New Year’s Eve. A daft piece of punctuation. We reject it.
However, while everyone else is out having a wild rumpus, we thought we should send out some comradely salutes to those we have stood shoulder to shoulder with in the last 52 weeks. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with them into the future, of course. Indeed, many are new friends who are now solid comrades. Already we are forging new alliances that we can see will be solid as a rock in 2013 (the comrades at Philosophy Football, for example, with whom we will be celebrating the victory over the dastardly Nazis at Stalingrad in February). But here is just a selection of those we have fought the forces of capital with over the last 12 months. There are many others. And there’ll be many more. We’re snowballing, comrades. Snowballing…
Horace Hardman left us to pursue revolutionary activities in Australia…..Thee Citizen filled his revolutionary boots and then some, taking over bass playing and a significant propaganda and revolutionary conscience role within the Guild….Brass Kapital, who had been with us at the end of 2011, cemented their position in the Guild and continue to make us a better thing with their horns and their booze and their revolutionary barometer….Comrade Boot took outdoor photos…Stephen Dowling took indoor photos….Comrade ‘Cils, aka Andy Watt, continued to supply artwork of the highest possible quality – the revolution may not be televised but it will be sketched and coloured in beautifully….the Trots at Soviet Beret managed to motivate themselves for long enough to get our new album out (and then moaned about how we publicised it, as usual)….the comrades at the Half Moon, and particularly Comrade Carrie, supported us through three DDRofRnBs….St Pauli FC of Hamburg played our own Capitalism is Good For Corporations That’s Why You’ve Been Told Socialism Is Bad All Your Life as they took the pitch….Gerry Ransen was at the very vanguard of the war of position, fighting the culture war on our, and therefore on the class’s, behalf….Gideon Coe made sure Socialist RnB was on the national airwaves by playing Thee Faction on heavy rotation on his BBC6 Music show….Comrades Gary Crowley and Ruth Barnes did the same on their Amazing Radio shows….Comrade Richard Archer off of out of that chart topping outfit Hard Fi sang lead vocals on Who Benefits? on our new LP…..the talented and comradely Hatty Ashdown (don’t let the surname put you off) lent her support and her gags to us….As did the phenomenal Josie Long, who remains a steadfast comrade who, despite the busiest of schedules, found time to hit us with some of her most polemical, and yet funniest, material at the DDRofRnB….Comrade Cass Browne reminded us that you’re nothing without a uniform…Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard opened up his shed and his home to us for the recording of Singing Down the Government and provided great vibes, an expert ear and the warmest desk in rock, making recording an unusually joyful experience….Comrade Ian Shaw then took the tapes and worked his characteristic magic on them, on his houseboat in Florida….finally one of our oldest friends – Comrade Harvey Birrell – mixed it, making it, very sadly, the last record to be mixed at the legendary, and comradely, Southern Studios….Two of the most comradely men we have ever met – Pete Murray and Tim Lezard – continued to throw their energies into Union News, and found time to help us in myriad ways….Comrade Keith Hatch of the SW TUC invited us to headline the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival, which we did, and which was probably the highlight of our year (if you’ve never been you MUST go next year)….the SWP asked us back to their Marxism Festival for the second year running, this time at the Scala, where we were joined by the fantastic Actionettes and we played with the inspirational Laetitia Sadier….the Welsh Communists invited us to play their Communist University of Wales in Pontypridd, which was a blast, and where we got to put in some quality time with the internet legend that is Hegemony or Bust…Comrade Sam Veal continued to be the rock upon which the Thee Faction merch empire is built….We played with some brilliant bands who you should go and see repeatedly – amongst others: Give Me Memphis (in Newport), Blindness and The Nuns (both at DebFest), Joanne Joanne (the hottest sounds of the moment – an all woman Duran Duran tribute band), The Tuts and Colour Me Wednesday (with their interchangeable line-ups – the spirit of punk resides within these bands), Shocks of Mighty (if Tuts Me Wednesday represent the spirit of punk, Shocks represent its body), Wojtek Godzisz (who ended up employing Billy Brentford on drums, extraordinarily)….Clencha rapped on Responsible on the new LP, and was a ball of energy and positivity….We played with Franz Nikolay – an honour in itself – who then described us as ‘Redskins meets Girlschool’, which is about as good as it gets….But perhaps not quite as good as our new best friend Attila the Stockbroker saying that our new album is ‘album of the year, and I include the new Dexys album in that’…Indeed, the Dexys theme continued into the Vive Le Rock review which reckoned that our Singing Down The Government could be the best song Dexys never wrote…Half the Guild went to see Dexys at the Empire and were blown away….We salute Dexys….We salute Attila, who has, in a very short time, cemented his position as a Guild confidante….A trio of Essex Men – the Podrophenia gang of Piley, Dave and Mark – have looked after us in a million ways, putting us on in Southend, but writing about us everywhere, broadcasting us, talking us up and, in the case of Mark ‘Marmite Boy’ Lancaster, just providing a constant inspiration and standard we try to hit….Comrade Paul Guided Missile who lets us play in his fashionable North London club at the Buffalo Bar and humours us….Comrade Doc, who continues to pretend to be a Tory in order to smuggle us into the Telegraph, and is our one official ‘Conservative Friend’ (though, as Kassandra Krossing pointed out, ‘she’s far too funny and clever and, well, nice to be right wing’)….Comrade Andrew Harrison, at the other end of the political spectrum, smuggling us into the pages of every mag he works on…..a huge salute to Comrade Mark Serwotka who is a constant source of inspiration and a beacon in a murky class war, who said such lovely things about us…..To the indomitable Rich Simcox, whose pen is as mighty as any sword that may be unsheathed in this struggle…..Comrade Ngaire Ruth, who finds as many reasons as she can to get us into the pages of thegirlsare….The Morning Star has printed far more about us than we could ever have hoped….The gang at Bookmarks – the only retail outlet currently authorised to sell our records – popped up everywhere we went, and were lovely and comradely at all times….Comrade Danny Baker, who, despite criminally losing his radio show, found time to say good good things about us….This year we met a gang of men who call themselves Steve White and the Protest Family, and they have left an indelible mark on us, offering a genuine example to everyone, and particularly to us, of how a bunch of working people can fight a class war, make fantastic music, laugh, drink, dance and enjoy life when properly up against it….We also met a band who we confidently believe will be enormous, and we’re proud to have played with them twice in the run up to that moment: Eight Rounds Rapid we salute you….Finally, a huge salute to Comrade Francis Wheen, whose support throughout the year has been immense – a year in which, like others on this list, he has faced all manner of adversity, demonstrating constantly that if socialism is about anything it’s about joy and hope and humour and people, and who gave such a fantastic speech as we took the stage at the Buffalo Bar that the Thee Faction performance itself was something of an anti-climax, until, of course, he offered up his backing vocals on Marx My Main Man and all was well….To all on this list, and any not on it who we have stood shoulder to shoulder with, we raise our fists in salute….
However, let’s not forget that the trio of evils which has plagued us this year continues to prevail: Cameron, Capitalism and Mumford & Sons. But we’re winning this war of position. Their days are numbered. Fight on, comrades, into 2013 and beyond. Unto the Great Day.
See you at Baby Face’s birthday on the 12th January.