Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Punk Footnotes #9 - Live in Yugoslavia - Anti Nowhere League

ANL are probably worthy of two footnotes. They appeared as the real fag end of Punk in about 1981/2. They were probably best described as a prototype for the likes of Blink 182 and the Macc Ladds. Straight forward Punk tunes with a bucket full of predictable offensiveness to chuck around.
Their first claim to fame was their cover of Ralph McTell's 'Streets of a London' which actually pretty good and its b side 'So What.'
So What got sort if banned. Not banned in the Frankie Goes to Hollywood BBC way,  but properly seized by the police. The song was meant to be based on a pub argument where two men try to out brag each other. In pursuit of this the lyric moved from drug taking, STD's and fellating elderly gentlemen into far more dubious waters. And hence the attentions of the police. It gave the band a few moments of notoriety before the storm in a tea cup passed.
However the song gained an unlikely second life through American Heavy Metalers Mettalica. The song became one of their live favourites. Watching on YouTube, seeing  them boast 'I've been to Brighton, I've been to Hastings, I've been to Eastbourne too' is one of the more surreal moments in Rock. Though times had moved on and they did replace the reference to 'school girl' with 'teacher' with good reason.
Onto the second footnote. The band played in Zagreb in 1983, and a well recorded live album emerged of it. Though Yugoslavia was probably the most nonconformist of the Eastern Bloc states the iron curtain was very much still down, Reagan and Thatcher glowering and a pre Gorbachev series of immobile Soviet leaders still waving at tanks. Details are sparse on how the gig came about, and what if any impact it had.  There are claims the inter song banter was edited to remove references to Tito, and ANL's suspicion that the audience were expecting the Human League. But it does beg the question, why ANL? And also what if any legacy resulted from this exchange? An internet search does not reveal much more but it is fun to think about.
There is a sad irony given what was soon to happen in that country about ANL cheerily banging through songs with titles like ' I hate people' and 'let's break the law.'