Articles by Tim Foster
A collection of writings and photos that say more about modern life and politics in Britain than a thousand tabloid newspapers. It’s pissed off and angry but never self indulgently dark
There is no radical resistance in simply consuming music and adopting a disobedient identity. Simply saying “I don’t consent to this” with a t-shirt or a hashtag, is not enough – yet so many of us have swallowed it as being the epitome of rebellion. Action is derided, but performative angst is universally acclaimed. To break out of this trap you need organisation and direction
Taking elements of hardcore punk and making it fit for purpose. Bad Breeding are not about reproducing punk’s posturing; they know the difference between rebellious and revolutionary.
Structuring the book thematically around identity, money, love/unlove and protest enables Goldman to join the dots up between a multiplicity of artists across time and space, seeing the similarities in struggles for equality, community, safety and freedom at various times and in various places.
The first important thing to say here is that post-punk reflects a growing working class involvement in the leftist avant-garde that we can trace back to the expanded opportunities of the postwar years. John Cooper Clarke reckoned it was ‘the furthest the working classes had gone into areas like Dada’ and he was probably right.
Often musical form can perpetuate the cultural hegemony of a dominant ideology but it is also true that music can disrupt and challenge that hegemonic representation of society, be an artform that gives dissident expression to the lived experience of a community/class.
From the first track the music is controlled intensity, constructed to achieve an objective, form follows function. The crowd at Studio 9294 must be predisposed towards the message Test Dept are sending to be here, understand its importance, or they couldn’t endure this bombardment of the senses. . .
…this is where it all turns into an adrenalised blur of white light and shadow, of band members careering off into the crowd, of Jim and John’s vocal interplay, of them using the stage as a physical launch pad, of Nicole’s thunderous drumming…
Platinum Rats is 12 examples of great songwriting, musically fresh and exhilarating and lyrically intriguing, the whole album sounds like one beautifully crafted melodic punk gem after another!
Against the backdrop of late capitalism’s domesticating of so much cultural output Girls In Synthesis stand out like a searing, prophetic burst of uncompromising honesty, like a beam of condensed light, waking you up, reminding you of the importance of art as insurgency.
I believe the answers she was seeking through her art are as relevant today as they ever were. I also believe that she was almost prophetic in her description of what the world would be like in the future – we are very much living in that world now.
People want to like it, they want it to be good. I guess it could have gone so wrong, I mean I’ve seen a lot of bands that get it wrong, it wasn’t really an option. We have all put so much work into getting it right, but giving it its own Ruts DC twist, breathing life into it
“Hopefully this period in our history will pass and we can once again look to a bigger world-view, which looks to tackle critical issues of poverty, corporatism and climate change.”
Often we don’t think but are ‘thought’ by the medium(s). For example the kind of thoughts my brain has when scrolling Twitter is not the same kind of thought I have when talking face to face with a friend over a bottle of wine. Most behavior is chameleon-esque. That’s the danger of over-exposure to vapid media : You become vapid yourself.
This album is a thing of excellence, musically inventive and diverse, lyrically insightful it superbly critiques dystopia-in-the-making Britain in the 21st Century while also taking time to recognise both (global) interconnections and the struggles of individuals trying to construct meaningful, positive selves in an impoverished cultural landscape.
A lot of our songs addressed mental illness or the glossy packaging over the shit we really get sold. It does seem that democracy is suffering from some kind of mental illness in 2018 and we are still being sold the same overpriced shit dressed up as gentrification, or must have consumable. Flea have still got traction.
Tim Foster caught up with anarcho-punk band Active Slaughter to find out how they’ve been getting on since reforming.
I think the separatist take on the project made it easier for everyone to feel safe and focus on being creative rather than spending energy on claiming your space as a musician etc. We could get to work immediately so to speak.
I have performed a lot more since moving. That makes me do more variations on my songs and so everything is always constantly in motion and evolving.
The Sex Pistols were the Sex Pistols and it was the sum of the people that were in it, once you step outside of that and you’ve got different people it’s a different thing. If you try and copy that you’re either going to fail miserably or you’re going to be dishonest, pretending you’re something you’re not.
Punk at it’s best! Truth Equals Treason manage to encapsulate all that makes punk important-intelligent, engaged, angry, compassionate. This album is the distillation of hours of reading, thinking, discussing, acting. I’ve just read Reminiscences of RAR this band carry on that struggle.