steve white and the protest family

What news from Thee Faction?

We’ve not been keeping you abreast of stuff. So here’s the news.

On Wednesday 22nd May we’re quietly playing the Buffalo Bar in Islington, to celebrate Billy Brentford’s birthday. Want to come? Just turn up and tell them on the door why you’re there. No charge, but it’s a party so keep it comradely. Joanne Joanne are playing too. They’re epic.

On Sunday 26th May we’re playing the Now We Are festival in  West Bromwich. Get your tickets here.

The next day we release our new single. Better Than Wages. It’ll be available for free, here on our website. In the meantime, here’s the video:

Then, on June 1st, we are playing our great friend and comrade Attila the Stockbroker’s Glastonwick Festival. We’re playing last, on the Saturday night. Which the bourgeois end of the music industry might call ‘headlining’. We call it ‘going on last on the Saturday night’. You have to come to this. And when you do make sure you catch Grace Petrie and Robin Ince and Attila and everyone else. But especially Steve White and the Protest Family.

Then on the 6th July Thee Faction, The Protest Family, Attila, and all sorts of others will be playing the Matchwomen’s Festival in London. It’s going to be free and ultra comradely. Come.

And then we release the new album.

goog politics stretched

After which we all club together, bring down capitalism, and build something much better. Just as Marx and GDH Cole intended. But this only happens if everyone plays the game. So join us.

The Gig of 2012 – 12/12/12 Buffalo Bar, London


On Wednesday 12th December you have the opportunity to attend the gig of 2012. Something pretty spectacular will need to happen in the last few days of the year if this one is to be beaten. We’ll talk you through it.

First up, Eight Rounds Rapid. Essex’s finest. We predict this will be the last time you see them play bottom of the bill anywhere. Indeed, we suspect the next time you see them it’ll be somewhere much bigger, and they’ll be top of the bill. We played with them on their home turf, in Southend, and they were phenomenal. Best young band in Britain. Think ATV/Gang of Four/World Domination Enterprises/Future of the Left/Dr Feelgood/ John Cooper Clarke. But ploughing their own furrow in the finest way. Here’s their latest:

Then it’s a gang of our very favourite comrades (individually), grouped together as one of the world’s most comradely bands. Steve White and the Protest Family. At the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival earlier this year, everywhere you looked they were playing. And they were always epic. If you’ve never seen them you will love them. If you have seen them you already love them. Here’s one of theirs:

In between the Protest Family and Thee Faction comes what could be the high point of the evening. It’s certainly the bit that is most intriguing those who are coming. One of Thee Faction’s very favourite writers and comrades, Francis Wheen, is going to say a few words. You know him, of course, from Radio 4’s The News Quiz, from Private Eye, from the odd appearance on Have I Got News For You…but mainly you know him from his books. He brought Marx to life in his 1999 biography of the great man, for example. Thee Faction devour everything he writes. So it’ll be ‘best of order’ for a few minutes while he addresses the hordes. He may even throw in some vocals on a couple of Thee Faction songs….

Then we’re on. It’s our last show of an incredible year. We’ve played with some amazing bands this year (Franz Nikolay, Attila The Stockbroker, Laetitia Sadier, The Tuts, Joanne Joanne….). We’ve played some fantastic events (Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival, Marxism 2012, Communist University of Wales, the DDRofRnB…). We’ve put out the best Socialist RnB album of the year. But we’ve already got half an eye on 2013. Indeed, we’ll be straight into the studio in January to record the next album. So at the Buffalo Bar gig there’ll be some old favourites, some carefully chosen prime cuts from the current album, and a handful of corkers off the next one. Plus we’re polishing our polemic…..Less rock more talk….

So you’re going to be getting your fiver’s worth. Or six quid’s worth if you pay on the door. But we recommend booking tickets in advance. More efficient.

Doors open at 20.00. Get there early. Miss nothing. And wear your best clothes. You owe it to the movement.

Mumford & Sons? Loyal to their class.


So, you’re a bunch of musicians. You’re getting a lot of stick from journalists and commentators of quality (Simon Price, for example). They’ve spotted that you’re the sons of the ruling class, that you were laden with privilege from birth, and that you’re part of a network of remarkably similar musicians, of remarkably similar backgrounds, who are dominating popular culture. Now, no one has to be all about where they’re from. Marx, Engels, Paul Foot, Tony Benn…even GDH Cole went to the same school as Noah and the Whale, a couple of Mumfords, and George Osborne. It’s not where you’re from. Its where you’re at. But if you’re Mumford & Sons the onus has got to be on you to demonstrate which side you’re on. Surely, at a bare minimum, you must be aware that most of the people buying your bland, meaningless, self-indulgent, therapeutic records share neither your background nor your indifference to economic affairs.   OK, you watch them on the telly playing the festivals and the front ten rows are populated by punters who look like 2014’s fresher intake at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey. But they’re shifting a lot of units, those boys, and they surely feel some responsibility towards the people at the sharp end of austerity Britain who might mistakenly believe that these Mumfords offer a diversion from the crisis. They’re out there meeting people. Are they learning nothing?

‘Cos tonight (14/3/12), comrades, Mumford & Sons are playing the White House. Playing air-banjo out in that audience will be David Cameron, William Hague and George Osborne, proud to see the best of safe, white, ruling class British music on that Washington stage, comfortable that the Brit musicians on the stage will be people they’re easy in the company of, people whose dads are probably friends of theirs. Mumford & Sons playing the White House is the embodiment of the cultural logic of this Tory-led administration, and of British capitalism in general. Musicians are no longer the minstrels the ruling class hire for the occasion. These days they recruit their own. It’s safer that way. They’re part of the racket.

Now you can still choose not to be part of it. These Mumfords fancy themselves as being of the folk tradition. That which brought us Woody Guthrie, say, or Joe Hill. The folk tradition has a long, proud history of facing down power. Is that relevant today? Fucking right it’s relevant today. Just check out Grace Petrie or Steve White and the Protest Family. That’s proper folk music. Mumford & Sons are offered choices. Let’s face it, they’re offered far more choices than most musicians. And they consistently – really consistently – take the wrong ones. In the war of position they had a side chosen for them by upbringing. But they can still choose to change sides. Plenty have. Plenty do. Mumford & Sons don’t.

So tonight they play the White House. While, in July, Grace Petrie, Steve White & The Protest Family and Thee Faction will all be lining up at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. You see the difference? You see why Mumford represent everything that’s wrong?

Does it matter? A bit. But not much. Remember, when you’re looking to change the world, don’t call on rock’n’roll. Call on GDH Cole.