Bleed For Me

Last Friday I got an award.

Hurrah for me, I hear you say. But this is probably one of the most important things that I’ve ever been awarded. It’s a small enamel badge and certificate acknowledging that I’ve just made my tenth blood donation.

I don’t know about other parts of the world, but in the UK we’ve got a well-established (and free) health service that collects blood from volunteers just like me, ready to be used by anyone who needs it. They take their mobile units and set up in church halls, community buildings, workplaces, anywhere there’s a space to get a few bodies lying down comfortably for a few minutes and a table for the weak lemon drink and biscuit afterwards. And I’ve not yet worked for an employer who hasn’t given me paid time off to go and give my shot when they’re collecting near my workplace, always a bonus in my book.

For quite a few years now, I’ve given a pint every now and again. Admittedly it’s been somewhat erratic – you can’t donate within 12 months of a piercing or tat, which affected me quite a bit when I was younger, and I’ve sometimes just forgotten. Theoretically, I could make three donations a year; the reality is that I’ve made about one a year. But the important thing is: I’ve given something that cost me a few moments of very mild discomfort but could be worth a life.

And that’s a good feeling.

Maybe I feel it a bit more personally than some. About 7 years ago, one of my brothers was in a nasty accident (he lost control of the van he was driving because of a mechanical failure). He was badly injured, losing a piece of flesh from his thigh about 5″x7″ square and half an inch thick. A major artery in his leg was ripped open. The fact that the crash occurred only a minute from the city hospital, and with a doctor and nurse passing by at the time, almost certainly saved his life. He lost two pints of blood at the scene, but would’ve lost a lot more (and died) without the first-aid he received.

Whilst they stabilised him in hospital they transfused fifteen pints of blood into him to keep him going and make sure he had the best chance possible. He’s a strong kiddie and pulled through. But without that blood, so freely and generously given, the chances are I would’ve been burying my bruv.

So, to anyone who’s reading this, find out when your next donor session is and go along. You’ll get a warm welcome, a break from work, the aforementioned squash and biccie and an immeasuarble sense of satisfaction. Don’t give me any of that nonsense about being scared of needles either – you’re a punk for fuck’s sake! Look the other way and imagine that you’re in the thick of it at an Extreme Noise Terror gig, complete with soundtrack, booze and mental mental moshing, punk meditation if you like. Before you know it, it’ll all be over. And you’ve probably lost a lot less blood than if you’d actually been at the gig.

Not only that, but having a pint of blood taken out of you don’t half make the evening beer and spliff a lot more enjoyable.

Keeping It Personal

A little while back I was looking at some of the great stuff being put out and distributed by Concrete Jungle Records in Germany. After a bit of internal debate, I selected a few choice items and made a payment via their PayPal option. Unfortunately, I hadn’t clocked some of the small-print, namely a €17 postage charge for non-German orders (as opposed to €4 for internal) and a 5% PP premium.

So a day or two later, I get an email from Matze, the guy behind the operation, asking me to send quite a bit more money (my order was about €33 including, I thought, the postage etc). So I mailed him back, pointing out that it wasn’t really clear that there were additional charges, that I thought the shipping costs were excessive compared to many other distros I used, and that it was unfair to slap charges on PP users when the other payment options probably incurred bank charges anyway. I was polite about it, as Matze had been in his original mail, but I cancelled the order.

Anyway, a while later I get another mail from Matze. He told me that the €17 charge included insurance (which I didn’t know, and made it far more reasonable), but that he could send uninsured mail for only €4. Now, I’ve rarely had a problem with stuff disappearing in the post (like any postie wants to damage his hearing, image and sanity that badly by nicking the kind of stuff I listen to), so uninsured post is what I always go for. Even when there has been a problem, I’ve always managed to sort it out with the relevant postal service. So he’s changed things around and €4 is now the standard charge for worldwide orders (with insured as an option). And orders over €100 are now post-free, so if you club together with a few friends it becomes a proper bargain.

And he also said he was removing the PP surcharge, again a welcome surprise.

The end result is, I’ve now placed an order for over €50, spending what I would’ve paid for shipping on a very classy antifa t-shirt.

Could you imagine having had this kind of chat with the head of Sony or Warner or any other piece-of-shit major label, or even getting a personal response in the first place? I know you probably don’t need telling but – SUPPORT THE INDEPENDENTS. They really are doing it for the kids, young and old.

OP’s opinion: Five

What A Gas!

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the media in recent times, you’ll have probably noticed yet another round of stories resulting from the latest UN report about global warming and impending ecological catastrophe. Human activity is put in the frame, and quite rightly so. There is now no question that what we do and how we do it has led to destructive climate change and, if we fail to tackle the problems caused by our activities on this planet, then our future’s going to be short-lived, unpleasant and brutal.

What struck me more, though, was how another report, issued by the UN back in November last year, seems to have bypassed the mainstream meeja’s radar. This report looks at one of the major causes of global warming – farts. Not just farts, to be fair, but all the greenhouse gases, as well as other negative environmental effects, that are produced by farming animals for food. And it makes for sphincter-clenching reading.

Did you know, for example, that farmed animals produce more greenhouse gases than transport – around a fifth of the global total? Not only that, but the farming of animals for food has seen around a quarter of our planet given over to livestock farming, a third turned over for growing farm animal feed crops, and nearly 10% of the world’s water supply being used in the whole process. Their piss becomes acid rain – two-thirds of all the anthropogenic (caused by human activity) ammonia comes from farming animals. The waste products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and pesticides pollute the land, air and water.

In short, animal farming is an environmental catastrophe.

But it’s also probably one of the easiest problems to solve. It involves nothing more than changing what we eat. Despite the failure of the UN to say as much, switching to a vegan diet is about the simplest and most direct way that we can make a real difference. It’s far easier to change what you eat today, right now, than it is to change the way that industry operates or what fuel you put in your car.

To help get you started, here are the lyrics-cum-recipe for Anarcho-Pie by Jockish herberts Oi Polloi:

Mixed veg
Red beans

Let’s make a tasty anarcho-pie – ace vegan food for you and I
Let’s make a tasty anarcho-pie – ace vegan food for you and I

Take eight ounces of pastry and, leaving a little bit aside, roll out two equal portions each a quarter inch thick. Then use one of these to carefully line the bottom of your chosen pie dish.

Cook the ingredients for the pie filling separately and then place these inside the pie dish on top of the pastry base. Wetting the top of the edge of the pastry base, affix the pastry cover to the anarcho-pie.

Now comes the important bit: using the spare bits of pastry, decorate the top of the pie with a pastry anarchy sign – symbolising our never-ending resistance to the omnicidal system that perverts our lives.

After baking the pie in the oven for between thirty and thirty-five minutes at approximately four hundred degrees farenheit it should be ready fir serving and by this time should have developed a good crust!

Mmm… uurrgh, I don’t like mushrooms. Howay, pass them ower – I’ll have them. Aye, this pie, this pie’s barry – it’s almost as good as – as a singing hiney man! Mmm… mmmm… Alright John eh aye? Aye barry! That’s what it is – pure canny! Uurgh, I don’t like walnuts. I’ll have them. Mmmmm… Aye, ye canny beat this vegan food, ken? Aye, vegan food. Oh, it’s the best. Pure dead brilliant man. Anarcho-pie rules, ken? Aye. How long does this go on for? Who’s doing the dishes? The wimmin! Aaaahhh!! Street cred gone! Knife him!! Knife the anarcho-pie anyway. Aye man. Aye. ‘kin raj! Aye etc.

By Order Of The Management

The ManagersSpecial
Global Routes Music

Special album cover First off, this is one big band! Twenty musicians contribute to this release, although I don’t think they all appear at the same time! The numbers involved have helped create a collection of tunes that display a great deal of variety and musical inventiveness.

They’re also from New Zealand, a country that’s about as far away from mine as it’s possible to get on a spherical planet. This fact alone was enough to get me sending a few of my hard-earned pounds literally half way around the world. What, I wondered, would Antipodean ska sound like exactly?

Turns out that it has much in common with any other well-produced ska. It straddles the second generation Two Tone ska sound and early third generation punky ska with that all-important nod to the original rudeboy vibe running through it all, and The Managers do it very well indeed. Everything is superbly executed and the band are an obviously talented bunch. The fact that they are able to play around so well with tempo and melody keeps your interest up through the whole album and you have to keep reminding yourself that it’s the same band you’re listening to.

The opening track, Capt. Ska, is 99% instrumental and a great way to start, recalling a cranked-up Bad Manners on a Nutty Boy trip with a large dash of modern ska complexity thrown in, something that could be said about quite a few of the tunes here, and it sets the (two-)tone for what follows.

Some of the songs get to grips with those classic ska staples of love lost and found, all having a different take on the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of romance. Sometimes the ska saves the day, dragging you out of the door and on to the dance floor, sometimes it’s just the tune playing in the background as your world falls apart, but it’s always there waiting for you, for when you’re ready to put your boots back on. ‘Infiltraitor’ in particular makes good use of the female vocals, harking back to The Selecter and taking to task the two-timing toughboys who think it’s cool to cheat on your girl. ‘My Mistake’ sees upbeat tunes backing a tale of regret, at times almost sounding like the Muppet Show house band (in a good way), while ‘Out Of Breath’ takes the more traditional down-tempo reggae route to express similar feelings.

While it’s true to say that many of the tunes here are about either affaires d’amour or dancing (or both), The Managers aren’t afraid to take on heavier topics too. ‘Charge!’ is a minor key rail against the madness of war, pointing out the fascistic mindset that underpins those who would have us fight and kill each other for their privilege and power. ‘Killing En Masse’ deals with a different kind of slaughter, that commited by bloodthirsty hunters who exterminate our wildlife for kicks. A hardcore vegan sensibility is not something you generally find in your average ska release, but The Managers appreciate the beauty inherent in all life and make their point well with the simple line ‘we are right and you are wrong’. Now that’s an attitude I can relate to.

If you like the kind of stuff put out on Asian Man, then there’s no way you won’t like this. And how many other New Zealand ska records have you got sitting on your shelf anyway?

OP’s opinion: Four

Download sample track – ‘Infiltraitor’

The Managers

(© Lindy Hickman)

NB: The Manager’s second album ‘Take It Or Leave It’ is out around now. That will be a welcome addition to my NZ ska collection, as well as doubling the size of it.

A Touch Of Class

Class War Music – US micro-label with impeccable attitude

I recently came across American streetpunks Bonecrusher and liked what I heard on their MySpace page a lot. So I had a quick look around the web to see who was selling their material. I found a UK distro with some older releases, and a couple of German distros were offering new stuff, and it would’ve cost me around £10-12 a disc to buy from any of them. But I decided to check out Class War Music, the label that’s released their most recent CD’s. And I’m really glad I did.
Class War Music logo & Bonecrusher CD cover
It turns out CWM is run by the band (or at least one of ’em), and they’re offering their own releases for only $5 each including postage in mainland America. With the current exchange rate, that’s only just over £2.50 a disc! I decided to order ‘Tomorrow Is Too Late’, but there was no info on international postage. So I added an extra $5 to the order and sent a quick email to ’em offering to pay any more if needed.

Within a couple of hours, George (from Bonecrusher) dropped me a line back thanking me for the order and offering to include the ‘Sixteen Bullets’ live CD for free! This CD is selling for $5 too so basically I’m getting two CD’s at US prices with free airmail. Now how’s that for service?

When punk can sometimes appear to be just another commercial opportunity, it’s heartwarming to come across people who really are doing it for the kids (no matter how old those kids might be). Respect due to Class War Music and Bonecrusher (especially George) for being such a lovely label and band to deal with.

OP’s opinion: Five

Download sample track – ‘Bonecrusher – Tomorrow Is Too Late’

Hard To Stomach

Masterfoods, the company behind brands such as Mars Bars, Twix and Bounty, have been using rennet from calf stomach in many of their popular chocolate and ice cream products since May 1st (at least in the UK anyway). Many vegetarians eat their products but may not be aware of this change, as Masterfoods don’t seem particularly eager to publicise it.

As a vegan, this doesn’t particularly bother me. What does irk me big time is the fact that the company, in their statement, think that ‘less strict’ vegetarians won’t have a problem with eating part of a calf’s gut.


People who merely give up red meat are not vegetarians. People who eat fish are not vegetarians. People who eat dead baby cow stuff are not vegetarians.

Vegetarians do not eat flesh, fowl or fish or anything that comes from ’em. It’s pretty fuckin’ simple, yet these multi-national idiots still think they can get away with it. A quick straw poll of my veggie mates in fact showed that 100% of ’em thought Masterfoods could fuck right off. The morons from Mars should’ve done their homework a bit better.

Oh yeah – GO VEGAN TOO!

Gotta Lotta Bottle

Stage Bottles(We Need A) New Flag
Insurgence Records / Knockout Records

New Flag album coverAlthough this is not a new release, it is the latest offering from German Oi! mob the Stage Bottles, and a fine affair it is too.

Musically, the influence of The Blaggers, The Business and The Clash are all prominent in the mix, along with a hybrid ska-meets-X-Ray Spex sax, a dollop of Rancid gruffness and even The Jam in some of the bass and drum rhythms. It’s powerful, punchy stuff, well polished but with a raw street energy, no more apparent than in Olaf’s vocals. And the voice was made to match the words, of that there can be no doubt. Although the band are German, they sing in English and this adds lyrical interest to their songs. Trying to construct a socio-political polemic in something other than their mother tongue leads to a new kind of linguistic dexterity, a new perspective if you like, and is a welcome break from the monotonous misery of some of the more dreary and less imaginative anarcho-punk brigade.

Stage Bottles April 06

Olaf, Easy, Kimba, Marcel, Till, April 2006 (© Stage Bottles)

The SB’s wear their credentials on their sleeves, no more so than when they’re belting out their anti-fascist anthems and reclaiming skinhead culture from the Nazi boneheads who’ve tried to infest the scene. ‘Real Skinhead’ puts the posers and losers firmly in their place, reminding them that ‘you’re not allowed to switch your brain off’ when you put on the boots and braces. ‘All You Need Is Hate’, ‘Hooligans’ and ‘Bad Boys’ continue to unashamedly put the substance into the style and the boot into where it hurts.

And their pro-prole position sees them just as happy to mix it up with the strait-jacketed Statist Left who condemn the straight-talking working class, even as they seek safety and protection behind the street-fighting hooligans who carry the spirit of revolution in their hearts and live it every day (‘PC Idiots’). ‘That’s Where It Comes From’ is a balladic reminder of those who’ve fought and died for us, something these pseudo-Reds wouldn’t know about. And I should imagine the fact that Olaf would ‘like to have rude sex’ (‘I Wanna Break Out’) will get up quite a few po-faced Stalinist noses too.

The corruption of society by capitalism is also tackled head on, with ‘Millions Of Stupid People’ condemning the herd-like mentality and ignorance of so many, while the remedy is proposed by the ‘New Flag’ of the album’s title – ‘So we’ve got to resist, we’ll build a new base, we’ve got to fight’ throwing down the challenge to our class straight and direct.

With a couple of tracks capturing the daily grind (‘I’ll Calm Down’) and how some of us escape from it (‘Punk & Disorderly’, ‘It’s Your Kid’s Life’), along with a singalong terrace chant that rails superbly against the money-men who are destroying our game as they fill their pockets (‘Kick Out The Parasites’) – ‘What about me, am I just a currency?’ asks Olaf, speaking out on behalf of every true fan – this is both uncontrolled fury and uninhibited fun of the finest kind.

OP’s opinion: Five

Download sample track – ‘Real Skinhead’

There’s No Justice, There’s Just Us

I’ve received the following via a friend from the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition. If you can take any action whatsoever to support their aims, please do.

Dear Friend and Supporter of Justice,

Last week, the Bush Administration—which pretends to be fighting a “war on terrorism”—allowed the release from prison of the leading self-confessed terrorist in the Americas, Luis Posada Carriles. The release of Posada, wanted in Venezuela for organizing the bombing of a plane in 1976, which killed all 73 persons on board, has created a wave of outrage in Latin America and around the world. Quoting Bush’s hypocritical words back to him on April 19, the day of Posada’s release, a Cuban youth leader said, “If you harbor a terrorist, you are a terrorist.”

On May 11, 2007, Posada is scheduled to return to El Paso, Texas for a trial on minor immigration charges. The Bush “Justice” Department, headed by Alberto Gonzales, has refused to bring charges of terrorist activity—including murder—against Posada despite the existence of mountains of evidence against him. Bush and Gonzales have refused to extradite Posada to Venezuela, despite a legally binding extradition treaty that country has had with the United States for more than 80 years.

We, too, will be in El Paso on May 11. Together with people from across the Southwest and beyond, we will be there to demand justice for Posada’s victims and his extradition to Venezuela to stand trial for his horrific crimes. We are asking for your support in organizing a demonstration and press conference outside the courthouse in El Paso and in other cities across the country on that day. We must raise thousands of dollars to organize transportation to the El Paso demonstration, including for the families of victims of Posada’s murderous acts over the years. Their suffering has not ended and their voices must be heard.

The bombing of the Cubana Airlines plane on its way from Caracas to Havana, was far from Posada’s only terrorist act. In a 1998 New York Times interview, Posada admitted organizing and paying for a series of bombings of tourist hotels in Havana. One person, an Italian tourist named Livio Di Celmo, was killed and dozens wounded. In November 2000, Posada organized an assassination attempt against Cuban President Fidel Castro when he was visiting the University of Panama. The plan, which was thwarted by Cuban security services, called for blowing up—using 33 pounds of C-4 plastic explosives—a packed auditorium filled with 2,000 students while Castro was speaking. The death toll would have likely been in the hundreds. After a short prison term, Posada and his cohorts were pardoned by U.S.-dependent Panamanian president, Mireya Moscoso, on her last day in office.

At the same time Posada walks free, the Cuban Five—five men whose mission was to stop terrorist attacks emanating from Miami against their homeland—remain locked away, three of them serving life sentences in U.S. prisons. Nothing could highlight more clearly the injustice suffered by these five men than the release of the arch-terrorist Posada. The freeing of Posada is a declaration by the Bush administration of its intent to continue the 48-year undeclared war against the small neighboring country of Cuba.

We are appealing to you to join and support the campaign for justice on May 11 and beyond. Please click here to make a much needed donation today.

Yours for Justice,

Ramsey Clark, Gloria La Riva, Cynthia McKinney

To see the most recent list of May 11 protests, click on this link:

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

Email the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311
Seattle: 206-568-1661

If The Kids Are United

Happy International Workers Day. In 1887, five anarchists were murdered by the American state for nothing more than helping workers to organise. Today marks the day when we celebrate their struggle. Their deaths will never be forgotten and remind us why we must never forgive. In the words of August Spies, one of the martyrs:

The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.

So relax, fiddle your time sheet, skive, slack, phone in sick, throw a spanner in the works, stand together and reclaim your life. It’s YOUR day, do what you can to remind yourself that, if we keep fighting, keep struggling, keep loving and raging, life could be like this every day.

Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
Arise, ye prisoners of want.
For reason in revolt now thunders,
and at last ends the age of cant!
Away with all your superstitions,
Servile masses, arise, arise!
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition,
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction,
On tyrants only we’ll make war!
The soldiers too will take strike action,
They’ll break ranks and fight no more!
And if those cannibals keep trying,
To sacrifice us to their pride,
They soon shall hear the bullets flying,
We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

No saviour from on high delivers,
No faith have we in prince or peer.
Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
E’er the thieves will out with their booty,
And to all give a happier lot.
Each at his forge must do their duty,
And we’ll strike the iron while it’s hot.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

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