Sunday, February 27, 2011

Citizen Fish

A couple of nights ago, the first time I'd been out to see any live music in far too long... Actually I did see Luke Smith and The Feelings doing their thing at The Cherry Tree not that long ago (including a lovely cover of Them's "My Lonely Sad Eyes" in which he interpolated a Brian Patten poem). Before that it was Madame Molotof at 'The Ballroom' (Orange Street restyled in decadent Edwardian style) on Miriam's birthday, quite a while back.

Citizen Fish! At The Maidens Head, a 15th century pub in Wincheap — beautiful oak beam ceiling, the inside stuffed to the gills with punks of all ages and varieties (mostly the old sort though!). Ripped T-shirts, tatooed necks, studs, boots, tartan, receding mohicans, dyed/shaved bits of head, blokes with those skeletal features and bad teeth from too much speed, others with shirts off moshing, lots of beer and general good cheer. I felt completely at home amongst it all, forgot where I was, having never been in this pub or seen any of these people before. It was a bit like an anthropological field trip to be among the tribe of aging punx!

Citizen Fish

If you didn't know, Citizen Fish are an anarcho-ska punk band who've been going since 1990, based around Dick from Culture Shock (1986—1990) and the Subhumans (1980—present, on and off). They've got a trombone player to add a bit of musicality to the otherwise predictable (yet wonderful) guitar-drums-bass 1-2-3-4 punk ska vibe. Dick's got a lovably eccentric, slightly bumbling and earnest stage persona. My overriding memory of the evening will remain this exchange, I expect:

Dick: "This is a song about traffic lights and the anarchist's dilemna: do you follow the rules and obey the red light or..."

drunk punk up at the front: [inaudible]

Dick: "Well yeah, mate, if your vehicle's made of water. [pause] This is called "Traffic Lights". 1,2,3,4..."

I got into the spirit of it, ended up on my feet among the kinetic throng, had more beer than necessary, falling (not badly) off my bike a couple of times as I wobbled home thereupon, but still with a huge smile on my face.

Punk's not dead!


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