They Joined Together And Decided Not To Fight

More music from Merseyside. The Farm were Liverpool’s own indie-dance band, on the go since the mid-80s, into football, trainers, cagoules and responsible for a pisstaking fanzine called The End. The single Stepping Stone and apperance in A Short Film About Chilling put them into the music papers and the clubs and in 1990 Groovy Train sent them into the charts. A head of steam built up towards the release of the album Spartacus in 1991- one of the most disappointing albums I’ve ever heard. Luckily they found something from somewhere to write All Together Now. The lyrics were based on the Christmas truce of 1914, written by singer Peter Hooton years earlier. Hooton wrote a song that could have been corny but he’d managed to sidestep it to write something that was poignant and inspiring- a call for peace and unity, brotherhood and not following orders. The video’s touching as well, filmed in the local pub with older regulars mouthing the words.

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Face Time

I used to love The Face. Between the late 80s and early 00s I bought almost every copy (and many of them are in the loft, awaiting a good sifting through). Yes, it was silly, pretentious, over-the-top, often very London-centric, and over-styled. But it was also done well, trend setting, at times laugh-out-loud funny, with some really good writers, totally hit the spot at times (and completely missed the target other times), covered issues as well as music and fashion, and its front cover felt like an event- in short essential monthly reading, a frippery but worth it.

Above, the Madchester issue, in which Nick Kent made up quotes various interviewees allegedly said… and below Tricky and Martina Topley Bird

I bought a copy in summer 1987, a double sized, special edition, 100th issue I think. It tried to review the 80s- ‘whatever happens now’ it said, ‘the decade is shaped, nothing can alter the way it looks from here’. Arf. Over the next two years acid house swept the nation, the north rose again, the Berlin Wall came down, Communism collapsed…. 



The pleasure of reading old magazines is seeing where they got it right and where they got it very, very wrong; the bands, records, trends and styles they were sure were the next big thing and are now buried in the ‘where are they now?’ file. I mean, no disrespect to The Farm (who at times I quite like) and I know Groovy Train was a big hit but ‘How to succeed in the music business’? 

Whatever it did though, The Face was rarely boring and for a while it did document our lives (or aspects of them). 
Raving, Aliens, Vodka, Discos, Ibiza… it’s got the lot.

                                                                 Mmmmmmm, Kylie.

                                                     Sorry, lost myself there for a moment…

                                         Actually I don’t remember this 90s Futures Issue one at all.

I more or less stopped buying it with this issue below- I was clearly too old for it, our time together had passed and besides I began to feel they were laughing at me.

The High Numbers (early Who as I’m sure you know). I was going to post the magnificent Face Up by New order from Lowlife but it’s not on my hard drive and I can’t be arsed ripping it at the moment. Laziness. Sorry. This is good anyway.

I’m The Face

Justice Tonight

Mick Jones, Pete Wylie and The Farm have been touring for the past year as the Justice Tonight Band, in aid of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. A number of Clash/Wylie/Farm songs performed by the Justice Tonight Band could be appropriate following today’s report on the Hillsborough disaster- I Fought The Law, The Day That Margaret Thatcher Died, Stay Free, All Together Now, Clampdown….

Today the truth, tomorrow justice.
And remember, don’t buy The Sun.*

I’m a Man Utd fan by the way. Today our petty rivalries mean nothing

Justice Tonight The Other Night


So it turns out that while we got The Stone Roses, London got Paul Simonon singing Guns Of Brixton and playing Brand New Cadillac, along with Wylie and The Farm, and Primal Scream chucked in as well. Good stuff.

Train In Vain
Guns Of Brixton

Justice Tonight Last Night


If you live near any of the venues hosting Mick Jones and friends Justice Tonight tour you should consider getting yourself down there- we had a blast last night. And saw The Stone Roses as well. On stage. Well, two of them, Squire and Brown. I think that counts as news.

We got in as Pete Wylie was getting near the end of his set, backed by all of The Farm and Mick Jones grinning on guitar. Wylie finished with Heart As Big As Liverpool, Johnny Thunders’ You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory and Sinful. Everyone then stayed on stage, Wylie announced it was now a Mick Jones gig and the band launched into Train In Vain. Several Clash songs followed- Should I Stay Or Should I Go, White Man (In Hammersmith Palais) ‘sung’ by The Farm’s Peter Hooton, Clampdown sung by Pete Wylie (with lyrics on a piece of paper), a few others. Everyone seemed to be having a ball, mics were dropped, lines fluffed, cues missed, but hugely enjoyable and The Farm made a surprisingly good Clash covers band. The stage then emptied and a minute later Ian Brown and John Squire came on and played Elizabeth My Dear. A thousand jaws collectively dropped. Jones, Wylie and The Farm re-appeared and Brown led them all through Bankrobber and Armagiddeon Times. Someone filmed it. You can watch it here. After that we got John Robb fronting Janie Jones, spending the whole song in the audience, Big Audio Dynamite’s Rush and The Farm’s All Together Now. We were then tipped out into the wet Manchester streets where we took refuge in The Peveril Of The Peak and a drunk man told us at some length that The Chameleons were in fact the best band in the world.

Music For People On Oil Rigs


…is how Mick Jones once described Sandinista. Paul Simonon recently spent two weeks in a Canadian jail having been part of a Greenpeace team who stormed an oil rig in protest and refused to leave. Paul joined the crew of a Greenpeace ship as ‘ the assistant cook’ and wasn’t recognised by anyone until a guard sussed him during his stay in captivity. You can read the whole story here, including a video where The Good, The Bad And The Queen played on the new Rainbow Warrior ship on the Thames just the other night.

Fellow Clash activist Mick has announced a short tour entitled Justice Tonight, raising awareness for the Hillsborough Families Justice campaign. Mick promises a set of Clash songs and is supported by Pete Wylie (yay!) and The Farm (gulp!). More info from John Robb’s website here and a link to get tickets. I’ve already got mine.
The Bandits were a Liverpool blues rock band, from that rush of scouse bands a decade ago (The Coral, The Zutons et al). This is a spirited run through of Paul Simonon’s best loved song.