5Les (I And I And Me #2)

In the heydays of De Finkel, a youth-centre and HC/punk venue in Jette (Bruxel, Belgium), scenester Patrick ‘Kockie’ De Kock (vocals), Dirk Jans (drums; also still in ‘Deviant Gedrag’ at that time) and Onno Hesselink (guitar; Peace Or Annihilation zine) got together with Filip ‘Boule’ Burgelman (bass; school-buddy of Onno & volunteer at De Finkel) and rehearsed there under the name ‘Hyperactive Children’. They soon noticed ‘Kockie’ was “good at a lot of things, except singing”…

Dirk, Filip & Onno teamed up with Chris(tophe) Dexters (vocals) and that became For ‘Indecency’. Izzy (‘Deviant Gedrag’ guitarist) also played for ‘Indecency’ a little while… These did shows during the second half of ’87 and beginning of ’88; 2 of them were for Smurfpunx: 87-07-05 & 87-12-12. ‘Indecency’ never recorded anything.

At a certain timepoint Chris Dexters didn’t feel like singing anymore (a bit before their first recordings; these would be released as ‘5Les’) – even though he kept writing lyrics – and for a moment they considered of going instrumental but it turned out that Dirk was a good singer… So ‘5Les’ came into existence (Dirk, Filip & Onno) and later Fons Ceuppens joined (vocals; ex ‘Anguish’ & ex ‘Taartje Aardbei’ bassist). In the beginning Chris was still mentioned as lyricist. They did 3 ‘official’ releases (on Werner Excelmans’ label Hageland recs): 100.000 Eyes (7”, recorded 88-03-28 with Dirk doin’ vocals), Two Fisted Politics (7” released in ‘88, with Fons singing) and Wild Daze (miniLP, recorded Dec. ‘88 & presented @ Democrazy in Gent on 89-06-30). The band mentioned they were inspired by the somewhat softer Wasinghton DC HC-bands à la ‘Scream’. Some used the term emo-core or even jazz-core… Later (when ‘Boule’ had quit, shortly after followed by Fons), Onno & Dirk recorded a last demo (92-03) with Koen on bass & Kristof singing.

‘Boule’ – Fons – Dirk – Onno

This interview was done at a show @ ‘Jagersborg’ in Maasmechelen (Belgian Limburg) on 89-11-19 (where ‘5Les’ played with the Welsh ‘CowboyKillers’ and the Ducth ‘Swampsurfers’ – from Dutch Limburg; also a band on Hageland recs). The editor (Maurice Kamps from Sittard, The Netherlands) was a correspondent of mine and I believe I helped distribute the zine. If my memory serves me right he did 2 issues. #1 (entitled I And Me) contained a lengthy exploration of ‘Lärm’, a piece on Clause 28 (British law regarding homosexuality), reviews (vinyl/zines/film), and interviews with ‘Instigators’ & ‘Swampsurfers’. #2 gave attention to Marcel Ruijters (Dutch cartoonist), ‘Fugazi’ and ‘5Les’; and had odd bits (e.g. animal-experiments) plus reviews (gigs/vinyl/zines/film)…

[Translation below]

The people playing in ‘5Les’ come from various bands: ‘Deviant Gedrag’ (Dirk – drums), ‘Anguish’ (Fons – now singing, bass) and ‘Indecency’ (Onno – guitar & Chris – now lyrics and then singing), but let me get started with the interview, otherwise I will summarise its content in one sentence. Due to the lack of questions in this interview, Han [van der Gouw, ‘Swampsurfers’ drummer] has interviewed ‘5Les’ on another occasion but afterwards it turned out there was only background-noise on the tape.

Situation 1: Han & I [Maurice Kamps] interview Fons, ‘5Les’ singer, backstage at the venue Jagersborg (that name !?) where they play together with the ‘Swampsurfers’ [Dutch HC band] and the currently sound-checking ‘CowboyKillers’ [from Wales].

(M) How did the band evolve, by playing together?

(F) Yes, just play together a lot, do other things.

(M) You never took any lessons or so?

(F) No, well, I think Onno took lessons classical guitar.

(M) Do you know anything else? You guys still play Space For Hire, an ‘Indecency’ song. Do you play more songs from previous bands?

(F) There are still a few songs that are actually ‘Indecency’ songs but we’ve changed them. Space For Hire was originally something different; we changed the vocals and some other things.

(M) I’m not entirely sure but in my opinion you already changed your songs from your last EP?

(F) Yes, there are 2 songs we don’t play anymore and also songs we have changed since we got a second guitarist.

(Then one of the ‘CowboyKillers’ asks Han something about his bass-drum.)

(M) You wrote on the EP “And we don’t care at all whether or not the VPRO [Ducth TV broadcast] gives us airplay or not.”?

(F) That was a joke by Onno, but it was the intention that our music got played by the VPRO…

(M) Are you still going to get work together with ‘Political Asylum’?

(F) We toured together with them last year but we haven’t heard anything from them. I think they split up.

(M) Split up? I happened to meet Ramsey [Kanaan, ‘Political Asylum’ vocalist] in Amsterdam at the Europe Against The Current festival and he said they were doing a new LP, it was already recorded and it would be a benefit for Ecomedia.

(F) With the same people? Because the bassist was emigrating to Canada…and the guitarist lived in Rotterdam for a while.

(M) You deliberately chose to play autonomous youth-centres and squats with ‘Political Asylum’, but on the other hand I think that you’re also trying to reach a bigger audience?

(F) Yes, it’s always more fun to play for many people, to be known; in the beginning you don’t care that much but later it’s more fun.

(M) But in my opinion you can really reach a big audience that way?

(F) No.

(M) Isn’t that also the intention?

(F) No, just get as many people as possible into the music.

(H) How far would you take that? When I look at our country: Rough Trade (distribution) is pricing the LP for fl. 16.50 [a DIY distro usually sold an LP by a HC/punk band at fl. 12.50 at that time], just like that…

(F) As long as you have things in your own hands everything is OK but if you start denying your own… (incomprehensible because the ‘CowboyKillers’). Principles change of course but you have to try and keep everything under control.

(H) But suppose, for example, Enigma [commercial record-label] comes up to you and tells you just to do a record and pay for it, OK. But you know that the record is gonna end up in the stores for 25 guilders [double of what was usually payed for a HC/punk record at that time].

(F) Record companies: I don’t really feel attracted to them; we would rather record something ourselves and release it and keep control, keep the price low and make records the way we like. When you sign for a record-label, they’ll go “You have to play that kind of music and that’s the way it should be and that we don’t want.”.

(H) But then it’s not about reaching a wider audience because you can only readh that by seeing things big.

(F) No, but with a wider audience I do mean not playing at big festivals. (The ‘CowboyKillers’ start to play and the lights go out.) Shit! Haha, do you got a light? (Fons takes his cigarette-lighter but the lights stay out, the tape-recorder goes out.)

Situation 2: The tape-recorder is on top of the car of someone of ‘5Les’ (according to Han) and the interview continues…

(H) Let’s have a look, shit, I’ve lost track completely.

(F) Where were we?

(H) How does Belgium respond to your band?

(F) Pretty quiet, usually. It’s something unusual for most people, they don’t know excatly how to react. They find it a bit too complicated sometimes.

(M) Don’t you ever get any reactions like it’s too soft or too slow? (At that moment, the driver of the car where the recorder sits on, arrives and says she wants to leave…)

Situation 3: The ‘Swampsurfers’ bus has been chosen as new location. Present are now: Paolo [Melis] & Vital [Gerets] [editors of the Belgian zine Rednecks Not Allowed] and Joop.

(M) Are you satisfied with the LP? (Fons told me before they believed it was sounding too flat.)?

(F) No, not really.

(H) You guys live quite some distance apart, how are you working that out?

(F) By car.

(H) How often do you practice?

(F) Normally once a week and when we have gigs twice; we have a small space in the back at our drummer’s house, where we have everything set up.

(M) Let’s just leave it there, it’s not really a lot.

(F) Yes, we have to do that again some time.

Posted in 1989, Dutch zines | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Crass (Religieus Bloedblad #9)

This interview with ‘Crass’ (no introduction necessary) dates from August ’83. It appeared in Religieus Bloedblad (a portmanteau-word for religious massacre), a fanzine done by Michel Vanderhaeghen & Peter Beaufays, guitarist and vocalist of the band ‘Krank‘ (from Turnhout). They did 9 issues in the period 1982-83. Peter found this in his archives and donated it. I’ve never seen any of the issues myself: in that period I was doing civil (instead of military) service and was pretty much stuck in my hometown because of the meagre fee that paid…

Around that time Michel also did a comic-strip inspired by a song of the Belgian cold-wave band ‘De Brassers’ (“revellers”)…

Brob

cover of Religieus Bloedblad #9 (courtesy of Steven ‘Stel’ R.)

No idea why Michel and myself started our zine Religieus Bloedblad. Probably because of an overall agitation and an urge to shout out loud about everything we didn’t like. And to ‘score chicks’ of course. 😉 We had a print-run of about 200 copies (bimonthly, if I’m not mistaken). We did interviews with ‘The Ex’, ‘Amsterdamned’, ‘Dead Kennedys’, ‘Dirt’, ‘Special Duties’, ‘Crass’, ‘Moral Demolition’ and more, reports about concerts and demonstrations, LP-reviews, etc. Unfortunately pretty much everything has vanished into the garabage-bin in the past.

Regarding this ‘Crass’ interview: via via we’d obtained the address of their farm in Epping. As a way of spending a ‘cheap holiday in other peoples misery’ ‘Ratje’ [Tony Van Steenbergen, drummer], Roel [De Loore, bassist], Michel, Staf (RIP) & myself found ourselves in a squat in Brixton: a newly built apartment-block, however without electricity and water-supply. With lack of a better alternative we crapped in the bathtub, which was filled with shit up to the edge. Yummie. All in all a pretty marginal situation, and the fact that a few aggressive skinheads were living in the neighbourhood, didn’t improve our peace of mind either. Concerts we attented at that time: ‘The Mob’, ‘The Alternative’, ‘The Virgin Prunes’, ‘Sisters Of Mercy’, etc.

When we got fed up with the chaos of London, we took the subway to Epping, where we hitchhiked direction Dial House. We got a ride from a surprised Eve Libertine in a decrepit little van. We were allowed to set up our tent in the garden of Dial House (the ‘Crass’ farm), rehearsed with ‘Krank’ in their rehearsal-space and were all in all bij quite hosptably welcomed by our heroes in ‘Crass’. Inbetween we commuted back and forth between Brixton and Epping. The last time it was just Michel and myself: after all we had an interview to do. The chat took place at the kitchen-table, we slept in the guest-room and we left in the morning, a stack of buttered sandwiches was waiting for us, together with a farewell-letter. Looking back these little outings to ‘Crass’ left quite a serious impression, and they put me on a new track in my (at that time still) very inconsiderate young life. Thanks for that.

Peter Beaufays

[Translation below]

If there are still certain people who think that ‘Crass’ are pretentious and that they’re out to grab money, they should go and have look themselves how it really is like. ‘Crass’, in my opinion, is one of the few (only) bands that exists since ‘77, and that didn’t give up on their initial ideals, but realized them. As for the money: they’re not rich. When they go on tour, they usually lose money and with money they do make, they help out other bands (Flux [Of Pink Indians], The Mob, …).

83-08-15; Dial House, Epping (UK)

Before the interview started ‘Crass’ told us that the answers are to be considered as not just those of the people that give them but of the entire band. So: the opinion of a person is usually the opinion of the whole band.

R.B .: Is there a lot of tumult in England between ‘Crass’(punx) and other punx?

‘Crass’: We didn’t really notice that. It’s probably the press spreading such rumors. We don’t think there’s much going on it that sense in the streets.

R.B.: And during concerts? Aren’t there always certain people who try to boycott ‘Crass’?

‘Crass’: Yes, but I think that’s also happening at concerts of any other band. There are always people who think they should do something like breaking down the toilets. But it doesn’t happen specifically at ‘Crass’ gigs. It’s usually people who apparently agree with nothing and I don’t know why they’re doing it; it’s probably the easiest thing to do in the world, to act aggressively. They are being stupid.

I don’t think there’s aggression between ‘Crass’(punx) and other punx, a lot depends on the media. The aggression we notice at our concerts is not aimed at us. It’s more of a Friday-night habit to start a riot.

It’s only because people write something in the press that most people hear about it. One creates a certain image in the press and the punx think it is that way; they even go along with that particular idea.

Even because you ask that question you generate a certain idea that in fact doesn’t exist. You have to be very careful with the media. The aggression against us doesn’t really exist among the people. I’ve never heard of street-fighting because of ‘Crass’. (laughter)

R.B.: You are disappointed in punk, we assume?

‘Crass’: Yes, terribly. Probably for reasons that you can think of yourselves. Most punx just drink, are bored, etc. It’s the same here in England and we don’t sympathise with that. I understand why they do it but I don’t accept it; those people are weak. We try to say that it doesn’t have to bet hat way. They can do something with their lives. That’s the difference with certain punx. There are a lot of punx that do something, even if it’s just something that keeps their life together or makes it worthwhile. You don’t see those people in the streets. But there are a lot of people who organise their lives that way. They do fanzines like you do, they have a band, they do all sorts of things. Perhaps they even have a garden where they can work. When we talk about punx, we mean the mass that parades on King’s road and these aren’t really punx. It’s just their clothes, their parade. They have the thought of saying ‘no’ to authority but they do it in a way that doesn’t help them to make progress. They don’t do anything to make a change.

R.B.: Do you sometimes get negative reactions, unfriendly letters…?

‘Crass’: No, we don’t get anything of threatening nature. Once we received 2 letters in which we were called “bastards” and “fuckers”. One letter was from a skinhead in the navy who was with the nazi party. But instead of scolding him, Steve wrote him a very kind letter to ask what was going on and why he reacted that way. And a while later we received a letter from him saying that he hadn’t expected such a response from us and that he was rather happy with it. That’s how we actually noticed that he’s just a friendly guy. We regularly receive letters from him now and that’s also interesting for us because of the fact that he’s in the navy, he went over to the Falklands. We regularly get letters from people in the army. They’re usually people who have signed on at a young age because they were unemployed. But they didn’t want it themselves and now try to get it out, but that doesn’t work out because they signed for a relatively long period. So they’re spending most of their time in an army-prison. There’s an organisation been set up now trying to get them out in a legal way.

R.B.: Have you already had troubles because of your singles about the Falkland war and against Thatcher?

‘Crass’: Yes, but not enough! (laughter)

Sometimes we do things that we think “OK. That’s it, they’re gonna come knocking on my door.”. But it’s strange, they apparently prefer keeping things secret.

R.B.: But we read in a Belgian newspaper that you had to come to court regarding a single about the Falklands.

‘Crass’: No, we haven’t been to court, but we received a letter from the House Of Commons (parliament) and they asked us to stop the single, to get it out of circulation. First, they gave as the reason that the record was obscene and because of the insults against Margaret Thatcher (mother of a 1.000 deaths); afterwards, they it was because of the fact that we had used an illegal radio-programme (recordings) about parliament. But they dropped everything and we haven’t heard anything about it.

For Asylum we got the moral-police at the door. Again because of the record’s obscenity.

I think they’re very careful about making the charges against us public because they would have to answer some difficult questions themselves. But I think that all the things we’ve already done are in police-files and when one day it gets too much, they’ll start digging them all up.

R.B.: Will you do anything more serious in the future then to get at?

‘Crass’: Something worse? (laughter all around, then serious again)

It’s not our intention to get worse. We don’t know if we can reach something that way. We actually say what’s on our minds, nothing but the truth actually. It’s not our intention to shock but to communicate. But the following projects are quite ‘soft’.

Margaret Thatcher has just been re-elected and it’s indeed difficult to express one’s frustrations and anger about that. It’s quite rotten for us that Thatcher has been elected for 5 more years. Everyone in the band was depressed and disappointed for a month. But now we’re going for it again. It’s been since christmas that we’ve played. There’s a concert scheduled in Iceland (September 10th); this gig will bring everything back together and we’ll see what kind of things happen afterwards.

All those things are so frightening; it’s not just Thatcher but also the entire American scene that sends missiles and troops everywhere. It’s terrible and we don’t know what we can do about it. We can’t beat them. Disgusting is also the mentality of certain people. As you may know, we recently released a single from an Irish hit-parade band and on the cover you’ll find information about the use of plastic bullets by the police in Northern Ireland, that already killed several children. And there’s been a review of that single in the N.M.E., and all that man could come up with was that ‘Crass’ supports the I.R.A., that ‘Crass’ supports murderers. He didn’t say anything about the song, nor about the plastic bullets. Then we responded to that man that we were displeased about the review and all he could say was: “Yeah, I thought you would say that.”.

Northern Ireland is a very difficult subject. And the politicians don’t touch it because it would mean the end of their career. There’s only one man who dared to start tackling because he was elected for parliament being a member of the political side of the I.R.A. This is considered outrageous in England because a member of the I.R.A. is now in parliament. It may give positive results.

R.B.: What do you exactly mean with anarchy?

‘Crass’: It’s a very extensive subject but I’ll keep it short. When we use the word chaos, we mean it in the sense of chaos in thoughts. You can doubt yourself in such a way that you create total confusion in yourself. Until you can clear your mind, and then you can start thinking again in the true sense of the word. That’s the anarchy we’ve always talked about. And what results from that, is that we look at each other and build a new world in which we try to avoid fear, and try to achieve confidence and happiness. We make lots of pamphlets in which we explain what anarchy is, or what it means to us, you can translate it and put it in your zine if you want.

We see anarchy as something individual. It must all happen in yourself first; but people wonder what will happen when there is anarchy. Who will take care of hot water, who will repair my TV, etc. But if you want to achieve overall, total anarchy, that’s a process of hundreds of years of cooperation in harmony.

We also believe that anarchy, the way we see it, is not in the future but now. If you want to live like this, you can do it now. It’s here and now in yourself. And you can use the system (society) to do that because if you try to break down society by violence in the streets…forget about it. They can stop you as they like, they have so much more power than you. But you can use the system to overthrow it, you can use and bend their rules and laws, and we’ll go on until they have to give up, because they’ll have to give up some day.

R.B.: Now something about the prices of the records. They are usually more expensive than the ‘pay no more than’ price.

‘Crass’: That depends a bit on the import-taxes. They can be quite high.

It also depends on the store. They can actually ask more in the shop than what it says on the cover. It’s just a suggestion we give. Legally we can’t do anything about it but what we actually do here is ask the addresses of the stores where they’re more expensive and we call those people and say that if they don’t lower the price we won’t supply them any longer. And usually they lower the price then. But if they’re really too expensive, you better buy them somewhere else, otherwise you’ll support someone who makes a relatively high profit.

R.B.: Where do you get the money to keep everything going?

‘Crass’: From the band.

We make a profit on the records that gives us enough to make the next record. We live of 120 pounds a week for 7 adults and 4 children.

But we live a very simple life, we grow our own vegetables here, we don’t have any extravagant habits. The most luxurious thing for us is smoking (Tobacco is terribly expensive in England.). From the money we pay each of the band-members a sum of 500 pounds a year. That’s a lot of money to me, it’s enough for us to get by. And if we save that, we have enough to visit another country some time.

R.B.: In Belgium, people think that you live in a rather luxurious farm and that you are quite rich. But that might have something to do with the punk-industry, if you see all those T-shirts, etc.

‘Crass’: We have nothing to do with that. They’re probably earning more money than us. A big advantage for us is this house. We’ve lived here for a long time and we still pay the original rent, 9 pounds a week, which is very little.

We do have a very strict money-system because we can’t afford to make a lot of expenses. Like this cocnerts in Iceland. Our tickets will be refunded, it’s the first time that happens. But we also still have to pay several things, which we can only just afford, because we don’t get paid for it. We do it to help them.

The rumor that we are rich may be because we’re living in the countryside. For many people today, in England anyway, it’s a dream to live in the countryside. And when punk started in London it was normal to wander around in the city, that people were on the dole and drinking beer.

And also because most people think that a well-known band is always rich, but that’s not the case.

The ‘Cockney Rejects’ once said they thouht we were a bunch of assholes because we’re living in the countryside, and I was recently talking to someone who had the same idea. I explained him how difficult it sometimes is. When you live here you can’t go anywhere. If you want to go out in London you have to leave at 10.30 p.m. and need a lot of money for the subway. And there are no concerts in the neighbourhood.

R.B.: Can you tell us a bit about Dial House? (the ‘Crass’ house)

‘Crass’: Penny and I (Joy de Vivre) started it – 17 years ago – with the intention of creating an open house. Our home, but also a home for other people with whom we could work together and share. It’s actually still the same as it used to be. We thought about it a lot, we had to deal with a lot of mistakes. There were always things being created and disseminated in this house, but until now, the band (‘Crass’) has been the most successful.

In 1977, punk came up, everyone was bored with hard-rock… and I found punk to be very exciting. It was the first time people said that everything was shit. The only thing I didn’t agree with was ‘no future’, which was negative. But the energy of punk was fantastic. We started a paper and the band started to grow. We took everything very literally. When other bands started to yell “fuck off to the system”, we thought they really meant it; but apparently most didn’t. You can’t change anything by working with managers or signing contracts for 5 years and then acting revolutionary. They won’t let you go about that way.

R.B.: You have 4 children here. How do you raise them, with the anarchistic idea in mind?

‘Crass’: The children are all very different. What you’ve experienced in the garden has never happened before (We, ‘Krank’ & Staf, were laying in the garden behind the house and 2 children behaved very aggressively towards us, just because we had spilled some water on the grass, which, according to them, damaged the grass. Eventually one of the boys asked -in an impending way- ‘Rat’ if he thought of himself as being kind, and ‘Rat’ asked him the same but the boy screamed out loud: “I asked you a fucking question, so bloody answer it!”. We took off to prevent further incidents.)

R.B.: It was a miserable experience for us.

‘Crass’: Yeah, it was a disturbing experience, for him too actually, because he realizes what he did. But he can sometimes be very tense for very personal reasons. But…I…don’t know, the children are usually treated as human beings. They are children but also human beings that are intelligent, and they are very demanding. One of the children doesn’t like school at all. And after a week of school he can get very confused and fucked up. So we have to be mild and tolerant, because it is that fucking school that does all of that. He doesn’t even want to be there, in school. But we have no choice. It’s against the law not to send him to school. We have searched for other means to help him but we don’t have that much money. We thought of a private school but then we get reactions like: “You are that kind of people who want to educate their children separate and secluded.”. It’s a big problem.

R.B: Is there no problem that the children will get spoiled. That they think they ‘re allowed to do everything?

‘Crass’: Spoiled? I don’t think so, because… They have a pretty hard life here. They’re confronted with everything here, nothing just passes by with out them noticing. They’re quite open and free. You can imagine that there are a lot of strange people coming and they approached these in an open manner. What happened yesterday was very unusual and I’m sorry that you were the victim, but I think he suffered more because of it than you guys. What we really hope is that they obtain the courage and the power to handle those kind of problems. But they’re more delicate. Things are different with the other 2 children. One has finished school now and she doesn’t really like the way we live here. She has her own idea about a way of life but she’s OK. I don’t fully agree with her but she needs to go her own way. The children feel that they don’t have to live the same way we do. I don’t think they’ll keep hanging around here much longer.

It’s difficult with 4 children, because they go to school. The pressure from the outside is probably bigger and stronger than other children. You know: TV, the latest new toys, etc. They’re being influenced. They’re labeled as ‘strange’ at school because they don’t eat meat, because they live with punx and because they almost don’t watch any TV. The other kids at school talk about the latest TV-movie; do you understand what I mean?

That’s the hardest thing for them. The confrontation between school and their way of living here.

They are very knowledgeable children. They might not talk about it often but every time we make a record or a do a paper, they look at it and read it. And they know more than a thing about the nuclear energy problem e.g. and at school they get all that shit again, and they have to try and deal with that. They’re doing a fairly good job, I think. But a child is a huge responsibility. You don’t know if you are doing things the right way. You can only hope that you treat them in the most open and helpful way possible.

R.B.: OK, that’s it, I believe.

‘Crass’: Yeah? It was good, nice questions.

R.B.: Really? I’ll stop the recorder now …CLICK!

After another cup of tea and some chatting, we went to sleep. (The first time in 10 days on a real bed.) The next morning we had to get up early to get the train to London. Before they took us to the station we got another cup of tea. On the table there was a note addressed to us. It read that it had been a nice encounter and that we could take sandwiches for the travel. When we left, one of the boys waved to us. We waved back…

Posted in 1983, Belgian zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wasserdicht (Pssst #2)

Tea Hvala (the ‘thank you’ girl), from Šebrelje (a village in the moutains, west of Ljubljana, Slovenia), was still a teenager when she sent me the first issue of her zine Pssst… in 1996/97. I wrote this review in Tilt! #9 on the first 2: >>Made by a 16 year old intelligent girl. The first issue is filled with clever columns (about propganda, media-freedom, beauty-myth, …) and thought-provoking bits (thinking about death, work in a smalltown factory, US cultural imperialsim, …). The only weak part is that the grammar isn’t always 100% correct (so we have to guess a few times) and that too much ideas are crammed into the same sentence or paragraph. Nr 2 goes in the same direction but there are some band-interviews (‘Rain Still Falls’, ‘Emily’, ‘Wasserdicht’). These are not the best parts of the zine ’cause Tea isn’t always able to catch her emotions & opinions on paper exactly as she has it in her mind. A lot of the columns contain however brilliant ideas (lack of creativity in established scenes, capitalism & consumption encourage tolerance towards abuse, anti-elitary art for people, contemporary sports restrain the individual, anti-sexism can be sexist, etc.). Great!<<

I can find 5 issues of Pssst in my archives. Nr 3,5 (A6 format, horizontal, with the number 3,5 carved in linocut and hand-printed on a cardboard cover) seems missing. #3 (subtitled ‘The Screaming Issue’) was an amalgam of texts (in English & Slovene) and drawings by various people in an attempt to find answers to the questions of life. Nr 4 was a split with Forkboy (done by Joris Willekens) where Tea’s part continues on the previous path. There’s also interview with the bands ‘Goutte D’Or’ and ‘Prohibition’. #5 (subtitled ‘The Meaning Of Words’) was a collaboration with Frederik Danneels, with contributions from people such as Laura W., Teo Petricevic, Shannon Colebank and more. Tea herself wrote about porn, Ecotopia, etc.

Later Tea studied Comparative Literature, Sociology of Culture and Anthropology of Gender. Nowadays she’s a writer (e.g. essays on feminist activism). She has facilitated workshops in collaborative writing of feminist-queer science fiction, has been co-organising the International Feminist and Queer Festival Rdece Zore (Red Dawns) between 2002-13; has edited books and co-hosts Sektor Z (a monthly feminist radio-show).

Also check out Tea Hvala’s blog… And her article: ‘A Personal History of the Slovene Zine Scene’, published in Vox Feminae in 2015.

Tea’s zinography: Pssst… was between 1997-2000. Afterwards there was Potopis Kože (2001), Slastičarna (KUD Anarhiv & KUD Mreža, 2002), The Curved (2004) Izvajanje Velikega Blatarja (self-published by Damijan Kracina, 2007), Svetovi Drugih / In Other Wor(l)ds zine series (2008-2016), 3 Stories (2010), Togi Nasmehi/Stiff Smiles (2013), Razkorak/Discord (Look Back And Laugh Books, 2015), Podzemlje (self-published by Bata Leviki, 2016)…

‘Wasserdicht’ was the band of another correspondent of mine. Dejan Požegar (who also did Jay-Walk – a label/distro/zine – together with his partner Tina Kraševec; nowadays a professional dancer at the London Contemporary Dance School) was their vocalist. They were from Maribor (Slovenia) and played crust-core. The others in the band were Miha Mehtsun (drums), Marko (guitar) & Robi (bass).

Brob

I wasn’t a member of ‘Wasserdicht’ the whole time so I don’t know the details of the years before or after me. I know that they had a female singer (Petra Kolmančič) in the begining (1992 or so). Then they went on as a trio, until I joined in ’94. We went on for 5 years and released a split-LP with ‘Scuffy Dogs’, split 7” with ‘Konstrukt’ (both on Jay-Walk) and some songs on various compilations. We did a lot of concerts since we where one of the first crust-/fast-core bands in Slovenia. At that time we also did an East-German Tour 96 with ‘Deca Debilane’, ‘Scuffy Dogs’ and ‘AA’ organized by Boco from Extreme Smoke 57 (legendary Slovenian grindcore band). At that time it was hard to do something like that for a Slovenian band: a 14-day tour was hard to get. In 1999 I went on with 2 other bands. I know they stopped for a while and then continued years later with a new bass-player and Marko the guitar-player on vocals. In 2013 they did a reunion-show supporting ‘Extreme Noise Terror’…

The lyrics where political or sociological orientated. Some where in Slovenian and some in English. We were really into the DIY thing back then. We also helped organising shows for other bands form Slovenia or worldwide (e.g. ‘DropDead’, ‘Dystopia’, ‘Defiance’, ‘Los Crudos’, …). It was all about spreading the idea that we can be self-sufficient. Back then it was also possible to do that. The shows where organised in Maribor (my hometown) or Ormož (‘Wasserdicht’ hometown). It wasn’t about money, it was about helping each other out. The result of those things or ideas is still present to this day. Some of us still try to move things and we still cooperate one way or the other. Marko (guitarist) is one of the main organisers of the Grossmann Fantastic Film and Wine Festival (the musical support for this festival is still punk, hardcore, …). I still do a band (‘Nakajima’) and organise shows here in Velenje, where I live now. Trying to spread some ideas to the kids of today. I’ve learned so much; all the ideology I gained in the 80s/90s marked me for life. And I am glad that my life went in this direction.

Dejan Požegar

Posted in 1997, Eastern-European zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

HomoMilitia (Romp #14)

I learned about the existence of this zine when I got in touch with Ueli Schill at the time he was organising the tour for ‘Resist’ in 1992… Romp Productions (in Luzern, Switzerland) seemed like a huge ‘imperium’ and well-oiled machinery: besides the zine they also ran an info-shop/distribution, and were obiously supporting their scene and sensitized people for political issues. People can read about their activities, history & zine on www.romp.ch

It was hard to pick just one interview from their vast collection but I chose the one that ‘Fix’ did with Agnes, the singer of the Polish anarcho-crust ‘HomoMilitia’… I support the message that this band brought (speaking out against racism, homophobia and all forms of discrimination) and liked the music and people when I met them at a gig in a local squat in ’95. ‘HomoMilitia’ (from Lódz) were compared to ‘Nausea’ (because of the dual male/female vocals) or ‘Doom’. Around the time of this interview the band probably consisted of ‘Sucha’ Agnes/Agnieszka Nalewajko (vocals), ‘Pixi’ Wojtek Krawczyk (vocals), ‘Strzała’ (guitar), Ira ‘Irek’ Michalski (bass; replacing ‘Dzuma’) and they were looking for a drummer to fill in for ‘Klimer’.

Brob

Romp zine started in 1989. Back then we were 3 people. Myself, Ueli and a guy called ‘Schinken’. The main focus of the zine was HC, punk and even some SxE band-interviews. The first issue ran no more than 100 copies (photocopying). We found the name ‘Romp’ by mistake: we had no name but thought that the word ‘romp’ (from the English: to romp) we saw in the background of a report would fit well and also that the meaning was suitable for a punk zine. The zine was D.I.Y., except for the fact that we used the copymachines of our parents.  Soon more and more political issues found a place in the zine and the SxE part dissappeared. Romp appeared on a regular basis every half year, and there was a larger print-run. In 1997 (for #10) we recognised that copying was no longer an option because of the increasing number of copies, so we found a printing-collective in Zürich were we could do it. It was still D.I.Y. because we printed it on our own. During that time people came and people left in the zine-collective. When the printing-press in Zürich broke down, the press-group dissolved in 1999. Since apparently we were the only ones who still wanted to use the printing-press, we got the whole thing as a gift. But it was still broken. Issue #20 of Romp zine was the only one that wasn’t D.I.Y. But that wasn’t in the spirit I wanted to do things. I had to repair it and get a new place. In 2001 I found that in the cellar of the Romp info-shop (which exists since 1991 with more or less the same people who did the zine). So since 2004 Romp zine is done totally D.I.Y. again, in the backyard of the infoshop (the last few years just by myself)…

Felix ‘Fix’ E[…]

[Translation below]

So now once more an interview that was been planned for the last issue. To be honest, in this case it wasn’t because of us for a change. (Hahaha)

Well then, who are ‘HomoMilitia’? They’re a band that all of us at Romp love and know about. OK, you lot probably don’t care a lot. So let’s get to the point. ‘HomoMilitia’ are from Poland, more precisely from Łódź, the second largest city in Poland, if anyone is interested. They’re probably the best-known band from Poland, also because they were in Western Europe a lot of the time and in ‘96 their first LP came out on Nikt Nic Nie Wie.

Well here’s an interview then, one that was also very important to me. So have fun and get some info. Perhaps it should be said that for the interview it was Agnes (the singer) that answered, since the guys didn’t get to it to do this together.

ROMP: What has changed about ‘HomoMilitia’ since the tour in April 1995 with ‘Steine Für Den Frieden’ [Swiss band with Romp-collaborators Felix ‘Fix’ E. (vocals) & Ueli Schill (drums)]?

HM: OK, it has been more than a year ago in the meantime and our line-up changed several times. We never had a lot of luck with our drummers, but we found a brilliant bass-player. That’s why we’re not playing at the moment (Which explains why the interview took so long.) because we’re looking for a new drummer. We also changed our music a bit. Still hard and fast as usual, but with a little more power; which comes more from our minds and hearts than before. The lyrics are also more actual and always written by Wojtek [Wojciech or ‘Pixi’].

ROMP: Who did you tour with in the meantime and where did these tours bring you?

HM: Since then we toured, in August ‘95, with ‘Unhinged’, a well-known band, and in November ‘95 we were on the road with ‘Oi Polloi’. In May ‘96 we were on tour with friends from Scandinavia. Mainly with ‘Força Macabra’ but also with ‘Wind Of Pain’ and ‘Uutuus’.

ROMP: I once was (almost 1/2 year ago) a list of concert-dates of you guys on the wall. I noticed that you usually play about 4 concerts per month in Poland. How many concerts have you played since you started?

HM: I’m not so sure but I would estimate around 80.

ROMP: Are you so popular in Poland or what is it?

HM: We’ve been playing for about 5 years now and we do gigs in Poland. So that’s why, on the one hand, and also because we were one of the first bands in this direction, we’re perhaps more or less popular in Poland.

Often many people came to see us. But right now, there are so many bands and concerts that people are too lazy to go to gigs. They become picky. But I believe that we’re still a popular band in Poland and are able to create a good atmosphere.

ROMP: What will be your next tour? Where and with whom?

HM: I don’t know. We have the opportunity to go on tour with ‘Los Crudos’ but probably we will only play with them here in Poland if we find a new drummer in time.

ROMP: Finally your first LP Twoje Ciało – Twój Wybór (Your Body – Your Choice) is out. Why did it take so long and on which label is it out?

HM: In part it took so long because of ourselves. We’re ‘lazy bastards’ and the label Nikt Nic Nie How (Nobody Knows Nothing) had to wait for us. [The recordings were in March 1995; with ‘Dzuma’ (bass), ‘Klimer’ (drums), ‘Strzała’ (guitar), Wojtek ‘Pixi’ (vocals) & Agnes/Agnieszka ‘Sucha’ (vocals).] And then we also had to change the info+lyrics-sheet. We had to wait until the records were finally pressed, which also lasted its time.

ROMP: So now I’ll be unfair. Are you all happy about the design of the back-cover and the statement there? I’m asking because I picked up some of your discussions.

HM: Not all of us. The back cover was made by our guitarist ‘Strzała’ and because we were so late, he couldn’t show it to us before it was printed. I saw the back-cover only when it was already printed by NNNW. Only then we had the opportunity to discuss it, and Wojtek and I weren’t very happy about it.

I believe the design would have been OK without the statement ‘Your Body – Your Choice’. Because now it looks as if we want to say that we don’t care what you do with your body. But we also say “Yes, it’s your decision, but there’s also the possibility to get out of it and to do something different with one’s life.”.

But the back-cover gives a lot to think about and who takes it as a provocation is wrong, because we didn’t intend it as a provocation. In my opinion it’s a really good cover but if you just understand the message that way, it may get a somewhat distorted explanation.

There’s always a better way to live one’s life, even for people whose lives are at the lowest point; that shouldn’t be considered as a statement about abortion or homosexuality. We don’t want to think about the evils of this world and that there are people who live like rats, and who’ve given up their dreams since a long time and can’t believe they can change. But at the same time, we also have to admit that there’s always a way to make one’s life a bit more enjoyable.

ROMP: Do you also have new songs on the LP?

HM: An LP is always a sort of ending of a period in the existence of a band. Likewise there’s only songs on our LP from that are the result of our creativity. Our newer songs will appear on 7” or 10” on Skuld releases. But of course this will still take time.

ROMP: What is the spoken part on your LP about? It’s not translated into English.

HM: Before or after a few songs on the LP, we recorded sentences from interviews or radio-broadcasts, that are related to our lyrics.

Before the song Earth there’s a longer sequence from an interview with a child who can not understand how and why humans kill animals. The second is a hunter’s explanation to the child’s questions. Since the statements of the hunter make no sense, the child actually ‘wins’ the discussion against the hunter.

We also have excerpts from interviews made in front of the first Burger King in Poland. My favourite part of it is: “Do you like America?” – question of the interviewer. “Yes, because of McDonalds and Hamburgers.”

ROMP: What is your own opinion regarding abortion and the pro-life movements as it is often represented in the Czech HC movement, or elsewhere.

My Body – My Choice: This is my body, the choice belongs to me. No-one can decide for me. Guards of morality who haven’t got their own one, want to reduce my right to decide. This is my body, the choice belongs to me. Catholic guards of morality protect unborn children. No-one cares about animals being murdered. Breaking down basic human rights. Interference in people’s lives. Is this the democracy we have been fighting for?

HM: Well, it’s not that simple to say that we’re in favour of every abortion. We had some long discussions about it and over time our views have changed a bit. Surely every person has the right to do with his body what he wants.

Since I’m a woman I certainly have thought a thousands of times about it. If I were ever to get pregnant, would I really be so sure to kill the life growing within me, that is part of me. To be honest: I was and I am not sure what I would do and how I would feel about it, etc.

I’m firmly convinced that it is just rubbish to take a child when one isn’t prepared and isn’t sure. Because the child will also realise that it wasn’t wanted and can only become unhappy, and exactly because of that I think abortions are also really necessary. Clearly: there are many other situations like rape or being short of money, where abortions are really needful. However, there are also often situations where people are not aware that they kill a living being.

We fight against the killing of and unnecessary animal-experiments, but often we forget that we kill evolved living beings. I would never tell someone not to turn to abortion but I would advise her to think it over.

On the subject of these pro-life idiots from our scene or elsewhere… They have no right at all to decide things for me or anyone else, and they make me puke. They have probably never really thought about the emergency-situations that force women to take this step before calling someone a killer or something.

Surprisingly, it’s also often men who have no idea about what is going on in a woman that is pregnant and about the requirements to keep the child that the woman might not have. OK, often it’s also different, but that’s none of our business. Often the woman is on her own to make the decision and that’s difficult. This is how I think. “Fuck off, it’s my decisions!”

ROMP: What do you think: how did it happen that people from the HC- or punk-scene justify these idiotic pro-life ideas and are against abortions?

HM: I don’t know, maybe they really are so stupid, perhaps they’re Catholic, perhaps they go to church, maybe they were not loved by their mommy, maybe… You have to ask them, not me!

ROMP: Sometimes you describe your sound as a homo-core. Have you ever had problems with punks at your concerts on this subject?

HM: No, I don’t think we’ve ever labeled our music as homo-core because we’re not homosexual, at least not the majority of the band. Only our singer prefers men; apart from that we’re ‘straight’, so I would never call HomoMilitia a homo-core band. There may be people who call us that but that is their business. We advocate equal rights for the sexes, races and nations.

Of course we were also confronted with idiots who call themselves punk but have nothing to do with the ideas of punk. We don’t care about such intolerant dumbheads, that are just getting wasted, listening to music and paying attention to appearances. Such people don’t tolerate gays and are exactly the same as the masses.

Homophobia: Schemas tucked in our consciousness, don’t allow us to think in a different way. Contempt acquired in education. Orders us to laugh at difference. Homophobia – Racism. Instinctive thinking with dick. Intelligence measured by muscles. Hatred of homosexuals. Is the stupidity that hasn’t been cured for years. Fear of changing your lifestyle. Behaving beyond the rules. Contempt acquired in education. To everything that doesn’t go with norms!

ROMP: What do you think about the Polish punk-scene: is it just about fashion or is there more to it for the punks?

HM: At the moment there are a lot of people looking like punks, because it’s fashionable. I believe it’s the same throughout Europe, also in the techno-scene, to look a bit punk. But with a lot of these people it’s just about that. Yeah there’s actually quite a lot of people that are also OK and have an interest in the music or play in a band themselves but remain rather unactive in local actions, like organising concerts, collaborate at demonstrations, in anti-nazi groups or political movements, etc. only a small part of the punks are really also active, but these are then all the more active. Sure, it’s always anyone’s own decision to do more or less for the punk-movement.

ROMP: How big is the scene in Poland and where can people meet punks? If you want, you can answer that too just for Łódź.

HM: We often meet in pubs, at concerts, demonstrations or parties. But there is actually no meeting-place. At the moment we don’t have a lot of possibilities and the scene is divided into smaller groups, and many even do their own stuff all by themselves. But we’re still punks and live our lives.

ROMP: Do you have something like an info-shop or the likes in Łódź, where information is exchanged?

HM: No, there’s two stores of friends though, but they’re more like clothes-stores rather than anything else. The also cary a few records and tapes but not a lot.

ROMP: You also organise concerts in Łódź. Where do you do them and what other possibilities are there for gigs?

HM: Yes, we had the possibility to rent a space on the ground-floor of a public building and to organise concerts there. Unfortunately this is over because we couldn’t afford to pay it anymore. So we did some concerts in pubs that friends of us run.

Unfortunately that joint is now also closed and it is increasingly difficult to do concerts. But our singer Wojtek doesn’t give up so quickly, meaning: if he wants something he will make it happen. He really generates an incredible amount of energy.

ROMP: As far as I’ve seen, you have huge problems with nazis in Łódź. What can you do against them, if anything at all? You once told me that the nazis are quite popular. Do you have any idea why fascist ideology is falling on such fertile ground in Poland?

HM: Here in Poland there is an enormous number of nazis in every big city. There are certain parties who have trouble keeping their electorate, because their programme and politics are impossible and stupid. They keep promising a better Poland over and over again, by means of a racist and nazist ideology. Skinheads, that still believe them, are an easy electorate for these parties.

Another reason why there are so many skinheads in Poland is soccer. I have often asked myself how it comes that a sport can be responsible for a political attitude. It doesn’t mean that all hooligans are nazi-skins, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous for people that think and look different. I think there are also differences with other countries.

You’ll definitely get problems when you run into them, but otherwise that’s also the case when you simply don’t watch out enough in some districts and the same applies for the right-wingers. From time to time there are confrontations but there’s not much that we can do against this plague, but to stand together and strike back.

ROMP: Is it possible to continue to or to start to squat in Łódź?

HM: Squatting in Łódź is almost impossible at the moment. Also the part of town where Wojtek lives, isn’t squatted and never was. It is rather a commune with the possibility to do concerts on the ground-floor.

The group of people that live there actually got the rooms to work there (Many of them paint or do something else art-wise.) and just moved in and are living there now. Usually houses are evicted on the spot and no-one wants get into a fight with the cops.

ROMP: What are you doing in Łódź? I mean how and where do you live of?

HM: Wojtek lives in the so-called squat. He travels a lot, organises concerts and gets drunk almost every day in pubs. ‘Strzała’, our guitarist, lives of social welfare and therefore still lives with his mother; he’s quite obsessed with his PC. ‘Irek’ [Ira Michalski] is our new bassist and lives in Leczyca near Łódź, with his parents. Agnes will soon get her own home, studies and is an English teacher.

ROMP: Do squatted houses get attacked by nazis as is the case in Leibzig [Germany]?

HM: Yes, several times, but luckily only the window-panes got smashed and no-one was injured. Although once they managed to get it right into the house, but they were immediately knocked back.

ROMP: What do you believe in? In what do you have trust, if at all?

HM: That’s a question I can hardly answer by myself because we never really talked about that. I think the most important thing for all of us is to be ourselves in our lyrics. Being a human is still very important to us, but also to respect other creatures and be active.

Personally, I believe in the future and that it is possible to change bad habits, and that this world will somehow be more worth living than today.

ROMP: What do you want to do with ‘HomoMilitia’ in the future, do you have specific plans?

HM: As already said earlier: we’re still looking for a new drummer. Then we’ll soon do concerts again and hopefully record for Skuld Releases from Germany.

ROMP: So I think that was that then. If you have anything in mind that I’ve forgotten, let me know.

HM: Thanks for the interview and sorry that it took so long. We’re really lazy bastards.

To the Romp-readers: If you have further questions, write to us, even if it takes its time to respond: we write.

Stay punk and take care! See you somewhere.

ROMP: Thanks for the interview and for your hospitality.

Wojtek Krawczyk; P.O.Box 206, 90-961 Łódź 52, Poland

Agnes Nalewajko; Ul. Klonowa 15/17, 91-036 Łódź, Poland

Strzała – Agnes – ? – Wojtek – ?

Posted in 1997, Swiss zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dario Adamic (Unmasked Creeper #1)

This interview was done by 2 Croatian young women (still in their teens at the time, if I remember well): Ana Malacic & Nikolina ‘Nina’ Majdak (from Kutina). From letters we exchanged they seemed quite adventurous and openminded, so I didn’t hesitate to distribute their work. I got to see 2 issues. The first contained bits on love, human rights, abortion, the Monte Paradiso (in Pula, Cro) & Ladronka (Prague, Cze) festivals; interviews with Croatian bands ‘S.M.C.’ & ‘Razlog Za’, and Energy recs (Ser); reviews,  a French scene-report, etc. The second had an interview with ABC Huddersfield, ‘Directed Crew’, ‘Kravi Mandat’ & ‘Bakanali’ from Croatia, and ‘Dog On A Rope’ (Leeds); a story about Ecotopia ’98, a variety of personal columns, a Polish scene-report and loads more.

Nikolina (R) studied journalism and is a professional independent artist (theatre & performance, mime & dance). Ana (L) is a highschool art teacher.

Dario Adamic (a.k.a. Adam) was the main person behind Zips & Chains zine. He’s originally from Split (ex Yugoslavia, nowadays Croatia) but when we corresponded, he studied in Rome (nowadays he lives in Berlin). Besides the zine he did a distribution (Bored Teenagers) and later started his label Goodwill recs. He was also the bassplayer in a few bands (‘Break Out’, ‘This Side Up’). Dario was also the initiator of the monthly Homeless Veggie Dinner (in Kreuzberg) where food that would be destined for waste-containers is transformed into delicious dishes…

Posted in 1997, Eastern-European zines | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Code 13 (Past Midnight #3)

This was a donation of Duncan Mckinlay (Abderdeen, Scotland). The editor of this Swedish zine was Henke Liljegren. I’ve never been in contact with him. In the editorial he writes that some bands (‘Extinction Of Mankind’, ‘Misery’, ‘Unhinged’) didn’t respond timely enough. Bands that did make it to this issue were ‘Fleas & Lice’, ‘Kontrovers’, ‘Doom’, ‘Scumbrigade’ & ‘Amebix’ (reprint of the MRR interview by ‘Pushead’). There were also bits about christianity, the EZLN and the situtation in Chiapas, television, the women’s choice, and review- & news-sections.

‘Code 13’ (police-radio code for ‘officer down’), from Minneapolis, “mixed sing-a-long 80s hardcore like early ‘7 Seconds’ and ‘Youth Brigade’ with fast-core like ‘DropDead’ and a touch of early ‘D.R.I.’, straight-edge hardcore, Swedish HC/ Japanese thrash, 80s anarcho-punk and some grind/power violence for a fast and powerful punk sound”. They were Felix ‘(Von) Havoc’ (vocals; ex ‘Destroy!’, columnist/contributer/reviewer for Maximum Rock’n’Roll, HeartAttack & Profane Existence; owner of Havoc recs and straight-edge crust-punk), Mitch ‘Useless’ Robbie (drums; ex ‘Destroy!’ – ‘Criminal Shane’ was arrested in ’97; replaced by ‘Josh Blast’), ‘Tattoo Shane’ (bass; wasn’t on the Euro tour, replaced by Rick McKelvey) & ‘Trevor Trend’ a.k.a. ‘Trev Nugent’ (guitar). All their 7”s were on Felix’s label: Doomed Society (1995), They Made A Wasteland And Called It Peace (1996), A Part Of America Died Today (1998) and the split with ‘Demon System 13’ (2000). There was also a discography CD in 2000. The band toured Europe in 1999.

‘Von Havoc’ was also involved in Extreme Noise, a volunteer-run, not-for-profit co-op record-store in Minneapolis. For sure the man contributed/contributes a lot to the HC/punk-scene but history also obliges us to mention there’s also been some controversy: Felix was allegedly accused of rape on the More Than Music fest (Columbus, Ohio)… The rumours were all played out through the pages of HeartAttack. I believe none of it turned out to be true. There were also rumours of violent behaviour…

Josh – Felix – Trev – Shane

Posted in 1998, Swedish zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

human nature (Synthesis #5)

Some time around 1995 I got a note from a person named ‘Albatross’ (residing in London – and later Canterbury for a while) asking for help distributing this zine. It was the start of a lively correspondence and an inspiring friendship. It turned out that the person (Laura W.) was an American studying (sociology, post-graduate in children’s rights). She is a vegan, anarchist, straight-edge, feminist, used to skate and would over the years also start distributing zines (Goodies – the name of her zine-distro; later changed to Synthesis), (help) organise gigs, volunteer at the vegan café Pogo Café (in Hackney), etc. We met up and visited gigs together, and encouraged each other doing the things we were doing. Later she wrote a chapter in the book Sober Living For The Revolution (about political straight-edge), published by PM Press and did a blog. I already posted an interview with her…

And – inside-joke – she was also the only woman who actually proposed me to marry her…

Laura did 5 issues of her zine during the second half of the 90s. #1 (94/95) was still hand-written and had short bits about veganism, militant bicycling, etc. and a brief interview with Jello Biafra… #2 (95) contained interviews with ‘Avail’ & ‘Doughnuts’, and comments on sXe, vegan activism, being a girl; plus reviews (zines/books). In #3 (97) she wrote about her travels, elections, anarchism and more. #4 (98) had columns about human rights, revolution, punk, feminism, etc.; plus a big review-section (music/zines/books/films). Some of the topics in #5 (99) included global resistance, genetic manipulation, gentrification, animal-rights, etc. For this one she interviewed Saxon Wood (Green Anarchist and Animal Liberation Front) and yours truly contributed an interview with the Brazilian feminist band ‘Dominatrix’. There was also a survey where she questioned a bunch of people active in the HC/punk-scene about human nature. That’s reprinted here…

Posted in 1999, UK zines | Tagged , , | Leave a comment