Attila the Stockbroker
Lamproom Theatre, Barnsley
Start: 10 Feb 2016 – 07:30 PM
Price: All tickets £10.00
Singer-songwriter and pioneer performance poet, Attila has fought injustice all his life, including benefit gigs during The Miners’ Strike and for ‘Rock Against Racism’. His work tackles serious issues but he’ll make you laugh when he delivers it!
STOCKBROKER’S CLERK, 1980: THE NAME
“And then, one day, I got myself a stage name. A stage name that, on its own, got me fifty per cent of my earliest gigs outside Harlow, all my early media coverage and entries in ‘silly band name’ lists all over the world, alongside the likes of Death By Milkfloat and Half Man Half Biscuit.
To this day, it still raises a smile everywhere I go. I can be quite clumsy: I bump into things easily. And in that job I didn’t give a shit. I can’t exactly remember how or where, but I knocked a cup of coffee over in the office one day and somebody said something like ‘You’ve got the manners of Attila the Hun!’ A light came on in my head.
Attila the Stockbroker. That’s what I’d call myself. The last bit of the jigsaw was complete.”
Launched into public consciousness by John Peel in the early 1980s, performance poet, musician, journalist and political activist Attila the Stockbroker has spent thirty five years touring the world. Having performed over three thousand gigs in twenty four countries, releasing forty records and seven books of poetry along the way, he pauses here to relate his life story, a tale of single-minded determination to earn his living, without compromise, doing what he loves in the context of the ever changing, increasingly corporate minded politics of the last five decades.
An autobiography like no other, ‘Arguments Yard’ bounces effortlessly from frontline tales of touring East Germany, the first ever punk performance in Stalinist Albania, being thrown out of one of his own gigs and the ongoing fight – often literally – with the fascist thugs who targeted him in the early 80s to more homely anecdotes: his coastal upbringing and love of his home in West Sussex, his passionate involvement in the battle to save his beloved Brighton and Hove Albion FC and his path from punk bass player into a career which has lasted decades longer than the ranting verse fad which spawned it.
Full of humour and intellect, and peppered with encounters with notable figures, ‘Arguments Yard’ demonstrates a depth rarely found in the everyday performer’s autobiography, and relates an important social history, being a left wing activist’s eyewitness journey through the great political battles and movements of recent times. Rock Against Racism, the Anti Nazi League, the miners’ strike, the Wapping dispute, Red Wedge, the Poll Tax and campaigns against two Gulf Wars are all analysed from a ringside perspective before the author packs his bags and takes us on another tour of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA or Europe. Attila once turned down an offer of shows in North Korea (only because he was already booked to tour Canada) has stood in for Donny Osmond at a gig, been supported by the Manic Street Preachers – and DJ legend Steve Lamacq was his roadie for a while.
Now a long established Glastonbury regular, a celebrated poet at his football club and the organiser of his own hugely popular beer and music festival, Glastonwick, Attila The Stockbroker remains as focussed and active as ever and continues to perform around a hundred gigs a year to diverse audiences across the world.
His message is a simple one: you don’t need to be ‘a celebrity’ to lead a life earning your living doing what you love to do. You just need a way with words, the self-confidence and organizational ability of Napoleon and skin thicker than the armour of a Chieftain tank.
‘Arguments Yard’ is the perfect antidote to the countless fake tan splattered and empty headed celebrity autobiographies that increasingly fill the nation’s bookshelves.