Friday, 9 April 2010
Gang of Four & Mekons assault Hegemony
Me ( slumped in chair in flyer jacket, right) of Gang of Four , Andy Corrigan ( seated, left) , Mark White ( seated , centre) & Tom Greenhalgh ( not in picture) of the Mekons wanted to premiere our radical super-8 movie " red Route", a continuous shot at speed, shot prone on a wobbly tea trolley,down Leeds' & Europe's longest corridor . Corrigan had taken charge of this project to produce something we could use at our gigs, in an homage to Velvet Underground's Exploding Plastic Inevitable.
Mark was the star of the event. He was - and is - a genius at describing a particularly British view of the world , tempered by disappointment and sexual frustrations, feeding a world view that finds misfortune in every beery, leery, glass.
This was just before the first Mekons session on John Peel, where the brilliant "Never Been in A riot" was first showcased. In this song, Mark, a punkified John Betjeman, miserably describes a depressing non-evening out in the greasy spoon we always went to post clubbing, "Sweat's" in Leeds . "Eggburger going cold, twice!" the filthy cook would shout, while Mark ..." in this late night caff/ [was] Eyeing up the till/When in came the British Police/For their egg and bacon grill/ Egg & bacon Griii-ill! " . Along with "Trevira Trousers", "Corporal Chalkie" & "The Building", Mark's words are much to be envied. No surprise that years later & Mark long gone, the Mekons V2's songs embraced C&W, another lonely music of the poor, ruined by cheap drink and unattainable dreams.
Anyway, the night of this photo, Mark made a long, brilliant, improvised speech centred on how drinkers "move from sweet to dry wines", linking this to compromise, failed ambition and personal failure.
Tom had passed out, which is why youi can't see him.
Not many people came.
It was a triumph.