Friday, 20 April 2018

Virullex! / Opera for Infantry - The Gentle Art of Murder (1984) C60

There isn't a whole lot I can say about this one which I haven't already said in regard to Opera for Infantry (apart from what a mighty slab of noise and vinegar we have here), so instead here's a guest post from Jess of Virullex! seeing as how it's his hard work I'm giving away for free.

1984: the miners' strike, that nice Mrs Thatcher's enemy within. She was unstoppable, coasting on a wave of self-interest and good old British entitlement. Since monetarism wasn't actually working for most of the country, left wing voices were drowned in a shiny tabloid outsplurge of WARandLIESandTITSandBINGO.

Since every point the left made was drowned out by all the ME!ME!ME!ism that had swallowed the country, my generation, in a piss-poor attempt at rebellion, started drifting towards fascism. Left-wing paper sales started to die as brutal half-a-dozen-on-one attacks on diffrunt peepul escalated.

The national focus was on the 'positive'. The Falklands was a glorious victory for those who hadn't been killed or maimed – and a huge hit with armchair generals everywhere. Union flags whipping in the wind, our brave boys serving their country. And those - on both sides - who bled out in the mud, screaming for a mother, thousands of miles away, they were swept politely under the carpet, innit? As Jeremy Beadle announced, “That’s right! You’ve been GAME FOR A LAUGH!”

In this rotting womb, Virullex! took shape. Driven by disgust and revulsion, I wanted to create an antidote to all the toothy boys with guitars tucked under their chins, singing about lurve. Something that described, not the shiny surface we were all supposed to be wanking over, but the hidden horrors that held it up and made it all possible.

I was isolated. None of the people I associated with listened to the funny noises I enjoyed. And so, the letter writing and tape exchanging began. I didn't start it, but contact was possible with others who hated what was being done to the 'best years of our lives'.

Joe (Ashenden) Banks, Andy (Apostles) Martin, Malcolm (Trench Music Kore) Brown, Tim (Un-Kommuniti) Gane, Gordon (Flowmotion) Hope, John (Interchange) Smith, many others who've disappeared without trace into the nothings in the last thirty years.

Cassettes would arrive through my door: obscure live Velvets recordings, Italian horror movie soundtracks and most importantly, "we done a gig last Saturday. The left channel's a bit quiet..." Other sick weirdos like myself, makin'-an'-a-sharin' their funny noises. It was a fucking goldmine.

I got in touch with Trev Ward and Dap Padbury sometime in 1984. We collaborated on a live tape, The Wars of the Roses, which was meant to be a Virullex! Gig in Edinburgh and an Opera For Infantry gig in Amesbury the same night – I was unable to find a venue, so I ended up hitching down and performing as part of OfI.

Trev was the acerbic one, all shaved head (a sort of round mohican, if that makes sense) and intense stares. Dap was the McCartney to Trev’s Lennon, the quiet one. We discovered a shared enthusiasm for liquor (and its effects on carbon-based life forms) and instantly became blood brothers.

I envied their work ethic. Opera for Infantry spewed out cassettes the way other bands threw badges at their audience. And so, (I think this was ex-mess 1984), we sent each other 30 minutes of backing tracks (In envelopes. With stamps on. This was the dark ages, remember?) And we collaborated, each piling our own racket on top of that of our opponents.

Until yesterday, I hadn’t heard this in a good twenty, twenty-five years. It’s been polished to a high standard and still sounds as dense and exciting as it did when things weren’t half as bad as they are these days. You fucking kids today, don’t know you're born, neither you do.

Here’s a shameless plug for some of my present day shite:

Funny noises for senile delinquents with too much time on their hands.

Pervy sex & politics for people with too much money lying around.

Religious emergency toolkit that you’re expected to pay good money for.

The last dying sparks of a badly burned mind.

...and finally:

No track list as it should probably be experienced as a single track, which is how I've edited it.

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