Attila the Stockbroker
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|Attila the Stockbroker|
Attila the Stockbroker performing in the Cabaret Tent at the 2010 Glastonbury Festival
|Birth name||John Baine|
21 October 1957 |
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, poet|
|Years active||Late 1970s–present|
Brighton Riot Squad
John Baine (21 October 1957, Southwick, Sussex, England), better known by his stage name Attila the Stockbroker, is a punk poet, and a folk punk musician and songwriter. He performs solo and as the leader of the band Barnstormer. He describes himself as a "sharp tongued, high energy social surrealist poet and songwriter." He has performed over 3,000 concerts, published seven books of poems, and released 30+ recordings (CDs, LPs and singles).
John Baine took the performing name Attila the Stockbroker during a short stint as a City stockbroker's clerk between 1980 and 1981 (A colleague accused him of having the eating habits of Attila the Hun). Having started performing in the late 1970s after being inspired by the spirit and 'do it yourself' ethos of the punk subculture, particularly The Clash's overtly socialist stance, he was briefly a member of punk bands English Disease and Brighton Riot Squad, and Belgian band Contingent before going solo. He did his first gig at Bush Fair Playbarn, Harlow, Essex, on 8 September 1980. At first he performed poems and songs in between bands at punk rock concerts, accompanying himself on the phased electric mandolin. After this was smashed over his head by fascists during a fight at a performance in North London in May 1982, he got a mandola (a fifth lower) and has played this ever since. He has performed in 24 countries, playing venues ranging from the Oxford Union in England to squatted punk clubs in Germany, and performs between 80 and 100 shows every year. He toured East Germany four times before the Berlin Wall came down, and once did an illegal performance in a hotel basement in Enver Hoxha's Albania. He was signed by Cherry Red in 1982 after recording a session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show. He recorded a second session for Peel in 1983.
In the 1980s, he was often the support act for punk bands, including The Jam, The Alarm, Newtown Neurotics, New Model Army and performed extensively with fellow punk-inspired ranting poets Swift Nick (Nick Swift), Kool Knotes (Richard Edwards), Porky the Poet (Phill Jupitus) and Steven Wells (Seething Wells). Manic Street Preachers supported him at a performance at Swansea University. In the 1990s, he toured with John Otway as Headbutts and Halibuts, and together they wrote a surreal rock opera called Cheryl, a tale of Satanism, trainspotting, drug abuse and unrequited love. He has performed at every Glastonbury Festival since 1983, and continues to write topical, satirical material on all kinds of subjects. He puts on an annual beer and music festival 'Glastonwick', currently held at Coombes Farm, near Shoreham though originally in Southwick, his home town nearby. June 2014 will see the 19th Glastonwick.
Notable works from his 1980s heyday include the poem "Contributory Negligence"; various Russian-themed poems, satirizing the alleged Cold War Russian threat in the context of Margaret Thatcher's Britain (such as "Russians in the DHSS" and "Russians in McDonald's"). Other political poems include the surreal Nigel series, such as "Nigel wants to go to C&A", with the lines "...but I don't understand why / 'cos they don't sell nerve gas in C&A / not even to SDP members in cashmere sweaters", "Asylum Seeking Daleks", which satirises the right wing press's attitudes to immigration, and "Hey Celebrity", which rejects the need for the concept of celebrity.
Attila the Stockbroker formed the band Barnstormer in 1994, combining punk rock and medieval music. The band released its debut album The Siege of Shoreham in 1996 and performs regularly across Europe. So far the band has released four albums: Just One Life, the second, came out in 2000, Zero Tolerance in 2004 and the latest, Bankers and Looters, was released in January 2012. Barnstormer features Attila the Stockbroker on vocals, mandola, violin, crumhorn and recorders; Dan Woods on guitar; M. M. McGhee on drums; and Dave Beaken on bass - the latter three are also members of The Fish Brothers.
But Attila's main focus remains on his solo work and his live shows combining his poems and songs. He has two CDs featuring live recordings of solo gigs currently on sale: Live in Belfast (2003) and Live in Norway (2007) His latest book of poems, "UK Gin Dependence Party and Other Peculiarities" was published in January 2014: the previous collection My Poetic Licence came out in May 2008. In January 2010 Attila published a pamphlet, The Long Goodbye, containing two poems; a long one dedicated to and chronicling the life of his mother Muriel, who died in June 2010 after a six-year battle with Alzheimer's Disease, and a shorter one written for his stepfather John Stanford, who died in December 2009. The Long Goodbye was featured on BBC Radio Four's Woman's Hour on Mother's Day 2011, and repeated on Pick of the Week. Attila celebrated 30 years of performing in September 2010 with a 27-date tour of the UK, Germany and Holland. In March 2011 he toured Australia and New Zealand for the first time in ten years, in 2012 made a return to Albania and at the time of this latest update (February 2014) he is about to set off on a massive tour of the UK, Germany and Switzerland to promote his latest book (see above)
He is an ardent supporter of Brighton & Hove Albion F.C., and for about 16 years was heavily involved in the successful battle to save the club and secure a new stadium, after the Goldstone Ground was sold to property developers in 1997. The Seagulls finally moved to their new stadium at Falmer in August 2011. He has been the team's poet in residence since 2000, and was the stadium announcer and DJ for 14 years, first at Gillingham, where the club spent two seasons playing 'home' games, and then at the club's temporary Withdean Stadium. As the main member of the one-off band Seagulls Ska, he had a single reach No. 17 in the UK Singles Chart in 2005, as part of the campaign for the new stadium. "Tom Hark (We Want Falmer)". In 1989 he appeared on the Kickback segment of The Channel Four Daily, reflecting on Liverpool's 9-0 win over Crystal Palace.
- Cautionary tales for Dead Commuters (with Seething Wells), Allen & Unwin, 1986
- Scornflakes, Bloodaxe, 1992
- The Rat-Tailed Maggot & Other Poems, Roundhead, 1998)
- Goldstone Ghosts, Roundhead, 2001
- My Poetic Licence, Roundhead, 2008
- The Long Goodbye (poems for my mother and stepfather), Roundhead, 2010
- UK Gin Dependence Party and Other Peculiarities, Roundhead, 2014
- 1981 Phasing Out Capitalism cassette (No Wonder)
- 1982 Rough, Raw and Ranting EP with Seething Wells (Radical Wallpaper)
- 1982 Cocktails EP (Cherry Red)
- 1983 Ranting at the Nation LP (Cherry Red) (UK Indie #12)
- 1984 Sawdust and Empire LP (Anagram)
- 1984 Radio Rap! EP (Cherry Red)
- 1984 Livingstone Rap! EP (Cherry Red Ken)
- 1987 Libyan Students from Hell! LP (Plastic Head)
- 1988 Scornflakes LP/cassette (Probe Plus)
- 1990 (Canada) Live at the Rivoli LP/cassette (Festival)
- 1991 Donkey's Years CD/LP/cassette (Musidisc)
- 1991 1991 Cheryl - a Rock Opera (Strikeback) - with John Otway
- 1992 (Germany) This Is Free Europe CD/LP (Terz)
- 1993 (Australia) 668-Neighbour of the Beast CD/cassette (Larrikin)
- 1993 (Germany) Live auf St.Pauli CD (Terz)
- 1993 Attila the Stockbroker's Greatest Hits cassette (Roundhead)
- 1999 Poems Ancient & Modern CD (Roundhead/Mad Butcher)
- 1999 The Pen & The Sword CD (Roundhead/Mad Butcher)
- 2003 Live in Belfast (Roundhead)
- 2005 Tom Hark (We Want Falmer) EP - with Seagulls Ska (Skint)
- 2007 Live In Norway (Crispin Glover)
- 2008 Spirit of the Age (Roundhead)
- 2010 'Disestablished 1980' (Mad Butcher)
- 2012 'The Long Goodbye'/'Never Too Late' (Roundhead)
- 1995 Barnstormer cassette (Roundhead Records)
- 1995 (Germany) Sarajevo EP (Mad Butcher)
- 1996 The Siege of Shoreham CD/cass (Roundhead Records)
- 1998 Live in Hamburg cassette (Roundhead Records)
- 1999 (Germany) The Siege of Shoreham CD (Puffotter Platten) and LP (East Side Records)
- 2000 Just One Life (Roundhead Records)
- 2004 Zero Tolerance (Roundhead Records)
- 2004 "Baghdad Ska" - split single with Bomb Factory (Repeat Records)
- 2012 'Bankers & Looters' CD (Mad Butcher) LP (Hupseeln Records)
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 208
- "Comedy preview: 16 Sep". The Guardian (London).
- "Discography". Attila the Stockbroker. 9 January 2005. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "Attila The Stockbroker", Keeping It Peel, BBC, retrieved 2010-10-16
- Morning Glory: a History of Breakfast Television. Jones, I. Tiverton. Kelly Publishing Ltd. 2004. ISBN 1-903053-20-X
- "Matchdetails from Liverpool - Crystal Palace played on 12 September 1989 - LFChistory - Stats galore for Liverpool FC!". LFChistory. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1999. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4.
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