Sunday, 9 December 2007

Nuclear wasteland photography

Drifting slightly off the English vibe for once, but highly recommend this photographic study of the ruins of Chernobyl, and the nearby town, Pripyat. Incredible shots, courtesy of high-end terrace menswear dons Clerk & Teller. Particularly feeling this one (above) of the ruined fairground.

Q. Why shouldn't you wear Russian underpants?
A. Because Chernobyl fall out.

That one doesn't really work written down.

The ITV Comedy Awards

I was there on Wednesday night. Here are some thoughts...

1. Being in ITV Centre really is like being in an episode of Filthy, Rich & Catflap. All the framed photos of the c-listers really brings out one's inner 'desperate out of work actor'.
2. The food was fucking awful, consisting solely of crudites, houmous that had been out for so long it had a crust, and crisps. Oh, and some Bombay Mix. I know times are hard and everyone in the media's screwed, but it was a v. poor show.
3. Chris Langham jokes are not well received by the light entertainment industry.
4. Jonathan Ross died on his arse. Which is strange, given how much of this stuff he does.
5. Fern Britton cracked one of the few good jokes of the night, when she referred to Mark Wallinger's bear as 'Muhammad'.
6. JK Rowling and Simon Pegg were both very polite to us.
7. That bloke who now hosts Soccer AM - and is like a 'broken biscuits' Tim Lovejoy – has a very loud, attention-seeking voice when you're stuck in a lift with him.

Little Harvey is not to be mocked

Much hand-wringing in the world of gossip magazines, after Heat gave away a sticker poking fun at Jordan's son, Little Harv The Legend last week. Word of their callous behaviour spread around the internets in seconds - mainly thanks to the women at mumsweb and their ilk - and Heat were fucked.

All of which talk of the little fella reminds me of a piece I wrote in The Guardian last year, where I managed to crack a joke about Harv playing the kettle drums and compare his vile mother to keen amateur pilot/repressed homosexual Mohammad Atta and didn't get any complaints. Which just goes to show that if you use a few long words, you can basically get away with anything.

Still, I stand by what I've always said about Harv - that whatever his disabilities, on the family's TV show he seems to function as a particularly harsh Greek chorus to his idiot parents' lives. Whether putting his fingers in his ears while being paraded up the red carpet at some crappy premiere, or telling Peter to 'fuck off' when he's going into some pompous tirade, Harv's the only one to emerge from the programme with a shred of dignity. Fair play to him.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Cheap pop promos

In a band? Skint? Need a video making?

If so, then contact Mrs EFTE via this site. She's a veritable one-woman filming-&-editing machine, and here's the video she made for Canadian madwoman Dandi Wind last time she was in East London. Hell of a mover.

Monday, 22 October 2007

The Young Ones: 25 years on

So, the 25th anniversary of The Young Ones is upon us. Was it actually any good with hindsight? And did it 'change comedy forever' as is sometimes claimed? 'Kind of' and 'no' are the short answers. For the longer answers, check my article in last Saturday's Guardian…

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The best cafe in London?

First in a semi-regular series of updates addressing the important subject of 'places you can get some peace and quiet, read the paper and wolf down a sandwich'. Setting the bar particularly high is Paul Rothe & Son at 34 Marylebone Lane, W1. This original 1940s cafe/grocer has been pretty much untouched since it first opened and scores particularly highly for the following: Sixties fold-down padded vinyl seats; tea in proper Wedgewood china; shelves packed with a vast selection of chutney, marmalade etc; staff in proper old-school white coats; general buttoned-down austerity vibe; brie and cranberry sauce sandwiches.
Overall, highly recommended.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Once a tone-deaf yuppie prick, always a tone-deaf yuppie prick

Just seen this month's GQ magazine, which is even more conformist and self-congratulatory than usual. For some reason there's a piece on Duran Duran who almost look as bad as they sound these days. Anyway, all this hatred of Simon Le Bon reminded me of a piece I wrote for the Guardian a few years back reassessing the original Live Aid.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Scott King destroys Vogue

Furious online debate over at the Creative Review's blog where they are showcasing Scott King's recent series of spoof 'covers' from his 'How I'd Sink American Vogue' series. His defenders seem to be leading the detractors by about 2:1 at the time of writing, but it's not over yet…

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Acid House expose

Cutting edge journalism from the good old days when a load of munted teenagers were the biggest threat to Britain's wellbeing. This vintage clip is from 'A Trip Round Acid House', a Thames TV episode of World In Action from 1988 and was from one of the few weeks when the show wasn't doing the IRA, the Birmingham Pub Bombings or the BNP. Top performances from the back-combed rave girls; "It's different when you walk in… it isn't straight."

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The suburbs are out of control: Part II

After the previous post on racist pub decor, more horror from the suburbs. Farmers feeding cows their own balls has finally had the predictable outcome, and even the deer of Bushy Park are no longer safe. Nice early Eighties vibe to this sign, though.

Pub decor, suburban style…

Just back from a short holiday, and was pleased to note on my travels that there is a corner of a high street in Surrey where comedy models of 'laughing minstrel guitarists' are still considered suitable pub decor. Jesus christ - the suburbs are just out of control.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Hardcore British folk

Following on from the earlier post about John Martyn, I've been exploring more from the golden age of psychedelic British folk. Best so far has been this beautiful performance of A Heart Needs A Home, by Richard & Linda Thompson on The Old Grey Whistle Test in '75. This version is better than either of the two cuts of it that are on the remastered Hokey Pokey album, mainly as Linda's voice sounds a bit freer on this recording. A beautiful song, made all the more poignant by the fact that, from what I understand, they split a few years later after an American tour which must have been an absolute barrel of laughs for all concerned…

I particularly like the way that even though they're indoors, Richard's all muffled up against the cold. Were the electric workers on strike again that month or something?

Monday, 3 September 2007

Golden age of avant-rock comes to Camden

Saw Sonic Youth on Friday night at The Roundhouse, playing Daydream Nation in its entirety as part of the Don't Look Back series of shows. Pretty great stuff,and a reminder of when indie was all about experimentation, noise, the avant garde and rejecting the mainstream.

Dropped into the Hawley Arms afterwards to be swiftly reminded that indie's now almost entirely about shittily-dressed sub-Alex Zane types, dismal guitar pop and Top Shop women on the hunt for famous people.

My article about the gig, and the general idea of putting alt legends on the nostalgia circuit is in today's Guardian

Declaring war on ugly marketing

This Thursday night Neil Boorman will be appearing at the ICA to talk about the ethics of advertising, alongside documentary genius Adam Curtis (The Trap, The Power of Nightmares etc) and some guy from the Mother creative agency. It's all in aid of Boorman's new book Bonfire of The Brands, which sees him burn a load of designer goods, and then live without them.

Believe me, this was no mean feat for him; I've known Neil a long time, and he was mad as a devil for anything with a label. Peace to the Westwood perforated leather jacket and Nikes with all flames up the side, a'ight?

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Smooth 80s soul jam of the day

Princess' Say I'm Your Number 1 got to number seven in the UK charts in 1985. Bit of lightweight pop from EFTE's childhood which, with hindsight, sounds like a note-perfect electrosoul jam that Joyce Sims would have been proud of. Great video with Princess (aka Desiree Heslop) throwing down with her bra out around The British Museum, Hyde Park, an open-top bus and the BMX-infested Westway. Love him or hate him, Peter Waterman was on top of his game for this one.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Essex: Where they do things a little differently

Spent last weekend down in Mersea Island (above), a partially connected island off the Thames Estuary, about ten miles from Colchester. Beautiful, rugged coast, plus some weird geological condition where everything seems to grow to insane heights very quickly. My friend's vegetable gardening was giving up four-foot high rhubarb, more spinach than you could handle and the world's shiniest onions. Seriously, it's like Dig For Victory crossed with Day of The effin' Triffids down there. The place seems to have some kind of microclimate, and sustains a large vineyard; it also plays host to a large scooter/skinhead rally every autumn.

Here's me and Mrs EFTE enjoying the bleak English seaside with our friend's son. Knackered old boats, grey skies and some strange vegetation; does it get any more traditional?

Dogs win prizes

A nice bit of found photography from Mrs EFTE. All we know is that the dog was called Lady Jane, she's looking in a celebratory mood after claiming the cup, and that she's sitting on some properly nasty 1970s carpet.

Friday, 24 August 2007


London's finest hip-hop, 80s soul and ignorant bass night takes over The Legion on Old St tomorrow. 8pm-2am, free.

Monday, 20 August 2007

The God-like genius of Andrew Neil

Like right-wing media types with fuzzy hair and a taste for the good life? Then check my piece for The Guardian on modern day legend Andrew Neil. He's on his summer break from The Week at the moment – somewhere vulgar like Monaco I like to imagine – but the show returns in September.Judging by the 'comments' below the article I'm not the only one with a sneaking soft spot for Brillo…

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Power electronics v Psychedelic folk

Excellent new issue of Wire featuring a lengthy interview with creepy old industrialists Whitehouse (pictured above, onstage, looking really happy to be deafening a load of angry men), and a superb primer on British psychedelic folk featuring everyone from Steeleye Span to Comus. The Whitehouse piece is by David Keenan, whose book England's Hidden Reverse is considered a nigh-on indispensable guide to the whole Death In June/Current 93/magick scene. Whitehouse are definitely one of those bands who are a lot more interesting to read about than listen to: I saw them play at The Garage in 1996 at Live Action 69, and I can honestly say I've never seen such a pack of repressed homos in one room in my life.

The Folk article also includes John Martyn. Here he is tearing The Old Grey Whistle Test a new one with just his acoustic guitar and a massive Echoplex unit.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

A bad end to a bad night, 1985

Interesting community seems to be building up on YouTube with people posting various recordings of the old 'closedown' segments from regional British TV (before the days of all night telly). This very subdued one is from Granada TV the night of the Heysel Stadium disaster. To his credit, the host segues pretty seamlessly from "A backstage look at the famous Moulin Rouge nightspot in Paris" to giving out the emergency numbers for people who didn't know whether their relatives were dead or alive. Wisely, they close down without the usual Granada jingle at the end.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Why British pop music needs to get off the past's nuts

Following on from the previous Luke Haines-related post, he pops up again in this article of mine from The Guardian. It's generally bemoaning what a narrow view bands take when they're referencing the past (when there's so much interesting, gruesome stuff to draw on). It originally ran in 2005, so some of the Libertines* references might seem a bit out of date.

* For younger readers, The Libertines were a particularly shitty band that a load of morons thought were the new Clash for about six months.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Luke Haines strips it down

An acoustic studio version of '1967' by national treasure Luke Haines from around the time of 'How I Learned To Love The Bootboys'. Great cello work, and Haines sports a fine pair of headphones, apparently liberated from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the late Seventies.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Some rare live Joy Division

Joy Division are such a fucking lazy reference point for bands/journalists that it's easy to forget how incredible they were. Basically, when any band nowadays get compared to them, what they or the writer means is 'the singer wears a tie and does a stupid version of that jerky dance.' That's it.What's almost certain is that any band who genuinely did sound like them nowadays wouldn't even get a record deal.

Bah. Anyway, press screenings start tonight of Control, Anton Corbijn's biopic of Ian Curtis which had very favourable reviews from Cannes. I'm too late to catch tonight's screening, but will report back as soon as I've got a review.

In the meantime, enjoy this excellent Super-8-with-sound footage of them tearing through a couple of tracks in an Altrincham pub in 1979. Nice to see something other than the so-so clip of them on Somethin' Else that gets endlessly recycled…

P.S. You can also check Scott King's excellent artistic tribute to Joy Division here. It's a bit like Stella Vine - if she wasn't a talentless cunt and if she ever stopped sucking up to famous people and using obvious symbolism.

Monday, 30 July 2007

The near-death lunacy of Noel Edmonds

Noel Edmonds' Late Late Breakfast Show was eventually taken off-air when that guy died during some ill-advised bungee jumping stunt. However, as the following clip perfectly illustrates, the show's cavalier attitude to safety made it a miracle it hadn't happened sooner. The basic premise is that members of the public tried to jump over a line of cars at Santa Pod, using regular crappy road cars. The first attempt falls badly short and the car wipes out into the crowd – probably because they're not stunt drivers, and it's absolutely pissing it down with rain. Undeterred, they run the stunt again, this time really screwing up, mangling the car and leaving the driver hideously injured. The most notable aspects of the clip are John Peel (commentator) audibly bricking it, and Edmonds' gleeful disregard for safety. Although all that said, it certainly makes for better entertainment than the kind of dross we get on Saturday nights nowadays…

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Lost Film Classics: Radio On

Chris Petit's early Eighties road movie, Radio On is now available on DVD. There's a very good review of it here at the new Brithack film reviews site. I think the author's a little harsh on the film, but it's definitely worth checking. Superb use of Bowie and Kraftwerk throughout it.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Harry Potter is a c*nt

Following on from my piece in last week's Sunday Telegraph, I went on BBC News this morning to explain why adults (like these losers, above) shouldn't be reading Harry Potter books. Interview seemed to go well enough, apart from the fact that contrary to what I'd been told by the booker, I was put up against a very articulate, enthusiastic seven year old. Honestly, fucking BBC - if they're not dicking the Queen over, they're trying to make EFTE look like a hater of children (which I am, but that's not really the point).

Also, spent an enjoyable few minutes kicking it with Simon Fanshawe in the green room. God, I'm a hack sometimes.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The king of British crime

Having constantly seen him referenced by David Peace and other people who generally don't suffer fools, I finally read Derek Raymond's He Died With His Eyes Open at the weekend. First published in 1984, it's a near-flawless piece of British noir touching on sex, the suburbs, alcoholism, murder, casual racism and the occult. The novel perfectly conjurs up the shabby, semi-derelict edge of early Eighties London, but avoids slipping into standard hardboiled territory thanks to the very moral (almost tender) core that Raymond gives his protagonist.

Raymond himself was pretty remarkable; an old Etonian who slipped the moorings of his class and upbringing and went into a life as a criminal, pornographer, peasant labourer and sporadic novellist. Predictably enough, he sold almost nothing for most of his career, although achieved a good deal of interest towards the end of his life. I seriously cannot recommend him highly enough to you.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Original pervert

Interesting article here about John Lindsay, pioneer of British porno cinema. Lindsay founded most of Soho's bongo clubs, was constantly in and out of court, and won several landmark obscenity trials. Most recent reports seemed to suggest that he's completely renounced the grumble game and now lives quietly in Kent. There's also some screen grabs etc over here courtesy of the ever-reliable Bgafd.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Classic UK soul...

Absolutely killer clip of David Joseph's Hi-Tension performing their eponymous track on Top of The Pops in 1978. Kid Jensen on the introduction, and the band appear to be performing in the crowd which I'm sure wasn't the norm on TOTP. There's a great long version of this song on the 12"; I lucked out in a FARA Romanian Orphans charity shop recently and got that, along with a 7" of their (superior, in my view) British Hustle single. Pretty much anything by them's recommended though.

Monday, 2 July 2007

"I'm bad, I'm nationwide"

Not only here, but now in America. The great women at Missbehave magazine have hired me to write a couple of pieces for them, and even found time to give me and Dan Stacey's club night, Crackin' Skullz a nice plug. Their mag is like a cross between Vice and XXL, and is probably the only women's mag in existence that doesn't make you feel mildly suicidal. Their next issue includes my indispensable European Guide To Sex Pests.

Pop Music and Class

This article of mine originally appeared in The Guardian, examining the relationship between pop music and class. Includes, Joy Division, Skrewdriver, Mud and the late, great, Biggie Smalls. May he rest in crazy peace…

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Crass live; heavy, chaotic etc

Another of those bands whose genius shouldn't really need explaining is Crass. Some ultra-rare footage of them playing live has recently shown up here. The person responsible claims that "This is the only known live footage" of the band. That seems strange, but other posters seem to confirm that little if any footage of Britain's finest anarcho-punk band exists. Presumably they were too busy plotting the downfall of Western society to pose for the cameras too much.

The footage seems to have been taken from a 1979 BBC documentary, with this clip showing the band playing 'Do They Owe Us A Living', possibly at the Conway Hall in London.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Even My Font Is Heavy

Been listening to Venom again recently – a classic early British Heavy Metal act much beloved by the American thrash scene and the assorted Norwegian wack-jobs who burnt a load of churches down.

There's a great clip here. My favourite points from the video being a) that their drummer's kit has something in the region of 12 toms in it for the ultra long drum rolls, b)they don't headbang in time (too anarchic) and that c)EVEN THEIR FUCKING SUBTITLES ARE IN GOTHIC FONT!

Perhaps the final word should go to the poster of the video, who points out that there is "No need to explain Venom. If I have to, you neither deserve to live or watch this video."

Just go and buy some Venom, now.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Ripping Yarns

Here's a piece of mine that originally appeared in The Guardian last November looking at the links between pop music and criminality. It veers off strictly English crimes, but managing to get Peter Sutcliffe, Freddie Mills, Jack The Stripper, Denis Nilsen and Whitehouse into the same article in a Saturday newspaper isn't bad going. Original is here or you can read it below...

Ripping yarns

The Guardian, November 26 2006

"It's not often that you get to associate Peter Sutcliffe with a good joke, but his appearance as narrator of Luke Haines' new track, Leeds United, raises a black chuckle. Based on David Peace's quartet of Yorkshire Ripper-fixated novels, the song references Chapeltown, Kendo Nagasaki, Doris Stokes and World Of Sport, and opens with Sutcliffe breathily whispering "When I get home ... My wife will kill me."

This track is the latest collaboration between pop music and murder and a rare example of something interesting and intelligent coming out of the union. Tedious old Charles Manson has been referenced by everyone from Slipknot to The Flaming Lips. Ed Gein was immortalised by Slayer and Blind Melon, while John Wayne Gacy was the subject of a recent Sufjan Stevens song. "Power electronics" provocateurs Whitehouse dedicated their entire Right To Kill album to Denis Nilsen, while American gore metal band Macabre have recorded songs about over 50 different serial killers.

Musicians have always fancied themselves to share the outlaw spirit of those who cock a snook at the law by, say, chopping up a load of women. Clearly, this is bollocks; pop stars spend their lives Hoovering up drugs and wrecking hotel rooms. By contrast, most serial killers get a serious head injury at a young age and suffer from a psychiatric illness.

Whenever pop stars have actually been involved in ending someone's life it's been a squalidly underwhelming affair. Varg Vikernes of Norwegian black metal group Mayhem stabbed bandmate Euronymous to death over unpaid royalties. Philadelphia rapper Cool C shot a female police officer dead during a botched bank raid in 1996. Tortured Telstar producer Joe Meek shot his landlady (then himself) in a Holloway Road bedsit in 1967 while Mötley Crüe moron Vince Neil killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle when drink driving in 1984.

But what about the music serial killers and their followers themselves liked? The hoax tapes from The Yorkshire Ripper ended with Andrew Gold's mawkish Thank You For Being A Friend. "Railway Murderers" David Mulcahy and John Duffy would blast Michael Jackson's Thriller to get psyched up for an attack, while Denis Nilsen would play Laurie Anderson's O Superman after a killing (Den was more highbrow than the others). More prosaically, Richard Ramirez was a big fan of AC/DC's drone-slasher classic Night Prowler.

While a proximity to death can produce great work (Arcade Fire's Funeral and Led Zeppelin's Presence were both recorded in the shadow of bereavement and near-fatality), too much interest in the illegal version leads to adolescent heavy metal, dubious ballads or a Charles Manson solo record. And as someone who shelled out for The Love And Terror Cult as a macabre teenager, I can vouch for just how horrific that really is."

· Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop by Luke Haines is out now on Degenerate

Monday, 18 June 2007

From JA to UK

Supreme slice of downbeat militant British reggae from 1980. Apparently, Pablo Gad had been over to Jamaica, seen properly dirt poor people, before returning to England and effectively saying "Err, sorry, Steel Pulse - what the fuck are you complaining about?" Great early Eighties production, lacking in daft digital sound effects; halfway through he seems to get a bit bored of talking about poverty and just starts going on about smoking weed. Isn't that always the way?

Pablo Gad - Hard Times

It's also available on Pressure Sounds' excellent British Reggae compilation, Don't Call Us Immigrants.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

If you go down to the pub today...

The Tate Britain's current exhibition 'How We Are' (runs until September 22), rounds up fifty years of photography of British society. Probably the most unpleasant - and thoroughly EFTE - thing in there is a shot of the 'Burry Man'. This sinister fucker is covered in freshly cut 'burrs' (furry sticky bits off trees) on the first Friday in August and led around the streets of South Queensferry, Scotland, led into pubs and fed drinks. You could probably have a miscarriage just looking at this thing. Although it's a great shot of him in the grim Seventies pub...

More unpleasant provincial paganism here

(NB Scotland rather than England, I know, but at least the exhibition's in England...)

Monday, 11 June 2007

The Russians Are Coming (Part 2)

Following on from the previous post about a possible homophobic nuclear strike hitting the Medway, it's worth boning up on the government's original Protect And Survive advice. You never know - maybe some sandbags and a wooden lean-to will be enough to get you through a ten megaton nuclear blast.

Still, while nuclear parnoia might have blighted an entire generation at least it gave us the possibility that with all the men dead at 'the front' the women of the UK might have had to descend into a crazed mutant lesbian orgy to survive (possibly one involving growing extra breasts, and being really tall). It was either that or just eating a raw sheep like they had to in 'Threads'.

The Russians Are Coming

Spent the weekend in Kent, which is a pretty hardcore example of EFTE: breakfast in the back-from-brink-of-bankruptcy Little Chef, huddled on a stony beach, rented a horse off some gypsies etc. But the high point came on the way back when we stopped off in Strood and had lunch in The Riverside Tavern. This is basically a gay pub, which - despite being in the middle of a very run down industrial dock - has been converted into a sort of Balearic homo paradise (tropical palms, pet dogs, great food etc). Who'd have thought Kent would have had such a banging gay scene?

However, the pub's real selling point is that it overlooks a bit of the dock where somone has parked a decommissioned Russian nuclear submarine. Apparently it was bought a few years ago with the idea of turning it into a nightclub, but the killjoys at the council didn't think a rusting Cold War relic in the middle of an estuary with one fire escape was a safe place to house 200 munted clubbers. So now, it's just there looking ominous. Unless some crazed bigot buys it up and attempts to do away with Kent's gay scene in a nuclear strike, I can't see it going anywhere soon.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

LKJ predicted riot, got riot etc

Early eighties Linton Kwesi Johnson video; difficult to fathom why they bothered making this, as I can't think of anywhere that would have played it at the time - what with the video primarily consisting of policemen getting beaten up. Still, some rare footage of the Brixton riots, which somehow look all the creepier for being shot in the daytime, rather than the typical night shots you normally get. A good starting point for LKJ is his FORCES OF VICTORY album.

"It dread inna England", indeed.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Instant Depression

This is an LWT (London Weekend Television) ident from – I think – around 1987. The second I saw this, I was firmly back in the world of being 11 (a pretty boring age), when the weekend just seemed like an interminable gap of doing bugger all because you were too young to go out. And all the while were these crappy LWT idents, heralding another episode of compulsive gambling comedy drama'Big Deal' with Ray Brooks, yet more Play Your Cards Right with Bruce Forsyth, or another scary London Programme expose on Combat 18 (I'm sure it was Combat 18 every single week at one point).

Either way, this has just crushed me.

Out On The Floor

Some nice scraps of footage left over from the Northern Soul documentary called (I think) This Underground Movement.

Two observations: firstly, I can't see those bell bottoms ever making a comeback. Secondly, it's surprising how fruity a lot of the men look, given that everyone I know who's into Northern Soul tends more towards the 'not right in the head psycho' end of the cultural spectrum.

A good old fashioned bobby

Classic footage of a woman getting stomped out by a pack of police horses at the Poll Tax Riot in 1990. I remember seeing this particular clip at the time and being properly alarmed by it - although from what I understand, the woman was basically alright. As far as I know, horses will do pretty much anything other than tread on you, and you've got to expect a police horse to be better trained than some regular nag.

This clip, and that shot of a crusty ramming a scaffolding pole through a police car's window were the main news clips. I wonder if they ever caught that guy?

A very hot summer

Great archive footage of the crowd shot at the Rolling Stones gig at Knebworth in August 1976. The film stock seems to have held up pretty well in this example, so people don't look quite as gruesome and unhealthy as they usually do in this kind of stuff; interesting to note how the crowd were relatively smartening up as the Seventies passed its halfway point – loon pants and hedgemonkey beards are thin on the ground, although Confederate Flags hint at probably Hells Angel presence.

Still looks like a pretty depressing time though.

New David Peace book coming soon

David Peace's new book TOKYO YEAR ZERO has just arrived in proof copy, and is out in September published by Faber. This is the first book of his that has moved away from his native Yorkshire and after THE DAMNED UNITED'S slow-burn success last year should get much more attention than his previous books. As one of the few British writers currently writing or saying anything interesting, Peace deserves the exposure; if you haven't read him, he's on the same lines as James Elroy's fiction or Gordon Burn's non-fiction. There's a good piece by him here which should get you up to speed on his writing.

Scott King is better than most artists

You've probably seen Scott King's work without realising it – he's done some great covers for Suicide, The Pet Shop Boys, Morrissey etc and used to do all the great typographical work in Sleazenation when he was part of Crash – but his gallery work is well worth checking out. This is his modern classic based on a graphic representation of a Joy Division gig from 1980: and you can't get much more EFTE than that.

The First Post

This blog is all about the slightly grim, unpleasant seedy stuff that makes up the best in English culture. It'll roughly have a bias towards the Seventies and Eighties, but not exclusively.

Anyway, here's a classic bit of EFTE culture from New Year's Eve 1979. Difficult to imagine anything more thrilling than seeing Kenny Everett, Thin Lizzy and The Sex Pistols together, welcoming in 1980 in all its ominous glory. You can practically smell the rubbish piling up in the streets outside.

I like to think the conversation planning this issue went something like this:
"Ok. Why don't we have Kenny making a joke about everyone being on strike, and then some great video effects of him blowing up his bosses? Then Thin Lizzy and The Pistols can play, while the stage gets invaded by loads of fanny in suspenders, all the fatty Thames TV technicians who are off their heads on sherry and a black bloke in top hat and tails?"

It certainly knocks Jools Holland's bastard Hootenanny into a very large cocked hat.