Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Friday 30 September 2011

The Purple Helmets at the Hippodrome 27th November 1988

As an accompanying peice to an earlier Purple Helmets thread, here's some information I posted some years ago on the Burning Up Time Forums.

'A recent soiree in London with Paul in London and The Man They Love to Hate (Paul and Owen from this point onwards) led me to dig out some old stuff from the late ‘80’s when the three of us first became acquainted.

Amongst this fading material were a number of items connected to a benefit gig that the Purple Helmets were involved in. Back in Movember 1988, a group of comedians and musicians gathered at The Hippodrome in London’s Leicester Square to mark the 32nd birthday of John McCarthy. In a nut shell, John was a journalist kidnapped in The Lebannon in 1986. More detail can be found here:

Now 1988 was turning out to be one of the quieter years for The Stranglers, so the Purple Helmets went a long way to fill the gap. To be honest, I don’t think many of the people in attendance that night relished the prospect of an evening spent in the Hippodrome, them (and perhaps still) a tacky yet expensive night club in the centre of the West End of London. This was in a London that was where the yuppie still held sway… in a word, Hippodrome people were not my people! Nevertheless, as I said, beggars cannot be choosers and it really was a quiet year.

Perhaps we met up in Oxford Steet and had a few beers in The Tottenham on the junction of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road, that is what was becoming a habit at the time. To be honest, I cannot fully recollect who was there on the night. I know that Raj was there (and Paul I think). We were gathered at the stage door as some of the nights ‘attractions’ started to arrive. Ranking Roger was a perfect gentlemen and chatted to us for 30 minutes or so. He was intereste in our interest in the Stranglers (he was himself a huge fan of The Clash). Steve Nieve of the Attractions was also pleasant as I recall (although I have to admit at the time, I didn’t know him from Adam!).

The compares of the evening were Steve Frost and Mark Arden, at that time part of a double act called the Oblivion Boys, early participants in the alternative comedy scene and at the time regulars on the essential post pub viewing, Saturday Live (a programme which also played host to The Stranglers in 1987).

The TV cameras were there that night as this was as the Friends of John McCarthy were as you would expect pretty media savvy and this was a very high profile campaign to get John released. There was a cage that you could try set uo in the foyer in order to experience the kind of confinement that he and his fellow captive Brian Keenan were experiencing. I remember speaking very briefly to Jill Morell (his fiancee at the time of his capture). I thought she was gorgeous… remember I was 19 at the time and she struck me as being very sophisticated!

Musically speaking, I thought the night was a great success. As previously mentioned, Rankin Roger was there and I certainly remember Mirror in the Bathroom being played. The aforementioned Steve Nieve was playing keyboards in what was the house band. Tempted was played, which was great, but I can’t for the life of me remember whether it was Chris Difford or Glen Tilbrook who was in attendance on the night.

Sets were short, as is always the case in such events, but the Helmets were on. Despite all of this waffle I don’t remember any specifics of their set, other than knowing what they played!

The stage was only about a foot high and we wanted to make our presence known.

Adrian Onstage with JJ Burnel
27th November 1988

The band on the night were as I recall, in good spirits and were on hand to chat and to sign stuff.

The evening done, I headed back to Ealing with Gunta from where I made my way back to Uxbridge.

I would be intrigued to here of other people’s recolledtions of this night. The Helmets only played a handful of gigs in their short lifetime, and this was one of the more obscure ones.'

There Is A Big Change Coming
I Don’t Care Who You Are
It Will Change Everyone
And With The Big Change Coming
You Better Find Out Who
And What You Really Are Come On

Sheffield Corporation 17th December 2005


1. Norfolk Coast
2. All Day And All Of The Night
3. Death And Night And Blood
4. Big Thing Coming
5. Peaches
6. Skin Deep
7. Always The Sun
8. Long Black Veil
9. I've Been Wild
10. Lost Control
11. Goodbye Toulouse
12. Summat Outa Nowt
13. Walk On By
14. Grip
15. Duchess
16. Burning Up Time
17. Toiler On The Sea
18. Five Minutes
19. Tank
20. Mine All Mine
21. No More Heroes

King's Lynn Town Featival 17th July 2004

Moving swiftly on, here's a summer festival date from 2004.


  1. Waltzinblack
  2. Norfolk Coast
  3. Skin Deep
  4. Big Thing Coming
  5. Peaches
  6. I Don't Agree
  7. All Day And All Of The Night
  8. Always The Sun
  9. Long Black Veil
  10. Golden Brown
  11. Mine All Mine
  12. Duchess
  13. Lost Control
  14. I've Been Wild
  15. Grip
  16. Tank
  17. No More Heroes
Full artwork here:

Cabot Hall London 3rd October 2003

Now this was a gig that I nearly came out of my self imposed exile for. The reason was the location. At the time I was working in Gallions Reach, right at the end of the Docklands Light Railway, but only half an hour from Canary Wharf. Some of the pubs in the area were well known to us (the selected locations of a variety of leaving do's, other celebrations etc etc). However, in the event, grabbing a handful of flyers was a near as I got. I think that it was the flyer that put me off 'Standing, some limited unreserved seating on a first come first served basis'. I have always had an issue with seating at gigs, it's just not for me and the possibility of watching The Stranglers in the company of besuited bankers fresh from the office turned me.

Anyway, here it is, a quite listenable recording from the night.

  1. Instead Of This
  2. Let Me Down Easy
  3. Strange Little Girl
  4. Walk On By
  5. English Towns
  6. European Female
  7. Southern Mountains
  8. Face
  9. Tuckers Grave
  10. Cruel Garden

  1. Always The Sun
  2. Don’t Bring Harry
  3. Santfe Kuss
  4. Sinister
  5. In The End
  6. Mine All Mine
  7. Still Life
  8. Princess Of The Streets
  9. Golden Brown
  10. Old Codger
  11. No More Heroes
Full artwork here (and also as pdfs in the download file)

Saturday 17 September 2011

Pontins Convention Somerset 14th -16th September 2001

With a new Stranglers Convention almost upon us, here's one they did earlier. This is not the entire weekend, only the two Stranglers sets, I do not have the JJ and Baz solo sets unfortunately.

Pontins Convention
14th September 2001

Acoustic Set

  1. Walk On By
  2. Let Me Down Easy
  3. Still Life
  4. Face
  5. Southern Mountains
  6. Sanfte Kuss
  7. Dutch Moon
  8. In The End
  9. Cruel Garden
  10. Old Codger
  11. Always The Sun
  12. Golden Brown
  13. Strange Little Girl
  14. Princess Of The Street
  15. Mony Mony
Pontins Convention
15th September 2001

Electric Set

  1. Intro
  2. The Raven
  3. Threatened
  4. Five Minutes
  5. Coup De Grace
  6. I’ve Been Wild
  7. Dead Ringer
  8. Sometimes
  9. Valley Of The Birds
  10. Skin Deep
  11. Peaches
  12. Something Better Change

  1. Thrown Away
  2. Who Wants The World
  3. Norfolk Coast
  4. Sinister
  5. Grip
  6. Tank
  7. Curfew
  8. Out Of Time
  9. Duchess
  10. Hanging Around
  11. No More Heroes

Saturday 10 September 2011

19 Sleeps Until The Specials in Brussels!!

Next week The Specials embark on the European leg of their long awaited 2011 tour, widely understood to be their last gigs together. I am terribly exited by a planned trip to see them in Brussels on the last date before the UK tour. I love the social aspects of UK dates, but to see a band abroad will always be that little bit more special - no pun intended, exotic I suppose (even in Belgium!).

Whilst the reunited Specials gigs to date have focussed on the first album plus singles, it is strongly rumoured that on this final tour both albums will be played through. For those not familiar with the 'More Specials' album it is very different from the first 'Specials' album.

By the time it was released, the band were exhausted by the cruel touring schedule that such a rapid rise in popularity demands, the process of writing new material for a second album on the road was not ideal (an age old problem for bands) and the claustrophobic atmosphere on a cramped tour bus (well their were a lot of them!) resulted in a serious clash of personalties. Of particular concern was the state of the relationships between some members of the band and 'The General', Jerry Dammers, a key driving force behind the whole 2 tone ethos (label, bands, look etc) and a man with strong ideas of the band's direction for the next LP.

Dammers was looking to move away from the Blue Beat/punk fusion (the signature '2 tone sound' at that time), rather favouring a more organ driven sound, Jerry was keen on a 'lounge' style by this time. However, it is fair to say that not all of the band shared Jerry's vision. This is perhaps understandable, given that in 1980, the 'movement' was at its height, half the country was decked out in the rude boy style and expectant of more of the same. Nevertheless, despite internal friction, to a large extent the General's will prevailed, the musical style of the first album was strictly 1979 and the result of the new direction became..... 'More Specials'.

I think that 'More Specials' is every bit as good as 'The Specials' and in some aspects I would say that it surpasses the first, being more complex (but certainly not more accomplished for sure) and diverse that 'Specials'. The themes remain similar in some areas 'Stereotype', 'Do Nothing' and 'Rat Race' (not on the album, but a contemporary 45), but new themes were included that reflected the impact that the last 18 months of massive success had had on the band e.g. 'International Jet Set'. Underpinning much of the music on this album was Jerry's new style which was perfect for the album.

The Specials in their intense and sadly short career formed the perfect musical backdrop to the times. Writers advise other writers to stick to and document what they know and understand. This is a principle that The Specials adhered to throughout. Listen to the first album and the upbeat ska/punk pace cannot disguise the lyrical content.

The songs reflect hopelessness, fear and violence (in a very English, self-effacing style) as industry, specifically the car industry, the backbone of Coventry's very post-war existence, crumbled under the new politics of the day. These themes were carried over to the next album with perhaps more irony and melancholy.

Last year Gunta and I took the kids to Coventry for the first time to show them their mum's school, house where she grew up etc. The visit was timed to coincide with the run of the play 'Too Much Pressure' at the city's Belgrade Theatre. It was a great play, but for me the most poignant moment came when a radio broadcast was played announcing the imminent closure of one of the city's main car plants. The braodcast included a soundbite of Margaret Thatcher justifying the closure. At the very sound of her voice, the entire audience spontaniously started jeering. Evidence that the for the audience (mostly in the 40-60 age range), the hardships experienced by the working people of Coventry in the early years of the 1980's were still keenly felt even now. 'Thatcherism' has been neither forgotten nor forgiven.

'Too Much Pressure'
Begrade Theatre, Coventry  February 2011

Here's a gig, one of the last the first incarnation were to play, that features most of the second album.


Full artwork here:

The Specials imploded after the release of 'Ghost Town', whith Terry, Lyn and Neville forming the Fun Boy 3 and Jerry, Horace and Brad reverting to the Special A.K.A. (who in due course gave us the wonderful 'Free Nelson Mandela').

'Ghost Town'
The Specials TOTP July 1981

With all that the band stood for and tried to achieve it was so fitting that 'Ghost Town' topped the UK chart at the time when the county's inner-cities exploded into violence. Without wishing to justify rioting, the unrest of the summer of 1981 was very different from the riots seen in England this summer. Back in 1981 the violence was largely directed at the police, their policies as well as the overall political situation (as opposed to retail outlets in 2011!).

The inquest into the causes of the riots resulted in the publication of the Scarman report which concluded that:

Last April's riots in Brixton, south London were caused by serious social and economic problems affecting Britain's inner cities. Lord Scarman's inquiry into what he called the worst outbreak of disorder in the UK this century also blamed "racial disadvantage that is a fact of British life".

The report criticised police and the government, but it said there was no excuse for the violence and praised officers for their conduct during the disorder.

Radical changes in policing resulted.

Perhaps the Scarman report should have been distributed to police chiefs and politician's alike with a complimentary copy of 'Specials'. The perfect mix.

Sure Makes You Think......

I took a moment this morning to have a look at some stats on this blog a month in.

11,000 + visitors
24 comments (of which 7 are mine or from my son!)

This is not a moan as such, just a request to get a bit more engaged.

Have a good weekend.


The Stranglers on The Tube

As I recall, a couple of years ago,  I posted on the Burning Up Time Forums about the almost complete decline in music TV programing. Quality,intellegent music shows in the 1980's sucumbed to the blight of cable music channels. With the exception of Later.... (which itself tends to be rather conservative) and the commendable increase in festival broadcasting (albeit not where the Stranglers are concerned!) music programing on the TV has ceased to exist.

In the 1980's there were such shows aplenty and many were required viewing.

The Old Grey Whistle Test/Whistle Test
Something Else
Sight and Sound in Concert
even..... Cheggars Plays Pop!

The opportunities for bands to appear on TV to play live (best of all) or to lip-sync to promote a new release were plentiful. At the time, regional TV stations had their own music/arts programs (e.g. RPM in the South West).

One of the most essential views of the week was undoubtedly The Tube presented in the main by the late Paula Yates and Jools Holland (who give him his dues has been at the forefront of British music TV for very nearly 30 years). As I recall, the first show opened with something of a scoop, the last live TV performance by The Jam (Paul Weller had recently unilaterally disbanded the group and the height of their success).

Nearly every band of note appeared on the programme over its 5 year span. To like-minded people, live performances by the likes of PiL, The Damned and Killing Joke stood out from some of the dross (this was the mid-80s remember!).

The Stranglers appeared on the show twice, first in 1983 just prior to the start of the Feline tour.

'Who Wants The World'
The Tube Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
21st January 1983

Here's a good quality audio version of the 3 tracks played:

1. Midnight Summer Dream
2. European Female
3. Who Wants The World?

The second appearance was on 7th December 1984 (a week after the release of 'No Mercy').

The set this time was exclusively of new material from the 'Aural Sculpture' album released the previous month:

1. Let Me Down Easy
2. No Mercy
3. Uptown

Unfortunately, the audio and video versions of this set are of very poor quality. Can any one help?

JJ Burnel Martlet's Hall Burgess Hill UK 12th December 2000

In preparing this upload, I notice that it has been posted elsewhere, so please accept my apologies, but what the hell, there's some additional artwork in it if nothing else.

In the absence of any performances from the band in 2000 on my shelf, I'll give this year over to the bass player.

'Songs and Stories' Flyer
December 2000
This gig was rather unusual for me in terms of the venue. For those who don't know, Burgess Hill is my home town. I was born in the nearby community hospital and lived in Burgess Hill for my first 19 years before moving to London and college.

The venue was the Martlet's Hall, a small hall incorporated into the library building. Up until that time, I had never been to an event there. In fact the only 'gig' I recall taking place there was in 1987 (I think) when Sigue Sigue Sputnik, clearly on the way down (if ever they were that far up in the first place) played. This I missed as The Pogues were playing in Brighton on the night. The SSS gig ended in a big scrap, as such was the novelty of a name band appearing locally, a lot of gig novices turned up who, as is often the case, misinterpreted a bit of liveliness at the front as a fight waiting to happen and helped it along.

After SSS it was many years before the venue started taking bookings again, and these tended to be 60's acts such as Joe Brown & The Bruvvers and the like. So to have a 'hero' of mine playing in the local library made it worth the effort to travel down from Hertfordshire.

As I remember it was a filthy winter's evening. Driving conditions on the M25 and M23 were appauling (referenced by JJ in the set). Nevertheless, my expectations were high, this being a far more intimate setting for an 'alone and acoustic' set than the previous time I had seen him at the Union Chapel in Islington. The set that night was spot on, being a walk through JJ's entire career in music to date, with good representation of music from the solo albums 'Euroman Cometh' and 'Un Jour Parfait' and the Stranglers of course. This material was interspersed with new material that I thought was very strong. Did JJ ever take the new material from the stage into the studio? The only official release of many of these songs was from the SIS footage of the Union Chapel show. Even Hawkwind sneaked into the set.

At the end of the evening, whilst it was clear that Burgess Hill and JJ Burnel had ended their brief relationship that night never to see each other again, I left the venue content and headed for a curry with some old friends.


1. Jellyfish
2. Never Too Look Back
3. Skin Deep
4. By The Sea
5. Garden Of Eden
6. Dagenham Dave
7. European Female
8. Coup De Grace

1. Un Jour Parfait
2. Don’t Bring Harry
3. Norfolk Coast
4. Where I Live
5. Frog Crossing Road
6. Talking ‘Bout Me And You
7. In The End
8. The Kiss
9. Go Buddy Go
10. Something Better Change
11. Fred And George
12. Quark Strangeness And Charm
13. Big Thing Coming

Full artwork here (pdfs are also included in the download file)

Sunday 4 September 2011

I Could Have Been A Post-war East Berliner….. The STASI Prison, Hohenschönhausen, East Berlin

A couple of weeks ago I returned to Berlin with the family, a city break kind of thing. It's a great city with an incredibly rich history for a relatively young settlement (relative to other population centres of 'Old Europe'). Buildings and ruins representing the heights of academic excellence (Humboldt University) to the heights of depravity (SS headquarters) sit side by side.

I have always been interested in political extemes (not in an active capacity I must add!!) and such extremism is very well represented in Berlin. The Stranglers too have over the years expressed an interest in the communist politics of the former DDR (Chronicles of Vladimir, Bear Cage etc).

Having done a walking tour to the better known sights, we took the tram out to the suburbs of East Berlin to visit one of the lesser publicised tourist sites. The Hohenschönhausen prison complex is the real deal, representing as it does nearly a quarter of a century of communist mistreatment of the ideology's critics and opponents.

For the total sum of €12 the four of us experienced a tour of the complex with first hand experiences relayed by our guide.

Here's the history then.

Hohenschönhausen Prison
August 2011

The Centre of Communist Repression

The location of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen memorial embodies like no other the 44-year history of political persecution in the Soviet Occupation Zone and the German Democratic Republic. A Soviet internment camp was set up there at the end of World War II and subsequently transformed into the main Soviet remand prison for Germany. In the early fifties, the secret police of the SED (the ruling party in the GDR) took over the prison. Until 1990 the Ministry of State Security (MfS) used it as its main remand prison.

The MfS or ‘Stasi’, being the ‘shield and sword of the party’, was the most important instrument in enforcing the communist dictatorship in East Germany. At the end 91,000 full-time Stasi employees and 189,000 unofficial collaborators ensured the blanket surveillance of the population. Thousands of people offering resistance or trying to flee the country were banished to one of the 17 MfS remand prisons, which were controlled by the headquarters in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen.

The Camp

Originally, the area of the later remand prison in the north east of Berlin housed a large canteen for the National Socialist People’s Welfare Organisation (NSV). In May 1945, the red-brick building dating from 1939 was confiscated by the Soviet Occupation Forces and transformed into ‘Special Camp No. 3’ which served as an assembly and transit camp. From here, about 20,000 prisoners were transferred by foot or by truck to other Soviet camps, including also the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp of the Nazis.

The living conditions in the camp were catastrophic- sometimes holding over 4,200 inmates penned in like animals. Hygenic conditions were equally abysmal, food rations totally insufficient. Due to the lack of blankets, prisoners were constantly exposed to the elements in the unheated factory building. Conditions were further aggravated by the fact that internees were kept in the dark with regards to their ultimate fate. Many of them fell ill and died. According to Soviet statistics, 886 people died here between July 1945 and October 1946. However, it is estimated that more than 3,000 detainees actually perished in the camp. Their remains were buried in bomb craters and rubbish dumps in the camp’s vicinity.

The basis of internment was justified by Soviet Directive No. 00315 issued on 18th April 1945, according to which spies, subversive elements, terrorists, Nazi party activists, police and secret service personnel, administrative officials and other ‘hostile elements’ in Germany faced mandatory arrest. Many of those detainees were only slightly- if at all- involved in the Nazi system. The internees included not only a large number of non-Germans (mainly Poles and Russians) but also women and adolescents. Unsubstantiated denunciations often resulted in arrest and detention, as was the case with the famous actor, Heinrich George. In 1946, he was brought to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he died shortly after.

Many internees were incarcerated for years on end without recourse to legal proceedings. An increasing number of political enemies of the Soviet occupation forces disappeared in the camp – notable casualties included Karl Heinrich, the social democratic commander of Berlin’s police force, who died there at the end of 1945. Not at least because of the anxious enquiries of the citizen’s of Berlin, the camp was dissolved in October 1946. The prisoners were moved to other places.

The ‘U-Boot’

Shortly afterwards the main Soviet remand prison in East Germany was set up in the vast factory building. Prisoners had to construct a maze of subterranean, bunker-like cells in the basement of the former canteen – known as the ‘U-Boot’ of submarine. The damp and cold cells were equipt with a wooden bed and a bucket serving as a lavatory. A light bulb was burning 24 hours a day. Interrogations were usually held at night in an atmosphere of physical and psychological violence. Former prisoners described being forced to sign confessions due to the combined effects of sleep deprivation, standing still for hours on end, arrest lasting for days or being detained in the water cells.

A Water Cell in the 'U-Boot' Basement

Cells in the 'U-Boot' Soviet remand Prison

The prison population included both alleged Nazis and suspected political opponents such as supporters of the democratic parties (SPD, LDPD and CDU) along with communists and Soviet officers who had been regarded as not toeing the official party line. Most of them were sentenced to many years of forced labour by Soviet Military Tribunals. Almost each former prisoner, who at the end of the SED dictatorship in 1990 filed an application for rehabilitation, has been subsequently declared innocent by the Russian authorities.

The Stasi Prison

After the creation of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) the underground prison came under its jurisdiction in March 1951. Numerous opponents of the communist dictatorship were detained here during the fifties. The list of those arrested reached from leaders of the uprising of 17th June 1953 to members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses movement. Disgraced polititions had to endure many months in tomb-like cells such as the former GDR Foreign Minister, Georg Dertinger (CDU Party), or the former SED Politburo member, Paul Merker, as well as reform minded communists such as Walter Janka, the head of the Aufbau publishing house. Even critics of the SED in the West were abducted by the MfS and taken to Hohenschönhausen such as Walter Linse, a lawyer from West Berlin, kidnapped in 1952 and executed in Moscow one year later.

At the end of the fifties prisoners from the adjoining MfS labour camp had to construct a new building with more than 200 prison cells and interrogation rooms. The vast prison complex was part of an extensive secret area – no ordinary citizen of the GDR was allowed to enter. Most of the prisoners had tried to flee of emigrate from the GDR or had been persecuted due to their political views, such as the dissident Rudolf Bahro and the author Jurgen Fuchs.

Physical violence became psychological cruelty – methods and techniques to break the prisoner’s resistance and will. It was prison policy not to inform newcomers of their exact whereabouts. They were systematically subjected to the feeling of being helpless at the mercy of an almighty authority. Being completely cut off from the outside world and their fellow prisoners, they were subjected to months of questioning by expert interrogators aimed at coercing them to make incriminating statements. The peaceful revolution in the autumn of 1989 overthrew the SED dictatorship and resulted in the dissolution of the State Security Service and the ultimate closure of its prisons.

Cells in the New Block (STASI Prison)

Cells, Solitary Cells and Interrogation Rooms (curtained)
New Block (STASI Prison)

Our guide, was an unassuming East Berliner who was arrested as an 18 year old in 1984 and held on remand in one of the 17 Stasi prisons under the administration of Hohenschönhausen. His crime? Suspision of an attempt to escape East Berlin to the West. He was arrested in the street and taken away in a 'delivery van' (see photo behind him) and subjected to the kind of interrogation methods outlined above.

Our Guide and Former Inmate Describes His Arrest by the Stasi

The fact that he was only 3 years older than me and yet had experienced such suffering under the regime was especially poignant. He was keen to point out that given that fact that only 20 years have passed since the collapse of the SED and GDR, it is a reality that former victims of the regime live cheek by jowl with their oppressors in the same suburbs. He informed us that the former head of the Hohenschönhausen STASI prison, lived in retirement in an apartment no 200m from the gate of the complex. Similarly, the infirmary psychiatrist continued in practise from a surgery 500m from the prison.

He relayed an anecdote that indicates that hard-line party members still yearn for the days in which the old regime held absolute control over East Berlin. As a city tour guide he was waiting to meet a school party ahead of a planned tour when he overheard two old men discussing the 'good old days'. The guide was felt compelled to interject and contradict the old man's opinion that the machine ran better under the SED. The old man took umbrage and accused the guide of being a West Berliner. When the guide explained that in fact he was born in East Berlin and had been imprisoned by the Stasi, the old man exploded 'They should have done a better job and killed you!'. This exchange happened in the centre of Berlin in 2009.

The Memorial

Following the unification of the two German states, the prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen was closed in October 1990. Former prisoners spoke out in favour of establishing a memorial at the site. In 1992, the prison complex was listed as an historical monument. The Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial Site was established two years later. Since 2000, it has been an independent foundation under public law. The memorial has been charged with ‘exploring the history of the Hohenschönhausen prison between 1945 and 1989, informing by exhibitions, events and publications and inspiring visitors to take a critical look at the methods and consequences of political persecution and suppression in the communist dictatorship’.


Liverpool Philharmonic 30th October 1999

Here's a long set from 1999's Hits & Heroes tour. Interesting for the inclusion of live rarities such as 'Pin Up' and 'Ice Queen'.



1. Duchess
2. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
3. Who Wants The World
4. Coup De Grace
5. Pin Up
6. Skin Deep
7. Threatened
8. Ice Queen
9. Princess Of The Street
10. The Raven
11. Genetix

1. Always The Sun
2. Goodbye Toulouse
3. Nuclear Device
4. Two Sunspots
5. Burning Up Time
6. Tank
7. Something Better Change
8. Five Minutes
9. Golden Brown
10. Valley Of The Birds
11. Thrown Away
12. Hanging Around
13. No More Heroes.

Saturday 3 September 2011

Terry Hall & Jerry Dammers Interviewed on BBC Radio 6 (Steve Lamacq Show 30th August 2011)

This is very exiting. This week on the excellent BBC Radio 6 station, Steve Lamacq on his Album of the Day slot took on The Specials album (certainly one of the most important albums of the 1970's). To discuss the making of the album and the early history of the band, Steve talked to none other than Terry Hall and Jerry Dammers (unfortunately not at the same time!).

Excellent material and fortunately 100% focused on the album, rather than issues with the reunion.

This is posted for the benefit of those outside of the UK who have experienced difficulties in hearing this essential hour of radio.

Full artwork here: