How I Did My Knee In

Wapping Coppers

Whenever I get up, my right knee clicks like a couple of walnuts coming to a bad end. This alarming noise can be traced back to one night in 1987 when I was almost trampled by a police horse. Okay, it wasn’t that close but have you ever been chased by a copper on a horse?

I was in Wapping, down to take part in the night picket of Rupert Murdoch’s News International site following the mass layoffs of printworkers. The Metropolitan Police were being their usual tools-of-the-state, lines of them goading on the pickets from behind the safety of their riot gear.

This was one of the last big British left-wing demonstrations of the eighties and, as it turned out, that century. As well as the Militant Tendency (which I was in), the SWP were there, along with the WRP, ICP, SO, SA, Class War, Black Flag and of course the Judean People’s Front. There were at least seven flavours of Trotskyism, various anarchists and probably even some Maoists. News reports would later accuse lefties of hijacking the picket (as they always do) even though the print unions wanted a mass-picket and we were, in fact, invited.

I ended up about forty metres from the road entrance to the factory which was being guarded by Met coppers bunched-up in lines. The front ranks were sub-organised into snatch squads, ready to lurch out as a unit if provoked. But nobody was provoking them. The mood was generally very positive rather than angry. The families of pickets were alongside them, kids and all, and everyone looked slightly startled that so many people had bothered to turn up. The only trouble the police were getting was the occasional jeer and obligatory oinking.

I noticed several blokes come up to the front. They had their faces covered with scarves so I assumed they were anarchists not wanting to get their piccies taken by the Met. Looking again, something seemed a bit wrong about them. Anarchists, being so individual, all tend to dress alike and this group weren’t wearing the mandatory Wolfie Smith gear. They dispersed through the front edge of the demonstration, all the while signalling to each other.

I didn’t see the first rock they threw, it was over the other side, away from me. I did see the copper whose riot shield it hit fumble and fall out of formation. I couldn’t watch him longer as right in front of me, another of the fake anarchists launched his own missile, quickly followed by his mates. Again, these bounced off riot shields, no human damage done.

Then everything seemed to go crazy. The front lines of coppers broke away in their squads and I was thinking, “Those fuckers are gonna get it now.” Only they didn’t. As the snatch squads approached them, the blokes who’d thrown the rocks stood absolutely still and shot their arms straight upwards, palm forwards. How weird is that? Would you do that, with a group of pissed-off and heavily belligerent coppers running at you? Let’s say you even had an immediate and deep pang of remorse for trying to brick a copper, would you hang about to express this change of heart?

The snatch squads ran around the provocateurs like water round rocks in a river. They latched onto anyone in their immediate paths. About twenty metres away from me, I saw a copper catch hold of one of the picket’s kids. I think it was a boy, about nine or ten. The copper had this look on his face which was almost blank. Not scary or evil, simply neutral as if he was typing or making a cup of tea. He held the lad with his left arm while his right arm brought the truncheon down on the lad’s head methodically. Trained aggression.

I couldn’t hear the sound of the impact from where I was but I saw blood spring from the child’s head. At first I thought it was a bit of hair which had momentarily flicked up but then I saw it coat his forehead. I heard the kid squeal. It was a horrible noise. The copper bashed him a couple more times for the sheer fun of it and then let him fall to the floor. The whole thing was over in perhaps four or five seconds though it seems longer when I remember.

As the snatch squads retreated, some of them dragging bleeding protestors with them, the police horses came out. That’s when pretty much my whole section of the crowd decided it would be better to run like fuck. Well, as you probably know, I’m not of an athletic build but my terror managed to propel me. I was moving along quite well until I suddenly found myself on the floor, eating the pavement. I’d tripped on a kerb, landed on my right knee and then bashed my head onto a paving slab. When I looked back, the horses had already backed off. I stood up and inspected my knee. It was already swelling. I’d got off bloody lightly compared with that little kid and the other victims.

None of this is made up. You have to understand that under Thatcher, the police became one of the most vicious political forces known in British history. Ask other people who were at Wapping that night. Or at Orgreave during the miners’ strike.

It was that night in Wapping that one of the News International trucks ran over a picket’s child and the police didn’t even stop it. It was that night that the police assaulted Kate Adie, an internationally famous BBC TV journalist. She filed charges and won.

Now it’s over a decade later and there’s a Labour government in power who seem to delight in cant, spin and out-Torying the Tories. Meanwhile, my knee still gives me trouble…

Crazy Penis – A Nice Hot Bath with….

I’ve had this CD for a while now so I can unashamedly recommend it. It’s nine sublimey bopping choons lasting around seventy minutes.

The feel is sort-of Fila Brazillia/Pork Records stuff but is peraps a bit more mainstream poppy, which is fine by me. I guess you’d broadly call it house but definitely towards the funky end rather than four-on-the-floor stomping. Just the swing of the tracks makes you want to dance. Rhodri, if you’re reading this, this CD will have a more hypnotic effect on you than Stardust did.

My fave overall track is number two, ‘Do It Good’. This is just an amazingly stomping groove. It starts off with cross-mod squeals over a resonant pad and then this horn stab comes in. Then a huge squelchy bass coupled with a lovely tight beat. I’m not lying about this track – it’s pure pop. If this got used on a telly ad somewhere or borke on the radio, it’d be an instant hit.

The rest of the album’s just as bum-shaking, in various different styles. ‘Omega Man’ has got some suitably haunting strings at the start and a darker beat. ‘A Little Something’ is just very summery and floaty. Makes you wish you were floating on a luxury yacht somewhere… niiice…Overall, it’s probably more jazzy than average, whilst still remaining house (ie, it’s not as jazzy as Fourtet or as experimental as Slicker). But just to prove they don’t take themselves too seriously, there’s a (ahem) appropriate sample at the end of ‘3Play It Cool.’ I won’t say what it is here cos they’d get their arses sued.

You can find out more at:

The Paper Recordings Website

or email paper recordings

Buy this CD if you loved the Air, Daft Punk, Money Mark albums. Avoid it if you hate “bleepy bedroom dance music shite”.
love and kisses,

How To Make A Schmindie Video

From: EMI/Seagrams/Warners/Sony Joint Concerns Zaibatsu
To: Alternative Music Marketing Heads CC: MTV, VH1, NME, MM

This document (as agreed by the CC of the JCZ at this year’s Midem) lays out a basic guide framework for video promotion targeted primarily at the white, male, middle-class college demographic (hereafter known as schmindie kids). Whilst being primarily a voluntary code of operations, it must be noted that divergence from the following codeset may result in significant downward budgetary re-allocation.  

Mise-en-Scene Guidelines
1. All schmindie videos must be seen in slow-motion at point of consumption. As has been proven by our response panels, the schmindie kid perceives slo-mo as somehow imparting a greater sense of ’emotional depth’ and ‘coolness’ than normal speed. An added bonus is that content-challenged artists tend to look more profound, caring and depressed in slo-mo.  

2. Gaudy colour palettes must be avoided. Please remember that we are trying to portray an alienated, sad world to the schmindie kids to contrast with their pleasant, colourful suburban surroundings. In general, a handy rule of thumb is to simply invert the colour rules that dance videos use.  

3. All women must be depressed. The schmindie kid, especially the male, is deeply guilty over their implicit support of patriarchy, racism, homophobia and all the other concerns the future power elite harbour briefly in their teenage years. Whilst they don’t actually have friends who are non-whites, homosexuals or indeed girls, all videos must reflect this useless existential self-loathing. Therefore, all women in schmindie videos must look suicidal. Make-up should be smeared if possible and mascara should always be teared down the face or perhaps smudged in a panda way. No woman in a video may be over a European size 6, perhaps 8 provided she looks sufficiently depressed at her obesity. Please see all Manic Street Preachers/Suede product for useful examples. (As an ancillary point to this code, would producers please try to hide non-white members of bands as it has been proven that it causes a slump in product placement and MTV acceptance. Please see the previous Living Color and Anthrax/Public Enemy mistakes as examples to be avoided.)  

4. Locations must at all junctures be as grubby as possible. Please remember that as much as poor kids want to see expensive cars, vast mansions and luxury furniture in hip hop videos, rich kids seek absolution by taking a brief holiday in other people’s poverty. This enhances the product by making it seem more concerned, socially relevant and left-wing. Thus increasing both the schmindie kid’s disgust at the world they will inherit and our profits. The JCZ recommends tube stations, high-rise apartments, and disused shopping centres. Please keep local teenagers away as they may injure the bands.  

An average schmindie video must be costed realistically. Whilst maintaining the ever-crucial air of depression, it must look expensive enough to get MTV/VH1 play. Do not skimp. Remember how well the Kula Shaker product performed when coupled with the seven-for-one offered on the album on release.

As always, the above document is a paper in transition. We must follow the market where we cannot create it. This is doubly dangerous in the alternative sector where there is the slim chance of stumbling across an artist who refuses optimal marketing techniques. It is the job of their A&Rs in these rare instances to convince them of the error of their ways and our superior knowledge. Artists come and go, fashions mutate but profit is eternal.  

End of Document

Various – Hashisheen, The End Of Law

(Sub Rosa : SR154)
Author: Jyoti Mishra
Date: 1999/03/27
Forum: more headers author posting history

Ummm..this is probably the weirdest thing I bought today. Sonic cathedrals of sound (provided by people like Bill Laswell, Eyeless In Gaza, Jah Wobble, Techno Animal, Sussan (sic) Deyhim and Helios Creed) with readings by William Burroughs, Genesis P. Orridge, Hakim Bey, Iggy Pop and other notables.

I won’t spoil what the album’s about, in case you do check it out but I find it strangely compelling. Okay, a lot of people may say that it crosses over into art-installation, ‘this-picture-was-painted-with-my-period-blood’ territory but I like it. And being an old school 4AD fan, I’ve had my wankiness limit pre-raised.

Buy it if you bought ‘No More Cocoons’, are a William Burroughs completist or just want to listen to some seriously crazy spoken-word shit. Don’t buy it if you think Cast are a bit too art-rock.

Family Of God – We Are The World

(Ochre Records : OCH008LCD) Author: Jyoti Mishra
Date: 1999/03/27
Forum: more headers author posting history

Never heard of this lot but bought it after a quick listen in Soundclash. Very strange mix. The first track is quite psych-rock and slow, brooding. Sounds most like slow Nick Cave but with less gruff vocals. But then the second track launches into a kind of squawky eurodisco, complete with castanets and mental vocals. Sounds a bit like ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ crossed with an Italian football commentary. And that’s good.

Really, you should at least give this album a listen.It lurches quite drunkenly and brilliantly from genre to genre, not seeming to care about convention. ‘Help, I’m a Rock’ is fourbeat pop genius. The only feel I can compare it to is The Very Things. Or perhaps Fatima Mansions. Although the songs are completly dissimilar, the album sort of reminds me of Felt in the way you can’t quite predict what’s coming next.

And if I’m making it sound avant-garde, it isn’t. I think this is a very poppy album. Okay, lines like “when you blow your nose, take care of your clothes” aren’t gonna entrance everyone. But the songs are very poppy, very catchy.There’s so much humour and broadness of palette here. ‘The Observer Is Observed’ lasts for 12 minutes and floats buy so that you forget what came before it.
Check out the Ochre site at:
for a bit of a biog of TFOG and their other releases and events.

Buy this album if you like Fourtet, the Notwist, Depeche Mode, David Devant or Komeda. Don’t buy it if you’re anti-guitar or anti-synth.

Trans Am – Futureworld

(Thrill Jockey : Thrill062)
Author: Jyoti Mishra
Date: 1999/03/27
Forum: more headers author posting history

The only other TA stuff I’ve got is their City Slang cd ‘Surrender To The Night’ which I love. I used to play ‘Cologne’ when I was DJing and it always rocked the floor. This album is heavier and also more electronic. At times it sounds like a Metallica playing Kraftwerk. Which I guess ends up in Big Black territory 😉

There’s loads of vocodery vocals about futureworlds, fleepy-floopy anaolg synth sweeps. But as the backing for this is often metal bass and rhythms, the overall sound is… umm… unique. ‘Cocaine Computer’ is a particularly funky little tune with cross mod lead sounds over an almost Cameo rhythm. Way too short and it fades out. Bastards.

This is a really schizoid album. One track can be as heavy as fuck and the next tootle merrily along with undued clap sounds and phased Tron strings. If there is a theme it’s that the CD starts out nearly purely guitarry and then gets more synthetic track by track. And even the type of synthiness changes, from lush German symphonics to bzangy groink. But then the last song, ‘Sad & Young’ is a gentle guitar workout that morphs into a big Mercury Rev-ish noisewall. Hmmm..

Buy this CD if you like Add N To X, Throbbing Gristle, DAF, or Big Black. Avoid if you want to hear snappy two minute pop songs.

Prince Paul – A Prince Among Thieves

I just had to stick this on cos I got it late today and have been listening to it non-stop. It’s fucking brilliant. As good as the Roots and BEP albums are, this one’s my fave so far in ’99.

The liner notes say it’s been three years since ‘Psychoanalysis’ which I can’t believe. That album is one of the maddest, most fucked-up hip hop albums ever. It proved PP to be both immensely creative and wildly nutty. A genius.

This one’s a progression, perhaps a bit straighter but no less inventive. The loops he picks are this disorienting mix of the familiar with the…crazy. If only half the current pop hip hop producers had this much breadth of musical knowledge. The vibe is a lot scarier than ‘Psychoanalysis’ and harder. I just hope he does some film scores soon cos it’d be mega.

In fact, he may have already cos the whole album has a blaxpoitation flick feel from the cover art through all the interludes. And when you catch yourself thinking ‘hmmm…that bit sounds De La or Gravediggaz or whatever’ you have to remind yourself it’s cos PP produced those albums as well. Those are his sounds and riffs he’s bringing home. Silky Sicilian strings, Les Dawson Wu piano loops, huge nad-crushing beats. The sub bass is sub baaasss.

He’s got a lot of help on there. There’s the incomparable Chubb Rock who delivers his track ‘Mr. Large’ just completely fucking beautifully. Amongst all the chubbsters (Fat Joe, Eightball, Big Pun), this proves Chubb still reigns supreme. Him and Biz Markie come and go in one minute, which is way too short. Plugs 1, 2 and 3 turn up on ‘More Than U Know’ which makes me realise how much I’d missed Trugoy, Posdunous and the original Mase… They make it sound so easy – just rolling along, with a sly tip of the hat to the Sugarhill mob. Other luminaries include Kool Keith, Sadat X, Xzibit, Everlast in rock mode and even Chris Rock (not in Everlast mode).

Really, I could wank on about this album till Usenet crumbles under the weight of my purple prose. Just go and buy it. There’s gotta be something on here that you love, even if you don’t like all the other PP-produced stuff. The music has epic depth coupled with forceful simplicity. It does everything – this album gets your head nodding more than Flat Eric on a Brian Harvey-sized dose of E.
love and kisses,