The Outcasts + ARSE


The Black Box, Belfast

Date: 22/12/2018

There’s a saying where I live: ‘Dublin never got into punk, Belfast never got out of it.’ Certainly, Belfast was one of the epicentres of punk in the 1970s worldwide, and a very distinctive brand of punk flourished here. Punks in Britain liked to posture about being underdogs – but *everything* about Northern Ireland – socially, culturally, politically, geographically, employment-wise – was beneath the underdog at that point. To an extent, it still is. Sham 69 could nudge the kids into being united, Belfast punks could rage about the adults being disunited. And if you look at Stormont – a regional assembly that hasn’t functioned for two years – they’re still disunited.

I was at secondary school (well, okay, grammar school) from 1979–86, so while I saw the odd punk act on ‘Top of the Pops’, and while one or two people in my year had ‘punk’s not dead’ type slogans written on pencil cases, it wasn’t part of my lived experience; it already history. So, I never saw any punk bands in the 70s. I popped my head through the door of a venue hosting Stiff Little Fingers in the late … Continue reading The Outcasts + ARSE