Write Yer Ane Zine

Words about DIY punk; records, shows, interviews, whatever.

BOOK YER ANE FEST XII

Make That A Take Records presents…

BOOK YER ANE FEST XII
Friday 30th November – Sunday 2nd December 2018
Abertay Student Centre + Conroy’s Basement
Dundee, Scotland

Weekend tickets; http://bit.ly/2HwP6wm
FAQ; http://bit.ly/2vVHW23
FB Event; http://bit.ly/2Mc3bom
2017 film; http://bit.ly/2BOBA3L
2018 Promo; http://bit.ly/2ABxnmc
Spotify playlist; http://spoti.fi/2Sydd3t

This year has been insane and, as such, it’s crazy to think we’re just over a month away from BOOK YER ANE FEST XII. Crazy, but true. This year marks ten years of Book Yer Ane Fest and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support over the last ten years.

The inaugural Book Yer Ane Fest was held on November 15th 2008 in the back room of Mucky Mulligan’s in Perth with a Joey Terrifying and a whole bunch of our friends. To think that things have evolved to the point where it is a five-day, three-city celebration of DIY punk culture in solidarity with some of our community’s most vitally-needed services is something that continually blows our collective minds and, personally, isn’t something that I care to dwell on for too long, for fear of being overwhelmed by it all.

We as a collective always endeavour to do our best to bring interested, compelling and satisfying line-ups to Book Yer Ane Fest. While acknowledging that we fall short of our ideals every day, through our collective action we aim to promote positive engagement, critical analysis and good times. While perhaps naive, our aim really is to spread joy. We hope that we manage to achieve this and that everyone has the best of times over Book Yer Ane Fest weekend. This is something that we spend our whole year working towards, our Wrestlemania, and, given how busy things have been this year, both “professionally” and “personally’, we’re looking forward to this year as much if not more than we have done in previous years.

Abertay Student Centre is fully accessible with lift access to all levels and gender neutral bathrooms. It is with regret that Conroy’s Basement is not fully accessible due to the stairs and being situated in a basement. We apologise to our friends for whom this may provide difficulties, however, our bathrooms are gender-neutral. We thank Abertay Student Centre for their support in this endeavour.

It’s been some ride. Thank you all for everything.

This year, we’re very proud to be working in solidarity with the following groups;

ADDACTION DUNDEE
http://www.addaction.org.uk/

DUNDEE FOODBANK
http://dundee.foodbank.org.uk/

DUNDEE REFUGEE SUPPORT
http://www.dundeethecaringcity.co.uk/

ROYAL LIFE SAVING SOCIETY
http://www.rlss.org.uk/

YOUNG MINDS UK
http://youngminds.org.uk/

We are also very pleased to welcome our friends to the PUNK ROCK FLEA MARKET; Food Not Bombs Dundee, Artificial Womb. C. Gull, Leftfest, Vegan Actions North East, Sustrans, Debauchery Lee Designs, Radical Rebel DIY, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, TNS Records, Roaming Vegan Baker, Team Beard Records, Gordon MacKenzie Photography, Samaritans, Shout Louder, The Curator Podcast and loads more, including the world famous BOOK YER ANE TOMBOLA.

We’d also like to extend our deepest thanks to our friends Audiowave Soundhire, Dundee Music Studios and Rainbow Music for their support and graft in providing PA equipment, backline and labour over the weekend, we couldn’t do this without you. Much love and respect!

http://www.audiowave.co.uk/
http://www.facebook.com/DundeeMusicStudios/
http://rainbowmusicstore.co.uk/

DAY SPLITS

Please be aware that the actual timetable of sets won’t be published until Book Yer Ane Fest weekend itself. We’d encourage everyone to get down early and support all of the bands. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Thursday 29th November 2018
PRE-BOOK YER ANE FEST
BLOC, GLASGOW.
8.30pm, free entry

CANADIAN RIFLE
Rad Chicago punk rock on Dead Broke Rekerds
http://canadianrifle1.bandcamp.com/

THE AFFECT HEURISTIC
Quality international melodic skate punk
http://www.facebook.com/theaffectheuristic/

MEAN CAESAR
Nae messin’ gruff melodic punk from London on Little Rocket Records
http://meancaesarlrr.bandcamp.com/

QUESTION THE MARK
Welsh gravel punks fresh back from Fest to rip it up.
http://questionthemark.bandcamp.com/

Friday 30th November 2018
REGISTRATION / WEEKEND TICKET COLLECTION at CONROY’S BASEMENT.
Featuring SPECIAL GUESTS.
4-6pm, 18+. Grab your weekend wristbands and get pumped.

MAIN SHOW at ABERTAY STUDENT CENTRE.
Doors at 6pm.
£10 single day tickets on doors.
£6 unwaged single day tickets on doors.
£15 single day solidarity tickets available on doors.
14+ w/ adult.

CANADIAN RIFLE;
Rad Chicago punk rock on Dead Broke Rekerds
http://canadianrifle1.bandcamp.com/

DEAD OR AMERICAN (Reunion)
First Dundee show in over a decade
http://deadoramerican.bandcamp.com/

UNIFORMS
The Dead Prez of East Coast Cowpunk bring Reasons To Breathe
http://uniforms.bandcamp.com/

THE TWISTETTES
Radical electro-punk dance party guaranteed to bring the grooves
http://thetwistettes.bandcamp.com/

QUESTION THE MARK
Welsh gravel punks fresh back from Fest to rip it up
http://questionthemark.bandcamp.com/

PAPER RIFLES
Righteous fury-filled skyscraping indie punk rock from Edinburgh
http://paper-rifles.bandcamp.com/

THE OVERBITES
The shape of latter-day cowpunk to come
http://www.facebook.com/theoverbitesband/

HOUDINI SAID NO
Bombastic high-energy metallic punk rock party machine
http://www.facebook.com/houdinisaidno

THE BLOOD RED MOON
Disturbing cinematic orchestral instrumental post-rock

LATE SHOW at CONROY’S BASEMENT
Featuring ?????????
Doors at midnight, 18+.
Guaranteed entry with Earlybird Weekend Ticket.
Capacity is 100. One in, one out thereafter.

Saturday 1st December 2018
HARDCORE ZEN at CONROY’S BASEMENT
Guided meditation and hardcore punk.
Doors at 11am, 18+.

MAIN SHOW at ABERTAY STUDENT CENTRE
Doors at 12 noon, 14+ w/ adult.
£15 single day tickets available on doors.
£10 unwaged single day tickets available.
£20 single day solidarity donations tickets also available on doors.

CHEWING ON TINFOIL
Our oldest Irish punk pals play their first ever Book Yer Ane Fest!
http://chewingontinfoil.bandcamp.com/

AUSTIN LUCAS
Americana/country legend plays EXCLUSIVE SCOTTISH SHOW of EU Tour
http://www.austinlucas.com/

FOREVER UNCLEAN
Well-heeled Danish melodic punks return for big-time sing-a-longs
http://foreverunclean.bandcamp.com/

REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN
DIY punks play their last ever Scottish show
http://revengeofthepsychotronicman.bandcamp.com/

BRATAKUS
Highland anarcho-punk riot bring the noise and vegan straight-edge fury
http://bratakus.bandcamp.com/

GET IT TOGETHER
Posi melodic hardcore crew return to bring the ruckus
http://getittogether.bandcamp.com/

THE BURNT TAPES
Greek punks from London return with their regret punk anthems
http://burnttapes.bandcamp.com/

THE CUNDEEZ
None-more-oary Dundee legends bring legendary stomp to their first BYAF
http://www.facebook.com/Thecundeez/

MEAN CAESAR
Nae messin’ gruff melodic punk from London on Little Rocket Records
http://meancaesarlrr.bandcamp.com/

BABY CHAOS
Reunited 90s Glasgow alt-rockers’ first Dundee show in almost 20 years
http://www.babychaos.com/

WARSHY
Crazy Arm frontman brings solo project out on the road with Austin Lucas
http://www.facebook.com/Warshymusic/

QUEEQUEG’S COFFIN
Stomping soul-punk from newest members of MTAT family
http://www.facebook.com/QueequegsCoffin.official/

FRAGILE (Reunion)
Fife melodic punks reunite to play first show and BYAF in ten years

GOODBYE BLUE MONDAY
Misery punk might ruin your life but improve your fest
http://goodbye-blue-monday-1.bandcamp.com/

AVAS
None-more-posi melodic hardcore PMA punk rock jamz to soothe your soul
http://avas.bandcamp.com/

PLEASE, BELIEVE
Intense east coast ecossemo celebrating ‘…In Potential”
http://pleasebelieve.bandcamp.com/releases

THE AFFECT HEURISTIC
Quality international melodic skate punk
http://www.facebook.com/theaffectheuristic/

NICOLA MADILL
Majestic goth/neo-folk romanticism from one of Dundee’s finest talents
http://www.facebook.com/missnicolamadill/

HOLY SNAKES
Acoustic soul/blues/punk from inspirational MTAT crew comrade
http://www.facebook.com/holysnakesrules/

BIKE NOTES
Life-affirming smart melodic pop-punk from Walking Targets troops
http://bikenotes.bandcamp.com/

REBECCA RADICAL
Fresh acoustic anarcho-pop-punk from newly-gig-active Fife punker

TIM HOLEHOUSE
Deep-south mutant hardcore blues road warrior
http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRadical/

LOVERS TURN TO MONSTERS
Wistful lo-fi indie-pop daydreams and romantic poetry
http://loversturntomonsters.bandcamp.com/

Film; SO, WHICH BAND IS YOUR BOYFRIEND IN?
https://youtu.be/_3kPqcBh6vU

LATE SHOW at CONROY’S BASEMENT
KADDISH; “What World Was Still?” LP Release Show
Dundee ecossemo legends celebrate the release of their third LP.. A MTAT + Black Lake Records joint
http://kaddishuk.bandcamp.com/
Pre-order; http://bit.ly/2O5zaHS

With special guests

BOAK
The gnarliest grind band in all of UK hardcore return to decimate the basement
http://boak.bandcamp.com/

Doors at midnight, 18+.
Guaranteed entry with Earlybird Weekend Ticket.
Capacity is 100. One in, one out thereafter.

Sunday 2nd December 2018

MAIN SHOW at ABERTAY STUDENT CENTRE
Doors at 12 noon, 14+ w/ adult.
£15 single day tickets available on doors.
£10 unwaged single day tickets available.
£20 single day solidarity donations tickets also available on doors.

ROUGHNECK RIOT
Full-blast Celtic punk legends play last Scottish show before hiatus
http://theroughneckriot.bandcamp.com/

DREAM NAILS
London feminist punk witches destroy everything at first Scottish show
http://dreamnails.bandcamp.com/

BABAR LUCK
The One World Warrior brings the spiritual soul to the punk rock party
http://babarluck.bandcamp.com/

FAIR DO’S
Brain-mangling melodic tech/skate/hardcore shredding the “Leopards” LP
http://www.facebook.com/fairdosband/

TRAGICAL HISTORY TOUR BAND
Scottish country dancing on the “Aphorisms” trail
http://tragicalhistorytour.bandcamp.com/

STONETHROWER
East coast ecossemo monoliths shake the foundations
http://stonethroweruk.bandcamp.com/

FISTYMUFFS
Patriarchy-smashing anarcho-riot-grrl noise from Edinburgh
http://www.facebook.com/Fistymuffs/

DIVIDE
Glasgow Hardcore legends celebrating over 20 years of mosh-based ruckus
http://divideghc.bandcamp.com/

CHERYM
Danceable radical indie pop-punk savageness from returning bittersweet Derry
http://cherym.bandcamp.com/releases

THE CAIRNGORMS YOUNG TEAM;
Lo-fi trip-hop existentialist blues exorcisms
http://thecairngormsyoungteam.bandcamp.com/

TIM LOUD
Peripatetic country/folk/punk/pop genius on the road to “Salvation”
http://timloud.bandcamp.com/track/salvation-single

BILLY LIAR
Fresh back from a party in the USA, Scotland’s angriest returns
http://officialbillyliar.bandcamp.com/

FIGHTS AND FIRES
Reunited midlands hardcore rock’n’roll punks back in Dundee
http://fightsandfires.bandcamp.com/

LOST AVENUE
Little Rocket punks putting “Fears” touring to rest after a year of graft
http://lostavenuelrr.bandcamp.com/

SEAS, STARRY
Introspective experimental post-rock majesty from Aberdoom
http://seasstarry.bandcamp.com/

DELINQUENTS
Bell Street’s favourite indie punk band wrap a crazy year
http://delinquentsdundee.bandcamp.com/

IRON SYSTEM
Old school melodic hardcore fae Fife like yer granny used to make
http://ironsystem.bandcamp.com/

LOU MCLEAN
Nae messin’ acoustic folk-pop jamz from Edinburgh’s sharpest tongue
http://loumcleanmusic.bandcamp.com/

BED OF WASPS
Raging slabs of blackened hardcore from the east coast’s gnarliest
http://bedofwasps.bandcamp.com/

GAY PANIC DEFENCE
Rabid powerviolence/grindcore/skramz from Fife’s sickest
http://gaypanicdefence.bandcamp.com/

VOLCANO X
Sunday Satanic rituals worshiping at the alter of the gods of heavy metal
http://www.facebook.com/volcanoxmetal/

HAYSTACK MONOLITH
Sci-fi lo-fi euphoric dance-poetry to celebrate our future glory
http://haystackmonolith.bandcamp.com/

AJ SIMMONDS
Bracing honest raw acoustic punk from the deep south of England
http://www.facebook.com/AJ.Simmonds1984

DRAWS CREATURE MASK
Cinematic celestial post-hardcore/post-rock soundscapes.
http://drawscreaturemask.bandcamp.com/

Film; FOOLISH OPTIMISM
http://www.foolishoptimism.org/

Monday 3rd December 2018

POST-BOOK YER ANE FEST
LEITH DEPOT, EDINBURGH
Doors at 7.30pm. Fiver tax.

DREAM NAILS
London feminist punk witches burn down the capital
http://dreamnails.bandcamp.com/

PAPER RIFLES
Righteous fury-filled skyscraping indie punk rockers slay their hometown
http://paper-rifles.bandcamp.com/

FISTYMUFFS
Hometown patriarchy-smashing anarcho-riot-grrl noise
http://www.facebook.com/Fistymuffs/

TIM HOLEHOUSE
Deep-south mutant hardcore road warrior blues shamanism
http://timholehouse.com/

PLEASE NOTE; CARD SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Timetables will be published at BOOK YER ANE FEST.

BE RADICAL, SPREAD JOY.

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In Praise of Carson Wells

Allow me to document that our friends in Carson Wells played an absolute belter of a set last Friday in Conroy’s Basement, Dundee (21.09.18). They played all of their new LP, “No Relic”, plus four of the most banging tracks from their 2015 album, “Tread a Northern Path”. What made this even more impressive was the fact that Carson Wells haven’t had much time to practise together recently. This did not get in the way. Instead, they just got on with the job: they played a flawless set, which they somehow made look effortless while simultaneously cranking the intensity.

This set – likely Carson Wells’s last ever – impressed how excellent their new LP is on me, and, I have to confess, reminded me how incredible their older songs are. At the time, it left me with no choice but to take myself off into a corner, let my hair down, and mosh my head off. I usually only do this at home these days, sometimes in the company of my two-year-old. But Carson Wells made me do it in public. And they are also, unknown to themselves, making me do this: sit and type up a little account of what their very special band has meant, and will to continue to mean, to me.

To put these comments in context, I should note that I’ve started to keep a mental list lately. If converted to paper, it might read: ‘why playing in a band is a good and beautiful thing’. Working on this list does not mean I’ve ever seriously doubted this matter. It means that I’m preparing for a future encounter with a truly horrible individual: the kind of person who thinks that playing in a band can only be a waste of time, and who expects a balance sheet of reasons to the contrary.

I’d start with reasons that would speak directly to this imaginary nemesis: playing music changes the plasticity of your brain and nervous system in very productive ways, etc. After this, I’d try a different set of reasons: music is an expressive art as opposed to a representative or mimetic one that is limited to clichés, etc. These, however, would quickly look like very pretentious reasons. So I’d try another set of plainer ones: there is nothing like the experience of ‘clicking’ as a band when trying to work through a dynamic bit, and there is nothing like trying to hold a tricky bit together, and actually managing it, etc. Ultimately, I’d end up with a version of what Ross from Carson Wells articulated beautifully on Friday: playing in a band is a nice way of staying friends and making friends.

I was informed by Iain at the gig that Carson Wells and Kaddish have played 21 shows together. That incorporates over a decade, split releases, three albums apiece, and shows together in a couple of countries (sorry we didn’t make it further afield). It was an incredible privilege to watch their band evolve over that time. From raw young guys we spoke to one evening outside the Balcony bar in Dundee, to hulking beasts of rock.

In saying this, I might seem gushing or patronising. That’s a risk I’m willing to take to get the main point across: Carson Wells are, it seems to me, a band who emphatically showed their reasons for being a band.

On the point on friendship, for instance, I can point to very specific things. From Huw (among others), I learned over time to try to temper my vocal raging. How successful I’ve been in this is another matter, so let me also note that I once witnessed Huw produce an act of devastating athleticism: a strike in a game of ten-pin bowling that left the entire lane shaking. From Ross, I learned to tone down the ‘attack’ of my guitar playing. This was an invaluable lesson for me, because my hand often cramps badly. These days, when it does, I can genuinely say that I think ‘slow down, what would Ross McClay do here?’ This leads me to Iain, and the discussion of a very interesting paradox. This occurred either on the way to a gig in Nottingham, or on the way out of Nottingham, after the gig, just after we spotted a sign for Sherwood Forest. The paradox was this: ‘if Robin Hood did not really exist, then he exists now in the same way that he has always done’.

Depending on how you are inclined to resolve this paradox, Carson Wells may themselves be a bit like Robin Hood: they owe their name to a character in a work of fiction. In another crucial respect, however, they are completely unalike: to me and many of my closest friends, it really does matter that Carson Wells existed. Unlike Robin Hood, they are not some obscure eternal object – they, like all bands, were a finite one, coming from somewhere, trying to show their reasons for being one with every gig they played. In their case, this was pulled off with ever increasing intensity and success.

This has been a short letter to friends. It has not been intended to be an exclusive one, and there are host of other folk I’d be inspired to write something similar for in similar circumstances (Deeker, Owen, Ross…). It’s just that Carson Wells have, by going on indefinite hiatus, gone the way of legend (this time a bit like Robin Hood again). To be honest Huw, Ross and Iain, it would have been enough to have made friends with you, but when your band turned out to be incredible, well that was something very special indeed.

Over and out.

By Dom Kaddish, 23/09/2018

 

Thank you and godspeed, friends.

On The Boat

TRIGGER WARNING; HEFTYREALTALK.

I shared this story from The National about rise in Scottish suicide numbers on FB this morning. In light of this post pertaining suicide awareness, I’ve been ruminating on my own position on the matter and my own wellness. As such, I feel compelled to share this in the hope that someone, anybody, will glean some hope from it and realise they are not alone. If one person can benefit, then that’s a victory. If it helps me slay some demons, that’s a little victory too.


I was one step from suicide this summer. I have been in what I call “low-hum reverberation” since. Immediately following the trauma of break-up, I went out on tour with Chris Snelgrove, who I’d previously met for about half an hour at BYAF X. Playing music is always the best medicine; “motion is the cure for grief”. Uniforms flew to America the day after Mick’s funeral, so this kind of thing is nothing new, but that’s another story. 

As we were on the boat back from a beautiful time in Ireland (I can never thank Billy Woods enough), I went to the sun deck to meditate in the glorious sunshine. I couldn’t settle and soon began to fidget, my mood dropping quickly through the floor. I pace when I’m anxious and caught myself doing so. I also noticed that the top deck was totally clear of people. In that moment, I felt a rare pristine calm as I walked to the side of the boat; one step and everything disappears. 

Somehow, the words “Dinnae. Go downstairs” came out my mouth. I turned towards the cabin and took the stairs, not stopping until I was beside the life-raft on the side, a safe distance from the edge. I pulled my phone out and had a message from Lisette; a video of Elise eating hummus for the first time. My calm shattered, tears flowed. I didn’t give a fuck who saw me. 

I went to the bathroom and messaged the original Uniforms group chat; we’ve been through the goddamn wars. Though I was calm now, I had to tell someone. I sat there for about half an hour, procrastinating, wondering if it was all a nonsense or I was just being a “pussy”. I didn’t want to tell Chris but he knew I was bullshitting. 

We got off the boat and were met by Kevin. I must’ve looked like I’d seen a ghost but it wasn’t until we stopped at Girvan for coffee that I spoke about it. The walls came crashing down, like they did at Stonehaven with Gordon the week before. We then went to Ayr for dinner with friends before playing the show and driving home. I haven’t mentioned it publicly until now. 

I’m grateful for the experience. I’m heavy trained in crisis management and I am all too well-versed in pulling on the mask. I try to tell those that I love just how much I love them and describe the depth of my gratitude, but I fall short of my ideals in most ways every day. I’d like to think my intent is pure. 

As a recovering alcoholic, I try to listen empathically. I recoil at the thought of being any kind of “preacher”, as I can only speak of my own experiences (see; THT – “No Advice”), but I don’t want any more dead friends. I need to learn to accept love. 

My depression isn’t new. Some would argue that it isn’t real at all and even sometimes I think it’s bullshit, but I try to accept reality as it presents itself. My immediate reality at one point this summer was being a dead friend. In the worst moment, I found reasons to stay alive. 

I’ve never been more grateful to be sober, am experiencing what I believe to be the full spectrum of emotions for the first time since my teens, and now actually believe that “happiness” is possible, no matter how fleetingly. 

Shit will get better, shit will get worse, but all shit will pass. Then we’ll die anyways, but we can live before we do, even if at times we are still on the boat. 

You are not alone.

PMX – EU Tour Report (May 2017)

YO.

Things have been pretty quiet on this here blog recently. This isn’t for lack of anything to say or thoughts to impart, quite the opposite in fact, but things have been somewhat the grind. This isn’t a complaint but in getting shit done there is little time leftover for personal reflection, let alone pissing in the ocean of spacejunk that is the internet. I fail, of course.

All that said, there’s been HUNNERS of shit going on, including the troops in PMX tearing it up across Europe for the second time already this year. As such, I asked Matt to throw together a little tour diary about their travels.

How do?

Derrick asked me to write a few things down about our recent tour of Europe so here goes!

Fifteen days on the road. Hitting up six countries for shows whilst passing through ten. A total of 4700 miles. It’s nice to be back in the land of three prong plugs, driving on the left hand side of the road and proper toilet seats but I’d jump in the van and head off again today in a heartbeat.

Anyone that has been on tour will know the excitement and trepidation that comes with setting foot in the van on day one. The knowledge that when you leave it again on the final day you will be broken, dirty and exhausted. If you make it to the final day and you are none of these things then you are not fucking doing it right!

We left on my 34th birthday which was a pretty cool way to both celebrate that milestone and kick off two weeks of gigging and debauchery! I was hungover from our show the night before in Edinburgh so the day seemed to pass reasonably quickly. 9 hours on the road later and we were boarding the Dover to Dunkirk ferry where several pints were welcomed with open arms.

Being on tour does seem like it’s a lot of fun and although it is, I don’t think it’s as romantic as it seems to anyone who has not done it before. The daily routine is as follows;

  • You wake up early (usually hungover) in a strange place trying to piece together the previous nights goings on.
  • You jump in the van and plan your route to the next town. Some days this can take as little as 3 hours, some days it can take 16.
  • You hunt out a service station or supermarket to stock up on supplies if need be. Now if, like me, you have special dietary requirements, this can be a challenge. Luckily enough I stocked up on noodles, soya milk and 9bars before we left so was able to suck it up when the closest thing to a vegan sandwich was a BLT!
  • You arrive at the venue, usually several hours before you have to play, in order to load in your gear and sound check.
  • You sit around in the venue drinking the free beer and eating the free food (which again due to my aforementioned dietary requirements can be hit or miss).
  • You play. Always the best bit of the day. If you don’t enjoy that part then what the fuck are you doing on tour!?!
  • You pack up all your gear into the van again with Tetris-like precision. Of course, by this point you are usually soaked through with sweat and somewhat inebriated.
  • You head off to your designated sleeping spot, whether it’s someone’s floor, a hostel, a practice room floor, a shipping container or just in the venue itself.
  • Repeat daily.
  • For 2 weeks.

There might be a chance to see some other cool shit whether it be touristy or not but in general that’s about it. So now you have a better understanding of ‘tour life’ or at least as how I see it, I am not gonna bore you with the finer details of every day, every drive and every venue. Instead I’m just gonna list a bunch of stuff that I thought was fucking cool.

  • Driving through the Alps is cool as fuck! Your not gonna see as beautiful scenery as that every day of the week. Just don’t stop for food or drink, you need a bank loan.
  • Slovenia is a rad country. Everyone there is super nice and it is real beautiful. We washed in a river one day and it was proper cold but unforgettably cool at the same time. When I say cold I mean painfully cold. I’m gonna fucking die cold. Colder than witches tit as they say.
  • Italy is a fuckover for tolls, kinda like France. Other than that, we played three shows that were all awesome. Every single person we met there was friendlier than the last and they couldn’t do enough for us. If I get the chance I will head back to both Livorno and Remini for a holiday again.
  • I’ve always liked Germany. I went there a few times in my youth and remember everyone being real nice and the place itself being pretty sweet. I can now report that nothing’s really changed. We went and saw a giant hole in the ground that was home to the world’s biggest moving machine. I have seen it before but it still managed to get my geekier side moist again!
  • The Netherlands and Belgium were once again great fun. Got compared to Belvedere who had played the venue we played in Naaldwijk, NL a good 15 years earlier. Nice to know we keep our music current and relevant haha!
  • Some cool bands to check out that we met along the way are Tear Them Down from Sweden, The Peterlees from The Netherlands, Bare Teeth from France, Start At Zero from Slovenia, Struggling For Reason from Belgium, United And Strong from Germany, Deadends from Austria and Danger Jerk from Germany.

There was probably a bunch of other stuff that I thought was cool but it’s either just stupid shit that no one else would ever find cool or I was too drunk/hungover to remember it. It could equally be a fine combination of both!

Anyways, I hope I didn’t bore the tits off you or you are sitting there thinking “what a wanker!”. Being on tour to me is just like a holiday. A free all-inclusive holiday with my best mates. And I hate hearing folk going on about their holiday when they get back!

We’ve got a few more shows lined up here and there in the coming months but we will be mainly concentrating on writing and recording a new record between now and my wedding in August. Aim is to have it out before the end of the year and get touring again as much as possible next year. I will endeavour to produce an equally shite blog post for you when that comes around if you so desire!

Peace and Fucking. Believe.

Matt xXx

PMX are back in Dundee on Friday 26th May with the troops in Get It Together plus MTAT first-timers Hopes Up High (new school pop-punk/hxc from Arbroath) and Us Versus Them (teeth-rattling old school hxc from Fife). Should be a suitably radge hardcore punk tear up of a Friday night.

If ye don’t have a copy of the “Dark Days” EP, remedy that in short order. It’s moich.

Be radical, spread joy.

 

2016; My Favourite Records of the Year

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2016 was an incredible year for music. Anyone who says otherwise is either ill-informed or just plain ignorant. The same could be said of those who constantly bemoan the “death of the album”. Yes, while the mainstream may be consuming music in an ever more disposable fashion, the case has always been thus and when have we cared about what’s happening there anyways?

Records and albums never died or went anywhere, for those who’ve always bought music and supported the artists they enjoy, there is no “vinyl revival”, just a lot of over-expensive major label re-releases and longer waiting times at pressing plants. I could bang on about this shit at length but shall refrain from doing so in an effort to maintain the positive nature of this piece, which is to talk about my favourite records of the year.

I should establish some ground rules here; I’m going to talk about my favourite records of the year that I own in its physical format, thus disqualifying digital exclusives/streams and the like. So yeah, we’re talking physical vinyl records of all kinds here, not exclusively albums. The list will be alphabetical as opposed to ranked by preference. I think it’d also be imprudent to include any of the MTAT releases this year, although it goes without saying that I love them all, as that is pretty much the entire condition of whether we put something out or not.

That said, “Held In Merciful Light” by Clearer The Sky is a stunning record and one I’ve spent a lot of time with. Also, “ScreamerSongwriter” by Stoj Snak is just next level incredible; a folk punk record that transcends the genre’s often limiting boundaries, creating a kind of “stadium folk punk” sound as I described it to someone at the indie label market in Aberdeen earlier this year. Ye can check out MTAT 2016; A Year in Review here.

AJJ – “The Bible 2” LP (Side One Dummy)

America’s greatest living rock band have produced what I believe to be their masterwork with “The Bible 2”. Everything about this record speaks to me of the contemporary frustrated American experience as we transition into times of heightened political violence and paranoia. I have long admired Sean Bonnette as a lyricist and songwriter and truly believe that, great as “Christmas Island” was, this is his greatest work yet. Everyone should listen to this record.

Anxiety – S/T LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)

I’d read about these Glasgow punks a fair bit before I finally got a chance to see them play at the last Clocked Out show at Nice N Sleazy earlier this year and I was blown away, their intensity matched only be the uncontrollable rage that is Crawford and the troops. This eight track mini-LP is absolutely incredible; a convulsing nightmare-ish soundscape like Joy Division/Dead Kennedys/Butthole Surfers self-abusing in an anarcho punk squat. A thrilling, unsettling and unnerving experience, tremendous.

Boak – II 7″ (SuperFi Records / GrindPromotion)

I fucking love Boak and their set in The Firefly at BYAF X just absolutely stripped the paint from my face. This second seven inch (I got a blue one) manages to take everything that was awesome about the first one; the precision, intensity, rage; and hone it to even sharper perfection with four nuclear blasts of intelligent and articulate grindcore/powerviolence. I must’ve played this record fifty times over before something knocked it off the turntable. Absolutely essential, truly one of Scotland’s greatest bands.

The Cut Ups – “The Nerves” LP (Banquet Records)

Jon Shoe is one of my favourite people in punk rock and I’ve been a huge fan of The Cut Ups for over a decade now, so it’s no great surprise that their fourth record makes my list. “The Nerves” is arguably their most politically focussed album yet, a rallying cry reflected in the loving gravelly embrace of their finest collection of songs to date. Driving and anthemic, featuring keys from Franz Nicolay, this is The Cut Ups at their determined best. “Stay Obscure” may be closing track of the year too, tugged away on the old heartstrings. This record is a beacon of hope in an ever-expanding shit-storm of misery, isolation and exasperation; a reassuring cuddle from an old friend.

Dead To Me – “I Wanna Die In Los Angeles” 7″ (Fat Wreck)

Besides simply being an awesome collection of three songs on a seven inch, I feel this is an important record in a few different ways. Purely musically, this is solid Dead To Me gold (there was a gold pressing, I have the black) and we’ve waited eight years for new songs featuring both Jack Dalrymple and Chicken, but more importantly, this is a record that may have just saved a life. Alcohol and drug addiction is something people in the punk scene seem reluctant to talk about at times, despite the fact that it’s killed so many of our friends, in both punk and wider society. This record is about hitting rock bottom and recovery, with “Comforting the Disturbed and Disturbing the Comfortable” being one of the most beautiful articulations of recovery I’ve ever identified with, in so many different ways. This 7″ also directly inspired me to start Sober Punks Supper Club. Thank you Dead To Me, stay strong troops.

Descendents – “Hypercaffium Spazzinate” (Epitaph)

Descendents are a band that I’ve loved for almost twenty years so there’s no way I wasn’t going to be stoked about their new record. Ever the pessimist, however, I didn’t have sky-high hopes but am thankful to be proven wrong as I think this is definitely up there amongst their strongest work, streets ahead of “Cool To Be You”, which itself contained some bangers. There ain’t a huge number of older punk bands who’ve released new records that rivals that of their back catalogue this year but this one is up there in my book. As for the controversy surrounding the title, I don’t think it’s a great title but listen to the fucking record and the picture will become a little clearer I’d hope.

Fall Of Messiah – “Empty Colors” 12″ EP (Holy Roar / I.Corrupt.Records)

Utterly stunning, expansive and harrowing yet serene post-rock/screamo from France. I was lucky enough that Shitgripper played with these troops in Edinburgh in April of this year and I was completely blown away by their dynamics, intensity and power. Largely instrumental but with infrequent intense outbursts of screaming, this EP is a deep weaved texture of math-rock meets brooding hardcore intensity. One of the records I found myself coming back to again and again over the year, finding more to love in it with every listen.

The Hotelier – “Goodness” LP (Tiny Engines)

This is probably overall my favourite record of the year and definitely the album I’ve listened to most in 2016, at least once a day since I put the download on my phone. I connect viscerally and emotionally with The Hotelier in a way that I don’t with the vast majority of modern emo/pop punk bands, in ways that I can’t fully explain, but this record is a testament to what I understand to be their experimental progressive worldview, like therapy expressed through poetry. The aforementioned who mourn the death of the album would do well to listen to the narrative of this record, each song a chapter. Their show in the church at Restless Natives Fest was as close I’ve come to religious observance this year, truly spellbinding stuff.

Hot Mass – “Nervous Tension” LP (Brassneck Records)

Glorious squally and noisy heads-down punk rock’n’roll goodness from these well-traveled punks from Swansea who blasted out their first full-length and reminded me of everything that is awesome about straight up UK DIY punk rock. These dudes have been in the game for a long time, in essential Welsh bands like Dividers and The Arteries, and this record exemplifies the lessons learned and lives shaped by those experiences. I grabbed this record from Jenks when they opened for The Menzingers earlier this year and I very much hope we’ll have them in the basement at some point in the new year. Great stuff, super smart coke-bottle clear vinyl too.

Medictation – “Warm Places” LP (Little Rocket)

With such pedigree, this record was always going to be something special but considering the fact that this is the final recorded work of the legendary Dickie Hammond, this album takes on an extra layer of emotional weight. Featuring members of Leatherface and The Sainte Catherines, “Warm Places” was always going to be a great punk album but knowing that Dickie is gone, his presence is felt with greater gravity, his loss with extra depth. When Dickie takes on the vocal for “Stalingrad”, it’s a difficult listen as he sings about having no hope left and drinking to oblivion, especially knowing the circumstances under which he died. It’s a testament to the greatness and fragility of the man himself and the friendship of his band mates and extended family that this record serves as fitting epitaph. The release was a labour of love from Little Rocket Records, a label formed specifically to release this LP. A beautiful, moving monument.

Muncie Girls – “From Caplan To Belsize” LP (Specialist Subject)

This Exeter three piece have absolutely knocked it out the park with their first full-length LP on Specialist Subject Records. With a title taken from Sylvia Plath, there are few ambiguities pertaining the feminist politics of this record, serving as an indictment of our current cultural situation. This is no mere soapbox politics, however; this record talks of basic human decency and action in times where many people lack these things. Indeed, it was in reference to this record, specifically the “Respect” video, that I had one of my more interesting interactions of the year with the “alt-right”. Without putting too fine a point on it, fuck that shit, this is an important and, sadly, required record, on top of being a mighty fine melodic rock/pop punk banger in and of itself.

The Murderburgers – “The 12 Habits of Highly Defective People” (Asian Man / Round Dog Records)

Once again raising the bar for Scottish punk rock, Fraser Murderburger has crafted his greatest piece of work to date and created what is undoubtedly one of the finest UK pop punk records ever released. Fraser and I have been friends for a long time now and I know exactly how much this record, and indeed the band, means to him. I couldn’t be more proud to see this record getting the love it so richly deserves. Progressing far beyond the bubblegum Ramonescore template of yore, this fourth LP sharpens the knives for a thrilling narrative ride of lacerating self-analysis with cinematic sound and minor chords tucked in amongst the hooks and sing-a-long choruses. While perhaps less immediate than previous work, the cuts are far deeper and this record fulfills the promises made on “These Are Only Problems”, is a more cohesive piece of work and their absolute best yet. Proud of you, pal.

Pears – “Green Star” (Fat Wreck)

This record is just a straight-up hardcore punk rock juggernaut from front to back, a relentless storm of energy and aggression laden with insidious hooks, a fuck-you-fight-me southern charm and a refreshing blast of punk rock noise that looks forward rather than wallowing I n nostalgia, as punk is often inclined to do. For me, Pears absolutely blew Bouncing Souls off the stage when they played at Stereo in Glasgow earlier this year, one of the most energetic and engaging shows I’ve seen on a bigger stage in some time. Super nice dudes too, although twenty quid for an LP is taking the piss a little I’d suggest (no slight on the band, I know how these things go). One of my favourite Fat Wreck releases in recent years.

Sheer Mag – III 7″ EP (Static Shock)

I confess I had never listened to Sheer Mag before this year but once I did so, I immediately ordered all three EPs from Static Shock Records. This band are fucking great, a classic soul-powered rock’n’roll band that transcends time and genre classification, political without being divisive and subversive without being alienating. Plus, most importantly, just plain fucking rocking, like The Bellrays/Thin Lizzy/Dirtbombs, these are some of the catchiest, most perfectly written rock songs you’re ever likely to hear. Few bands this year have got me as hyped up and hooked as Sheer Mag.

Wonk Unit – “Mr. Splashy” LP (TNS)

If the AJJ LP is the soundtrack of the death of the American Dream, then it logically follows to my mind that “Mr. Splashy” is the sound of dystopian London, and by extension the United Kingdom, in full collapse. Wonk Unit may be the premier clown princes of UK punk rock, but don’t let the black humour and abundant laughter fool you, there is deep intelligence and political anger contained within the poetry, art and channeled chaos that follows the Wonk family. “Mr. Splashy” is an engaging tale that follows a narrative story arc through the increasing bitterness of British life in which we are both increasingly lumped together (as “lefties”, as “punks”, as “radicals”, whatever the case may be) and further isolation from one another. When we look back in twenty years time, this will be one of the records we reflect upon when considering the state of UK punk in 2016. I was lucky enough to score one of the one hundred green copies too!

So there we go, there are my fifteen favourite records of the year. There have been loads of other great records released this year and I want to shout out Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, The Bennies, Kamikaze Girls, Womps, Departures, Pale Angels, G.L.O.S.S and Direct Hit! and Human Hands, all of whom released top quality records this year, plus the Asthenia/Akallabeth split 7″ that absolutely tore my face off (the Asthenia show was probably, at a push, my favourite MTAT show of the year too).

Can’t wait to see what’s coming in 2017, plus we’ll finally get the long-awaited Tragical History Tour LP. Bring it on!

 

 

 

REFLECTIONS; Time, Growth, Evolution and Redefinition.

As alluded to in the zine, it’s impossible for me to discuss Book Yer Ane Fest from any real perspective other than my own. I’m far too closely involved to be truly objective, try as I might, and in the ten years we’ve been doing this label, I’ve learned to accept and understand that there are things over which I have no control. Book Yer Ane Fest seems to mean many different things to many different people, all with their own unique experiences, worlds within worlds. This is a truly beautiful thing.

Book Yer Ane Fest X last weekend was remarkable in many, many ways and even a week later I’m still struggling to fully digest it all. Thoughts and memories come back at me in waves, out of nowhere, and I remember fragments of conversations that I had with people who I see all too seldom. I’ll admit to being pretty nervous about the whole thing, especially in lieu of the the takeover of Buskers and all the fallout from that, and the weight of my own anxiety about hitting the ten year milestone. It’s no trade secret that I was considering that perhaps this year may be the last Book Yer Ane Fest.

Nostalgia unnerves me and life has changed so much since 2006, not just for me but for everyone I know, our entire culture and society. This is the only way it can possibly be, everything is impermanent. However, the older and more experienced I become, the more I value reflection and taking stock as important, not to wallow in perceived past glories and accomplishments but to remember exactly why it is you do what you do in the first place, to give thanks for the path that you’ve traveled and those who’ve supported you along the way. Does the flame of mid-thirties burn as bright as the flame of youth?

Ten years of supporting Safe-Tay, ten years of cowpunk and ten Book Yer Ane Fests seems like the perfect narrative ending; to round things out at a tidy decade and call it job done. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t appeal to part of me, mostly my nihilistic streak, and it is something that I wrestle with. No doubt there’s plenty of ego bullshit in there too. Going into this year, I didn’t know where my own head was at in this regard and didn’t have any answers, in the greatest MTAT tradition of the best plan being no plan at all, which you can never plan for. Sometimes it takes someone to ask the question before you know the answer.

It has been an honour to support Safe-Tay and the causes they support over these last ten years and we thank them for their vital work as they wind up operations, leaving behind an important and impressive legacy of safety education and awareness-raising. I had a conversation ten minutes before my Tragical History Tour set on Sunday evening that floored me and in that moment I knew that what we do is greater than me or any one individual, that we are all part of something so much bigger than ourselves. This was reaffirmed in the conversations I had with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years and some whom I was meeting for the very first time. I felt it when I played, punk rock my meditative space.

It’s a long weekend for everyone involved and I did all eleven shows across the five days including playing three times, getting home at 3am on Tuesday after dropping Josh at the airport, then going straight back to work until yesterday. I’m still exhausted and only now is the comedown fully kicking in. Having the opportunity to play with Uniforms one last time before the birth of Matthew Fraser McGinty was a privilege and playing with Joey T again was just indescribable. Ben is my oldest friend, Gain and I have been in this since day one and being in that band was an education like no other. It was like slipping back into the mask and pulling a Springboard Frankendeeker; a total Wrestlemania moment for me.

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Photo by Bev at Hold My Pint Photography. http://www.facebook.com/holdmypintphotography/

I would like to personally thank each and every person that participated in making Book Yer Ane Fest X a success. It was undoubtedly our most ambitious attempt yet and it would not have been possible without the herculean efforts of so many people. Thank you so much to all of the amazing acts who performed over the weekend and every single person who came from all over the world to enjoy them and participate in the festival; to all the BYAF Crew and extended MTAT family and volunteers who opened up their homes and hearts for the weekend, helped with sound, manned the merch booths, ran errands, loaded/loaned gear, cooked food, provided physical and emotional support, we can’t thank you enough. You are all amazing humans.

Much love and thanks to Roseanne, Dave and all the staff at The Firefly Dundee, including Mark for his tireless work with sound and chefs Alex and Sean for going above and beyond the call of duty; Lee and Simon of the excellent sound crew at Buskers for their indefatigable graft over the weekend to support us and Buskers and for allowing us use of the space; all at Bloc+, Conroy’s Basement, Groucho’s and The Banshee Labyrinth; Dundee Music Studios for providing us with backline for the weekend; Rainbow Music for their continued support and endless patience; Mitch and all the crew at Audiowave, all at Sanctuary Tattoo Dundee for Book Yer Ane Flash and all the punks who got BYAF tattoos (pics plz!); Catholic Guilt, No One Knows Records, Black Lake Records, Umlaut Records, TNSrecords, Round Dog Records, Anti-Manifesto and everyone who donated prizes to the tombola; Hold My Pint Photography; GGM Photography; Adam Morrow for all the help with the A Fat Wreck screening; Urban Print; IDIOTEQ.com, Punktastic, TheCourier.co.uk and everyone who covered BYAF in the press and to anyone we may have forgotten; thank you!

We haven’t yet got our final total as we’re having a merch sale and will donate 100% of proceeds from the leftover “Still Joey Terrifying” shirts and the “Complete Collection” CD sales for December to the BYAF total to be donated to Insight Counselling, Tayside Mountain Rescue and The Royal Life Saving Society. Here’s hoping we can beat last year’s total. Check out my friend Graham’s awesome playlist of live videos too, think he’s got most bands from across the weekend. While there may be a few (mostly personal) dissatisfactions from the weekend, there’s no point in belabouring issues, perpetuating beef or throwing people under a bus, and all parties already know the score anyways, so that’s all the vague details I’ll go into. In the finest Paul Heyman tradition, if booked right nobody’d ever know, right? If we don’t learn, we don’t evolve and if we don’t evolve, we stagnate and die.

As with everything, Book Yer Ane Fest must evolve and MTAT along with it. As we embark upon our second decade as a collective and in the current cultural climate, I believe that the DIY punk rock community is of greater importance than ever before. I believe we are at a pivotal point in our evolution, Brexit and Trump the latest twisted manifestations of globalised nuclear capitalism and the echo chamber. We now live in a world where simply being “anti” is not nearly enough, where words and information are weapons. It is what we DO that it is important, beyond rhetoric.

It’s good to engage in discourse, to be challenged, and accept valid constructive criticism and advice; to develop reflective practice, if you will. We will always be an anti-sexist, anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic collective, but how can we grow beyond defining ourselves by what we are not in a world of perpetual change and unprecedented evolution? If we define ourselves in negative terms, it logically follows that generating positivity becomes a greater struggle. The world will beat you down and “other” you, we need not unnecessarily “other” ourselves.

As such, for the first time, I have redefined our “mission statement”;

We are a progressive secular DIY punk collective and independent record label based on the east coast of Scotland. We aim to contribute positively to our community and believe in the equality of and equity for all humans regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, class, status or any other perceived identifier.

Our collective/label formed at a house party show in 2006 and has evolved over the last decade into something we never anticipated. We are very grateful for the increased level of interest we’ve been receiving recently and are very excited about the possibilities that the future may hold.

We have a fairly wide understanding of what constitutes “punk”.

For all MTAT enquiries, please email info@makethatatakerecords.com

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The answer to the question is yes, there will be a Book Yer Ane Fest XI. Where it will be and what form it will take remains to be seen but things will continue to evolve as they’ve always done. Thank you to all involved, for everything.

The job ain’t fucking done yet.

 

BOOK YER ANE FEST X; THE ZINE

This is the upload of the zine I put together for Book Yer Ane Fest X.

There were 150 of them made, printed by the workhorse that is Big Mick’s old HP printer that lives in our living room and collated by my own sossij-fingered hands. I felt it was an important thing to do and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to it.

I am humbled by the response to Book Yer Ane Fest X and have not yet had the mental space to process everything, memories and moments coming back to me in flashes. The story is also truly not exclusively my own; none of this could be done without the contribution of the many wonderful humans I have the privilege to call friends and the participation of the wider DIY punk rock family. That story will be told in time.

Everyone has their own Book Yer Ane Fest experience. That is a beautiful thing.

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“What’s the craic with Conroy’s Basement?”

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So what’s the craic with Conroy’s Basement? Good question, for which I shall endeavour to provide the answer right now!

Basically, it’s been almost a year since MTAT hosted our first show there (okay, eight months) and since then it’s been both an entertaining challenge and learning experience for us all. With every new idea comes new challenges and, as we’ve never been ones to shy away from such things, we have poured our blood, sweat and tears into trying to make things work. Personally, all I’ve ever wanted is a basement space to put on shows so, in effect, that dream has come true (pity I don’t have a functional punk rock band, right?!?).

Firstly, we’d very much like to thank everyone who has supported us thus far with this endeavour; it takes a crew of people to make ideas work and put concepts into action. We are very grateful for all of the hard work and graft the extended crew has put into making things work and it must be known that we wouldn’t be in the position that we are without the support of our friends and colleagues. Y’all know who ye are.

We must also thank our landlords at Conroy’s for their welcome, understanding and patience with us as we worked through the teething problems. We are under no illusions that we are very lucky to be in the position that we are and cannot overstate how grateful we are. While things may not have been perfect since the get-go, I strongly believe that what we are doing is important and that it directly relates to many of the discussions that have been had throughout Dundee’s musical community of late. Hell, The Skinny just published a piece I wrote the other day (check out “Venues, Scenes and Spaces“) that addresses this exact issue.

Conjecture and debate is one thing, action is another. Without resorting to Minor Threat quotes, if ye want to get something done the best thing to do is to it yourself (DIY, ken?). As such, the craic with Conroy’s Basement is thus; we are now open for third party bookings.

Basically, Kenny G and I have formed a new company called Burst Cow. We have invested in a new PA for the basement and will be running the bookings independently of MTAT, for both logistical reasons and so as to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. We have begun taking limited third party gig and private function bookings, with a bunch of shows happening in November, and will be looking to gradually expand things once Book Yer Ane Fest X is in the bag.

Terms and conditions for all bookings apply, of course, but ultimately we aim to help nourish the scene that has helped nourish us so greatly for so many years. To us, DIY need not be a byword for “slack” or “shitty”.

Kenny G will be the go-to dude for all third party bookings and should be contacted at conroysbasement@gmail.com

I (Derrick) shall remain the “face” of MTAT and, as such, any and all MTAT related emails/enquiries/vegan recipies should be sent to info@makethatatakerecords.com

So yeah, it seems Conroy’s Basement is open for business!

On Dialogue; Bloc and Trans Punks

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I don’t really want to be writing this post but feel I have to. Without retreading well-worn ground, MTAT and myself as an individual are very concerned about the incident, statements and subsequent fall-out pertaining the misgendering of a trans person in relation to bathroom usage at Bloc a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve been reluctant to post anything online in an “official” capacity, although must admit that I did share Chris’s (Bloc venue manager) statement on my FB page. The discussions which followed were illuminating and reinforced my feeling that there must be an open and honest dialogue about things, to use this as an opportunity for learning, less we descend into binary tribalism.

I have been in discussion with friends from the trans community, the PR staff and in-house promoters at Bloc, fellow promoters in the DIY punk scene and many others with a vested emotional interest. I believe that the only way we can move forward in a positive fashion is through dialogue, discourse and showing respect. I have spoken with Bloc and have been assured that there will be a staff training day run by the Scottish Transgender Alliance on September 29th. They are also keen to organise a meeting with the trans punks, promoters and those affected by the situation. I am grateful to all involved for their willingness to discuss the situation.

On a personal level, I’d suggest that we could all benefit from being a little more reflective and mindful of how our behaviour, acts and words can impact others.

In the interest of transparency, this is the email I sent to Bloc (with names removed);

  • I just wanted to get in touch to discuss the issues that have been raised since the unfortunate bathroom incident at Bloc last weekend. I have spoken at length with *in-house promoter* and various friends and allies within the trans community and feel that it would be inappropriate of me not to voice the concerns I’ve been feeling. MTAT have always been allies of the trans community and of Bloc. Not for one second do I believe that Bloc harbours a transphobic ideology, however, I do feel that the statement issued by *Bloc* was somewhat ill-judged, especially given the current social climate. Now, while I absolutely do feel there is merit in some of the ideas expressed within said statement (the idea of the “regressive left”, “the mob”, etc), I don’t believe that this was the time or place to express these ideas. Had the statement ended after the apology and details pertaining how Bloc was going to use the experience to further develop learning, then I don’t think there would have been nearly the fallout there has been. However, the emotive rant which constituted the lion’s share of the statement was unnecessarily divisive and really didn’t contribute positively to an already messy situation. My concerns are not merely passive; MTAT is involved in two upcoming shows at Bloc, the Scottish Indie Sampler launch night next month and the pre-Book Yer Ane Fest show on Thursday 1st December. I feel that we have a responsibility to both the trans community and Bloc to engage with this issue, rather than adopt the ostrich approach. I feel it is always better to engage in discourse so as to create greater understanding and dialogue than it is to fall into the binaries of “us vs them” or “good guys and bad guys”. MTAT has no intention of boycotting Bloc or withdrawing, but I do feel that it would be an abdication of responsibility if we were to leave these issues completely unaddressed. *In-house promoter* assured me that Bloc will be meeting with representatives from the Scottish Transgender Alliance later this month and I’d be very keen to know how that meeting pans out. Being a “big picture thinker”, I think there is a middle way here. I don’t think anyone has come out of this situation well, from “the mob” to Bloc, but we must be mindful of the fact that violence against transgender people, especially in regards to bathroom usage, is a very real life issue and should not be dismissed as simply an error. I just wanted to clue you in to my thinking as it is inevitable that questions will be asked when MTAT appears on the posters for the launch show and I have to act to protect the best interests of MTAT, just as Bloc do. As such, I shall be writing a statement outlining our position that echoes what I’ve said here.I believe that with open minds and hearts we can all engage in progressive discourse and use this as a learning experience for the betterment of all. Apologies for the long, somewhat rambling email, but I thought it prudent to clue you in on my thought process, so not to come flying out of left-field and add fuel to an already burning inferno of online noise.

    Thanks a lot, Derrick Johnston (MTAT)

As it stands, this is all a fluid situation, for which providing a running commentary has little benefit. However, I feel as though my hand has been forced as the launch night for the Scottish Indie Sampler has been announced and that is something that we are part of. I have been in contact with those involved and the announcement was made without my prior knowledge, despite my reservations. As such, I feel it important that I post something pro-actively, as opposed to adding to the dissonance of emotionally reactive “management”. Once a final decision has been made, we shall update our position.

Hopefully, through reasoned discourse, we can create a little more unity.

 

A Love Letter To Bangers (2008-2016)

 

Ahead of their final show at the Specialist Subject Records all-dayer in London tomorrow, I felt it prudent to write a few words about how wonderful I believe the three humans that comprise Bangers to be, how great I thought their band was and how bummed I am that they are calling it a day. I just wanted to write a little something to express how bummed I am but also to express my gratitude for their existence and for all the inspiration they’ve unwittingly gifted to me across the years.

I’m fairly certain that the first time I saw Bangers live was when they supported Iron Chic alongside Shields Up and Citizens at a This Is Our Battlefield show at the 13th Note in Glasgow in June 2011. That was the same night that we decided that we were going to form Uniforms, so pumped were we after the show driving back to Dundee in big G’s motor. They always exuded a weirdness unlike many of their UK punk contemporaries and I know that Jonny was always a big fan of Hit The Beach from back in the day. That show was the first time I felt that they had a profound impact on me; there was something about the live show that transmitted their oddness more directly than their recordings allowed. From that moment on, they had me!

 

In the five years since then I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Bangers play countless times. They’ve released three quality LPs (all of which come highly recommended) and a slew of 7″s and interesting releases, including the massively inspiring “Mysterious Ways” album that was conceived, written and recorded in 48 hours, with tremendous results. That creative spirit, that playfulness and willingness to actively engage in silliness, was a massive part of their appeal, yet they rarely strayed too far from the underlying existential questioning and cynicism that pervaded their narrative; a juxtaposition of light and shade. By allowing themselves that creative freedom to experiment, to conform to no standards but their own, excited and engaged me. By bowing out on their own terms, they continue this tradition. I think over the years I’ve managed to track down all of the vinyl releases they’ve done, although I suspect I may still be missing something.

They always had their own way of doing things, marched to the beat of their own drum, and that was hugely inspiring, especially to us in Uniforms. I think we felt a kinship; here was another bunch of weirdos from outwith the metropolitan centre weaving their own eccentricities and, crucially, humour, into the fabric of punk rock. I’ve always thought there was something of an idealistic, somewhat whimsical yet cosmically contemplative folk influence within Bangers, a unique storytelling narrative that could only be forged in isolation. Most importantly, however, they rocked and certainly *ahem* knew their way around a banger.

Their work ethic was also an inspiration; in the eight years they were together, they toured all over the UK, Europe and the USA (I think I saw them play at Fest 10 in Gainesville, although I cannot be absolutely sure) and played over 450+ shows. These dudes know and there’s no enlightenment can be attained like that from meditative time spent in stinking transit. Uniforms had the pleasure of playing loads of shows with them, including a DIY Rock Shop matinee show in Perth where Roo imparted the sagacious words of “take all the free drugs you can” to an audience of entranced teenagers. We were lucky enough to have them come and play Book Yer Ane Fest on two occasions, first at BYAF V with Leatherface in 2011 and again two years later at BYAF VII, which remains in my mind one of the craziest and most memorable sets in BYAF history.

Photo by GGM Photography.

Photo by GGM Photography.

Specialist Subject Records is the best punk label in the UK and have been an inspiration to us at MTAT. It can’t be overstated how much of a help Andrew was to me when MTAT transitioned from being an informal collective to a “business” and I’m not sure that I’ve ever adequately thanked him for his assistance and patience. So Andrew, thank you so much for all your help; you guys are an paragon of virtue and self-determination. To me, Specialist Subject is the prime of example of how to run a record label; it’s a family that nurtures a community and unifies people whilst prodigiously releasing records from some of the UK’s finest bands. Just check out their catalogue and you’ll see what I’m talking about; Great Cynics, The Arteries, Muncie Girls, The Fairweather Band, Sam Russo, Above Them; gem after gem. I’ve spent a lot of money on the Specialist Subject webstore and I’d recommend that you do the same.

I got my copy of the “Last Songs” 7″ in the mail this week, threw it on the turntable and felt a sadness unlike any other I’ve felt in some time when it comes to listening to a band’s final recordings. One of the best British punk bands ever, they will be a loss to our community. Three of the nicest, most intelligent and engaging punks I know (and impeccable house guests) I’m very grateful that I have had the chance to get to know them through punk rock and for the memories that they’ve created for me over the years; whether it’s Abbie and Hamish sharing the last of the pop tarts, screaming along in the front row while trying to ensure crowd surfers don’t hurt themselves and/or kick the mic into Roo’s teeth or just listening to their records at home, I’m thankful for everything they’ve created and the times we’ve had together.

I unreservedly feel that Bangers have been one of the most important bands in UK punk over the last eight years, certainly for me personally, and I’m real sad that I won’t be able to see them one last time. Everyone who can make it to The Lexington in London tomorrow should certainly do so.

RIP Bangers, it’s been rare.

 

Thank you Andrew, Hamish and Roo. See you in hell.