Amersham Arms - Press Release

Anti-Benefit Cuts Benefit Gig - fundraiser for the campaign
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Amersham Arms - Press Release

Postby markR » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:39 pm

ADMISSION £5 / £2 concessions.


The S E London MAD PRIDE group are staging another fundraising event for the MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK a coalition of individuals and organisations with concerns around mental health issues , which MAD PRIDE are affiliated to, for their campaigning activity to raise concern about the government ‘moving the goal posts’ for qualification to sickness benefits, especially as it will impact on people with mental health issues. This follows from the success of their recent fundraising event at the Montague Arms.

We fear that the new ‘work test’ that has been criticised as flawed and inappropriate for people with mental health problems will be used to force vulnerable into inappropriate employment which could worsen their mental health problems or being moved on to lower level ‘Job Seekers’ benefits and then being put under pressure to show they are taking steps to seek work and accept unsuitable employment that could have a detrimental effect on their condition.

Monies are needed for this vital campaigning activity to ensure that the voice of people with mental health problems – who have traditionally been marginalised, will be heard. We would urge people to come to the event and support our cause and enjoy an evening of top quality acts – all of which are offering their services free in support of the campaign, in the process.

Artists to be featured are
PARADISE 9 – A mind blowingly cutting edge space/ dub /psychedelic / political punkeroo outfit building strong reputation on the underground festival scene- Fronted by Gregg McKellar, who has strong links with psychedelic old school types like Nik Turner of the original legendary ‘Hawkwind’ and also plays in a band with former ‘International Times’ maverick Mick Farren, the founder of the ‘Social Deviants’ and former ‘manager’ of the Infamous ‘Pink Faries’ on lead vocals , glissando guitar, psychedelic clarinet and FX, Also featuring punk legend in his own lunchtime, original Alternative TV co – founder Tyrone Thomas on searing psychedelic guitar, a long time Mad Pride member and activist. –
Think ‘Hawkwind’ meet the ‘Sex Pistols’, with the political sensibilities of The Clash and Crass - and you are getting part of the way there- the band have also been described as ‘Here & Now’ meets the ‘ The Buzzcocks.’ As previously featured on last years ‘Reclaim Bedlam’ event celebrating the historic links between Mad Pride and the Rock Against Racism at the Albany Theatre.

PARADISE 9 have a reputation for having many special guests at their gigs including Creative Routes musical mainman Pete McDonald, who’s own ‘Swamp Winos’ outfit performed at the recent successful fundraiser at the Montague Arms – and another long standing Mad Pride activist – who joined them onstage at the ‘Reclaim Bedlam’ event (sadly Pete will not be available to join them for this gig as he is away on a ‘mini tour’ of the Scottish highlands and islands with his pals in the ‘Alabama 3’). Another regular guest was the late legendary Judge Trev of ‘The Inner City’ Unit (RIP).Greg was proud to have been invited to be part of a special ‘Inner City Unit’ revival gig (as well as performing with Nik Turner’s ‘Space Ritual’) and Judge Trev will feature on some new recorded material to be released by the band later this year.

With Greg being based in Brighton and the band being in demand at gigs around the country this gig marks a relatively rare opportunity to catch the band at a London gig in advance of them performing at numerous festival events throughout the summer.

Equally psychedelic are fellow ‘post modern, prog, punk, metal space rockers’ THE STRANGE AGENCY, with more than a tip of the purple velvet hat to the spirit of ’67 – with every song being strongly political in intent and content and two lead guitarists the whole effect is distinctly MC5. – All the way from wild west Wales – a part of the whacky west Wales BONKERSFEST connection – with front man, former SE London ‘cult’ figure – well known for fronting legendary SE London bands such as ‘Whip the Minister’, ‘Underdog’, ‘Psyco’s Mum’,’Lord Snooty Deceased’ and shamanic technotrancers ‘Sunsnake’ – in various venues like Thames Polytechnic, the Goldsmiths Tavern and the AMERSHAM ARMS – and supporting luminaries such as ‘Dr Feelgood’ ‘Conflict’, ‘Here & Now’ and ‘Back to the Planet’ - the appropriately named Mr Craig High (for he surely is one of the most manic people you could ever hope to meet )- now resident in deepest west Wales he returns to his old stomping grounds- Craig performed at the first ever BONKERSFEST on Camberwell Green and the first of the regular ‘celebration of creative lunacy’ events staged by Mad Pride for World Mental Health Day in October 2004 with his gothic metal punk band ‘Pnevma’ – and also performed at the last full scale BONKERSFEST on the green in 2008 with the band he was involved with at that time the dub / folk / punk bedlamite bru ha ha of ‘Not the Only Clown in the Village’.

Well known for his agit prop lyrics and radical politics Craig just felt he had to do this gig, re arranging family commitments – as he recognised this was a cause that he had to support – to quote the man’s well known catchphrase. ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down!’ Also associated with Nik Turner and the old free festival scene, Nik has guested with them on various gigs and festivals in Wales and the band’s guitarist Dave Bates also plays with Nik’s acid jazz outfit. This marks the first London outing for the band in advance of many gigs and festival appearances over the coming summer.
‘mobilise your picket lines- it’s a sure sign of the times- don’t be told that your a fool –demonstate you know it’s cool’ –Here’s a good chance to raise your fist whilst getting your freak on.

The festival connection is extended further by the inclusion of quick fire comic poet RICHARD ALLEN – who was keen to come and support this event . People have been heard to ask ‘Who on earth is Richard Allen?’ – well the answer to that is that he didn’t write the ‘Skinhead’ books and has never played the drums with Def Leppard- he has been described by the List magazine as ‘The thinking man’s comedian’ – The Independent described him as having an ‘inspired comic narrative- which weaves around audiences expectations and delivers the killer punch’. Born in Liverpool he came to London to first make a name as a comic and poet in 1992 –
He describes himself as ‘Spike Milligan meets John Cooper Clarke and get’s drunk with John Hegley, then vomits through T.S.Elliot’s letter box’
Appearances at prestige venues such as the Comedy Store, Jongeleurs and Greenwich’s ‘Up the Creek’ comedy club cemented him a solid reputation and led to him appearing on the Theatre stage at the Glastonbury festival in 1994/’95 and ’97 and more recently in 2005 & 2008. Richard has a local festival connection as he was the compare and co organiser of the Deptford Urban Free Festival in 1994/5, which took place in nearby Fordham Park. (which in a small world both Tyrone and Craig were involved with helping to organise and performing at) He is no stranger to supporting ‘political’ causes having appeared onstage at the Carnival Against the Nazi’s in Brockwell Park in 1994. Richard has also appeared at many other festivals and venues including performances with Apples & Snakes and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

After a sojourn to Scotland, where he continued to perform and be involved in running comedy clubs and events he returned to London in 2000 where he has since continued to enjoy success and recognition – we are pleased to have his support for this event
The hilarious maverick comedian DANGEROUS T will also be making a guest appearance, how to describe this act – like a sort of black Tommy Cooper – completely radio rental – you have to see this to believe it. Has been making a name for himself with appearances at various venues around London – a special treat. Who say’s we don’t offer variety?

An articulate, melodic, poetic singer songwriter of quality and distinction is L.A.SALAMI, who was very well received at his performance at the ‘Billy Blake Birthday Bash’ last November- is invited back this time with his full band. Mr SALAMI describes himself as ‘a product of your imagination- old and new, young and aged, philosopher of saints and imposter doyen – twin sister to Dionysus and Apollo’s hungry son’. He makes music ‘despite your qualms’ and ‘starves in the spare hour’ – He remains unpretentious despite what this may imply and his sweet voice ‘is like the application of aloe vera on a sunburned back.’ – a treat not to be missed.

Australian singer songwriter’s DAVID STUDDERT is according to one comment on the web site for the world famous ‘12 Bar’ club ‘one of the best songwriters going around’ stark and edgy songs, are delivered with warmth and dry humour from the man also known for his ’12 Bar Cool’ events, and who could forget the brilliant nights he ran at the uber cool ‘Scooter Cafe’ dive bar in Waterloo? David has recorded a marathon 15 albums since 1990 – all released worldwide, as he is somewhat of a citizen of the world having lived in Angola, Argentina, Portland & Angleterre. His early stuff with cult aussie art punk band ‘Tactics’ being re released recently. He will turn his mysterious voice (like velvet coated gravel) to a series of ballads about mountain climbing accidents, false teeth, taking your clothes off in public places, UFO recovery rumours and so forth and so on.
Lots of people claim to have an original sound, this bloke really does.

David has now invited Mad Pride to contribute to the programming of an event he is planning for Saturday 30th April at the ‘Horse’ in Waterloo – that will feature the ‘Swamp Winos – who impressed so much at the recent Montague Arms fundraiser -where we can also raise a collection for this vital campaign which David is keen to support

There is a bit of an outbreak of David’s at this event (they say it’s all a state of mind) with poets DAVID KESSELL and DAVID AMERY also appearing on this bill. These form a part of the Mad Pride East End connection. DAVID KESSELL standing ‘survivor’ poet much respected from his performances around the poetry circuit over many years and his many published collections – his stark visceral language throws you deeper into reality, hallucinogenic in its intensity, this man is a complete legend. DAVID AMERY is another long established favourite on the small gig scene for his off the wall performances around London who has also been known to run successful events in his own right. Working in Housing support for people with mental health difficulties and closely affiliated with many ‘survivor’ artists, both were keen to show there support for a cause they recognise as vital – they were naturals to invite for this event.
When not wearing a hoodie and crusading loudly for social justice ‘left wing activist’ and writer FRAN LOCK has been building a reputation as a performance poet at various events. Her first collection of poems and sketches ‘Flatrock’ is due out on May 25th –published by ‘Little Episodes’ a social network for writers, musicians and artists that is also an independent publishing and arts production company that seeks to promote the arts as a therapeutic tool and does work to de stigmatise depression and addiction issues- providing a platform for established and emerging voices to address issues and themes excluded from the mainstream. Little Episodes firmly believes that art is not a corporate commodity and giving control of arts industries back to artists.
We felt we had to invite FRAN and the Little Episodes organisation in this event to be involved after seeing her perform at one of the regular ‘Talking Rhythms’ poetry events, the mentor of which Bernadette Reed made an appearance treating us to her beautiful singing voice at a recent fundraiser for the MHRN at the Joiners Arms recently and who’s co – conspirator in the ongoing success of ‘Talking Rhythms’ is the self styled doyen of beats’ the well known and much loved Lewisham based beat poet JAZZMAN JOHN CLARKE, know known as a London institution, who in another small world syndrome also be performing on this event.
Known for being one of the hardest working gigging performers around there is almost hardly ever a night that goes by when John is not performing somewhere, as well as having a reputation for running his own top quality events, it is rare he has ‘a quiet night in’. Published by the Tall Lighthouse Press, JOHN has also worked with musicians of a diverse range of styles and can ‘jam’ his poetry over almost anything – he has that kind of natural ‘jazz’ sensibility – that’s why his beloved jazz is his favourite musical choice and he has worked with some highly respected jazz artists including his own floating ‘Jazz Circus’ pool of musicians, with one manifestation of which, featuring jazz / improv guitar legend Billy Jenkins, percussionist Charlie Wright and saxophonist Jimmy Beckley, he recorded the album of the same name and performed with various other musicians on the ‘baby BONKERSFEST’ stage at Lewisham People’s Day and the previous years ‘One Sandwich Short of a Picnic’ in Southwark Park.
THE JAZZMAN is a well known face at the venue and in the local area from his many appearances there and his sitting in on the legendary jazz sessions there, he is also currently regularly running regular late night Friday events at the nearby community shop / cafe / exhibition and performance space set up by the Charity ‘Art Saves Lives’ - ‘Let Them All Hang’. John has been a longstanding supporter of Creative Routes playing a key role in recommending interesting and original acts to us from his wide network of artist contacts that helped to establish the reputation of the ‘Muses Cafe’ for quality and diversity. He has also performed many times at the Muses Cafe and appeared on various stages at the BONKERSFEST as well as donating his services for free to previous Mad Pride events in S.E.London.
THE JAZZMAN will wind up the evening with a laid back but upbeat cool vibe to leave those able to stay to the end to go home ‘chilled’. He has promised to bring along a couple of special musical guests in the shape of some ‘free jazz’ exponents of improvisation. Doors open to the public from 8pm with the first act on at 9pm sharp in order to fit in all the acts on this full bill, so come early to avoid disappointment. The event will run through until 2am with some of the bigger name acts on earlier in recognition of the issues for people with public transport issues still get ‘value for money’ (from the bargain admission price – all in a vital cause). Those who are able to stay will be treated to some extra musical and poetic treats, so good value either way.
The event will be enhanced further with visual artist and animator Dave Eyre providing original projected images in the guise of regular Muses Cafe and ‘Shopping Trolley’ feature VJ FLICKERING LIGHT.

MC for the evening will be that well known local figure and lunatic about town, JASON WHY, well known for performing his spontaneous poetics at innumerable venues around London where he is building a considerable network of friends and valuable creative contacts. Also known for being the regular MC at Creative Routes ‘Muses Cafe’ and for his magnificent efforts as MC for the main ‘Big Top’ stage at the ’08 BONKERSFEST and as MC for the subsequent ‘One Sandwich Short of a Picnic’ in ’09 and the ‘baby BONKERSFEST’ stage at last years Lewisham Peoples Day.

The AMERSHAM ARMS is located opposite NEW X BR station, where the East London Line stops and is within walking distance from NEW X GATE BR station, all buses to New X will get you there. It is a short bus ride from Deptford Bridge DLR station.
Come and support our vital cause and help marginalised people have a voice against the media prejudice that brands all welfare benefit claimants as ‘scroungers’ and have a great night in the bargain. People concerned about the changes in the work capacity test are encouraged to contact the MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK to get advice about how to deal with the tests and how people will be affected or to join the campaign and support our cause.

For more info on the event call 077 577 15035
Facebook -
MAD PRIDE – 07542459321
For more info on the acts check –

For info on the venue check

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