GIVE ME PASSION (WAKE UP BRITAIN) from Melody Maker, March 1983

A personal opinion by Mick Mercer

THIS is an open letter to you.

I accuse you, guilty or not, of avoiding the facts of musical life. I accuse YOU of lethargic anti-social practices.

Go back, back to ’77. Remember how you lived for music, how you thrilled for excess and welcomed the new revolution? You regarded the old regime with disdain and linked up with the new breed and their ideologies. You laughed at student principles. You were reviled by the gross activities of bands fleshing out their careers with minimum overall effort.

Remember that? That feeling?

Then take a look at today and your place in the scheme of things. Do you still crave, does lust survive? Do you scout the gig guide with relish and haunt the indie racks looking keenly for new blood?

I do. In what appears to be a minority pursuit. This espousal of the indie scene has fed the growth of the majors no end; the swines seeping back into overall control, and all because we allowed this soiled linen to be foisted upon us.

Times must change. Are you aware of the new revolution, from now on known as the new resolution, and the need for it to be accepted? Probably not.

Have you forgotten the need for real vein-bursting excitement?

Looking around me, it appears that people have. People have given in once again to the establishment. Given in to good old cosy rock n roll, which is no use.

Stir yourself! Don’t you realise that by succumbing so early after the last lessons was taught, you are crumbling morality in your hands? Waiting so expectantly for the new Cure, Simple Minds or Banshees album…it’s all ARMCHAIR MUSIC. You are the living ghosts of the pre-’76 period and we all know what they were like. You shouldn’t accept bands as they repeat past moments, diluted by the general ‘sound’; lauding over the illusory ‘achievements’, their subdued sentiments. Why feel content with that? Can you really give up, so easily?

Action you fools, action!

It’s all very well laying back with the new Bunnies album waiting to be played, but before we have another onslaught of ‘Topographic Oceans’, swivel your vision onto Kabuki, The Aemotii Crii or Blood & Roses. Don’t you realise, or are, that you are following in the of your misguided mid-Seventies predecessors?

You must care.

I positively recoil in horror when I see atrocities like The Belle Stars, Katcha SlapCrap or Indeep being appraised when Ipso Facto, Brigandage or Specimen could be bustling around for your delight. These bands are coming. They’ll be here soon. Look, they’re here now!

When The Jam split up it ended it all. That final curtain was the sign for anyone to question their position. If Paul Weller understands, then why doesn’t the majority of people with ears?

The ’77 generation has grown old and hideously complacent. There are new BIG names to bow down and yearly tours to fill out, there are programmes to buy and a yearly album to disappoint. People want safety and conformity. Some actually want to buy the new Japan album. That’s how bad things have got.

Christ, you don’t need me to tell you what Punk achieved and how much we owe those memories. Well, if you remember support for ’77 how can you not fail to question ’83 for the way the music scene is going?

Punk itself has never been worse. Hard to imagine that it actually can get any worse, things are that bad. It’s just so much aerated excrement mulling its way down a sewer. It grieves me to say that because once Punk meant everything to me but let’s be honest, we’re just being overwhelmed by excess crap. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean we have to wallow in it. We don’t have to swallow it.

I dunno…it’s truly exasperating to see bands like Exploited, Blitz, Anti-Nowhere League, Special Duties (and about a thousand others) being egged on to create further dross. They’re nothing but a joke.

Look! Remember these names:

Blood & Roses, Brigandage, Look Mummy Clowns, Hagar The Womb, Action Pact, Dead Man’s Shadow and Look Back In Anger. These bands have wrested back the creative crown and they’re coming your way. Why aren’t they well known already? Because people – YOU – have been dulled into accepting the names that exist. While names float around and become accepted, no-one seems to be looking any further.

The ’77 generation stands accused of normality.

Why for God’s sake do you need Tears For Fears or The Thompson Twins when there’s Danse Society already thriving? How can you go for mere meaty pop like Wah! where there’s Danse Society, or there was once UK Decay? There’s Sex Gang Children and Southern Death Cult too. Just what is it holding you back from rediscovering zest? Can’t you see what you’re becoming? Can’t you feel that student mantle slipping odiously onto your shoulders? Can’t you find that strange internal voice screaming Shadows Compilation Album?

I know I’m right because I’m in there where the right veins course. Two years of following The Dancing Did have kept me free from such putrefaction. I’ve basked in their intelligence and creativity and owe them a hell of a lot. It was them, Decay, DMS and Action Pact that have been responsible for keeping my head above water. They had the necessary punk spirit. Not punk as is, but punk as was. Not punk as in music, but punk as in spirit.

In ’83 there are two options. Continuing what you already doing (we call it the sleeping sickness) or taking the brisker alliance to your hearts. In ’83 inspired by Birthday Party, early Ants, Decay and Bauhaus (oh and a few others as well, I suppose) there’s those much quoted Blood & Roses, Sex Gang, Finish The Story, The Committee, the simply brilliant X-Mal Deutschland

These are the bands that matter.

Obviously Danse Society, Southern Death Cult and Sex Gang lead the way, but on tiny rafts behind them come the next wave, come to rid the world of mellow music. Give these bands sanctuary and it’ll be goodbye to the vacuous likes of Scritti Pollitti, Ultravox, Blancmange, The Vibrators, McLaren…my God, the list of cheap charlatans is endless.

Years ago people alluded to the sinking of the Titanic. When it went down we all cheered. Well, the bugger’s resurfaced somehow (all the gas I suppose) and vagrants stand ready with torpedoes.

Wake up you dozy bastards. Celebrate a new age!

Or just sit down people, for you can be called bloody tragic.

Or just sit down

I’m not hankering after The Good Old Days, that’s pointless. I just want to see things liven up. It’s all gone horribly quiet over there. It’s all gone horribly wrong. That kind of hush must be usurped Priest’s holes have been emptied, it’s back on the street.

Meet it.