(Matt Mischief is bassist with Colwyn Bay punk band Global Parasite and runs Righteous Anger Records)
When I received a message off Neil Crud a few months ago asking me to write for Link2Wales, I replied with a “yes” despite not really meaning to get round to it. What to write about? “Anything at all” Neil said. Where for starters? A Global Parasite tour diary? A gig or festival review? A rant about this and that?
I remember the first punk gig at The Dudley Arms in Rhyl, earlier that week I’d bumped in to Dave “Cox” at college, he wanted to borrow £1.50 for something and put a flyer in my hand along with “oh by the way Matt, there’s a punk gig in Rhyl this weekend, you gonna come?”. It was 2002 and it was The Cox (pic above) playing with The Inadequates from Liverpool. I’d only ever been to the Dudley a few times, when those girls from Vagabonds had persuaded me I’d like it because I had black spikey hair, I always got too drunk and stumbled about to goth-dance in that weird backroom. Rhyl always seemed cooler than anywhere else along the coast, it really wasn’t, it just had an “alternative” shop and the Dudley Arms. So anyway, punk gig on Saturday it was to be. All I remember from the gig was the awful scouse band trying to play Ramones covers, unfortunately I didn’t remember The Cox’s set, that was to be a theme for me for future gigs (I only have vague flashbacks of their gigs). I did wake up the next day very hungover with a stiff neck and various bruises, always a sure sign I’d enjoyed a band. And from then on I waited for the next gig, for the next time I’d see Dave or one of those lot, for the next flyer in my hand. The gigs went on and on over the years, I loved walking into the Dudley, already half-pissed, the place was packed and through the smoke filled bar and into the dingy darkness the first band was already on, everyone was buzzing, pint glasses smashin’, people laughing, Brian behind the bar disapproving of it all, they were for me…the days! A scene was built from those gigs and friends turned into what we now consider as brothers, we had our own scene and bands loved to play it.
A couple of years later I moved in to a flat on Lawson Road in Colwyn Bay with a mate Pat, and the place became the centre of the North Wales punk crew, Dave (The Cox) lived round the corner, Ron (Out Of Use, Seize The Day) round the other corner, it’s where the parties happened after the gigs, it’s where we drove the whole block mental with our antics, a guy in the street outside pleading “Oi, punks, shut up, some of us have work in the morning”, an insomniac downstairs who’s problem I think we caused, a landlord who very weirdly never said a word and gave me back my entire deposit when I left despite the state of the place. Windows were smashed, carpets destroyed, my Monday after-work tidy-up was always a mammoth task, sometimes throwing out up 5 or 6 bin bags worth of debauchery from the weekend. The poor guy in the flat below. My mum said it was “such a nice flat”, not knowing that the night before someone had pissed down the stairs, and moments before she entered the place I’d just wretched and nearly died whilst pouring a pint glass containing someone’s stagnant jizz down the sink.
The scene seemed to grow from that flat, we were those punks that I now look out for at gigs we play, the ones who turn up to gigs off their faces with eyes like black holes, excited and risky, loud and intimidating, the ones who you know are going to make the pit happen and get things moving.
There are hundreds of stories to tell, I wouldn’t know where to start, and there’d be ten times that if I could just remember them all. From the mind-wrecking Christmas-time narcotic binge of 2004, to the midday pre-gig beer sessions of the summer. If those walls could talk, I’m not sure I’d want to listen!