The Nixe (Insipid #10)

As a teen, I was already doing (school)newspapers, an amalgam of collages and small texts. The step towards doing a fanzine à la Sniffin’ Glue was easily made. It also allowed me act as an observator in the scene and to visit the backstages (a washroom most of the time ) from time to time. Before all this there was just nothing; we created out of nowhere, in a very amateurish way. But that made that period fascinating (comparable with how the scientific world marvels the Big Bang). Fanzines are relics from an era without digital communication and without its own channels and media. Nowadays every subculture is exploited and commercialised, and goes worldwide.

The first issue dates from the beginning of 1981 (Ronald Reagan, who just got elected, is on the back-cover). Insipid was A5-format; one side photocopied, the other stenciled. 12 issues were done, thet last one mid ’83. From #2 on Peter Vandewiele was a steady collaborator (lay-out). His preference for coldwave influenced the content and design a great deal. # 11 was a collaboration with Nico Decock (who put out his own fanzine, Subvert, after that). I regularly drew cartoons for Insipid but issues 9 & 10 featured drawings by Lieven Dermaut (a renowned artist nowadays).  In 1983, together with Tom Warlop, I started doing a new fanzine: Bizar Poseur (that even ended up in the local newspaper-shops) in 1983.

1982-1983 I also had my first band, ‘Vergaene Glorie’ [faded glory], going with Tom singing, Nico on guitar, myself on bass and changing drummers. Our first gig was op 82-10-09 at the Limelight (Kortrijk) on the Nacht Tegen Politiegeweld [Night Against Police-Violence], supporting ‘De Brassers’.

I interviewed ‘The Nixe’ on 82-10-30, together with Peter, using a tape-recorder ;-). We had probably consumed quite a bit of Bockor Export [beer]…

Ludo Halsberghe

Insipid #10 - front

Even though I didn’t live that far away from Kortrijk and went to gigs there – the venue Reflex put on punk-gigs around that time – I never have encountered this zine. It was suggested to me by ‘Stel’ (who scanned the cover and this interview). Also the band ‘The Nixe’ is totally ‘new’ to me. They were an all-female punk-band from Utrecht (The Netherlands): Ilva Poortvliet (vocals), Nikki Meijerink (bass), Marian De Beurs (guitar) & Simone Luken (drums). The band appeared on a compilation-7″ entitled Utreg Punx (1980) and did a self-titled 7″ (’81). A long time after the women had quit, ‘The Nixe’ was also featured on the compilation double-LP Killed By Epitaph (I’m Sure We’re Gonna Make It CD). At that time Nikki was interviewed in Maximum Rock’n’Roll

Brob

[Translation below]

Insipid #10 - The Nixe 1Insipid #10 - The Nixe 2Insipid #10 - The Nixe 3October 30th 1982 a Women’s Day took place took place at Het Schuurke in Harelbeke. There was a movie – Women In Rock, and a German documentary with ‘The Slits’, ‘Siouxsie’, ‘Girlschool’ and a few German women-bands (Nina Hagen, among others). Unfortunately, the sound-quality of this film was very: ‘Siouxsie’ sounded like an old man. There was also a performance by the Antwerp femi-new-wave-rock band ‘Jezebel’, whose music was based mainly on an organ-rhythm. They played songs of ‘The B52s’ and others. The main band hitting the stage was the Utrecht woman band ‘The Nixe’ which we will talk about here.

“Our name is ‘The Nixe’. We come from Utrecht, we’re 4 women who already play together some 3 years. Our work has its ups and downs. There are times when we don’t write new songs nor rehearse. Nevertheless we often get phonecalls; we get a lot of offers, mostly for women’s activities like this. At these concerts we often have to play old songs because we lack new material, which of course is not always as much fun. Usually we play for expenses; but when we play at a subsidized youthcentre, we ask for an extra fee of course, which is then spent on instruments, rehearsal-space and the like anyway.”

‘The Nixe’ is a not insignificant punk-band (to use a label) who’re on 3 LPs, have their own single and one with the ‘Utrecht Punx’. Four ‘chicks’ who have a different opinion on all sorts of topics.

Did you start with the intention to form a women’s band?

During the punk period, we saw bands being set up around us. We thought like: why wouldn’t we also be able to do that. We hadn’t found a drummer yet at thet time. And then we bumped into Simone, the first punk-girl from Utrecht. Although she couldn’t play the drums yet then, she joined us. From then on we were often asked for women’s festivals and we were labeled a women’s band. However, before we’d never given it any thought and it was fiercely debated within the band …

But we didn’t want to take a radical stand. We didn’t want to play for an audience of just women; there’s some disagreement within the band abou that. The bassist believes that is outright discrimination. However, I can easily understand that there are occasions where only women should be allowed entrance but at a festival like this one here, the girls who come can definitely get along with boys. My mother for example would find it nice to go somewhere where only women are allowed, because she finds it easier to talk to people that way. Women were first oppressed by men; in the beginning they just wanted to talk to other women about their problems. Women are more honest with each other then. But if 10 or 15 years later you’re still only meeting with other women, then you’re stuck. Because in the end you do have to get along and live with men. You can’t spend your whole life on an island with just women, can you.

Bass-player: It is still utterly ridiculous that one can be refused entrance because they happen to have a dick hanging between their legs, it’s the same as discrimination against blacks.

Music by ‘The Nixe’ is floating, rhythmic and danceable. Yet without a synthesizer and disco-thump. But where do the lyrics come from?

When, for example, I’ve been talking with someone and I walk around with something in my head, I vent it by writing a lyric about it. I only manage to write a good lyric when I’m dealing with the subject myself or when my head is full of it.

The classic word ‘punk’ is perceived differently by each person; what does it mean to you?

When we started, there were very few punx in Utrecht. Now there are about 500. It has become another phenomenon now. It meant something new, that you wanted something different. Now it’s following the trend. Punk became iron and leather. The phenomenon is accepted, just as hippies got accepted. So another alternative needs to be provided. Of course one shouldn’t go acting all snobbish or elitist. If you look at Berlin, you see that the punx are anarchist, communist. It’s taken a political turn. Before there was no question about that. There has been quite a quarrel with the ‘Rondos’ because they said that punk was resistance. They tunred it into a political thing. If you didn’t want to participate in that, you were ridiculed. And later, you were ridiculous because you actually had participated.

It’s understandable that the punx in Berlin are hard. They have no money, no food and theyre fed up with everything. But Utrecht punx aren’t fed up with anything. They go to school, live at home and can have a hot meal every day. Then punk is just about buying a 35 guilders belt. That’s not the way it is in Berlin, nor in London before either. In Berlin people are very depressed; have no perspectives at all. Over here everyone has his band or zine. Berlin that’s not the case.

In The Netherlands, there’s a housing-shortage in some places so people squat. When you see that, for example, the Berlin punx just squat because it’s an “ideal” and they don’t even maintain their buildings: that’s a completely ridiculous situation. I prefer a rented over a squatted building, as long as it’s affordable and properly maintained. Here in Belgium people still live with their parents a lot because they have the money to rent a room. I heard that from a girl. Squatting is not something typical for punx. All kinds of people do it when there’s a need to. … But what has happened in Amsterdam: you only achieve the total opposite. (There is considerable disagreement in the band on this subject and there’s some serious squabbling going on.) You do want the community to accept that you’re squatting. Tou don’t obtain that when you raise barricades. No (shouts the drummer) it’s a struggle in which all means should be used. But you shouldn’t squat to wage war but to get a residence. A property must of course be maintained. So it’s wrong that junkies occupy a building, throw garbage everywhere and the building becomes more ‘uninhabitable’ than it was. People squat to be able to live there as long as possible, no? It’s a shame that so much aggression is involved; the struggle becomes tougher and tougher, and it becomes increasingly difficult to squat and to gain understanding from the population. If one agrees well with the neighbours, they will start thinking about the high rents etc. and they might also start thinking about squatting. It is actually a choice you make. If you want to fight for your rights or you want to convince people that you’re right. When you’re punk, you don’t convince people you’re right, you’re just shocking them. It’s wrong e.g. that during the Amsterdam riots the windows of the green-grocer are smashed. Do that to the bank or the city-hall. That’s how we would do it; although it’s not a good way to convince the masses …

The Nixe

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2 Responses to The Nixe (Insipid #10)

  1. Christine Moreel says:

    Interesting bit of punk-history! Thanks!

  2. Niels de Wit says:

    ‘Insipid’…bought a few of them at the Konkurrent distro. A lot of Belgian punks seemed to be into (cold)wave at that time. Hardcore started a bit later with the ‘Zyklome-A’/’Moral Demolition’ EP if I remember well…

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