New Year New Site

ds33aThe post festive lull still lingers here and there but 2019 is well on the way now and so is Deviation Street . We have now moved to a new site

Over the next few weeks we will be posting up an array of articles  from  reviews and interviews to serialised stories and much more .  So remember to watch this space

2018 was for us the year of the learning curve.  Getting Deviation Street out  into print ,  Content filled issues 1 and 2 were well received with plenty of views online .
We also had two great launch nights,  The first at 44AD Gallery along with an exhibition of artists works who had contributed to either our blog or magazine .   Works came from far and wide  from  the   UK , France, Germany,  Thailand and The USA.

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Launch Night Issue 1 at 44AD Gallery

With issue 2 we launched at The Bell Inn with a gig fronted by The Shuks and Lake Luna  both were amazing in their own way . the evening began with the  warm  and tender charm of  Lake Luna which left folk aglow,  followed by contrasting  swagger and poise of The Shuks on top form.




Launch Night 2 at The Bell Inn

And in between there was so much … zine workshops , exhibitions, interviews some great stories  even some archive pages from the orignal 1977 Deviation Street fanzine .


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The original 1977 fanzine and 1977 interview with Richard Hell.

We would like to thank all those who have contributed to making it all happen . I could talk shed loads about who has helped, putting in time and effort , the contributors who submitted art work  , those who gave us financial support  poetry, interviews and reviews .  Writing it all down would take a lot longer and besides this is not the time for a list of  final credits. We are simply moving on, turning a new page and another chapter of this   evolving and meandering  thing we called Deviation Street .

Just some of the images from 2018 Credits in no particular order

Dolly Sen ,Joey Skaggs Marina Antonova , Shunsuke Ohno, Bastien Keb , Dragomir Misina , Penetration, Johnny Brown , Den Browne , Robert Lloyd , Mandy webb , Wallace Dobbin, Patrik Hoberg,  Dmitry Sokolenko, Jon Gordon , Melisa Wraxall  44AD Gallery  David Lewis Baker and Metropolis Collective



Call Out for Artists


Deviation Street / The Street as A Platform / From Street Smart to Smart Street

The call out is for artists of differing disciplines to explore the notion of the Street as a platform encompassing 3 different elements which are interwoven

  1. The traditional notion of the Street as a collection of buildings on either side of a public road found in cities towns and villages across the globe .The street provides a space for living and social interaction, positive and negative , be they horizontal or vertical The street functions as a  place in which people live, where we  are known and unknown where we can find privacy where we  step out into the world and become visible .


  1. The Smart Street .. The Street is rapidly becoming a site for unseen interactions beyond the use of power cables and utility services via the application digital technology. Although unseen, platforms such as social media are never the less mechanisms which have been constructed by the few for the many. Does the emergence of the smart street enhance or reduce the autonomy of our day to day lives.


  1. The Street as a site for the unseen and the unknown. Where does the “collective unconscious” a term coined by Carl Jung just over a hundred years reside within the framework of the Street. Does the landscape of the psyche exist beyond that of the personal?  Will the Streets of the future emerge from small collectives of people sharing their dreams and aspirations across borders and different time zones, occupying both the realms of real life and virtual worlds.


Deviation Street is a hybrid venture cutting across creative paths of art and music. Originally a fanzine of the Punk era, its re incarnation has broadened its content whilst retaining values that are still rooted in a DIY ethos. The magazine was launched as a quarterly magazine in April 2018.   We also maintain an online blog which launched in 2017. This is an open forum and provides a contrast to the edited content of the magazine. The blog has showcased the creative work of writer’s Illustrators and has had over 6,.000 views to date. Our contributors are local, national and international.  As a developing team we have recently set up an ad hoc art space at 44AD studios (September 2018) and have promoted local bands through a launch event (Oct 2018)





Deviation Street at 44AD Gallery 2018    29089696_192674304672818_8368576053488123904_n

            Participating artist Sophie Lo


ds2  The Street as a unified or fragmented environment


Deviation Street Magazine Issue 2




Poster 2Deviation Street Posters 2018

Brian Gibson

Deviation Street  Blog

The Randomised A to Z of Deviation Street’s Readership part 2

The Letter P

The Pedestrians

The Proletariat

The Parents

The Partners

The Perpendicular

The Poorly Paid

The Postmen and Postwomen

The Perplexed

The Pensive

The Placid

The Pilots

The Phonographic

The Punters

The Prefects

The Palaeontologists

The Poets

The Painters

The Person Centred

The Puddings

The Pacifists

The Play Leaders

The Polite

The Private

 The Ponderous

The Party

The Pleased

The Powerless

The Pained

The Proverbial

The Psychiatrists

The Pharmacists

The Potato Heads

The Peccadillo’s

The Pranksters

The Panoramic Vistas

 The Pointillists

The Pheasant Pluckers


The Phenomenal


The Randomised A to Z of Deviation Street’s Readership.

The Letter D

The Decent

The Disabled

The Determined

The Disturbed

The Driven

The Divided

The Divine

The Downhearted

The Dreamers

The Deaf

The Dying

The Derelict

The Drained

The Distinctive

The Delightful

The Doers

The Dawdlers

The Dilly Dalliers

The Dads

The Daughters

The Dearly Beloved

The Drifters

 The Dysfunctional

The Delicate

The Dissipated

The Druids

The Door Openers

The Dancers

The Dandies

The Daft

The Doctors

The Decorators

The Dodgers

The Diggers

The Dog Walkers

The Doubtful

The Dentists

The Dim Sum Diners

The DJ’s


The Diligent


Ad hoc at 44AD

davWhen 44AD offered Deviation Street offered us the use of a gallery space for a week recently, we jumped at the chance of working within such a space at short notice . Setting up Monday and Tuesday we opened on Wednesday and run for 5 days . The last time we exhibited at 44AD was back in April when we launched our magazine and showcased the work of several of the artists who have contributed to the magazine . Organising such an event took quite a while , with some of the work coming from America and mainland Europe – we are still part of Europe . Anyway, all that stuff aside,  working within a much shorter time period we had to think on our feet as to what to do. There would also be the addition of group show ( where I got to choose the theme )  and an installation by Andrea Wright  in the two other gallery spaces..More about these two shows later .


Detail of Andrea Wright’s installation


What we came up with was to produce a space where the work would be participatory and  evolve on a day to day basis.  Make it up as we go along … so we placed four sheets of paper across four wall , and invited people to come long and draw , write,  doodle or just generally do there thing . As a first off its worked out ok ,  we didn’t really get to tell a lot of people about it as we were kind of busy, with the proofs of edition 2 of the magazine coming back to us the same week, but we have had a steady flow of people coming in looking around and taking pen to paper or brush to guitars . dav

Our Pick and Play , with its pianola scroll and precursor to the magnetic sound tape or reel to reels and cassettes went down very well . Basically visitors could select a  tape of their choice to play ,favourites were the home mix tapes of titled Driving Along and Picnic Tape as well as Talk Talks Spirit Of Eden which brought on a burst of creativity to four visitors.,dav

It was really great to see them in full flow quietly drawing away with The Rainbow playing in the background . dav

Gradually the empty spaces were getting filled. some with cartoons ,portraits and text or just abstract mark making . dav





A guy and a drawing of himself .

Seeing both adults and children really engage with the project was a buzz. Some people even came back several times to either work on something that they had started earlier or just to start something new and maybe add on to some one else’s work  dav

The project ends Sunday 23rd 4pm  and we will either cut to completed work up and create a several handmade books of the art work or roll up our scrolls and unfold for another event . dav

What I do know is that our next event will be taking part at The Bell Lounge on Fri Oct 19 where there will we 3 bands playing and we will have issue 2 on sale in glorious full colour  for our new price of £4.99.


Zines n things / 44AD Gallery 19-23 Sept

Where were we  ?

1977? Maybe , but in the here and now too.

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This week Deviation Street are delighted to have a space at 44AD Gallery Bath in which to basically play around with stuff , ideas and material mostly . It will be an ad hoc event from 12-5pm each day (1.00-4.00 pm Sunday) working with the notion of the Zine as a starting point . Every day we and visitors will be creating our  own zines and art work . Cutting out, pasting , writing , mark making that sort of thing .  People can chose to take their work away with then (though we would like to document it photo wise) or leave . ON the Sunday we will be binding together some artists books which we will either sell blind  at a fixed price or possibly auction . Who Knows ?

Poster 2

Working within the space of the back, ground floor gallery  for 4 and a half days making it up as we go along  is quite a venture and a departure from the usual practice of  putting together an exhibition or the layout of our magazine. It will be interesting to see how they compare and differ from the Fanzines of 1977 . Over the years I managed to loose quite a few (most) of my  zines (along with some fine albums rare singles and “autographs” ) but i did bring two off the bookshelf . A first copy of Scrap Metal and the 4th issue of New Wave . They are quite impressive ,  5th n 6th formers and unemployed kids writing about what they wanted to write about , full of passion and a sense of excitement about the emergence of a new kind of music scene which has now been comodified  into just another genre playlist.


Scrap Metal No 1 1977 and New Wave No 4 1977

Ok … its not 1977 anymore, its 2018 and there is still  that need for people to get together and be creative  , be it writing or mark making or making a sound . There is something in starting from scratch ,clueless and having a go . So writers ,poets ,painters come to 44AD Gallery and make a magazine …cut-out shapes …


What’s Happening? / Update

Hello , thanks for looking here ..this was just going to be a little update on whats been happening in terms of Deviation Street  and Deviation Street Magazine but it may end up like one of those lengthy bed sit  letters (crammed into envelopes )  that people used write to each other. We shall see …ds 2 pg1

The original Deviation Street Fanzine / issue 2  Selling at 30p a copy

Firstly we are happy to announce that Issue 2 of our Magazine  will be out very soon, with plenty of the  good stuff inside .  In no particular order we have : an interview with The Monochrome Set by Jon Gordon as well as interview s with the artist Dragomir  Misina


Dragomir Misina in his studio

along with an interview with  Mark Steene  the Founder and  Director of Outside In an arts organisation that has been providing a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world. We also have a feature on The Metropolis Collective, operating out of small town America from the wonderfully  named  Mechanicsburg  P.A. where folk are producing some very interesting art work (and events )  at a grass roots level  .IMG_5543

A Night Out At The Metropolis Collective

We also have two amazing stories, One from  Dmitry Sokolenko


Dmitry Sokelenko

A writer from Russia  who should not  be mistaken  for a Russian Spy, he  tells the fabulous tale of The Riddle of Pots and Pans and then   a true story by  Den Brown who sheds a welcome  light on life of his then flatmates , the  infamous Sid and Nancy with  his  A Night At the Marquee. I hope that gives you a flavour of whats in there and whets your appetite appropriately.

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The Monochrome Set

Getting the 2nd issue out of the Magazine has been a bit like getting that  notorious difficult second album out (or is it the 3rd ? ) either way there have been a few delays since our first publication .  Thankfully we are now on a roll and have a  PUBLISHER who go by the name of  Rats Tales ,This means that not only will we be producing a full colour issue quarterly, we will also be selling the Mag at £5.00 .  We  will still continue with our ramshackle ways,ambling between Art and Music and the things that we value and  still  working  on a small scale , producing a content based magazine, each  numbered  individually. So if you have an numbered copy of issue 1  hold on to it , it may be worth something in the future .My understanding is that originals of the 1977 Deviation Street Fanzine can  go for around £100. 00 on line.

Talking of Zines … but that’s for the next blog



The Poetry of Henry X

Who is Henry X ? What do we know about him.  A man amidst the idiocy and the beauty of this world in which we live , who dares to write and perform his poetry. Deviation Street presents three works by Henry X  to ponder Beauty , Friends and Hymn for Europe  …we begin with …


I have no beauty.

Beauty is outside.

My mind destroying my face and soul,

And yet I feel a warmth unrivalled

As views let me know there is greatness

Unseen by many for fear of self ridicule.

There may be beauty hidden within

Like a mine of gold on a hillside bleak

But never strike out at this beauty

For it is a rarity in a McDonalds world

Piercing into consumerist mediocrity.

Find me beauty and I will pay for this

With an artists only tender

The warmth of wisdom,

An intelligent aim

Placed only on the true





I never sought the love that many

Climb on to speed their journey

I was the sloth, the sleepwalking child

Who retired to his ponderings.

Was friendship that vehicle that would have raced me

To the ends of races I’ve never pondered?

To me the world seemed infinite, too wide to set an angle

But friends they sit in memories well

Wished on through futures mute



Hymn For Europe


In the continent and at home

Grown men argue like kids

Over power and riches

T he weak pray to fake shrines, with intentions aligned

With the crimes as seen in the media

Politicians seen fighting over who can be seedier

Immigrants basically walking meat

The richest 1% putting their feet up

Europe comprehensively beaten up

Ive had quite enough of the lying

Time I am buying to rhyme

Against corporate crime and the slime

Dribbling down like drip down economics

Leaders all chronically distant

Europes operating system

All capitalism stuck in a rut

Best to have a dead brain

And hate for Italy and Spain

Theres a sinister reminder

Theres no solace when the Middle East’s behind ya’

Not when the greedy and corrupt are insiders

From Germany to Switzerland, Sweden and Spain

We’re offroad again

Through fields bleeding immigrants pain

In this game we are blinded in fights with elites

Just to be pounded by bleats from rich sheep

And the abuse from the consumerist weak


Alarm bells ringing

Europe singing not in harmony

Where is the answer?


A continent bleeding

With angels seething

Can we ever believe?


Turn Europe around

For the Euro and pound

Answer me clearly


Have we a future really?


I feel for EU

While the fascist crew

Reach for arms

Using counterfeit charms

Im alarmed at what should be civilised

I could be demonised yet nothing I despise

Forming ties with intelligent allies

Never foes, unity I propose

From the young to the disposed

Old leaders falling through floors like they should

Being a wake up call for the great and the good

May cause a disaster, it’ll leave a scar

But through pain we can travel far

I dont care whether its spoken or sprechen

I raise a finger up to institution

Yet the anti-establishment sits in confusion

Proposing solutions that would suit the 1700s

The truth I have just plundered

I have pipe dreams to rip reality asunder


Alarm bells ringing

Europe singing not in harmony

Where is the answer?


A continent bleeding

With angels seething

Can we ever believe?


Turn Europe around

For the Euro and pound

Answer me clearly


Have we a future really?


All images Brian Gibson

The Nightingales / Robert Loyd

A Life In Indie. With a new album and tour happening this autumn, it seems like a good moment to speak with Nightingales frontman Rob Lloyd about writing, recording in Europe, Pulp, the Fall, and their ongoing association with comedian Stewart Lee.

Photo 16-05-2018, 14 03 37


JG:The first thing I want to ask is, The Nightingales took a twenty year gap between 1986 and 2006 and obviously you weren’t idle during that. I understand you ran a record label during that time?
RL: I had a couple of labels over the years, Vindaloo and Big Print. It wasn’t quite as long as you say, I put out a couple of Nightingales singles around 2004. Prior to being in The Nightingales I used to be in a band called The Prefects, and an American label called Acute Records got in touch asking if they could re-release a CD of that band, and I got the Nightingales back together and said okay, so long as you can pay for me to make a Nightingales single then I’ll allow you to put out the Prefects record. So they agreed to do that and like an utter idiot I decided I that wanted to be like Slade and put out a single every six weeks, so for a year or two that’s what I did, which nearly bankrupted me. It was just a ludicrous idea, particularly at that time as no-one was doing vinyl at all, so it was quite an expensive thing to do.

JG:What other bands were you releasing when this all got off the ground?
R L: It started off with me just doing a handful of Nightingales singles, then we released a four CD box set of Ted Chippington, then I did a CD of a band called Hot Pants Romance, and then something by Christy and Emily, who were our support band when we went to New York and I just really thought they were great, and something by a German woman called Auro. I’m not sure how it came about but Steve Albini produced a record by her. They were all limited edition pressings of about 500 copies or a thousand, I’ve got boxloads of them in a room upstairs. I was a complete amateur really, I put the records out but there were no funds to do any promotion or anything like that so it was all a bit daft.Photo 06-02-2018, 23 38 14
JG: You had quite a number of problems with labels over the years.
Basically, we put out a record and it doesn’t sell and we get dropped, and then we get picked up by another label and put out a record and don’t sell and get dropped again. Nowadays we’ve got an American chap in Budapest and he’s putting out our records, when we met him while touring a few years ago he sort of said to me ‘I want to be the first label to put out more than one Nightingales record’ and he’s stayed true to his word, so I think for the foreseeable future we’ll be releasing records through him and they actually seem to be selling better now as well. We did okay but we never had any sort of label that got behind us really, and it’s too easy to blame the music industry or whatever. I don’t want to sound like a whinger about it, it’s just a fact that no one put any money behind us or put any effort behind us. We’ve never had a manager, or a booking agent, or a publisher or any of the things that groups tend to have. Everything we do has always been us doing it for ourselves and that’s not been particularly easy. It was pretty much always me but now it’s our drummer Fliss, she’s been a godsend and she does an awful lot of this, she’ll get in touch with venues and whatever. Say we’re doing a 20 date tour, she’ll get fifteen gigs and I’ll get five of them.

Gales photo
JG: You do all your recording in Germany now. How did this come about?
RL: This is going back many years ago, we were playing a gig in London, and a bloke came backstage and he’d written a book about the German band Faust, his name was Andy Wilson. He said ‘I hear you’re a huge fan and I’ve brought you a copy of my book’ and I said thanks very much and we got talking. He asked if we had any interest in playing the Klangbad festival and it turned out that Faust organised this festival every year and he suggested that he get in touch with them, that they’d be interested in having us play the festival, and I said yes, certainly and lo and behold I was out one night and my wife got a phone call and it was Jo (Hans Joachim Irmler) from Faust sort of
going ‘I’ve been listening to The Nightingales and I really like them, will they come and play?’ We went over and played and they’ve got a label as well and they said ‘we’d like to do a record with you’ and one thing led to another so we do all our recording there, and Andreas Schmid who’s the engineer at the Faust studio is the bass player in The Nightingales now. We made one record for the Klangbad label and went back to do a second one and not that it’s a big story, me and Jo had a bit of a falling out about things and so we got dropped by that label. It was a couple of years later another label wanted to put out a record for us and I said I wanted to record it at the Faust studio and I think the fact that I was sort of willing to go back, we made it up. Now we record all our albums there and we’ve got a sort of deal which is good for a band like The Nightingales that aren’t going to sell a lot of records, it has to be a realistic arrangement for us to record there. I wouldn’t say we’re particularly popular in Germany or anywhere else in Europe or anything but we do get paid. Jo has played on our records in recent times, we just get on really well together. It’ll be ten years now since Andreas joined the band, I think he’s the longest serving member apart from me. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare having a German based in Germany in the band, but he’s very much worth it.

JG: How did the connection with Stewart Lee happen ?
We played at the South Bank centre a few years ago and that was because Stewart Lee was responsible for curating a few concerts and he wanted us on. It was him who directly got in touch with me when I was putting out Nightingales records in the early 000s, asking if we were interested in releasing anything by Ted Chippington because he was obviously a big fan of Ted’s. I said ‘I doubt it very much’ as it would have cost us too much to produce so he went and organised an concert at the Bloomsbury theatre, called it Tedstock and had him and Phil Jupitus, Simon Amstel, Josie Long on and they gave us all the money from that to do a four CD boxset, which was very nice of them. Over the years he’s been a huge supporter of us, he curated an All Tomorrows Parties at Prestatyn in 2015 and he had us on at that. There’s a few other things that are upcoming but I’m a bit dubious about talking about them in case they don’t happen. He’s helped us out considerably and in September we’re doing a twenty date tour and he’s doing eight or nine of those with us, to help us sell tickets. He used to do a club set in the 80s and he’s doing that material. It’s important to him that people know that, that people don’t turn up thinking they’re getting all new Stewart Lee material. He’s opened up for us a couple of times before and I think the older jokes kind of bear up. People seem to enjoy it anyway, he is hugely popular. He opened for us in Oxford and said, ‘I don’t want to sound like a berk but to put it in perspective the last time I played in Oxford I did four nights of 2000 people a night,’ which is why he wants us to be clear that he’s just doing this 15 minute club kind of thing, and also that we don’t want him to detract from the Nightingales. They are our gigs with him actually supporting us, it isn’t the Stewart Lee show with us as special guests. The gigs should be good. Photo 20-10-2017, 14 25 24 I know you said you haven’t seen us live for many years, but if I say so myself we are damn good just now. What we do is, it’s all one piece, we play for an hour without any gaps whatsoever and I think even if people don’t like the music, no-one could say it’s no good, the band are as tight as it’s ever been. I’m glad you like the album, it’s a bit different from the previous one but that was a bit different to the previous one to that.We just do what we want to really.
JG: About your lyrics, they seem to be an important part of what defines The Nightingales as a band. What is it that inspires you when you’re writing and going on stage?
RL: When I’m writing the lyrics I just write about – you see and hear things that you just think, that is ludicrous in some respect, things that are plain offensive or plain stupid or other things that are just ridiculous on other kinds of levels and I just think, I want to write about that, it’s a worthy subject of being written about out and I can’t be more specific than that. It could be literally hearing a snippet of conversation in a pub, or on television and it’s just whatever tickles my fancy really. I always carry pen and paper around with me. I’m a bit lazy really I suppose, I carry this stuff around and sometimes I hear stuff and don’t write it down but then other things turn up. I’ve got pages and pages of little notes of things. Even on the current album there are probably lyrics that I wrote many years ago and I’ve thought I want to include that in a song and eventually I’ve got round to it. It’s what I actually do, I can’t play any music and the band write all that. I might la la a tune every now and again but you know, my role in the band is as the lyric writer and the singer and obviously that’s very important to me. When people listen to the stuff they seem to pick up on the lyrics, I’m not sure why exactly. I don’t think they’re necessarily very commercial and in terms of influences I’m more influenced by stuff I don’t want it to be like than stuff I want it to be like. I don’t want to write ‘and all the roads that lead me there are winding’ or whatever.

JG: There is one track on Perish The Thought – second track ‘Lucky Dip’ – that seems to have something of a nod towards Pulp attached to it somewhere and I was thinking that the difference between what you do and what, in this instance, Jarvis Cocker does is that he likes to address the audience more directly, whereas your approach is to just recite what you’ve written down.


RL: Yeah, maybe I do. You’re mentioning Jarvis and I’m not a massive Pulp fan, I haven’t got any of their records but I do think he’s good, which I can’t say about a lot of people, and if he talks to the audience directly and I don’t it may well be true but it’s not really a purposeful thing. I like to be contradictory really, I like to take several viewpoints within the space of a single song, I don’t think it should all necessarily be kind of ABCD all the time, if you go what about this, what about this way of looking at it. There are ideas there are viewpoints, there are stances that I take but I do like to sort of contradict myself, to paint a colourful picture rather than a black and white picture. Suffice to say I’m pleased to be acknowledged as quotable, as a writer.

JG: Obviously we lost Mark E Smith a few months ago and while I didn’t ever see The Fall, I always thought that Mark E Smith could have gone onstage without a band as a performing writer and been just as successful on some level.
RL: I did know Mark and we got on okay, but The Nightingales often get thrown in with The Fall, we get put into the same kind of bracket as The Fall, and I really don’t see it’, I don’t think musically or lyrically there’s much similarity, and I’m not a big enough fan to be able to agree or disagree with what you’ve just said really. I do know that when he died, the amount of people that came out sort of raving about him, he must be one of the most popular singers of all time, he seemed to get more fuss made out of him than Prince or David Bowie when they died so I know that he’s very much loved, but I don’t see any relationship between The Nightingales and The Fall, except that they don’t fit in with any other groups.
JG: I think the connection between the The Nightingales and The Fall hasn’t been specifically musical or lyrical but more about approach, in terms of how you’ve presented as performing musicians.
RL: I sort of know what you mean. I don’t find it annoying, I just find it a bit weird that we often get these comparisons made because I don’t think that me and Mark kind of write very similar stuff and I don’t think that musically there was much comparison either but you are right, that there’s a certain sort of stance, for want of a better way of
putting it, a certain attitude about it all that’s different from the majority of groups, even if it’s something as simple as not being concerned a lot about the competition.

JG; You’ve always been referred to as a Birmingham band.
RL: We’re based in Wolverhampton. The drummer, who’s from Norwich, she lives in Wolverhampton, the guitar player’s from Birmingham, the bass player is from Germany, I live nearer to Shrewsbury than any other place. We used to say we were from Birmingham just because it was somewhere people had heard of. In the old days we did used to rehearse there and I lived there for a short while but there was never a Birmingham scene as such, in the way that there were Bristol scenes, Liverpool scenes, Manchester scenes, Edinburgh scenes or whatever. Stewart Lee was talking to me quite recently and he’s got an definite theory that us saying we’re from Birmingham has held us back in some way, sort of for that reason. Whether he’s right or not that it’s worked against us, I don’t know.


Interview Jon Gordon 

Images courtesy of The Nightingales 

The Nightingales new album ‘Perish The Thought’ is released on Tiny Global records on the 5th October. Dates for their tour and more can be found on their website

Love, Hope and the Devil: Band of Holy Joy at the Thunderbolt, Bristol

digNot even a year passes and we’re back at the Thunderbolt with the honour of seeing the big, bad, beautiful Band of Holy Joy. And what a not quite 12 months it’s been, the world sits firmly in the hand cart as we’re pushed off the metaphorical cliff into a not so metaphorical hell… of course it could be heaven depending on your point of view, (gotta keep the balance) who better to wave us off and soundtrack the journey than Johny and the band?

If I was writing some hack piece to fill up a random website’s acres of content hungry space I would probably talk about BOHJ’s renewed energy and sense of purpose and tell you their next album will be their best yet.  Well the new album may well reach those heights, but Holy Joy never lost their sense of purpose or their energy for that matter, at least not from where I’m listening and as they so adroitly avoid cliche so I should at least try to do the same.


Tonight before we go forward we go back, over 30 years incredibly, to the Aspidistra House, our entry into their world. I think Johny must construct set lists like he’s plotting a novel, because then without pausing for breath he grabs everyone in the room by reminding us, Isn’t that Just the Life? Which of course it is.

It’s a set list of all peaks and no troughs, but with certain key moments that nail the themes BOHJ articulate so well.


New song, The Devil Has a Hold on the Land looms out of the night and tackles what these days is the ever present beast in the room. A comprehensive take down of a society corroded by greed, self interest, hate and empty narcissism, it comforts by deriding the banal cruelty that goes unremarked all too often but sidesteps the perils of empty polemics and name calling. Of course it’s all the more effective as a result and provides illumination rather than dour bleakness, because Holy Joy are never dour, the clue is in the name.

Ferocious they may be but this band is also more than capable of delicacy and can switch mood beautifully. There is an indie pop heart beating within many of these songs, just listen to Open the Door to Your Heart or Come Home to Me, joyous in excelsis AND you can sing along…


Elsewhere Funambulist We Love You feels firmly established as an alternative classic, anthemic without bluster and all too well capable of oiling tear ducts, as I know well.

Watching Johny and the band makes me think of a quote from Shamus Heaney, (yeah, ok I admit I had to check the specifics…) about the difference between optimism and hope, ‘hope is not optimism, which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth looking for’.  Johny has seen too much to simply be an optimist, so he shows us a culture that values people by how much they can produce or how much content they can create, where there’s apparently no alternative to just letting the market decide with all the horror that implies, all the time burning with a righteous hope and belief that change can happen even when it all seems too much. 

As the songs says, ‘Some nights I admit I break, I just walk and I cry. But I’m going to change this world before I die…’

We’re lucky to have them. 

Long live Holy Joy.

Words Simon Heavisides  Images Brian Gibson