New Kick

Life is short
Filled with stuff
Don’t know what for
I ain’t had enough

I learned all I know
By the age of nine
But I could better myself
If I could only find

Some new kind of kick
Something I ain’t had

The Cramps – New Kind Of Kick (1981)

If the lockdown has been good for anything, it’s nostalgia. Confined to one postcode, my brain started vomiting up odd memories. Old kicks.

From 1980 to 1987, my trudge to secondary school included a narrow passenger bridge over a railway. I had to be at school by 8:45 and I knew if I reached the bridge by half past eight I would be OK if I kept up a brisk pace.

But there were hazards for those last 15 minutes. Sometimes I would be chatting to a mate and lose track of time. Sometimes I would be physically assaulted by other pupils. Sometimes there would be distractions of punk iconography.

In my first year I would occasionally walk behind an older kid wearing a leather jacket with Adam and the Ants painted on the back of it. Not the merry chart topping Adam Ant that I’d seen on Top of the Pops, though. This was the stark monochrome S&M artwork of Adam and the Antz of “Dirk Wears White Sox”. An eleven year old gawping at his jacket is probably not what the guy wanted on the way to school.

The surfaces of the bridge became an altar for more parochial iconography. Alongside the usual football graffitti and boasts of sexual exploits, the local bands staked their claim. Black Mass had thick black lettering and two circled ‘A’s denoting their allegience to the cult of Crass.

But New Kick upped the stakes. One cold morning the bridge was bedecked with half a dozen huge stencilled versions of their logo, spray-painted in a sinister greeny blue. A robotic skull that was leaking… oil? Blood? They loomed down at me for months, on the way to school and on the way home. New Kick. Who were they, what where they like? How did they manage to be doing something so out of whack in this respectable market town that was supposedly a city?

I eventually made the connection with The Cramps – a band that the cooler kids in my year had written on their canvas army surplus bags. A couple of years later I bought my first ever fanzine in the local independent bookshop:

And there they were on the front cover, alongside Crass and some other pretty big names of the day. By this point I had wised up slightly and identified the older kids with the black leather jackets and the wild coloured hair in the town. I had deduced it was them that left a trail of sloganeering stickers on lamp posts and the odd bit of anarchist graffitti. Later on there would be gigs in church halls, but that’s another bit of nostalgia for another day.

Mucilage was a revelation. Someone near me had put their own fanzine out which was serious and stupid and subversive and looked unlike anything I had ever seen before. Also they had their own printing press, which blew my mind. I could have walked round there and introduced myself but obviously I did not do that. But I could have, and that conjured up all kinds of possibilities that I had never conceived of. (If you are better at navigating the ISSUU site than me you can read a scan of Mucilage issue 2 here.)

The Crass interview was an eye-opener for the teenage me. The New Kick interview was markedly less articulate, but you have to support your hometown team. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of local bands that nobody else has heard of. Small scenes that meant everything to people in them. David Keenan’s novel This Is Memorial Device (Faber & Faber 2018) perfectly encapsulates the intensity and oddness of small town punk in the UK around this time. Later on a couple of my schoolfriends would form their own bands…

Image courtesy of Radioactive Vampire

New Kick were not playing gigs by the time I was of gig-going age. It seems like they’d had a reasonable run supporting people like Dr and The Medics, Blood & Roses, Furyo and notably The Meteors at St Albans Civic Centre, where I would later go to some generally awful gigs by Hawkwind, hard rockers Magnum, and Peter Murphy of Bauhaus (an evening so awful it temporarily put me off music).

The Mucilage interview conjured up live shows of debauched violence and excess, which to be honest I was happy to imagine rather than experience. My first gig was mild-mannered Howard Jones after all.

New Kick had released a tape “Bucket of Blood”, but I assumed there was little point writing away for it by the time I’d found Mucilage. Also I didn’t really want them coming round my parents’ house. So they remained a band that existed purely in my imagination.

That stencilled logo, twice a day for months. It stayed with me. A periodic google gave little away, but during lockdown I finally found someone selling “Bucket of Blood”. Of course I bought it. And? It’s great. Four dollops of punko-psychobilly with tinges of horror theatrics. I would have fucking loved it if I had heard it when I was 14.

The 35 year wait made it all the sweeter for me, but everyone wants their kicks quicker than that now, so here is 1984’s “Bucket of Blood”, freshly digitised for your delectation:

Solidarity Is Our Weapon Against All Prisons benefit comp tape

GRMMSK has worked hard on putting together this great compilation of radical musicians, noisicians etc in aid of Anarchist Black Cross Helsinki.

It’s available as a download or two cassettes:

Contributors include comrades like GX Jupitter-Larsen, Dave Phillips, Libbe Matz Gang, Kek-W, Concrete/Field, stapperton, and many more. GRMMSK himself contributes a doom dub track and also a sneak peak at his exciting new collaboration with Kek-W under the name of SLEEPMASSK.

For more info on prison abolition and related issues I would recommend The Lockdown podcast series – an easy and engaging listen which avoids the banter and boasting of a lot of political podcasts these days (free).

Anarchist Black Cross Helsinki 

ABC Helsinki was founded in August 2012 to fill the need for long-term prisoner support and to get internationally networked. Our most common ways of action are spreading the information, collecting funds and getting lawyers for prisoners all around the world. Analyzing and criticizing the prison system and the society surrounding it is part of our field, too.

We support all anti-authoritarians, and their supporters, who are persecuted due to their political activities or acts which do not contradict with the ideal of anarchism. Whenever possible, we support prisoners who became anti- authoritarians during their sentences – so-called “social prisoners” who were forced to break laws for subsistence, or fighting against the despotism of the ruling class – and prisoners who fight against the prison-industrial complex from within. As anarchists we are against all prisons. We believe in direct action against capitalism and the State. We are not a human rights organization, since our goal is not to defend laws but to destroy them. In some cases we may support prisoners for purely humanitarian reasons. Different ABC groups decide their own policies independently.

The origin of Anarchist Black Cross dates back to late 19th century Russia, where revolutionaries started to help their comrades who were in trouble for actions against the Czar. In 1919 the group settled with the name Anarchist Black Cross. The prison and legal support activities spread around the Europe and Unites States with activists emigrating from Russia. All the ABC-groups disappeared from Russia as well from the other parts of Europe during the Second World War, but activity was revived with supporting opposers of the Franco regime in the 1960s.

There are many ways to participate in supporting the prisoners and taking down the prison system, from writing and translating the material to organizing support gigs, from painting banners to having performances. Even the smallest input can have a huge impact.

Event: Omniwave Refresher at Cafe OTO, August 14th

I have helped to organise the European premiere of GX Jupitter-Larsen’s latest film “Omniwave Refresher”.

Full details and (cheap!) tickets here:

Come along if you like this sort of thing.

This follows the showing of GX’s previous film “A Noisy Delivery” alongside “Witches” by Hacker Farm and Libbe Matz Gang which took place at Lima Zulu in 2013.

Rough and Ready Best of 2007 Reggae 7″ mix

I recorded this mix 10 years ago but I don’t think I ever did anything with it…

1 Night Raver (2007 repress) by Mike Brooks
2 River Jordan by Luciano & Ras Zachari
3 Jah Works – We Tek Up by Jah Mali
4 Ava Leigh by Ava Leigh
5 Levi Riddim by Manasseh
6 Knock by Lorna Bennett
7 Play On by Richie Spice
8 Back Home by Glen Washington
9 Lately by Bitty McLean
10 Waan The Ting by Alborosie and Michael Palmer
11 Roy – Precious by Alborosie and U-Roy
12 Meditation by Alborosie and Sizzla
13 Kingston Town by Alborosie
14 La La La by Ava Leigh
15 Say It Right by Nelly Furtado and Courtney John
16 I’m Gonna Do My Best by Beres Hammond and Buju Banton
17 Put On Yuh Thong by Queen Ifrica
18 Silly Games by Bobby Kray
19 No One Remix by Alicia Keys and Junior Reid
20 Bonafide by Shaggy feat Rik Rok and Tony Gold
21 Arm Of Da Wicked by Rayvon
22 Searching by Collie Buddz feat Roache
23 Panty Town by Screechy Dan
24 Panty Inny Town by Jerry Johnson
25 Heathen by Shaggy
26 Church Heathen by Ninjaman
27 Church Heathen (Version) by Shaggy
28 Umbrella (Black Chiney Remix) by Rihanna Feat Vybz Kartel
29 Fill Up Mi Portion by Toddla T feat Mr Versatile
30 Inna Di Dancehall by Toddla T feat Serocee
31 Backchatter (Mica’s Version) by Toddla T feat Miss Bienek
32 Girls by Toddla T feat Trigganom
33 Mad LDN (The Heatwave Refix) by Lily Allen and General Levy

Wire 400 Mix

I was excited to be asked to do a mix for the 400th issue of The Wire. I know it’s fashionable in some circles to criticise it (usually for getting some minor trainspotterish detail wrong, or for not covering more of some completely marginal artist or scene). But 400 issues of a high quality independent magazine which covers all kinds of freaky music can only be described as a victory for “our” side in my book.

The text here gives the background to the mix and a track list – so go there first.

(It’s not a reggae mix, but there is quite a lot of dub and bass and weird stuff in it).

You can play the mx there, or probably below if the code works:

Here’s to another 400 issues!

47th Annual Report



Nostalgia was the order of the day:

  • I wrote a new foreword for the ebook reprint of Stewart Home’s classic 90s counter culture anthology Mind Invaders by Bread and Circuses. The foreword puts the texts in context and includes some reflections on my time then and how this sort of activity might be relevant now. Published today.
  • Some American anarchists produced a book about space travel which included a bunch of my texts for the Association of Autonomous Astronauts.
  • My interview with Paul Nomex was reprinted in the Datacide 2016 Almanac for Noise and Politics alongside a discography and a touching and insightful obituary by Jo Burzynska.
  • Finally, a short piece below about discontinuing my BM Box and what that used to mean.



I managed to double my average number of DJ sets this year with an outing to Walthamstow at a wicked General Echo session AND blagged on NTS radio by the kind invitation of my label of the year – Bokeh Versions.

I also finally uploaded my best of 2006 reggae mix to Mixcloud:

There are a bunch of other old mixes up there too. Click this.

listen back to Bokeh Versions and me on NTS dubwise



Saturday: weird dub on NTS alongside Bokeh Versions


If you follow me on twitter you will have seen me hyping this show over the last few months- always a great unpredictable mix up of JA and outernational dubwise styles and genres.

Bokeh Versions have also released a great 7″ of freak dub from Seekersinternational – one of the few new artists I truly rate from the last few years.

So I’m thrilled to be invited to bring out some of my vinyl armoury this weekend. Tune in 3-4 live on NTS. There will also be an archived “listen again” thing on Mixcloud to follow.

Closure of BM Box 3641

tl;dr – don’t send things to the BM Box any more. I’m not renewing it for 2016.


If I’ve sent you anything through the mail in the last 20 years, it’s probably had a rubber stamp imprint on it as in the photo above.

In the 80s and 90s all the cool kids in the UK underground scene had a PO Box with the Royal Mail, or got their post delivered to radical bookshop or similar. British Monomarks was for the proper hardcore though. The company was set up by a William Morris (not the William Morris) in 1925 to operate private mailboxes in Old Gloucester Street in Bloomsbury.

The word on the street was that unlike the Royal Mail, Monomarks wouldn’t hand over your personal details to any Tom, Dick or Harry – they’d need a court order or similar. Plus the central London location meant it was accessible if you lived in London but were moving around a lot. The weirdest (and therefore best) records, zines and political diatribes always came with BM Box to write back to.

I have to say that in my case, the glamour and mystique of having a BM Box far exceeded my need to shield my mail and personal details from the state or people who had taken a dislike to me. I remember a friend from Denmark being baffled about the plethora of mail boxes he had to write to, because everyone in Copenhagen just used their home address for their projects.

When I set up my box in the mid 1990s I was working around Euston and Holborn so I could head down to the Monomarks office and get my post of a lunchtime. There was usually a fair bit of it, which made for some great distractions to an afternoon of office drudgery.

I’d assumed that collecting my mail would be all bohemian and that the clerks and clientele would be crazy freaks. In fact it was simply a well-organised company with cheery staff. Most of the customers were non-descript, although I would occasionally run into people like Stewart Home or meet the guy who produced Progress Report fanzine. Less happily I also once bumped into neo-Nazi Charlie Sargent and a couple of his Combat 18 goons whilst collecting my mail. They had no idea who I was, but still exuded menace – I sidled off, feeling sorry for the staff who had to be civil to them.

I guess it’s an obvious point, but throughout the noughties the need to have mailing addresses was largely curtailed with the rise of email and the internet. These days everyone gets and sends less post – and fanzines, records and CDs are no longer the most effective way to get weird shit out there. I’ve also become much more fussy about how much crap I am prepared to take into my flat. But having said that, if you want to send me a physical object please get in touch and we’ll work something out…