (devilled chickpeas and coconut, lime and ginger cheezecake), and two are on the ‘to taste’ list (spicy potato balls and cider-battered onion rings). There may be more to come if inspiration strikes.

More info over at the Soy Not Oi! website, with regular updates via their FB page.

*UK folks can get the original from Active Distribution, US peeps should try AK Press.

Eton? Rifle!

Apparently, there’s a bit of an internets fuss going on about a privileged, Eton-educated, little rich kid ‘musician’ called Frank Turner, who’s been ‘outed’ as a scummy right-wing libertarian who thinks that the BNP are hard left and socialism is dangerous.

I came across him a while back after he appeared to be matey with musicians on ‘the left’ who I’ve got a lot of time for. I didn’t particularly rate what I heard, thought his lyrics were weak and his background decidedly dodgy. Then I read a couple of things he’d said which confirmed that the bloke is, indeed, a dick.

What really concerns me though, is that he’s so wrong about the BNP it would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous. This fool has a pretty large following by all accounts and, if his fans take him at his word, then that’s a massive problem. The BNP are a far-right fascist party, no ifs, no buts. To claim otherwise displays either a profound misunderstanding of politics or, more worryingly, a calculated attempt to tarnish the good work of ‘the left’ (you know, things like fighting for equality, safe working conditions, decent wages, free healthcare etc.) with the taint of fascism.

Today, he’s tried back-peddling furiously with a ‘poor little misunderstood me’ piece on his website. Boo fucking hoo. Keep digging son, we’ll be happy to fill in the hole behind you.

He’s right about one thing though. Socialism is dangerous if you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

McMahon, M., & Simpson, W. – Freedom Through Football Book

Freedom Through Football coverDon’t be put off by the title, for this book is about much, much more than football (which, incidentally, is now just one of three sports currently played by the various club teams). The Cowfolk, as they are collectively known, are a community-based sports and social club from the heart of inner-city Bristol, who have helped redefine what’s possible when you get a group of amateur sportspeople, professional drunks, activists, misfits and ne’er-do-wells (alongside a few ordinary, decent, everyday folk such as your humble author) together.

The book charts the first 20 years of the club’s history from 1992 to the present day, warts and all. There are tales of dodging army check points in Chiapas during a visit to play teams in the Zapatista communities, taking part in cricket matches in Compton LA against ex-gangsters, heading to the West Bank and literally leaving their mark on the Israeli apartheid wall, and organising Alternative World Cups attended by people from as close as Bedminster to as far away as São Paulo (via Lithuania and the South African township of Diepkloof). There have been a few sad losses during the journey (and quite a few happy additions too), the occasional harsh word, partings of ways, fallouts, fall-ins, love affairs, babies and hangovers. But mostly, it’s about being a part of something that exemplifies everything that is good in human nature.

The book is 229 pages, nicely supplemented with plenty of images (many previously unseen) and extra info, with an additional 32 pages of colour pics (including a couple of that Banksy fellow hanging out with the Cowfolk in Chiapas and doing some rare hand-painted pieces in the villages).

I could be accused of a certain bias with this review, for this book is about my adopted family. And it’s true that the friendships and love I’ve found among this loopy bunch have enriched my life enormously. But I think these tales can be enjoyed, and and the ideals embraced, by anyone who believes that life can be different if we dare to be free.

Iron Column Records have a few copies for sale at cover price (£9.99), including FREE postage in the UK, with all proceeds going to anti-fascist causes.

Subhumans, Bristol 02.08.12

I spent a very pleasant few hours in the company of around 100 other folk and three cracking bands a few weeks ago. As well as the ageless Subhumans, support came from local loudmouthed ska-punkers Spanner and the superbly shouty Grand Collapse (my first chance to see ’em in action – very impressed by their tight, face-melting anarcho-hardcore sound). Here are a few pics (none of Spanner, but you’ll find around a gazillion on their own site). Click to make ’em bigger.

Grand Collapse



Dick and Phil



Soap Bodger

Having suddenly realised that lye = sodium hydroxide = caustic soda = drain cleaner (thanks, internets), I decided to have a go at making my own soap using the cold process method. And it turned out to be a piece of piss, albeit a piece of piss that could horribly scar you if you don’t take precautions with the lye.

Basically, you mix lye with water, add it to vegetable oils of your choice, agitate until it goes custardy, pour it into a mould for a day or two, tip it out, cut it up into bars and give the bars a few weeks (depending on the oils used) to allow the chemical stuff to happen and the soap to harden off.

The tricky / dangerous bit is using exactly the right amount of lye and making a solution with it. Lye reacts with water and produces heat and a strong alkaline solution. Long sleeves, gloves, eye protection and long arms (optional) are strongly advised. Do all of the dangerous stuff in the garden if possible, or at least a well-ventilated area, as it releases very unpleasant fumes when first mixed. Make sure all kids / pets / unstable adults are kept well away while you’re making your soap.

The core principles are explained here, and you’ll find a fantastic calculator for working out how much of everything to use here.

You can readily buy 500g of caustic soda for a couple of quid or so, often sold as drain cleaner (check the label to make sure it’s actually caustic soda and not something else). Google ‘cold process soap recipes’ for loads of ideas or use the calculator to create your own.

While it may seem counter-intuitive to use such a dangerous ingredient as lye in something used to clean yourself, the wonders of chemistry really do ensure that, if you follow the recipes to the letter, you end up with a safe, gentle and natural soap.

NB: I’ve also learnt that you can make a really simple, eco-friendly, cheap and just-as-effective-as-shop-bought washing powder using (home-made) castile soap (80-100% olive oil), borax and washing soda (sodium carbonate). I was a bit sceptical (my default setting) but it really does work.

Quickies #1

I don’t always have the time / brain capacity to write full-length reviews about everything I get my mitts on, but there are definitely things I want to tell you about. I figured a handful of brief notes every now and again would be a good compromise.

Appalachian Terror Unit – Black Sands 7″
Profane Existence

Showing no let up in their commitment to tackling the bigger picture, ATU’s latest offering rips into more of the usual suspects. Backed up by their battery of metallic anarcho-punk, Sarah’s vox pin your ears to your head and make sure the message hits square between the eyes. They realise the contradictions that capitalism creates in their (our) lives but don’t shun away from biting the hand that pretends to feed while it bleeds. The brooding black-with-a-hint-of-colour cover art sets the tone, and the fold-out image / lyric packed poster is always a welcome bonus. Nice random marbled vinyl too (mine is a kinda camo-diarrhea combo).

They had problems with the pressing plant over one of the tracks due to the use of samples, and an edited version appears on the EP. Helpful as ever, ATU have made the unedited version available for free online.

OP’s opinion: Four

Buy from Iron Column Records / Profane Existence


Cop Problem – s/t 7″ / download
Prejudice Me / War Torn Records

I’ve only just discovered this band after Prejudice Me gave me a heads-up. Glad they did too. For a very reasonable sum of money, you get 3 tracks of tight, intense and finely-controlled fury that slam as hard as a sledgehammer to the face. The lyrics are intelligent and meaningful, definitely a step above the common clichés often found elsewhere. The whole package is wrapped in a slick fold-out sleeve complete with beautifully disturbing colour artwork and lyrics.

When a great deal of what passes for hardcore amounts to nothing more than macho posturing and hanging out with the bros, bands like Cop Problem continue to prove that it can be so much more. Highly recommended.

OP’s opinion: Five

Buy 7″ from Iron Column Records / Prejudice Me / War Torn Records
Listen / buy download from Cop Problem’s Bandcamp page


Burnt Cross – Mankind’s Obituary LP
Tadpole Records / Active Rebellion / Lukket Avdeling Records / Rusty Knife Records

This is the new album from Brighton’s Burnt Cross. It’s a comp of their last 3 EPs, a track from a comp EP and some unreleased tracks. All in all you get 14 inspiring hits of @-punk fury, mostly original but with a couple of well-matched covers thrown in.

For those who don’t know ’em, BC are a pair of bruvs with a drum machine, a four-track and a shedload of attitude. Don’t be fooled by the simple technology – these boys produce music that holds its own against anything you’d find coming from a ‘pro’ studio. If you like your @-punk à la Conflict, then this is for you!

Only 300 have been pressed and they’re going quick. Grab one while you can.

OP’s opinion: Four half

Download sample track – Mob Violence (FLAC)
Buy from Iron Column Records (last copy left!)


Zounds – Singles & EPs 1980-1984 7″ Box Set
Broken Rekids

This lot should need no introduction to anyone who claims any kind of allegiance to anarcho-punk, and I’m mainly mentioning it to show off the fact that I’ve got my hands on this sweet package. Well, it made sense, given the fact that all of my originals are showing the passage of time and I had some spare cash.

From the spiky debut of ‘War’ to the jangly antipop on ‘True Love’, the tracks on these EPs capture the band from every angle. Lovingly remastered by Steve Lake and with all sleeves faithfully reproduced, this release does away with any kind of need to pay record collector prices for the full analogue experience. Not only that, it’s all kept safe in a specially-designed box complete with 6 badges in a blister pack (the 5 EP covers and a Zounds logo design) AND comes with a download card.

Time to put those originals on eBay, maybe…

OP’s opinion: Five

Download sample track – True Love (FLAC)
Buy from Broken Rekids

The Right To Shirk!

Happy May Day / Beltane comrades!

May Day

© Hugh D'Andrede - click for large version

You can view more of Hugh’s work on his Flickr page.