Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: White in Brighton

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  • Keir Leslie,

    And the punk bassist's self-conscious appropriation of a good fuck-off dub bass line?

    (Obviously PiL being the standard bearers for that sort of thing, but the Clash were hardly a ``white'' band.)

    Certainly the Sex Pistols didn't present as black, why should they, they were a bunch of white guys from London. But they didn't try and eliminate black influences or anything from their music.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    So...leavable.

    All my siblings and self did. So have pretty well all my Pakeha cousins.

    There is -still- a foetid class system alive & well in the place, and I rather despise it.

    Which isnt to say that I dont still have a love affair going with the Pegasus Bay beaches, and the Port Hills. I love the 2 major art galleries, and the museum. I really used to believe that a corpse was decaying under Harper's?Selwyn's? recumbent statue in the Anglican cathedral - it added needed zest to a ghoulish child's life (but could not really compete with the southern stories & places.)

    Even so- I'll never go back there (for goodness'sake, they dont even have slot machines on the new pier!)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Wales isn't on the Union Jack,

    Ah. But. Henry the Eighth was Welsh eh? so England and Wales were regarded as a single state.

    The Laws in Wales Acts 1536–1543 (Welsh: Y Deddfau Uno 1535 a 1543) were a series of parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced in order to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction, which is frequently referred to as England and Wales. The Acts refer in particular to two Acts of Parliament passed in 1536 and 1543 during the reign of King Henry VIII of England, who came from the Welsh Tudor dynasty.

    So the flag of St George, being the flag of both England and Wales along with that of St. Andrews golf club (because Henry loved golf, or Goff as it was known)
    Later 1801 iirc they included Ireland's St. Patrick flag because they could.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think Lydon is liable to go off at anybody, irrespective of race.

    The late-70s British Punk bands were pretty anti-racist - most bands gave some sort of support to Rock against Racism. Some bands (like Sham69) acquired a nazi following despite being left-wing themselves.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Steady on Steve. Chur chur is a great place, a few issues and Kyle didn't get as many votes as the Communist in the last election.

    Sam F - nice link.

    Poor old Brighton existed in a bubble of Saturday trading, when NZ shut on the Weekend. The grand development out there has never recovered from deregulation. The sea water incursion into the stormwater is a looming issue with all it signals too.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Even so- I'll never go back there (for goodness'sake, they dont even have slot machines on the new pier!)

    We had occasion to go to Eastbourne while in the UK and Eastbourne has a Pier, with slot machines. In fact that is almost all they had. Apparently the pier closes at the end of September, for the Winter season, but the slot machine arcade stays open, even the Fish & Chip shop closes. I also noticed that Eastbourne's pier has a management company, based in Wigan.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I just can't see what people see in Christchurch, it just seems so, so... so?...

    I think it's where Emma Hart lives. Also other worthies that modesty prevents me from naming. Of course it's also bogan city, but most days I can deal with that.

    I remember it as a bright vibrant shopping area, where you could get Blue Lagoon ice-cream from a little parlour upstairs that had an unthinkable number of flavours - like, more than twenty.

    Brighton is where I sometimes went on my holidays when I was growing up in the North Island. It was where my grandparents lived, and a mysterious "night man" visited during the hours of darkness because there was an outside dunny and no sewage. Also there was an albino sparrow that used to hang around, and a feral girl at the beach who'd dig up pipis and bite their tongues off just to gross you out.

    There was a place opposite the old ramshackle pier that had actual blue and green ice creams, which even Wellington didn't have. Although Brighton's mostly a dismal dump these days it does have a great coffee rotisserie, a brilliant dentist, and what I'm assured is a pretty good skate bowl. Just thinking's right, let the earth renew itself and feel superior if you must, Chichi can take it. According to my long-departed grandma, back in her youth the streets were haunted by not only a local version of Springheeled Jack, there was also a Phosphorus Jack who glowed in the dark. Alongside that, a few boofheads playing at being vigilantes don't really rate.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Steve B - the old NB pier had slot machines up until the early 1960s: yeah, there was 'what the butler saw' stuff, but what really engaged self & a mate was the pinball gallery. We figured out how to use one penny (yep, *that* far back) and empty their little caches of pennies. Pie or fishnchips, and a couple of milkshakes (same place you used to go to, Emma, I'll bet - humungous selection of idecreams, and they introduced us to icecream sodas - let us not knock these simple ancient pleasures!) for free afterwards.

    Actually, quite soon after we started our depredations (it was within a year) the pinball machines were removed. Aue!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Certainly the Sex Pistols didn't present as black, why should they, they were a bunch of white guys from London. But they didn't try and eliminate black influences or anything from their music.

    I'm with you: Caleb's wrong.

    The first-wave British punks liked reggae because it was seen as an outsider music. There was reggae played between bands at punk gigs -- Don Letts was the DJ at one of the original punk clubs, The Roxy, and subsequently made his feature debut with The Punk Rock Movie.

    The Clash covered 'Police and Thieves' and Lydon talked about reggae music all the time in Sex Pistols interviews. It was said to be the only music he would dance to. He formed a dub-influenced group as soon as he left the Pistols.

    And, of course, Bob Marley was moved to write 'Punky Reggae Party' in 1978, with the line "The Wailers will be there, The Damned, The Jam, The Clash – Maytals will be there, Dr. Feelgood too."

    Punk pretty much stopped being good when some shaven oafs decided it was white music.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Joe, the place does have it's charms,but-

    o, nightcarts! They were still horsedrawn in my early childhood. The rule was, *always* leave a bottle of beer & at least a threepence (my father used to leave a halfcrown - with six kids & numerous overnighting rellies it was the least he could give) for the nightman at Christmas. Or your tin would be accidentally upset-

    Re: feral girl-um, I'm sorry, we (siblings & self) used to toe-dig pipi and quickly bite off their tongues? But that was usual? Wasnt it?

    I now sorta feel for the pipi (anyone interested can read Kerewin's explanation to SP) but, that was - utter seafoodgloryness!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Re: feral girl-um, I'm sorry, we (siblings & self) used to toe-dig pipi and quickly bite off their tongues? But that was usual? Wasnt it?

    Just that she used to laugh like the proverbial drain when she did it. Whenever you went to the beach she'd emerge from the sandhills, which gave the impression that she lived there.

    Usual method of dealing with pipis for me, which I guess you'd find a bit wussy, was to leave them overnight in fresh water so they'd spit out their sand. Then into the mincer with onions, before making fritters with egg & flour. Toheroa met the same fate.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Nah, not wussy at all - entirely practical. Great for tuatua too (he he he!) but I tend not to put in onions with my molluscs - a teeny bit of garlic on the other hand? Kia ora!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    I'm with you: Caleb's wrong.

    The first-wave British punks liked reggae because it was seen as an outsider music. There was reggae played between bands at punk gigs -- Don Letts was the DJ at one of the original punk clubs, The Roxy, and subsequently made his feature debut with The Punk Rock Movie.

    The Clash covered 'Police and Thieves' and Lydon talked about reggae music all the time in Sex Pistols interviews. It was said to be the only music he would dance to. He formed a dub-influenced group as soon as he left the Pistols.

    And, of course, Bob Marley was moved to write 'Punky Reggae Party' in 1978, with the line "The Wailers will be there, The Damned, The Jam, The Clash – Maytals will be there, Dr. Feelgood too."

    Punk pretty much stopped being good when some shaven oafs decided it was white music.

    One of the points Jon Savage makes throughout his superb England's Dreaming is reggae's profound influence on punk- it seemed to be as deeply felt as the British Invasion's love of American R&B and Motown. Of course, he argues, it was partly through design as much as taste- Paul Simonon learnt to play bass through listening to Trojan reggae records because reggae places such a prominent importance on the bass-line, so they're easy to detect, while Don Letts said he played so many reggae records between slots at the 100 Club because (in the early years) there weren't that many punk records.

    But none of this takes away the passion they had for it. You only need to listen to the opening chords of the Slits debut' Cut to understand how important it was for them in finding a way to burst out of three-chord monontony.

    As someone who wasn't even conceived at the time, the bit I found most amusing was Joe Strummer's frank admission that he was a hippy. ("Of course I was. What were you if you weren't, back in the day?")

    I can't add much to Emma's witty takedown of White Supremacist idiots, so I won't. Other than to say good job, lady.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 445 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Looks like Russell beat me to it with the Don Letts reference, but if the white punks were supposed to be on-message about not hanging out with the non-whites, it's a pity they were always going off uptown to hang out with them....

    UK release compiled by DJ Don Letts offers up the soundtrack to London's legendary Roxy Club - December '76 to April '77, where the Pistols, Clash & Banshees would chill out while Letts played a selection of tunes from his vast collection of reggae & dub 7 inches.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,


    Only White Man in the Hammersmith Palais.
    Gawd I used to love this.

    Punk pretty much stopped being good when some shaven oafs decided it was white music.

    Strength through oi.

    Steve B - the old NB pier had slot machines up until the early 1960s:

    I only went on the pier once, when I was pretty little. There were holes all over the place where you could look down at the sea. The place with slot machines was full of bodgies, I thought it must be a pub and didn't dare go inside, just looked in the door. What really seared into my memory was a kind of juke box playing a black and white movie - with a kind of bluish cast - of an Eddie Cochran-type rocker. Coolest thing I'd ever seen, a tantalising glimpse of an out of reach adult world.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I might also recommend 'This is England' as a DVD hire for a slow night.

    The film is centred on young skinheads, and is set in England in July 1983. The film illustrates that the skinhead subculture, whose roots are associated with Jamaican culture (especially ska, rocksteady, and reggae music), eventually became adopted by white nationalist groups such as the NF.

    More focussed on the ska side of things, but well worth a look. Highly depressing, though.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Only White Man in the Hammersmith Palais.
    Gawd I used to love this.

    You've gotta admit, writing that song was a huge leap in the dark- it's weird because the whole song questions the Clash's indominitable self-mythology and somehow strengthens it. Jon Savage's book devotes a whole page to that song, which might be excessive if it weren't such an achievement.

    Erm, carry on.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 445 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    Dear old deviant Chch. The only city in the world where it's cheaper to buy a home near the beach than it is by the airport.

    Now we know one of the reasons.

    There are times when I miss the place. The resurgence of Messrs Chapman and friends quite cures that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    Continuing the punk thread derailing...

    Caleb, you've got it completely and totally the wrong way round.

    As someone who was actually *there*, partaking fully in the 70's British punk scene, I can tell you that it was most definitely NOT skinhead and NOT racist and NOT all-white. In fact a great many of the original punk bands took an active part in the Rock against Racism gigs and demos of the time, as did we all, together with the Anti-Nazi League and other anti-racist organisations.

    Russell's exactly right when he says:

    The first-wave British punks liked reggae because it was seen as an outsider music. There was reggae played between bands at punk gigs -- Don Letts was the DJ at one of the original punk clubs, The Roxy, and subsequently made his feature debut with The Punk Rock Movie.

    The Clash, for example, were well-known as a band who combined many cultural influences to create their unique sound, which can be described as a fusion of punk, rockabilly and reggae. There's a good summary of Don Letts' documentary The Clash - Westway to the World here, which amongst other things says:

    As DJ at the Roxy, a gathering place for the nascent punk scene in the late Seventies, Letts spun reggae while pointing his camera on the working class musicians and artists -- among them future members of the Clash, Public Image, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Slits -- grooving to the underground dub sounds
    ...
    "It was definitely a cultural exchange," says Letts of his years side by side with the Clash. "We were both turning each other on to our respective differences; we realized that reveling in our differences made us closer."
    ...
    Letts makes the point that white rockers borrowing from black music isn't a new phenomenon, but he maintains that the Clash were different. "It wasn't people who were three thousand miles away that were influencing them; it was the people who they grew up with. The fact that they realized they could say things with musical reportage, that comes from listening to old reggae records."

    As a teenager I went to my first punk gig in 1977 and saw The Stranglers, The Damned, The Jam, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Stiff Little Fingers, The Boomtown Rats, Siouxie & the Banshees and many others many times over the next few years. I can assure you that the audience was without fail a multicultural and multi-coloured one, and the music had its roots in a whole range of cultural influences, reggae included.

    Punk was a very political movement as well as being a music genre that spawned very strong fashion trends. To some extent, we borrowed the clothing of the skinheads (Doc Martens, skinny drainpipe jeans, shaved heads for some) and re-invented it to represent the complete opposite of what the skinheads were all about, and added our own twist (granddad shirts, belts galore, safety pins and rips, spiked hair).

    The politics of punk was all about a celebration of the working-class, with front men such as Paul Weller of The Jam and Joe Strummer of The Clash taking a strongly political and vehemently anti-Thatcher line - both at their gigs and in the lyrics of their songs. Being a punk in the 70s was all about being a lefty, and it was about as far away from having "all the "black" elements systematically excluded" as you could possibly get.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    Heh. And I see that in the time it took me to compose that lengthy missive about 15 other people said pretty much the same thing.

    Look! Another great blast from the past video - with some of my favourite ever lyrics:

    And a hundred lonely housewives clutch empty milk
    Bottles to their hearts

    The Jam: Town called Malice

    helllppp - how do I embed it?? I still haven't figured it out!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 331 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Now Paul Weller for the BDO, I could do that.:)
    Jonny Rotten as well, starting to sound like.... like.....'cellent, 'some.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    the Clash's indomitable self-mythology

    Which is why they kind of, sort of... annoy me a little bit. It all seemed so terribly po-faced...

    (That being said, I've watched the recent documentaries with interest, and I like a lot of their songs. And Sandinista is awesome.)

    Note: 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' is currently the only song I have managed to 'play' flawlessly on Rock Band. So, there's that.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Can I just say that I loved webweavers' little trip(s) down memory lane? Some of those acts she mentioned I would've sold my grandmother to have seen at the time. But of course I wasn't even born then, so fortunately, my grandmother was safe.

    Carry on.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 445 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    What I want to know is are they also keeping the bears away? Because I demand more bear patrols!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    helllppp - how do I embed it?? I still haven't figured it out!

    Just paste in the URL

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

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