WE ARE WORKING TOWARDS BECOMING A REGULAR LOCAL MAGAZINE, local being roughly within a 25 mile radius of Burnley. So – news, reviews, information etc about things going on in the area are most welcome – Also general contributions and criticisms.EDITORIAL IN ATTAM ISSUE 8
At the very end of the 1970’s and into the early 80’s East Lancs had it’s own vibrant punk scene with local bands, fanzine-makers, gig organisers, musicians collective, writers and artists. Documented recently by Mid-Pennine Arts in their Sick of Being Normal exhibition and reunion event. One of the best known local punk bands were the NOTSENSIBLES, whose short career from 1978 to 1982 included an appearance on the John Peel show and the release of their most successful/best known single – I’m in love with Margaret Thatcher.
Quite how we got involved with the post punk scene I’m not sure now – it might have been through our singing (See: Singing for our Lives) or it may just have been that the Not Sensibles guitarist, Sage, lived a couple of streets away in Burnleywood. We contributed a track to a compilation tape of local bands and singers. We also played a couple of lunchtime post punk gigs at the Carlton pub. Sage at the time was morphing from punk lead guitarist into classical guitar busker. This must have been about 1983/4. Sage was also producing a newsletter/fanzine – printing it on an off-set litho printing press that he had set up in his kitchen.
There was a story that sage told about what had inspired him to start his own magazine. Something about a French writer artist who had started there own magazine in Paris sometime maybe in the 1930s, or maybe the 1960s. When we got involved around 1985 ATTAM had been coming out 2 or 3 times a year since 1982/3 as a music and punk politics paper. Covering East Lancs gigs with articles about things like Stop the City, Hunt sabbing and a column called Dirty Fingers in Dirty Pies exposing big business misdemeanours. Interspersed with bits of poetry and art work.
There were informal editorial/planning meetings that were held in Sage’s kitchen on tueseday evenings that me and Kate went along to and got invovled with what felt like a much younger crowd than we were used to working and socialising with. Looking at the few back copies of the mag that I have still I am surprised how much material that me and Kate either wrote ourselves or obviously had a hand in providing the info or the contacts for in three of the later issues. As well as bits that we wrote on: Anti-Apartied, CND, Hand made clothes and Men & Pornography. In one issue there was a full page article, titled Co-operation as a way of Life about People In Common that is one of the best summaries of what PIC was trying to do at the time that I have come across.
In February 86′ Derek from PIC went to Nicaragua as part of a work brigade to help build a school. Local people in Burnley helped raise money to send him – excerpts from letters he sent back to us were printed as a full page article in Issue 9 of ATTAM.
LETTER FROM NICARAGUA
…went for my first bike ride in Managua traffic yesterday. The worst problem was remembering to ride on the right and of course getting lost. Bought a sombrero & a little bottle of rum – eating out costs 30p, sombrero 50p & half bottle of rum 30p… We ended up calling the brigade the Blair Peach Brigade after the innocent British martyr to the cause of anti-racism.… I have been advised not to wear shorts where I am not known, not to be bare chested in town as the police will arrest me for indecency.
… You know Burnley’s long drop toilets well in Nicaragua my house has a toilet 30ft deep. The well is 300ft deep, but I still use sterilising tablets. I am living in a 2 room house with an earth floor, concrete block walls to 3ft then wood, no ceiling and cooking by wood. The smoke finds its way out through the roof. Also in the house are 8 people, some chickens & pigs, 1 dog, 1 cat & lots of fleas. The fleas are my main problem at the moment. Oh and a parrot!…
… My Spanish is getting better very fast. I have even found myself writing short notes to myself in Spanish… I speak mostly to a really nice 28 year old called Jose. He is very patient while I look up every other word in the dictionary. Sex is a big topic of conversation amongst men (and women). For Catholics they are extremely permissive. (For anyone!)… In my house they are more progressive the men cook when they are not doing something else. Rather than feeling it’s beneath them, as I have had it reported it is like in other houses… I haven’t been offered armadillo or iguana or monkey to eat. But Martin next door who lives with a poor family who hunt has…
…Sunday afternoon I helped some men collect firewood. They asked if I liked cerbeza (beer). I said yes and they invited me out for the evening to St Theresa, the nearest bigger Barrio. When we got there I found they had taken me to the St T branch of alcoholics anonymous. That is apparently who we had been collecting firewood for. After we went for a beer – they had fruit juice… Love Derek
I don’t think there were many issues of ATTAM after number 10, which is the last one I have a copy of. We moved to the Mill in 1988 and our ties with people in Burnley started to become looser. Sage (Aka Stephen John Hartley) sold his offset Litho printing press and gave up busking to become a doctor. He recently wrote about his experiences in a self-published book Painting Snails: A Rock and Roll Doctors Tale.There is also a set of songs to accompany the book and he has had a more recent musical presence under his own name. The Notsensibles play the odd reunion gig now and then and the recent Sick of Being Normal events in effect turned into a gathering of the old East Lancs punk clan 40 years on..
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