Puffy was a zine done by An(neke) Schuurman, a young woman that was heavily into animal-rights & anti-fascism, with help of her (at that time) boyfriend Filip Staes (guitarist of ‘Exhaustless Revolt’). Both lived in Antwerp. Anneke also ran a small distribution (Mon Gat Pion) and sang for the band ‘Ronald Ruck’. #1 (1989) contained info about animal-cruelty, vegeterian recipes, a talk with someone from the (Belgian) Communist Party and talks with the ‘Lapinos’ (from the Bruges area), the (Dutch crossover band) ‘Brutal Obscenity’ & ‘Exhaustless Revolt’. #2 (1990) informed about Nicaragua and there were interviews with the Dutch bands ‘Contageous Disease’, ‘Project Hope’, ‘Profound’ & ‘Seein’Red’, etc.
What was important for me (and undoubtedly also for Filip), was the ideology behind the music. Our interviews with the bands were intended to get to know more about their ideas, opinions, etc. on socials issues; but there was also room for humour… Regarding motivation: we stood behind marxism, and were against animal-suffering and the commercialisation of hardcore. In the end we got politically engaged… We especially wanted to make clear that the scene wasn’t just about music.
‘Exhaustless Revolt’ (Hoboken, Belgium) were Filip Staes (guitar & vocals), Sven Bossant (drums) and Ivan Mariën (bass & vocals). Their big example seemed to be ‘Seein’Red’: Filip also emphasized socialism/communism, anti-fascism in his lyrics… They played “HardCore with brains”. Filip & Ivan also called themselves sXe. The band did 2 demos: In Unity Lies Strength and Think Now. They also appeared on a few compilation-tapes.
‘Exhaustless Revolt’ is a HC-band from een Antwerp consisting of 3 people: Sven (drummer), Ivan (vocalist & bassist) and Filip (guitar; also collaborates in this zine). A while ago ‘Exhaustless Revolt’ released a demo, entitled In Unity Lies Strength. You can order it for 100 BeF [2,50 Euro].
One night we sat together cosily and started the tape-recorder to do this interview.
Questions by Anneke
Your got leftist ideas. Do you feel attracted to left-wing parties? What should they do with right-wing parties?
Ivan: I think they have to ban right-wing parties that “use lies as propaganda”. I’m attracted to left-wing parties such as the SAP [Socialist Workers Party] and the KP [Communist Party]. But I certainly don’t feel attracted to the PVDA [Labourers Party (stalinist/maoist)] and the SP [Socialist Party (social-democrats)]. Not to the PVDA, first and foremost because they have a sticker that says Skinheads Have More Hair Than Brains and I think that’s a generalisation; that’s also what the Vlaams Blok [extreme right nationalists] does with the immigrants: “all immigrants are bad”. Their logic is: because there are problems with immigrants, all skins are bad because there are fascists among them. I think that’s generalising, a form of racism. For the rest, I think the PVDA is a bunch of egoists, who actually see themselves as the big vanguard party and don’t want to cooperate with anyone, because they’re too good for that. Also the fact that they don’t really disapprove of stalinism: they say they rely on Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. Those last 2 shouldn’t be there for me.
I suppose you are against fur. But what do you think of leather (e.g. crocodile-leather,…)? They also say that leather is a by-product of the meat-industry and fur isn’t. Should one therefore wear leather or isn’t that murder? Do you believe that’s equally awful?
Ivan: Well, crocodile-leather,… is awful, because crocodiles,… don’t get eaten and are killed for their leather only.
Filip: Ivory,… too, but of course that’s not leather. But it’s another thing that they kill animals for.
Ivan: But as long as you’re not a vegetarian and you think it’s OK to slay animals to eat them, it’s just as sensible to use the slaughtered animals for their fur or for furniture, leather,… But when you say no to meat and killing for meat, then you have to be consistent somewhere and say “Then I’ll get my shoes somewhere else.”.
What do you think of punx,… who wear a leather jacket and are against fur, but also eat vegetarian food, but wear leather?
Filip: It depends on whether they already had that coat before.
Ivan: Throwing the jaquet away isn’t necessary. Once you’ve bought it, you should continue to wear it. You bought it anyway, it already happened. By the way, those animals were already killed for the meat. If those punx,… bought the coat before an animal is killed to eat,…
Killing in bad circumstances (suffering), is that just as justifiable as killing animals in good circumstances?
Ivan: I find it less bad but it’s still bad. In the end, they take the animal’s life. It’s of course less bad than to hang an animal (pig,…) on a meat-hook and let it bleed to death.
Filip: It remains murder.
People sometimes say that checkered shirts, T-shirts, bandanas,… are equal to millet, vans, vision, chipie, chevignon,… [80s fashionable clothing-brands] This is usually said by the so-called punx,…with a leather jacket, T-shirts with Sid Vicious. They shouldn’t say anything, because a leather-jacket costs much more than a checkered shirt… They also claim that these (with checkered shirts,…) destroy the scene. What do you think of that?
Filip: I think they are more getting down on that trend because many people follow it without thinking about it. (According to them, of course.)
Sven: But if you put on a millet,… There’s many walking around with the millet brand,… But if you put on a T-shirt from a band, to show what bands and ideas you like, then that’s completely different from walking around with the same brand as everyone else.
Ivan: But wearing checkered shirts, bandanas,… is indeed a trend; but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. You consciously opt for that trend.
Sven: You’re not going to buy those checkered shirts because they’re expensive.
Ivan: You do that because you like them, but not because they’re a certain brand. When punx with leather jackets say things like that, that those with checkered shirts,… (like ourselves) follow a trend that comes from America, or what do I know, but they also follow a trend that comes from the [???] of the punk-movement.
Wearing a leather jacquet: why is that necessary? Simply because it’s supposed to be necessary to be punk. It is an expression of their thinking; besides they don’t have the right to complain. Actually, it’s difficult to be original nowadays. Why try to be original? As soon as you find something that is original, another will automatically wear it, and that what you find original is probably taken over from someone else.
Filip: It’s a trend in which you can still be creative. (Sven, Ivan and myself completely agree.) You can add your own accents on your clothes. It’s not expensive at all.
Ivan: Certainly not. You can buy 4 to 5 checkered shirts for the price of a leather jacquet, I think.
Filip: A lot more, if you buy a real leather jacquet. You can get checkered shirts at 300 BeF [7,50 Euro]. By the way: wearing a T-shirt from a band is great because usually there’s a slogan or something that can get people thinking, or a picture of an animal that is abused… People are usually interested when they see something like that, I already saw that happening quite a few times.
Ivan: If you walk around with a T-shirt from ‘Oi Polloi’ (Resist The Atomic Menance) and people (also outside the HC-scene) see that on the tram (or elsewhere), they might think about it, and then you might have achieved a a lot more than with music and lyrics… Lyrics…are of course also suitable but then you can’t reach people outside the HC-scene. The best way is what is on your T-shirt or pants. E.g. if it reads ‘Het Vlaams Blok Zijn Nazis’ and everyone can see that, then it’s almost the same as walking around in the streets with a poster with something similar on it.
Filip: Constant action!
What do you think of fun-bands (e.g. ‘Belgian Asociality’)?
Sven: I’ve discovered the ‘Care Bears’ and I think they’re incredible. I don’t know why, they’re just funny.
Ivan: On the one hand, you can ask yourself “HC/punk, that’s a resistance-movement somehow; thinking and showing your teeth against what you think is wrong. On the other hand, even personally, the fact that such fun lyricss, if they are really funny, like the ‘Stupids’, ‘Care Bears’,… then I dig that very much. It shouldn’t always be serious and writing make fun lyrics doesn’t make you a rightist bastard. But they need be really funny and that’s with ‘Belgian Asociality’ not the case, I believe. Those jokes are not just silly but also sexist at times; they actually harm other people with their lyrics; which is not the case with the ‘Care Bears’ or the ‘Stupids’, and other bands.
Sven: Yes, that’s true, but I still really like their music (‘B.A.’). I get really excited by them. I find the music very powerful. It might be simple…their lyrics are shit. (hahahahaha). Well, firstly: it’s not funny but also very hurtful; that’s obvious. (for some) The worst is that many think it’s great (even people outside the scene).
Filip: That gives people who come into contact with the HC-scene a wrong impression about it. They come into contact with something like that and they believe that’s good and they think “That’s the HC-scene.”.
According to you: is there life after death? In what shape? And what would you like to be when you would return from the death?
Sven: Wow, what an incredibly original questions.
Ivan: Really a crazy question, really, an incredible question, we’ve never experienced something like that. Specialist on the spot, perhaps (Ivan points to Sven.)
Sven: Oh well, I don’t know…life after death, I don’t exclude that, that could well be possible. But to say “I’m going to commit suicide because I want something different.”…I’m not too sure of that, but here Mr Filip once came up with a very good case: a counter-proof; that when you grow old and develop dementia, you regress mentally… If a person’s spirit would reincarnate then or something like that in another body, that body, that spirit would remain the same: that would end up having a demented child or something. Then that ill spirit would travel to another body. Do you understand? So: actually I am not too sure of all that yet.
Filip: That’s it, reincarnation is actually far-fetched. You could say: you’re travelling into another dimension.
Ivan: Do you think there’s life after death?
Filip: No, actually not. I don’t exclude that but I think you go into another dimension rather than that you reincarnate.
Sven: No, I don’t believe in that at all. But I do think that there’s something more than just dying and then it’s over with.
Ivan: I always think of it in a biological manner: there’s the feeling that you are more than a body. I think were in the highest possible state to have been developed into. And when we die, whether that is for the [???] and that we can’t come back or go into something else… But I don’t exclude it either. You can’t be sure, that’s the weird thing. You can never answer that question actually, because you can never know for a fact. You don’t know what lies beyond death.
Imagine that it would be like that: how would you like to be?
Filip: I think: myself again.
Ivan: ‘Back to being myself’: here’s our egotripper (hahahahahahah).
Filip: Well, no, not just because of me, but back into a human being, because I think that as a human being you have the most benefit from your life.
Ivan: Is not that a bit afraid of what you don’t know? So you do know now how it is as a human being?
Filip: I don’t think that the life of a cow…is more than that of a human being. You don’t know that but I presume that from what I see.
Ivan: I would prefer to return as a human being, because I think that I can find the most in being human. That is quite logical: I think we can realise/manifest ourselves, what we can do, physically; only flying is the only thing we can’t do.
Sven: Myself I would like to be a goose, because they can swim, fly and crawl.
Ivan: And crawl on each other.
Sven: No, as a person, OK. I think it’s harder to live as an animal than as a human being.
Would you come back now as an animal that is more powerful than a human being?
Ivan: A commie-zombie, you mean. Like a ghost that forces everyone to be a communist. (See cover of our demo.)
Wouldn’t you want to be that?
Ivan: Yes, of course. Botha [South-African politician during the Apartheid] could quickly pack his suitcases. Martens [Belgian prime minister] aswell. If I were obliged to return as an animal, I would rather be (for the looks) a feline. A leopard or a Siberian tiger.
Filip: Me; a kangaroo.
Ivan: Jumping all the time.
Sven: Me; a ladybug.
Which things would you change in this country?
Ivan: Specifically, I would say, in our country, much more democracy. 1) A large proportion of the population (immigrants) is not allowed to vote. 2) If you vote, you vote for a party and that party will decide for you who will be in the government. 3) Those who come become part of government earn much more than ordinary people, in such a way that politics no longer becomes important but what you earn becomes much more important. That undermines democracy. More democracy, e.g. by having members of the government earn as much as an average skilled worker. More government-control on companies, pollution,… A lot less money, actually no money at all for military purposes, weapons,… A lot more for unemployment-benefits, social housing; military service must be abolished, boycott on South-African products, companies must be in the hands of the community so that the profit that is made goes to that community and not to one person.
Filip: But you can not realise that in the whole country: see the Soviet-Union.
Ivan: Then you come up with the problems that the Soviet-Union has to deal with. Communism is not suitable to realise it in one country. But you can take pseudo-communist measures. I think that there should be a red flag on every corner of the street… (hahahahaha) Joke!
Filip: I think that you have to get some sort of social education at school from the beginning. So: learning how to deal with each other,… That kind of lessons. Talk about these things from an early age on, why work together,… Of course that doesn’t fit in with this system.
Ivan: In primary school they have to learn about Marx, hahahahaha.
Filip: They teach a lot of useless things and other things like ‘how to learn to associate with each other’ are just not thaught. They just learn you how to survive, that’s all. They teach you a trade (craft) and then you can start working.
Ivan: I think these are cool questions, a great interview and a lot of fun to do. Let it be an example for other zines I’ld say.
Filip: It also thought this was a very cool interview.
Sven: I thought it was incredibly heavy. I’ve never experienced questions like these before.