A Dead Pancreas & A Broken Heart

Diabetes, heartbreak and depression have changed the life of Marie from Punk Rock Avenue in 2018, but she’s brave enough to share the tale.

Guest post written by Marie-Line Cyr, who runs the fabulous French-Canadian blog Punk Rock Avenue. This is part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music. 

Last year, when I was thinking about my 35th birthday, I pictured myself on Vancouver Island. My plan was to drive across Canada all by myself and celebrate my birthday by the Pacific Ocean. Actually, I celebrated my 35th birthday last September alone and crying on the couch, with a dead pancreas and a broken heart. Here’s the story of my downward slide to the bottom.

2018 has been the worse year of my life. I started having health problems on January 4th. Something wrong in my right eye directly linked to an immune system disorder. Which disorder? Nobody had a clue. I was so scared of what they would find. Finally, they found nothing but prediabetes. So I stopped eating sugar and crap and took care of my health. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop the disease. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June. That’s when I started being super sick and had to stop working. I was so weak and tired and I was literally melting while doing nothing at home. There was something wrong. My blood sugar became so high that I spent a couple of nights on the verge of a diabetic coma. I was going to bed at night so scared of not waking up the morning after. It became obvious that I needed insulin and that I was in fact a type 1 diabetic.

I started insulin on July 18th and I will always remember that day. I was in my bathroom, staring at the needle while being too scared to put it in my belly. But I knew I had to do it to stay alive. Just like I knew I would have to do it for the rest of my life. My pancreas was dead and I had no choice but to do its job to survive. So I played Survive from Main Line 10 on Spotify, my diabetes anthem as I call this song, and put the freaking needle in my belly. My diabetic life had just started. Continue reading “A Dead Pancreas & A Broken Heart”

We Are Just Like You, We Just Don’t Have Instruments

Simon Widdop explains why punk poetry is worth your attention.

Guest article by Simon Widdop, a punk poet from Wakefield. Simon’s debut poetry collecton is Sending A Drunk Text Whilst Sober is available from simonwiddop.com.

The old adage of, “Here’s three chords, now go start a band,” can be translated into, “Here’s a pen and paper, now go start a poem.”

Poetry ain’t dead, far from it. It’s alive and beating hard in books, at lit fests, on TV adverts and at gigs. Yeah, that’s right. But not to be cliche, the poetry you’ll find at shows isn’t the same as the stuff we were forced to recite in grey tones in GCSE English lessons.

But where does all this tie into the punk scene?

Let’s rewind to the initial explosion of punk. You’ve just entered the Mayflower Club in Manchester, waiting for The Buzzcocks when suddenly a matchstick legged, drain pipe jeans clad, backcomb rocking John Cooper Clarke takes to the stage. 20 minutes later (or shorter, depending how ‘Ramones’ he was feeling that night) you’ve just experienced the godfather of punk poetry. Fast delivery, sharpshooter word play and a right hook to the senses. At the same time, across the pond and in the belly of CBGB, Patti Smith was reciting her kitchen sink realism and strong feminist works to an audience of fellow New Yorkers at the height of the New York Scene. Continue reading “We Are Just Like You, We Just Don’t Have Instruments”

17 Hours In A Sweaty Tin Can On Wheels

There’s a romance to tour vans for the punk rock fan. A sweaty, uncomfortable, seemingly endless journey is in itself a part of the fun.

Article by Sarah Williams.

Recently, travelling home from Nuremberg to Manchester, I opted to join Fair Do’s in their van for the 20 hour drive, rather than making use of the flight that I’d booked. They thought this was completely insane. It kinda was.

In fairness, I was travelling home from an overwhelmingly good weekend at KNRD Fest, my flight was absurdly early (and would probably have caused anxious, hungover Sarah to have a morning panic attack about missing the plane) and I love hanging out with Fair Do’s. There’s no doubt that 20 hours in a cramped tour van is no piece of cake, but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to everyone and it meant that I could party hard on Saturday night, now that the worry of impossibly teleporting to an airport wasn’t weighing on my mind.

That said, there’s a romance to tour vans for the punk rock fan. A sweaty, uncomfortable, seemingly endless journey is in itself a part of the fun.

Van Tour Life Shout Louder (4).jpeg

As I write, I’m now locked in a hot tin can on wheels, driving with some of the Lockjaw Crew from Brakrock Ecofest in Belgium to Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia. It’s 17 hours in total, taking in a pick-up in Cologne and an obscure mission to collect a PRH ticket from a friend in Salzburg. We’re flying through the alps at 120kph in blazing sunshine with fuck all air conditioning, no stereo and so much merch (buying 500 Lockjaw compilation frisbees seemed like a great idea at the time…), vinyl and camping gear that there’s zero space for your feet in the footwell. Continue reading “17 Hours In A Sweaty Tin Can On Wheels”

Guest Article: How To Prepare Your Merch for Festival Season

Guest Article: Random Hand’s Joe Tilston gives valuable advice on how to prepare your band’s merch set up, to make the most of summer’s festival season.

Guest Article by Joe Tilston, originally published at Merch Stall.

The weather is getting better, this can mean only one thing: festival season is upon us once more. Are you ready?

Is this your band’s first year playing a festival, or are you on your 10th run through the circuit? No matter how well versed you are, you need to give your merchandise preparation some serious thought. Too often I’ve found myself two weeks before the first big festival date of the year, and we haven’t got any new designs drawn (never mind ordered!), once again making an already stressful situation far more complicated than it needs to be.

So learn from the mistakes of those that have made them before you: prepare!

Keep it simple. It’s easy to get carried away on a merch stall at your own show or a support gig when there are only three bands, but at festivals all the pins, badges and lighters, bumper bonza deals and mega collections should disappear. You want to get through the queue as fast as you can, so show some restraint. If someone wants to haggle or make a deal, let them, but keep the options for people to look at. Simple: t-shirt price, CD price, vinyl price. Done.

Do you have a merch person available to join you? Have you made sure there is space for you to sell your merch; do you need to book it? Make sure whoever is selling your merch is able to spend most of the day there. People will be looking to buy merch all day, not just right after your set. That said, some festivals will only give you a small window to sell, so be prepared for that and communicate it on stage!
Continue reading “Guest Article: How To Prepare Your Merch for Festival Season”

Remembering P-Rock TV: Where Are They Now?

We honour a TV channel that lasted a year but and shaped music tastes for decades to come, featuring King Prawn, [Spunge], Jesse James, Whitmore, Farse and Violent Delight!

Article by Alan Corcoran.

Hi, my name is Alan and I’ve been listening to some variety of punk rock for 20 years. My first punk(ish) song, and the hilarious lengths I had to go to in order to hear it, will have to wait for another day. Today I want to talk about the short lived P-Rock TV.

For some this will be like fondly remembering an old friend that you used to be real close to but now only see when you’re blackout drunk in your local pub back home. For others, this will be like meeting someone in your late 20’s and asking, “Where have YOU been all my life?!”

For me, it is a continuation of my life’s work; to honour a TV channel that lasted a year (2002-2003) and shaped my music taste for decades to come. I didn’t even have access to the channel in my house; my friends lucky enough to have P-Rock would hit record in the evening and the next day I’d have 3 hours of (only slightly repetitive) punk rock goodness. That’s right, I’m talking VHS mixtapes here. Continue reading “Remembering P-Rock TV: Where Are They Now?”

Video: Practicing Meditation for Wellbeing On Tour With Waterweed

Jo of Bad Juju Yoga created this insightful short film whilst on tour with Japanese skate-punks Waterweed, recording the benefits and challenges of keeping up a daily meditation practice.

Part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music.

When you think about life on tour, meditation isn’t the first word to spring to mind. However, when you consider the long, hard hours spent on the road, sardined into a van with a stack of equipment, the boredom of travel, drinking to excess and charging through sweaty half-hour live shows… taking 15 minutes for yourself to recentre begins to make sense.

Jo Smith, of Bad Juju Yoga, created this insightful short film whilst driving Waterweed on a seven day tour around Europe. She relays the challenges and benefits daily meditation practice in this entertaining tour diary.

Here’s what Jo had to say about it: “In April, I spent 7 days on a European tour, co-driving/ managing/ merch-wenching with Japanese skatepunkers Waterweed. I documented this journey for a bit of fun, and to also see if I could commit to my daily mediation practice on the road. I regularly felt tempted just to drink beer, chill out and not do my meditation but I by the end of the week, I had some self-realisation of what the meditation really did for me. So here is my doco/ tour vid of my experience.”

 

Bad Juju Yoga began in 2015 after founder, Jo Smith, discovered the Punk Rock Yoga manifesto. The manifesto empowered Jo to do what felt most authentic when teaching, which is why most of her classes use a variety of music genres.

Bad Juju is more than just physical exercise. It is a lifestyle, promoting a philosophy of community spirit. Bringing together like-minded people into a space where they can develop their own practice and knowledge of yoga and wellbeing. A space where they feel welcome and where they can be themselves.

You can find Bad Juju Yoga on online, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Jo also teaches punk rock yoga classes at various UK and European festivals, teaching in a creative way using a style that is all-inclusive, sharing yoga through the love of music, mantra, sound and vibration.​ We highly recommend that you check out her online classes in the near future.

Explore our #MentallySound series for more articles about mental health in music.

 

How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality

Life feels shorter than ever; so I’m going to fill it with the noises I love.

Article by Sarah Williams. Part of our #MentallySound series, discussing mental health in music.

N.B.: I’d intended for this to be a happy article about how and why I enjoy live music so much, but it’s turned out a bit on the dark side. Oops. Trigger warning: Depression, suicide, bereavement.

Waterweed

I’ve been going to a lot of gigs lately. In the last month alone, I figured out I’ve travelled over 3,500 miles just to see bands. As I’ve started booking in festivals later in the year, more people are asking me why I’m doing it.

Typically it is a question I get from the ‘normal’ people I work with or my long-suffering family, however lately it’s a question I’ve received from people in the scene, usually accompanied by an incredulous look because I’ve just turned up in yet another city.

I’ve got an answer for you, but it might not be the one you’re expecting.

Why do I go to so many gigs? I go because I know I’m going to die. I’ve become hyper aware of my own mortality.

I can feel the time slipping through my fingers, and enjoying the music I love is my way of remedying and recognising that. Every show I go to, whether that’s a sweaty Propagandhi pit, a crusty post-hardcore melee or a gentle acoustic folk gig, I will have a massive grin plastered to my face. I’m enjoying the noise, the adventure and spending time in the punk community, because I feel like it could end at any second.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been berated with the following: “You’re going to burn out;” “You should drink less;” “You need to concentrate more on work;” “You shouldn’t waste your money on that;” “You need to calm down.”

They’re all right, of course, I probably ‘should’ do all of those things. I’m fucking tired. I’ve got tinnitus. I get stressed trying to keep track of all the gig-dates on my mental calendar. I struggle to motivate myself to do my day job because it’s so different to my ‘other life’. I’ve given myself alcohol poisoning more times than I can count. I’m running solely on caffeine and enthusiasm. Getting out of bed to be at the airport at 5am when I’ve still got the flu from last weekend’s festival is a hellish struggle.

It is worth it, because I am happy. Right now, I am happier than I have ever been. And I have been for a long time now. I haven’t felt the tug of depression and the cold sweat of anxiety has washed straight off me. I’ll say it again: I am really fucking happy. Continue reading “How Punk Rock Solved My Problem With Mortality”