Tag Archives: Punk Movement

Know Your Rights

26 Apr

One of my favourite songs by the British punk band The Clash is ‘Know Your Rights.’ A fantastic song discussing the civil rights (and lack there of) of citizens. Rather punk!!

Know Your Rights

This is a public service announcement
With guitar
Know your rights all 3 of them
I say
Number 1: You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a CRIME!
Unless it was done by a
Policeman or aristocrat
Number 2: You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don’t mind a little
Humiliation, investigation
And if you cross your fingers
Wang! Young offenders! Know your rights
Number 3: You have the right to freeeee
Speech as long as you’re not
Dumb enough to actually try it.
Know your rights
These are your rights
All 3 of ’em
It has been suggested
In some quarters that this is not enough!
Get off the streets
Get off the streets
You don’t have a home to go to
Finally then I will readd you your rights
You have the right to remain silent
You are warned that anything you say
Can and will be taken down
And used as evidence against you
Listen to this

Source –


Political / Protest Songs

23 Apr

When I was growing up in the early to mid 1990’s I listened to a diverse selection of music – mainstream rock, some pop (admittedly more when I was thirteen and fourteen), bands / musicians from the 1960’s, 1970’s and the 1980’s such as Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, The Clash, The Police, Australian Crawl, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, Led Zeppelin etc; and a selection of movie soundtracks.I listened to a lot of mainstream commercial radio and did like a lot of mainstream bands and artists that I would be loathe to admit to now.

But combined with that, I also had a great love (taping songs and buying greatest hits albums) and affinity with bands / musicians from other eras. Something spoke to me and I imagined what it had been like to live in that era and what historical and societal changes were taking place at that time. I have had an interest in news, politics and history from an early age. And growing up in my family with its left wing, accepting, hippie-ish leanings, it was no wonder I developed a passion for bands that spoke out, in the form of songs or active protest, against injustice, war, environmental destruction, human and civil rights and conservative politics.

The most significant bands that sung political / protest songs for me were The Clash and Midnight Oil. Other bands such a The Police, Cold Chisel and Goanna sung songs that made reference to political struggles (such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland (Omegaman by The Police) and indigenous rights (Solid Rock by Goanna) or cultural / societal changes (such as returning Vietnam veterans (Khe San by Cold Chisel) and demolition of historic buildings (Astrid Goodbye by Cold Chisel).

So many of The Clash’s songs spoke to my left wing beliefs (and simple belief in civil rights) along with their punk and socialist philosophy. Songs that influenced me, shaped my beliefs, and spoke about political and societal topics include –
– Know Your Rights
– Guns of Brixton
– The Call Up
– Straight to Hell
– Remote Control
– Rock the Casbah

There were many Midnight Oil songs that spoke to me and my political and environmental beliefs. For those that don’t know the band, Midnight Oil was an Australian rock band active from the late 1970’s to the early 2000’s. The band wrote many songs that addressed topics as diverse as indigenous (Australian Aboriginal) rights and injustices, environmental destruction, support for anti-nuclear protest, the plight of asbestos workers, opposition to US military intervention in other country’s affairs, and many more. Songs include –
– Beds Are Burning
– Blue Sky Mining
– US Forces
– Truginini
– Forgotten Years
– Short Memory
– Dreamworld

For me, bands and singers performing songs that protest current political and societal issues speaks volumes to me. These bands and singers are voicing my opinion and shouting it loud and clear to thousands of people. They speak for the people who support these ideas.

Links / References –

20130424-072742.jpg Single Artwork (Source – Wikipedia entry on Know Your Rights)

Joe Strummer – An Inspiration & Idol

23 Apr

While writing some of my recent posts on songs by The Clash – Know Your Rights,Career Opportunities, protest songs – Political / Protest Songs and Margaret Thatcher – Margaret Thatcher’s Death and a bit of Punk Music, I was thinking about Joe Strummer, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Clash. For me he is a great inspiration and an idol. His political beliefs (socialism, anti-racism, anti-war, environmentalism etc) speaks to me in volumes. And the lyrics of The Clash songs resonate with me. He sounds like a great guy who is not afraid to talk / sing / actively protest for things he believes in or disapproves of. Well enough of that gushing……. I am just totally inspired.


(Source – The Legend Joe Strummer Facebook page – http://www.facebook/TLJOESTRUMMER)

The Buzzcocks – Punk & Sexuality

19 Apr

Last week with the death of Margaret Thatcher, I found myself contemplating the punk movement and their opposition to the Thatcher government and its policies. See posts – and ___________. With this I was listening a lot to The Clash (my favourite punk band). One afternoon after work I stopped off in the city and picked up some local street press (free newspapers discussing music, movies and queer topics). I picked up Queensland Pride (a local Queer Street press publication) and I saw an articles about the British punk band, The Buzzcocks. It was an enlightening article!!

I had no idea about the band’s queer ness / support for the queer community and that the lead singer, Pete Shelley is bisexual. I had never listened to their music. I had seen references and articles to the band over the years, but I thought they were a macho (given that the term ‘cock’ is in the band’s name) male orientated punk band. I was rather wrong. The ‘cock’ in the band’s name in fact refers to the Manchester slang for mates/friends. And to discover that in their songs there were references to sexuality and bisexuality, was fascinating. Peter Shelley had also been “involved in student politics at college and campaigning for rights of women and gays and lesbians and bisexuals.” A marriage of campaigning for LGBTI rights, equality for women and punk politics. I loved this. I was inspired.

I mentioned this to my girl over the weekend and said I wanted to listen to some of their music. And low and behold, my girl bought me two of their albums yesterday! She is awesome. So I had a chance to listen to their music this morning on my drive to the train station. I like it. And there were a few songs that I liked straight away – great guitar, beat and lyrics. I will be listening to more over the weekend I suspect.

I am also going to try and listen to some female punk bands such as X-Ray Specs and some Queercore (punk that rejects the disapproval of LGBTQI people) bands.

Links –

A Short Story

11 Apr

The death of Margaret Thatcher this week had stimulated my thoughts, and I have been thinking of the punk movement, the band the Clash, British patriotism, the Falklands War, “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland and the IRA (prominent at the time of Margaret Thatcher’s terms as Prime Minister).

Yesterday morning I was thinking of a story / novel idea that I had floating around in my head in the late 1990’s when I had an avid interest in “The Troubles” and the military history of the Falklands War. The story idea revolved around a young Australian woman, a police officer in the UK, her relationship with her older Royal Marine husband, the impact that military and terrorist activities had had on their lives, and their troubled daughter/stepdaughter who dabbles in a relationship with her teacher, a lesbian romance and a passion for the emerging goth subculture.

I didn’t develop the story (on paper anyway) any further than writing a short story – A Short Story – Agenton my other blog Red Passion Writings. It is strange for me to look back at and read this story I wrote over thirteen years ago and when I was straight / unaware of my lesbian sexuality / a repressed lesbian. Very strange. A sense of uncomfortableness (with my previous straight life and desires perhaps and reading my own work) coupled with a little sense of pride. I had written this! I don’t think it is that well written, and the plot could be improved, but I am proud. Perhaps I will develop the story further and use it as the basis of a novel.

Margaret Thatcher’s Death and a bit of Punk music

10 Apr

Following on from my post Margaret Thatcher from yesterday, I have been contemplating the diverse reactions to her death, my seemingly disparate views regarding her impact as a woman in politics,as a scientist and her conservative politics and the philosophy behind the Punk movement (partially in reaction to Thatcherism). The Clash songs, “The Guns of Brixton” and “Know Your Rights” have been playing in my head.

Margaret Thatcher’s death is certainly a very contentious matter in the UK and the world. And for myself. I was raised in a liberal, left wing family with an English father. I heard of the impact of Margaret Thatcher, her policies and the Tory party on the UK from a young age. I am a big fan of British Punk band The Clash (and the Sex Pistols but to a lesser extent) and their political views. I am fascinated by the Punk Movement and its philosophy and the large role that the opposition to the Tory Party conservative politics, Margaret Thatcher and policies implemented by her government played in creating and maintaining the Punk Movement. There are a number of The Clash songs (great favourites of mine) that (I think) evoke the struggles that young people and minority groups encountered during Margaret Thatcher’s leadership and left wing political views –

– Know Your Rights
– The Guns of Brixton
– The Call Up

There are probably many other more politically charged and anti-Thatcher songs, but I have simply mentioned the songs that I like.

I am fundamentally opposed to so many of the policies and changes she implemented in The UK (and which influenced many other governments, whether right wing or left wing (including the Australian Labor Party) around the world). Privatisation and economic rationalisation are two legacies I particularly detest. I am also fundamentally opposed to the policies implemented against minority groups and disadvantaged areas, along with the UK’s involvement in the war in the Falklands (although I do have a keen interest in the military history of this conflict).

For me she is a symbol of women being able to achieve the ultimate in politics – leading a nation, leading a political party, leading a country at war and have power and influence. But the fact that she held little sympathy for feminists, female colleagues and ordinary woman, does sour the praise for her achievements as a woman. Rhian Jones in her article Was Margaret Thatcher the first Spice Girl? on the Guardian website mentions that “Thatcher’s impact on popular culture and as a role model for women, then, remains as contested an issue as her political and economic legacy.”

I never lived in the UK when she was in power (and also haven’t lived there in the aftermath) so I don’t know first hand the impact of her policies and politics. I discuss this based on my own political beliefs and my feminist beliefs. I find it a bit distasteful that people are celebrating her death. I acknowledge that she did do many “evil” things, but I don’t agree with celebrating the death of another human being. This is something that doesn’t fit well with me. I particularly found the celebration in the USA (and patriotic displays) of the death of Osama Bin Laden disturbing. But as I said above, I did not live in the UK and was not personally effected by her policies.

It will be interesting to see the reactions and sentiments when Margaret Thatcher’s funeral is held next week in the UK.