Acceptable in the 80’s

An interesting bit of local musical ephemera: The Walsall Musician’s Collective (‘Mother’) fanzine from June, 1988. Click to download a .PDF version of the whole issue.

Long term readers will remember that last year, I published a post about local music fanzines of the late eighties produced by David Frost of Brownhills, and what a profound effect they had on the young BrownhillsBob. Whilst rooting for something else recently, I came across a couple of editions of ‘Noize Neuze’, the house fanzine of Walsall Musician’s Collective. This was a similar, but more po-faced effort produced in the summer of 1988. It’s really quite a find, and will mean much to anyone who followed local bands in Walsall during the late eighties.

You can download a full copy of the fanzine by clicking the image above. It’s just over two meg in size, and you’ll need Adobe Reader – but most folks have that already.

Walsall Musician’s Collective was – as far as I can remember – an affiliation of young local musos who got together to help each other and promote local bands and musicians in Walsall. I don’t know who was behind it, except I think they leading lights were part of Walsall’s legendary goth band Bliss the Pocket Opera, who were prolific at the time. I don’t know where the funding came from to produce and print this publication, which was surprisingly well executed graphically in a time before mass access to any kind of computer publishing technology. It is far better graphically than David Frost’s works, but lacks slightly the inventive streak. There’s lots of content from differing voices, but the humour seems a little forced, as if it were agreed by a committee. The most remarkable thing about this is that it was given away free.

I suspect the arts people at Walsall Council had an input somewhere, and probably helped financially or with production. I seem to remember that Jo Digger, who may have been curator of the Flint Gallery at the time – was very keen on youth arts and staged an exhibition that autumn called ‘Crucial Creators’, controversially featuring street art, rap and other local music. I think maybe she was involved.

Serious local late eighties band Ron’s Neighbours. Come on out, Mark, we know you’re in there.

I have no idea who most of the people mentioned were – Colin on the review page, Claire, Allan, Kevin, Kid Sparrow, Dallas etc., but I do remember the bands named – Bliss the Pocket Opera, The Wimpletodes, The Wonderstuff, Dogs D’amour, Sandkings, Little Red Schoolhouse, Ron’s Neighbours. I also remember buying the compilation tape mentioned, too. Some rather good tracks, if I recall, must see if I can find it.

Amusing bits to note are the ongoing feud with another fanzine ‘Punk Tyranny’, The advert for an event on page 13 that doesn’t say where it is happening, the bitch at local band Split in Two about flyposting respectfulness, and Colin’s review of The Blue Ox Babes as ‘…they sound a bit like Dexy’s Midnight Runners’, which was hardly surprising considering thats who they mostly were, after being sacked by bonkers lead singer and egomaniac Kevin Rowland. The Apna Sangeet review was brave for the time, as asian music hadn’t then crossed over. The band themselves went on to huge success.

I have one more issue of Noize Neuze, from September 1988 which declares itself number 11, and is just called ‘Noize’, which I shall scan and post at a later date. I don’t know what happened to Walsall Musician’s Collective, but I hope it’s exponents are still at least still partially on the scene. They kept me informed, after all.

Walsall was a different place then, but I guess the past always is. Great days indeed.

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4 Responses to Acceptable in the 80’s

  1. ianrobo says:

    what a great post Bob, really enjoyed reading the fanzine and the page on the NHS makes a sobering point given the situation totday

  2. Thanks for this trip down memory lane Bob. I think the photo of Ron’s Neighbours was taken in about 1985 just after I left the band and left Walsall to live all the way down in Brum for a while.

    On the left is Kevin “Frankie” Williams now in The Grey Goose blues Band which is incidentally playing on 30th July at the White Lion, Sandwell Street, 9.30pm

    Second left is Walsall cartoonist and axe man Reginald Bones of contemporary band the Illuminations

    At the back on bongos is Walsall video maker and Northern Soul DJ Jordi Ripolles,

    …then Paul Smith on third axe and Mark Webster on Drums.

  3. Hi Mark

    Sorry, from previous discussions I thought you were the chap with the big barnet. All my illusions are now shattered. I am inconsolable.

    Ron’s Neighbours were a great band, and it’s nice to know that some of them at least are still involved with music. It’s odd, really, I keep seeing folk around town from those days who were in bands, but I never knew their names. As a generation it’s hard to get my head round the ageing process we’re all undergoing.

    Unlike many people, I will have a tinge of sadness when the Overstrand goes – it is, indeed an aberration and an eyesore, but for a few months in the late eighties it was a great place for gigs. I had good times there.

    Those lost days seem like a dream to me now, thanks for sharing. And thanks for being part of a really great band.

    Best wishes


  4. Pingback: Ran like clockwork | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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