Live footage of the Liberation of IRAH
Joyous scenes last weekend as IRAH (the Independent Republic of the Assembly Hall) was liberated by hundreds of people intent on having a good time. The Elite Republican Guard (nicknamed “Security” by the Republic’s hierarchy) looked on in grumpy bemusement as their territory was overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers. The invading troops, clearly recognisable by their dyed hair and cool clothes (look, it’s a work of fiction, all right?) stormed the gates of the presidential palace.
Mass hysteria ensued as the “army” symbolically tore down posters
advertising the organised torture of innocent people in the town of
Tunbridge Wells. The posters were covered in inflammatory and disgusting
slogans like “Pantomime featuring Dirty Den from Eastenders” and hideous
photos of the massacre that is “Peter’s Hi-Fi Disco”. The ritual
destruction continued with the toppling of a statue of the mayor Mr
The jubilation culminated with a concert of “rock” music in the main hall. It was a moment of great emotion for so many of us when the first band took the stage. Previously, the leadership had banned any kind of popular music or people under thirty appearing on a stage.
A previous attempt at sparking a revolution had
ended with the insurrectionists (ooh and indeed eer), the BPT, being
banished from the Republic for attempting a coup armed only with a fire
extinguisher and a four pack of Tennents Super.
Criticisms of the invading army’s attack methods, including the notorious “carpet rucking” have now been forgotten. Indeed the liberators strict observance of the religious laws of the Republic – no drinking, no smoking, no smiling, get your hands out of your pockets and what you looking at sonny? – and their cheerful tolerance of local customs (some rather questionable groping disguised as “frisking” and the endless repetition of the phrase it’s-more-than-my-job’s-worth-to-be- polite-I-don’t-care-how-much-you-paid- to-get-in) have endeared them to press and public alike.
This rather lame piece replaces my hilarious comparison of David Beckham’s transfer to Real Madrid with Mark Davyd’s seemingly permanent holiday in Barcelona, which has been pulled at the last minute due to editorial concerns about content. Oh and threats to my family.
Blam is owned and produced by The Forum. We are poor
starving musicians and artists who don't even have
a garret so there is very little point in coming after us for money just because we accused you of being a donkey basher, but if you are really intent on litigation, then you sue us via
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common, Fonthill, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8YU
But nine times out of ten I wouldn't bother because our lawyers, FULLER, SCHEIDT & BLAGGITT are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood.Once again we have to apologise for the combination of libel and obscenity that unfortunately, but necessarily scarred the last issue of Blam, and, with a bit of bollocking luck, this month's issue 'n' all. To all concerned parents, Ofsted inspectors, prudes, and people who just can't read, we would like to reiterate that the swearing contained herein does not make us look big and hard, after all, we're that already . It merely provides a pressure valve release from our humdrum daytime jobs working at Spud-U-Like, Citizens Advice Bureau and Kent Police. And for that we thank our badger-fucking, poodle-poking, quim-oozing lucky stars!.
Caffeine + Cousin Joey
Wednesday 23 july
& Tuesday 29 july
Dead pig heads. Phil Jupitus. 300 gigs a year. Kicking
pigeons. Beer. Welcome to the life of the UK's hardest working band,
(running a close second to Joeyfat!) , [spunge], Tewkesbury ska-punk
Leading the pack of the UK's burgeoning ska-punk scene, [spunge] are set to break the mould of a genre dominated by US acts such as Less Than Jake, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Reel Big Fish. Formed in July 1994, the band hit upon the sound by accident, having amalgamated their collective influences of Sublime, Stiff Little Fingers, The Clash and The Wildhearts. Undergoing a grassroots level of promotion by playing tour after tour after tour, [spunge] are living proof that bands can by-pass the media manipulation machine and still play sold-out shows across the country.
"It still very much a cult thing, but bands like Blink 182 and Sum 41 are bringing it out into the mainstream," explains vocalist Alex. "But there will always be a healthy underground culture 'cos it's very much part of the lives of skaters and kids like that."
Such is the humour of [spunge] that vegetarian bassist Jarvis was given a freshly removed pig's head for his 21st birthday by the rest of the band. He returned the joke in style, however, by naming the head 'Terry' and insisting that he travelled with them on the tour bus. Eventually the whiff of a dead pig in a hot sweaty tourbus meant that it just had to go.."I wanted a cow..." deadpans Jarvis in mock despair. With a less than serious take on the world, it's hardly surprising that [spunge] can count Never Mind The Buzzcocks star Phil Jupitus and Dave Gorman (whose live show 'Are You Dave Gorman?' won Time Out New York's Comedy Show of 2001) amongst their fans."Yeah, I heard that Dave Gorman plays 'Kicking Pigeons' at the end of all his shows!" enthuses Alex. "I guess comedians like us 'cos we're comedians ourselves!" Such is the popularity of [spunge], they'll be appearing on two separate nights in July, on Wednesday 23rd, and Tuesday 29th. These shows promise to be two of the best summer shows, tickets are are shifting like shit off a shovel, with the first night damn near already sold out!
plus Dysuria + Zucchini
Saturday 5 July
That LA's Halo Friendlies were picked as tour support for
pop-punkers Good Charlotte recently, and have also gatecrashed an episode
of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' with the song 'Run Away' will give you an
idea of the territory they inhabit, and if your idea of heaven is Gwen
Stefani fronting Foo Fighters playing Go-Go's covers then you've arrived.
It's propulsive, anthemic and family-friendly pop-rockers conveyed with
reckless whoop-it-up abandon. Long Beach, long legged, luscious,
lovelyCalifornian babes, (Steady on old man - concerned Ed) Halo
Friendlies owe more to bands like The Bangles and The Go-Go's than they do
to the Spice Girls. Their third album, 'Get Real' sees 'The Friendlies'
maturing into right royal rock n' roll princesses with a healthy appetite
for raw riffs, heavy bass-lines and bottom kicking drums, all produced by
The Muff's very own Kim Shattuck.
Having to suffer the ordeal of sharing a hot, sweaty, perspiration dripping, moist, musky-scented, Brut 33, and athlete's foot spray drenched changing room, and communal jacuzzi on the night will be Stable lads; DYSURIA, and ZUCCHINI
It's a dirty job, but someones......................................(continued ad nausea)
Defcon: MC Skinnyman
Saturday 26 July
Bollox in a barrow! Just look at this posse on the right will yer! At first
it looks like just another Saturday night outside the Pantiles KFC. But that's
where you would be wrong laddio!
Apparently this bunch of ne'er-do-wells features none other than the rather spiffing SKINNYMAN (also pictured left)), who I understand is a big noise in the 'young people's' drum 'n' bass and MCing wheels of steel, biddly, biddly bong, banging, onetime, two time, give it up big time, in tha house, stop dissin' me, bling bling, put your hands in the air etc sort of music, or so I'm led to believe!
("What the fuck are you on about you silly old fool; admit it, you can't find out anything about him can you?" - equally in the dark Ed
Three Inches of Blood
Saturday 12th July
Six men have one singular mission: to make Metal be your
master. Sure, they don't have long hair, air brushed paintings of ample,
dirty-pillowed Nordic swordswomen holding the reins of sabre-toothed
tigers on their tour van, (hang about..this sounds like Archaicus's
bedroom!) but damn it if they don't make you wanna bang your head against
the nearest Marshall stack.
Having dissected their Iron Maiden records as well as Mercyful Fate and Grim Reaper, the band feature two vocalists, one of whom is highly reminiscent of King Diamond's super high warble, whilst the other, ahem, vocalist provides gutteral screams that could be found in a lot of the newer black metal acts, if not in the meat-rendering department of Ramslye estate's Turner's sausage factory. Even old farts such as myself, who feel 80s metal is the exclusive domain of bands from that era hereby order you mortals to discover Vancouver's secret weapon and verily encouraged to pump thy fist in the air. As Bruce Dickinson of Surrey once said, "RUN FOR THE HILLS!"
Exactly what it says on the tin; a summer tour from that loveable ska-punk label Household Name Records, featuring FIVE KNUCKLE,
RED LIGHTS FLASH, THE FOAMERS and fops around town YE WILES. A night of skateboards, stop/start breakneck rhythms, tattooed biceps, with the heady aroma of stale snakebite hanging in the halcyon midsummer air.
...the sky beckons...
Wednesday 16 July
An evening of electronic dance music featuring two live
performances from DIALOG .The proceedings start with the first
performance, "Cathedral of sound", a laid back set of ambient &
atmospheric stylings, morphing into uplifting House.
The second performance, "Dark side of the fours" sees the band upping the tempo with a mix of deep grooves & shady techno.
In between performances, DJ Mog will be mashing up an eclectic selection of personal and public favourites. A party not to be missed, a game of two halves, and a large Jack Daniel's . Give it a bash.
Jason & the Astronauts
Friday 18 July
When I was about eight or nine, my uncle came to visit us
from Canada. It was the first time my brothers and sisters and I ever met
him. We were all so excited and rushed to the door when his taxi arrived.
Being the youngest and smallest, I was at the back of the queue when the
front door opened and he stepped into the hall. I had only seen the black
and white photos of him my mum had shown me from when they were children
and could not imagine what he would look like as a grown man. He was quite
a sight - six foot three tall with bushy ginger hair and a huge curly
beard. With his clothes in a khaki sack and his substantial belly, he
looked to me like some wild Santa Claus. Once the hand-shakes and hugs
were done with, he rummaged around in his pack and brought out a wooden
box. Inside, he told us, was a present for each of us. He opened the lid
of the box. It appeared to be full of tissue-paper. He handed each of us a
package. I tore mine open as quickly as I could. Inside was a carving of a
seal made of smooth stone. My brothers and sisters had the same. My uncle
explained that the seals had been carved by the Inuit people who lived in
the north and every carving was unique. He told us that the sculptors
would look for inspiration from the shape of the raw stones they found and
would carve whatever the stones suggested. Because of this, my uncle said,
the carvings would not always be a realistic image of the animal the
sculptor chose. He looked at the seals and pointed to the one in my hand.
Like this one, he said. I looked down and saw that my seal was curled
almost into a ball and that the tail looked like it belonged to a whale.
All the rest of the carvings were neat and in proportion.
My brothers and sisters teased me mercilessly about that seal, saying that it was an off-cut or a mistake, but I came to realise it was the best of all of them. Because when he looked at that stone, my Inuit saw something that didn't exist before.
Thank you uncle.
OK, everybody clear about that? In other words, more avant-garde whimsy from three of Unlabel records finest.
Saturday 19 July
Being based in Helston, Cornwall, you'd think that all these fellahs had
to worry about was running out of pasties, scones and the next wave. But oh
no.....it's an endless sea of keychains, tattoos, shaven heads and working
class angst galore m'dear.
Consisting of James & Christian Norris on vocals and guitar respectively, with Ian on bass, and hyperactive Stuart Cable-alike Jez on the skins, there's no hiding their influences, and it's a dead cert that STAIND and the DEFTONES are never off their collective radiograms.
Chockablock full of drop-D chugging riffs, the guitars veer into SLAYER and sometimes even Kirk Hamnett territory. At the moment the lads are splattered all over MTV2 and Kerrang!TV with their new video. As Jack Duckworth once described them, "Like Killing Joke singing karaoke to a Deftones backing track"
Check 'em out at www.fallento.com
Friends of the Forum present: Dave Lambert
Tuesday 1 July
Dave first came to prominence in the late 60s fronting his own three piece
band, Fire, with an Apple publishing contract and a single on Decca
"Father's Name Is Dad" (now touted as a prime slice of psychedelia). The
single nevertheless failed to make as much headway as it deserved, despite
attracting Apple founder Paul McCartney's personal interest. Old pal Dave
Cousins whisked Lambert away to join the new electric Strawbs, replacing
founder member Tony Hooper. Lambert's upfront rock style, with large slabs
of Townshend-inspired guitar, was a shot in the arm for Strawbs, enabling
them to reach a much wider new audience, albeit at the cost of a few old
fans from the folk club days, who felt Cousins and co. had "sold out".
Dave had just joined the band - and streaked his hair (at management's
insistence!) - when they started to climb the UK charts with first "Lay
Down" (reaching number 12) and then "Part Of The Union" (reaching number 2
in the UK singles charts). The album from which "Part Of The Union" was
taken - Bursting At The Seams - also reached number 2 in the Album charts.
We are very pleased, nay, honoured to have Mr Lambert choose our 'umble shit-house to start his first solo tour in 60 years!
Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan
Wherein our mole in the moshpit, Paul Mills gives us the lowdown on what he's had occasion to witness at Europe's second largest toilet
I just love this old shithouse. It’s cold, it smells, the beer’s crap, tables are
constructed from empty lager barrels with chipboard on top, the seats (for want of a
better description) were designed by a sadist who didn’t want anyone’s
arse to feel the slightest bit comfortable, it’s dirty, the bogs are
somewhat rank and those fucking flashing rope lights and UVs are always
on, even when it doesn’t suit the occasion. It’s a masterpiece of
understatement and yet it’s such a great gig venue not in spite of its
shortcomings but perhaps because of them.
Compere Alexis Dubus doesn’t know what to make of the place. A floppy-haired skinny brat who looks irritatingly familiar although probably nothing to do with his vague resemblance to Hugh Grant, he endeavours to get a giggle out of the posters for Anal Dave and the artwork on our walls but eventually opts for the easier target of picking on students. And why not, that’s what they’re there for.
At only 24, Dubus has a surprisingly mature and confident manner. Whilst not totally comfortable with his role as compere, he’s got a very honest and insightful observational style that although not original or even riproaringly hilarious, is at least done well. He has the valuable ability to be able to parody himself by becoming the clown for us to direct our venom at, yet still remains warm and invitingly nice. And he can lift people with his cock, which is always a handy trick at dull parties.
Inder Manocha is from Kashmir, has the air of an overworked GP and admits that he looks like an asian Lloyd Grossman. Having received a number of commendations for his act over the past year or two, Manocha offers comedy for Guardian readers delivered in a somewhat smug and contrived satirical style. The thing is, do we need more Iraq/Bin Laden gags just because the comic knows that he can play the race card and get away with it? Probably not. It’s unimaginative for a man of his obvious intellect and the likes of Paul Chowdry do it with so much more class.
Although predictable, with an occasionally whining voice that grates after a very short while, Manocha has at least got the ability to maintain his momentum and does occasionally come out with some corking material. The “I Will Survive” Refugee Rap being a case in point, but essentially he seems to be a one-trick pony, although not necessarily a bad trick.
The next slot in the evening often seems to belong to a rather inexperienced act and occasionally, the Forum unleashes some absolute gems. Dan Atkinson is a very intriguing young weirdo who’s difficult to pigeonhole and that can only be a good thing. Surreal and scruffy like a reluctantly trendy English teacher from 1970’s Oxbridge, the pseudo-intellectual posh kid gone-to-seed character he plays is for some reason quite hilarious. What he does is neither fresh nor easily accessible, but he does certainly have his own intense slant on how he does it, which is both brave and inventive.
Basing his act around readings from the works of the fictitious Herman Fairy, a man obsessed with Drambuie and stroking his moustache, Atkinson has the precious quality of genuine bewilderment that people find him funny. His material is intrinsically as amusing as toothache, but he proves beyond all doubt that it’s all in the delivery; not what you say, but how you say it. His air of fumbling, bumbling foppishness is in itself touchingly twee, and we find ourselves laughing not at the gags, but at the manner in which they are presented. The upshot is, we laugh and don’t know why, because repeating any of it to someone else wouldn’t even raise a smile. Given an opportunity to extend his repertoire a little, Dan Atkinson might be one of the most surprising undiscovered talents you’ll see for a while.
Tonight’s headliner Valentine Flyguy is a blaxploitation spoof, courtesy of brummie Zeron Gibson. Like a cross between Huggy Bear, Shaft and Sly Stone, VF is an outrageous pisstake of a genre that the predominantly studious audience have no meaningful memory of, but that really doesn’t matter much. His wit is as bright and sparkling as the gold chains around his neck, and he’s as smooth as his red velvet trousers.
Claiming to be from Harlem (don’t they all?) VF walks the walk and talks the talk so well, with such unashamed ego, that he makes being picked on seem like a privilege. Pointing out that beardy-wierdy Kevin (whom Alexis Dubus lifted with his groin earlier) looked like the magazine shop bloke in The Simpsons, was an inspired move as he could come back to it at intermittent intervals and we’d still not think he was labouring a point. This wasn’t luck though, it was pure instinct for knowing how much something can be comfortably milked.
Full of incisively crude sexual observation and stretching the black street hustler pimp role beyond breaking point, Gibson’s creation breaks rules simply because he can and doesn’t give a damn whether you like it or not. However, what’s remarkably clever about him is that it’s so geared towards the British sense of humour, albeit delivered in the worst Harlem accent imaginable. Americans simply wouldn’t ‘get’ Valentine Flyguy because they cannot grasp the irony of perverting a stereotype, so it’s fitting that he manages to achieve so much by exploiting their clichés without sacrificing his undeniable charm and charisma.
Right on, bro…
We always like to hear from new contributors, new bands, new people, people who hate swearing, big ones, small ones, some as big as your head.Because believe you me, it's a right hard slog making up all the lies, half-truths and general bollox that we lovingly/laughingly call BLAM
You can write to us at
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8YU
Or call the office enquiry line on 01892 545792
We also have a constantly updated (!) website where you can find out all about what's on. That's at
You can also email us, so do that to:
On the website you can book tickets, find out what's coming up, get a map, get a life, throw virtual sponges, rocks and dead rats at our very own virtual Aunt Sally, Max the Evil Sound Guy. If after all that excitement you still feel angst ridden, you can go on our messageboard and start arguing whether we include too many Appalachian Nose-Flute nights in our gig programming The address for that is http://members.boardhost.com/twforum