Thursday, June 08, 2006


Simon hilarious on Wyatting (so glad this has been given a name): 'Hipsters' baiting 'straights' by stoking up CD juke-boxes in (for example) jock bars w/ hours and hours worth of, uh, avant music and watching the punters cringe in agony until someone finally pulls the plug or a Fripp and Eno-fuelled riot finally breaks out.

Christ, we've all done it in our time. But may I present an early/analogue West Country precursor to Wyatting (and Dom'll back me up on this one)...going over to the pub in North Perrott (Masons Arms? Nah, that's Odcombe. Someone remind me...) on a saturday night in the late seventies and playing the B-Side of "Hong Kong Garden" by The Banshees..."Voices" (if you're too young to remember this, then never mind, but get off to bed with you, young'un, you're up too late!), ooooh, at least 20 times in a row....

Now, this took some serious dedication. This was an analogue-juke playing 7" vinyl, so we're talking some major stoking/financial outlay. You digital culture nippers've got it too easy these days....ya just chuck a coupa bucks in the CD-juke in early in the evening, light the blue touch-paper and retreat to chuckle in the corner. With seven-inchers, the technique to wind up the other drinkers was "Repetition-ah... Repetition-ah... Repetition-ah!". (Now, if there'd only been a juke available with some Fall singles on it...) Remember: this was a small rural pub in a backwoods village, so there was nowhere to hide... if there's just 3 of you sat in the corner wearing leather jackets, then it's pretty obvious who did it and the wrath of burly, cider'd-up agricultural workers whose sat. night is being ruined by some punk-rock plonkers is a mighty bad thing to behold. But, really, there's no point in doing it if you're just gonna play it safe, is there, pop-pickers?

Another village pub 7" fave was (ouch!) The Plastic Ono Band's "Don't Worry Kyoto (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)"...the b-side to, what...Lennon's "Cold Turkey"? Once is usually enuff to upset most people. Double-figures is just plain fucking evil...

Having said that, Chard (a small town in Somerset) was soooo ruff in the late seventies/early eighties that we would never, ever even contemplate such a guerilla action. Back them, people used to joke that Chard was twinned w/ Beirut. Some local hoolies once drove a car into Chard police-station on a saturday night, like a scene out of "Terminator" or something, and damaged the building so badly it had to be jacked-up and supported by scaffolds afterwards. Another local Chard heavy got bladdered on cider and went on the lam w/ a shotgun, and was eventually hunted down and shot dead by the county constabluary. You didn't fuck w/ Chard denizens back then. Wyatting would have been unthinkable in Chard.

Even Crewkerne was heavy back in the late 70's...if you looked even vaguely 'punky' (ie non-Grebo or Caaj) you would get yr head kicked-in on the spot, no probs. The only pub it was safe to drink in Creeewk was The Kings Arms, which became a sort of refuge/safe haven for punks, wierdoes and art students prior to heading off to village hall parties/gigs, but you could still get a serious kicking in the 100yds btwn the pub and car-park if you weren't escorted by Jinxy (local Elvis Costello lookalike top-bloke hard-man Fall fan, who happily was a mate of ours: spent many an hour w/ him discussing who was harder: Galactus or Odin). No juke in the Kings, just tapes b/hind the bar, so no opportunity for Wyatting there.

However, I would like to offer up the concept of Anti-Wyatting for your consideration. We were eventually forced to flee The Chopper Bar, Yeovil, wh/ was our local in the early nineties, after they installed a CD juke-box and some bastard used to put Meatloaf's entire "Bat out of Hell" album on perpetual repeat every friday and saturday. Looking back, it was probably the bar-manager, who'd been looking for an excuse for ages to ban a group of about 20 of us...

We then took up residence in The Butchers Arms and have stayed there ever since.