Luton: Centre of the Punk Rock Universe

With Abbo and Spon….

Spon (left) Abbo (right) at DV8 2012

Spon (left) Abbo (right) at DV8 2012

Abbo and I will be at Luton’s Hat Factory Art’s and Media Centre on Friday 25th November to talk about Punk in the Luton area back in the late seventies. This is part of the “40 years of Punk” celebrations going down over November at that venue and widely across the country. I am hoping to put together a few slides of various characters, bands, venues, fanzines from Luton and the surrounding are during the late seventies early eighties period. Hopefully this inspire discussion among ourselves and the audience.

Then Justin Saban will join us and we shall perform a couple our punk platters ‘unplugged’ style. So after I have written this I had better dust off the cobwebs of my guitar and get practicing!

When are UK Decay returning for more gigs and recordings? – As part of the talk we shall be hosting a questions and answers session hopefully this question and many others will be answered!

Tickets are just £5.00 bookable in advance from here

Further info

 

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Dump it on Parliament Revisited – The Final Cut

Dump it on Parliament Revisited – The Final Cut

Dump it on Parliament Revisited – The Final Cut

Monday June 20th 2016 at Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre’

Join us on Monday 20 June 2016, 8.00pm at Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre for the Dump it on Parliament Revisited wrap party.On the night you will get an exclusive listen to the new post-punk compilation Dump It On Parliament Revisited before its public release on Friday 24 June.The album, which was recorded live last year at Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre, will be played alongside the first screening of the accompanying documentary film that explores Bedfordshire’s flourishing 1980’s post-punk scene. It tells the story of how many local post-punk bands joined the fight to stop a proposal to make a nuclear waste dump at Elstow, near Bedford and is meshed with interviews and footage from the creation of the new Dump It On Parliament Revisited compilation.

There is a bar available on the night and the previews are followed by a share your own vinyl and tapes night. So bring your old punk favourites and step back to the 80’s!

The event is free but booking is advisable.  To book call Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre Box Office on 0300 300 8125

Read more about Dump It On Parliament Revisited 

Cr

Details

Date: 20/06/2016

Price: FREE

Location:

Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre,
Lake Street,
Leighton Buzzard,
United Kingdom,

dashndem

Artist

DashNDem

Dash Macdonald and Demitrios Kargotis have been working in collaboration since graduating from the Royal College of Art. Through public performance, creative social experiments and humorous interventions, their practice explores and exposes the effect of existing socio-political systems and institutional mechanisms. Their work has been exhibited in Dundee, Berlin, Athens, Helsinki, Bucharest, Istanbul, Tokyo, Linz, Zurich, Zagreb, Gijon and London.

about

Artist

Roshi Nasehi

Roshi is a composer, singer and sound artist who creates new works with people using sound, singing and the power of language and memory. She is known for her much acclaimed “experimental, electronic Welsh-Iranian folk pop” project Roshi Featuring Pars Radio with prolific percussionist/producer Graham Dowdall (Gagarin, Pere Ubu). Roshi has received several commissions including the Belonging exhibition at the Museum Of London, BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, So & So Circus Theatre, Birds Eye View, the Southbank 2012 WOW festival and the British Council for whom she presented major public sound art pieces in Kuwait in May 2014. Roshi, who grew up in Wales to Iranian parents, is based in London.

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THIS IS NOW

“Film and Video after Punk”

THIS IS NOW POSTER

THIS IS NOW POSTER Saturday 21st November 2015. Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre 2pm – 11pm. Free Entry and Bar

Steve Spon will be attending a question and answer session at the festival…

“Dumping It On Parliament Revisited”

Dumping It On Parliament 2015 Live Presentation

Dumping It On Parliament 2015 Live Presentation

Steve Spon is helping to host a fiesta of protest, a host of bands covering tracks from the original 1986 “Dumping It On Parliament” and also presenting their own contemporary original protest songs to ‘Dump On Parliament ‘ today…

CALL OUT TO YOUNG, EMERGING BANDS IN BEDS…

Did you know Bedfordshire has a punk history? Bedfordshire’s alternative post-punk scene flourished in the 70s and 80s as a reaction to the various social and political shifts of the time: high unemployment, cuts to public funding and a Conservative government… does this sound familiar to you? Issues such as these fuelled the ‘Punk’ spirit and ‘D.I.Y ethic’ which was embraced by the local bands, venues and political activists of the time.

An example of this raw, creative, politicised energy was the Dump it on Parliament: 1986 Luton Compilation cassette part of Bedfordshire Against Nuclear Dumping (B.A.N.D.). In true punk spirit, local young alternative musicians came together against a proposed nuclear waste dump in Bedford. Bands contributed specially written songs protesting against the Governments nuclear agency – Nirex. You can read more and listen to tracks from the compilation here:

http://uk-decay.co.uk/heritage/communities/anti-nirex/

We want to revisit and celebrate this piece of alternative local history, to start a conversation between exciting new bands and original band members from Bedford’s post punk scene. We are working with Steve Spon from legendary post punk/gothic band UK Decay, one of the area’s most influential post-punk bands to produce a new Dump It on Parliament Revisited compilation.

We are looking for exciting Bedfordshire bands to participate. Does this sound like you? If so, we would love you to be part of the compilation and related events and workshops. We would like to include one of your current songs that captures a similar politicised, countercultural feel of the area’s historic post-punk output. We would also want you to record a cover version of an original track of your choice from Dump it on Parliament and through 5 workshops on Wednesdays in October/November with musicians Roshi Nasehi (Roshi Feat. Pars Radio, David Thomas, Suns Of Arqa) Graham Dowdall (Gagarin, Ludus, John McKay, Pere Ubu) and Steve Spon (UK Decay) write one new track, exploring what YOU would want to dump on parliament today.

We will be printing a limited addition vinyl/cassette of the compilation, recorded live at a gig at the Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre on the 27th November. We will play a warm up gig at Houghton Regis Library and will also be producing a DIY inspired film of the event which will be shown at Grove Theatre Dunstable. Other connected activities will include new fanzines, fashion, posters, banners and cut-up appropriated videos being produced, all of which were part of post-punk culture back in the day. The project will be widely publicised through different events and media and we will also be collaborating with BBC Three Counties.

As Rob Callaghan from original compilation contributors The Twist put it, “parliament deserves to be dumped on again and again.” Do you agree? If so, and you’ve a musical way of saying it, let us know!

Dump-it-on-Parliament 2015

Dump-it-on-Parliament 2015

The project is commission by Bedford Creative Arts:
http://www.bedfordcreativearts.org.uk/index.php/library-as-laboratory/

Terror and Wonder

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
British Library (Open until Tue 20 Jan 2015)

Terror and WonderLast weekend EJ from Diamondseeds and I spent a day visiting exhibitions held at the British Library and at the British Museum in London.
First we visited the British Library near St Pancras to view the exhibition, “Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination” where “Two hundred rare objects trace 250 years of the Gothic tradition, exploring our enduring fascination with the mysterious, the terrifying and the macabre…”

Ella Jo

EJ

Terror-and-Wonder-BL1

Spon, “ere mate….lend us ten pence!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was pointed out to me a few weeks back that one of our UK Decay records “The Black 45” was on display at the exhibition as well as a giant sized poster of the seminal “The Face of Punk Gothique” article written by Steve Keaton for Sounds in 1981 (he is still around but today uses his real name, Steve May). A number of years ago we visited the Tate Gallery for “Gothic Nightmares” exploring the dark and gothic side of art, this time the emphasis at the British Library was of course to be expected on the literature side.

So in a clockwise direction we headed into the crowds viewing each of the exhibits, starting with memorabilia centred around Horace Walpole’s “The Castle of Otranto” written 250 years ago , supposedly the first of the ‘Gothic romances’. There were audio clips and video clips to enjoy dotted around the exhibition with the ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and Boris Karloff making appearances in the movie realm. A poster for the ‘Night Of The Demon’ loomed, a film that scared the shit out of me as a kid, me and a mate used to rent the super 8 version to play to the other kids in the neighbourhood in our very own ‘garage cinema’. A mention of how Batman was in some way inspired by Victorian bogeyman ‘Spring-Heeled-Jack’ here a spread of Police newspapers with an extended cartoon impression of the Whitechapel murders (Jack The Ripper).

The Wicker Man, The Birds, The Night Of The Living Dead, a Vampire slaying kit, Dracula, Frankenstein, Christopher Lee, Mary Shelley’s first draughts of the literary Frankenstein, Wallace & Gromit’s Were-rabbit sat alongside a host of early and almost unknown 18th and 19th century Gothic romances. Then there was Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Stanley Kubricks The Shining and a selection of recent novels, films and TV, notably clips from BBC 3’s “In The Flesh” a Zombie/Vampire drama series. All in all fascinating stuff, camera’s were banned so unfortunately no pictures! However turning the corner into room 6 , the giant sized poster of “The Face Of Punk Gothique” can’t be missed, it hits you in the face! Sitting right underneath it is the inner spread out sleeve of the Black 45, alongside Bauhaus’s Bela Lugosi’s Dead – we took the opportunity to cheekily snatch a couple of photo’s at this point. They can’t actually do us for breech of copyright can they?

The Black 45 on display at the Terror And Wonder Exhibition

The Black 45 on display at the Terror And Wonder Exhibition

The Face of Punk Gothique

Spon at the The Face of Punk Gothique

Ella Jo joked about me turning into a museum piece now! Hey we are still active today and writing new stuff although the Black 45 is now pushing forty years , gosh!

The last room contained a series of photographs of the April 2014 Whitby Goth Weekend, of course pertinent to the band and myself as we performed there on that weekend. I saw the odd face in the photo’s that I recognised!

Witches and Wicked Bodies: The British Museum

That was it , time to move on to the British Museum to view amongst other things an exhibition of “Witches and Wicked Bodies” , a fitting supplement to the Terror and Wonder experience earlier.

This was about paintings, sketches, engravings and other artwork examining the portrayal of witches and witchcraft from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. There was nothing to say against taking pictures, so we had a field day. The only difficultly was negotiating the crowds, many of whom we noted and recognised from the gothic exhibition earlier.

Macabre, sublime and succinct images by artists such as Dürer, Fusseli, Goya, Delacroix, Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti held the slow snake like processions transfixed . “The magus, or wise practitioner of ‘natural magic’ or occult ‘sciences’, has traditionally been male, but the majority of those accused and punished for witchcraft, especially since the Reformation, have been women” , so stated the museum blurb on the subject of the art. Sadly this was the last day of the exhibition, for us (and hundreds of others) it was a must see!

Wicked-001 Wicked-002 Wicked-003 Wicked-004 Wicked-006 Wicked-005 Wicked-007

A selection of art from the exhibition.

Anglo Saxon (almost!)

Almost Anglo Saxon a new album by Ella Jo, produced by EJ and Steve Spon, featuring  Mel Rogers from Tarantism on Flute, Steve Kerr on Guitar, Ed Branch from UK Decay on Bass, Steve Spon also from UK Decay on guitar and piano and Fiddlin Flick on violin. Folk lore, Myths and Stories from a thousand years ago, beautifully crafted into songs, sounds and sung by Ella Jo... “Only a few bars of music survive from Anglo Saxon times, a thousand years ago, but there is evidence of the instruments that they used. We experimented a lot, as the challenge was to write songs relating to that history and produce an album that is musically credible as well as educational. Choosing subjects such as King Ethelred the Un-ready and the folk tale of Wayland Smithy,  I wanted to tell the stories as the Anglo Saxons may have known them. I was trying to stand in the shoes of those who witnessed historical moments in Anglo Saxon History, like a woman watching the Viking ships land (in the song 'Dragon Ships'). I also allowed a modern point of view such as the discovery of buried treasure in the song 'The Hidden Hoard', and in 'The Minstrel's Song' I wanted to embrace the place of music in culture and show how highly it was valued in the past." For a full interview about Almost Anglo Saxon see http://diamondseeds.recklessrelic.co.uk/

Almost Anglo Saxon a new album by Ella Jo, produced by EJ and Steve Spon, featuring Mel Rogers from Tarantism on Flute, Steve Kerr on Guitar, Ed Branch from UK Decay on Bass, Steve Spon also from UK Decay on guitar and piano and Fiddlin Flick on violin.
Folk lore, Myths and Stories from a thousand years ago, beautifully crafted into songs, sounds and sung by Ella Jo…
“Only a few bars of music survive from Anglo Saxon times, a thousand years ago, but there is evidence of the instruments that they used. We experimented a lot, as the challenge was to write songs relating to that history and produce an album that is musically credible as well as educational. Choosing subjects such as King Ethelred the Un-ready and the folk tale of Wayland Smithy, I wanted to tell the stories as the Anglo Saxons may have known them. I was trying to stand in the shoes of those who witnessed historical moments in Anglo Saxon History, like a woman watching the Viking ships land (in the song ‘Dragon Ships’). I also allowed a modern point of view such as the discovery of buried treasure in the song ‘The Hidden Hoard’, and in ‘The Minstrel’s Song’ I wanted to embrace the place of music in culture and show how highly it was valued in the past.”
For a full interview about Almost Anglo Saxon see http://diamondseeds.recklessrelic.co.uk/

After that with the whole of the British Museum at our disposal and too little time and with fatigue beginning to set in we headed for “Ancient Europe” and particularly the Sutton Hoo Anglo Saxon material. This was befitting because Ella Jo and I have just completed an album project entitled “Almost Anglo Saxon”, which is a collection of (modern) songs depicting myths, legends, life and sounds from the Anglo Saxon period. We marveled at the famous armored helmet and at the Franks Casket with it’s inscriptions of Weland the Smith and at the nearby Lewis Chess set who’s pieces almost comically displaying their bulging eyes and glum expressions.

We also caught a brief glimpse of some of the horrific and dark Aztec material which freaked EJ right out! Very soon we were nearly out of time and in need of a resuscitating coffee, which we drank in the magnificent covered courtyard , just time to enjoy before our journey home.

A very rewarding and enjoyable day.

Steve Spon

Sutton Hoo Helmet

Sutton Hoo Helmet

Franks Casket

Franks Casket

Lewis Chess pieces

Lewis Chess pieces

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UK Decay Communities ten this year

UK Decay Communities are ten years old in 2014, to celebrate we bring you an updated and refurbished website.

The new website will host the Luton area’s community aspect whilst continue to house the resource for the early period (1978 – 1983) UK Decay. The Luton and area Punk community pages will be hosted under ‘The Communities’ button, whilst UK Decay related material will be hosted under ‘Historical UK Decay‘ button.

The ‘spin-off bands’ including Pneumania, Furyo, In Excelsis etc will now sit under the ‘DK-ClanProjects’ button. Each of the mini site’s have also been updated and refurbished.

A new store to be managed like the old system with ‘Werewolf’ in charge of the orders will soon be opened, specialising in the earlier period merchandise. So if you would like to replace or purchase a new classic design ‘For My Country’ or ‘Unexpected Guest’ T Shirt this will be the place to shop and buy. Werewolf will administer and fulfill the orders so you can expect a prompt and speedy service. Anyone wishing to purchase new UK Decay related merchandise should visit the store at that site here

Coming soon we hope to be selling some new designs based on IN Excelsis, Pneumania and Furyo as well, the artwork will be prepped in the new year – watch this space!

We will continue eventually with some discreet ads but as soon as we breech the Google threshold of £60.00, we shall accept their payment and shut down the ads. The money will pay for a period of webhosting. We will invite private entrepreneurs with material appropriate to this website  to advertise instead with a small and very reasonable charge.

The new website will of course be closely allied to the new period website and their will be some shared resources and linkage.

The old forum is still in place, it is eventually hoped to migrate to a new archive position, but in the meantime it is still in place as a resource. The gallery to eventually will be migrated but in the meantime it has recently been augmented with an amount of new material. We have built in a cool new feature that will throw the picture up into a lightbox, similar to Facebook etc. so you don’t have to leave the page to view.

We will be looking at improving social network integration in the future, as the new site is built on a wordpress based framework, we should be able to keep up with twenty first century web continuity.  Also it should in theory at least in most areas be adaptive and responsive for mobile and tablet viewing.

So please go ahead take a look around the new UK Decay Communities.

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