Sunday, June 28, 2009


Well, on the subject of animal rights...after the Coil 45, this is the rudest 7" sleeve I own. Maybe Dr IT can add it to her JPEG menagerie of porcine curios.

I paid all of £2 for this at Roger's Records in Dunstable Market, alongside Army Life by The Exploited and some other 7" that turned out to be crap, I'm guessing this was around Xmas '91? Ah, the halcyon days before UK punk records started costing loads of money online... The market was basically a small plaza round the side of Queensway Hall, a building that sort of served as a cultural epicentre for the one-horse town. It held Melas, tattoo expos, council-run tenant and dole claimant grievance hearings, arts and craft fairs, Salvation Army concerts for deformed children, the 'Chiltern Radio Roadshow' (imagine 100 girls running riot and abusing the DJs to the sounds of Chesney Hawkes and Snap), etc. In the late '90s, it got knocked down and was replaced by an Asda supermarket. Maybe someone who was there can correct me, but I'm not sure if it's a great loss. I mostly only went there to pose in the photobooth.

Dunstable Market...a far cry from Kensington Market. Stalls were dedicated to: terylene socks; discount bog roll (fell off the back of a lorry?); bones and dog biscuits; bootleg football T-shirts (just the team name, printed on a shirt, and the same generic pic of a man with a 70s haircut kicking a ball - with the colours changed per team); flags of the world (how did they keep going? Their only trade was in Union Jacks); thrash metal patches, studded wristbands (not the punk type - big fucking falconer jobs with a zillion studs - this was METAL, remember)and badges with slogans like BLOOD GUTS AND BEER, ROCK AND ROLL WILL NEVER DIE, DEATH OR GLORY, BORN TO KILL, FUCK OFF, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT?, etc. Oh, and one stall did cheap baby clothes and broken alarm clocks.

Roger's Records occupied a pitch in this maze of wood, steel and tarpaulin. Roger was a fat bloke with a greasy mullet and Coke bottle glasses. He had this uncanny knack of memorising whatever you bought and then returning, the next Saturday morning, with a box of seemingly everything the group had ever recorded - marked up a few quid more, of course. He wasn't my favourite bloke on Earth.

Anyway, the Pork Dukes! At that time I was mainly buying 7"s based on how 'mental', 'shocking' or 'funny' the covers looked. Admittedly, this strategy backfired a few times, but this proved to be...different. Bend and Flush b/w Throbbing Gristle is more powerpop than punk, with complete smut for lyrics. For instance, Throbbing Gristle has the singer regaling his unrequited love for Margaret Thatcher: Pulsating meat between my hands / Masturbate when I see you on the telly / You know baby how to work my glans / I've got a gallon of spermy jelly. OK, it's probably not what Dick Hebdige had in mind when he wrote that rambling book about the politics of youth subcultures (Hebdige is a cigarette scrounger, anyway - Stuart Hall told me that) but I swear, when the old witch croaks it, I'll be flinging that track down.

The A-side's basically the 'Louie Louie' riff sped up with a jumble of lyrics linking industrial unrest, powercuts and police departments to explosive diarrhoea and STDs. Completely mindless, energetic bollocks. Not bad for a band someone threw together just because they advertised the cartoon sleeve as a 'real record' for a joke, and then realised they were onto something when loads of orders started to flood in. Their Telephone Masturbator b/w Melody Maker, You're Just A Bunch of Wankers 7" is also really good, but I don't have it.

I'm not sure whether Roger was just a mercenary merchant or politically dodgy. I asked him once if he ever sold any reggae - figuring a box full of marked-up Greensleeves or Trojan product would materialise the next week. Instead, he just smirked and said, "No - I only sell MUSIC." When you hit 'S' in his Punk/New Wave section, you also happened to come across a lot of releases by Skrewdriver. Oh, and all of Ian Stuart's side projects too.

This would attract Dunstable's BNP skins to the stall occasionally. Not the sharpest tools in the box. Roger would then whip out some record by White Diamond, saying, "There's members of Skrewdriver on this," and the Diamond White-heads would just go, "Uggh, I'll have that," and hand over £12 without question. After a while, all sorts of nationalist skinhead stock would roll in. I once brought this up with Roger and his answer was (not entirely convincingly): "I sell Frank Sinatra LPs as well, doesn't mean I'm in the Mafia."

Dunstable was so predominantly white back then that it always struck me as a double waste of time being a BNP supporter there. It's a bit like me setting up a Beyond the Implode Blog fan club and holding a convention in my flat, this very second. As a result, most of the boneheads just kind of drifted around imagining they were Aryan warriors. They were a fairly dour bunch, lurking around a completely deserted town centre at 1am just to stick up another official "HONG KONG, CHINESE? NO ROOM HERE" or "REPATRIATE THE MUGGERS" poster. Though I do remember one homemade effort that read "MICHAEL JACKSON SAYS IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU'RE BLACK OR WHITE BUT HE WOULD RATHER BE WHITE." Roll forward to 2009, and their level of political analysis remains as erudite and astute as ever.

Haven't I got any dance 7"s? Oh yeah, hang on...
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