Sunday, 16 February 2014

No Lip at The Hobgoblin.




Or actually is it The Hobgoblin 2014?


It really is 2014 but you’ll have to forgive me time travelling for a while.


 The Ruts; we f#ing love them


Its 1978, the second Rock Against Racism Carnival and I’m hanging back by the side of a broken down flat bed truck talking to Tom Robinson. It’s the middle of nowhere and the band that should be playing on the back of the truck are fighting their ancient equipment and losing the struggle.

But the growing crowd isn’t going to move on when they are told to because this is an early outing for The Ruts and whenever they get it together they are absolutely f#ing amazing. The Police really do not like it. There is a stand off until the truck splutters into life again and the band power up to play- In a Rut.


Cut to spring 1978 and I’m lying in a hospital bed with a broken elbow. I’m supposed to be in Southall in what ends up being the Southall riot. In fact it’s a Police Riot and The Ruts are one of the targets.

I should have been with friends in the People Unite Squat. This was the home of the famous People Unite Records collective and a thorn in the side of the local council and the nearby police station. Locally, they were a threat to the state and when the chance came, the Special Patrol Group took it and went in and smashed up all the studio equipment and the people inside. Misty in Roots got particular attention, every drum, every guitar smashed. As was all The Ruts stuff. Within weeks the council had levelled the building.

At that time Southall was white working class and Asian working class and that day they came together to defend their town. Since then the town has changed and it’s become a middle class, money making place.

But if you walk a few minutes away from the police station towards Ealing you will see the brass plaque on the pavement that the local Sikh community placed to commemorate the People Unite Collective and the contribution that The Ruts and Misty in Roots made to the town.

Did No Lip really play H-eyes? I haven’t heard that for 35 years.

Clash City Rockers


It’s Christmas week 1978 and I’m in The Lyceum on the Strand. I’m standing next to Don Letts (DJ from The Roxy Club) who has somehow begged, borrowed, stolen or found a movie camera and some film. It doesn’t really look like he knows what he’s doing. We’ve never met before but we are looking at each other in amazement. The Clash are better than we have ever seen them before.

There’s gonna be a Borstal Breakout.

Jimmy Pursey was another threat April 1978 and it’s the first Rock Against Racism Carnival in Victoria Park.

X-Ray Specs, Tom Robinson Band, Steel Pulse and The Clash; how’s that for a lineup?

And when The Clash come on there is Jimmy Pursey with them on guest vocals. After that I saw Sham 69 many times, and also after that, when the far right found that they couldn’t manipulate Pursey, every time they played there was always going to be a fight. I can’t speak highly enough of Jimmy Pursey’s courage in those days. Not a man to give in to anyone.


Uncompromising, no messing, no surrender.

This is how they describe themselves;

Right, lets get this straight. We are playing no frills, straight up honest as you like punk rock. We don't bother with our own stuff it just clouds the issue, the issue being bringing these tunes back to an appreciative audience and not trying to promote our own half assed take on current affairs, we leave that to the "Facefuk" generation. Why not come along to this show and hear full on, heart felt renditions of PuNk RoCk classics and rarities plus tunes to groove to before+after the blistering live set. So tell everyone you know, whether you like them or not and get down to the clash city rockers that are "NO LIP"

 And thats about right.

They played a couple of Sex pistols tracks which is fine but for most of us, the art school punks and the Bromley contingent were a million miles away from where we were.

The Clash, The Ruts, The Angelic Upstarts, Sham 69, The Damned.

Pure Mayhem, Pure Punk.

I don’t care who you are or where you are.

No Lip are playing The North Star, May 31st.

You better be there.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)



Photos: you can click on a photo and get a slideshow which is a little better quality.

Swear words; it may not seem like it but this is meant to be a health campaign - if I don't # them out my Blog gets excluded from many searches. IRL I have been known to swear.

Punks; My thanks to all the Punks at the Hob for giving me such a special night to remember, you have no idea what it meant to me.

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