It had been four long years since that first bleak winter of punk when I stumbled into the Kenfig Hill Miner’s Social Club after a shift down Big Pit 2 and witnessed the gig that changed my life. Post-punk, proto-socialist R’n’B legends Arthur Nibble and the Mindcrushers were playing my village.
It was the classic Mindcrusher line up; Arthur Nibble on vocals, Douglas Fir on bass, Clint Midnight on drums and Tim XX on guitar. Snarling, visceral, incredibly unpleasant howls of proletarian rage filled the air as the be-chestwigged Arthur gave me my first taste of R’n’B Marxist economic analysis. Before that night I’d never heard a band talk about the crushing, alienating reality of a world torn apart by Capitalist social relations. Songs like ‘Giving Ned Sherrin the Vibes’ and ‘Meat for Cats’ (about Arthur’s loathing for 80s City fat cats) connected with the many teenage miners there that night. But it was the classic, ‘Tyneside’, that really spoke to us about our everyday lives:
“some of the houses are rat-infested/ there’s nothing up there to keep you interested”; “the only industry is coal/everybody’s on the dole”.
This was our lives. Not Club Tropicana, not Dandy Highwaymen (although Adam & the Ants are great, obviously) but boredom, the dole and rats.
I was lucky enough to meet Arthur after the gig and, after a long chat about football, he encouraged me and my friends to start our own band. That band is Thee Faction and we salute you, Arthur Nibble and the Mindcrushers, our inspiration.