Finally, it happened, the much awaited, COVID battered documentary about the Newtown Neurotics. I have followed the band for 40 years, they made me think about all manner of things when politics was starting to loom large on my teenage horizon, be it national political commentary... 'Let's Kick Out The Tories', 'Get Up And Fight' or politics of a more personal nature... 'The Mess', 'Agony' and 'Wake Up'. Intelligent punk from the front line of Harlow Town. So, this premiere had been in the diary for an age.
In many ways it is almost poetic that the film's release was delayed by a couple of years. In the interval the band saw fit to record an album of new material, but perhaps more importantly the period between the planned screening in Leytonstone in 2020 and last night's event spanned some of the most bizarre events in British political history... yet more confirmation that the Neurotics knew... don't argue!
From arrival in London, specifically, The Blue Posts in Newman Street, through to entering the hallowed depths of the 100 Club there was a wonderful atmosphere, a sense of solidarity... 300 or so people crammed into an Oxford Street basement with aligned values at a time when elements of the press inform the public that a woke generation are about to destroy everything we stand for as a nation.
The film is brilliant, all credit to Luke Baker for this extraordinary achievement. There was a comment from someone in the film, sorry I forget who, that said that Harlow was just waiting for punk to happen. Whilst unfortunately I was not witness to the development of the 'Stortbeat' scene (being 1) too young and 2) in a different part of the country), I think that the real achievement of punk lies in a local and independent meeting of minds and bands, venues etc etc. As was evident in the pub and later in the 100 Club the bonds and friendships formed way back then endure to this day. You cannot ask for better than that!
These days I limit my filming of gigs, it annoys people (although I can honestly say that if ever I do record something it is never impinges on other punters view of the stage!) and I get it. However, occasionally, the event warrants it and this was one such case. Last weekend Gunta and I saw Steve play a solo gig at The Hare pub in Harlow. That afternoon he discussed the inspiration behind the song 'This Fragile Life', a Harlow resident revealed to be a lady named Maggie Reynolds who died in poverty in the early 1980's. Last night, the song, as important in my mind as 'Kick Out The Tories' or 'Living With Unemployment' had a 'Repercussions' makeover with the introduction of brass (not to forget a second guitarist by the name of Leigh!).
All in all, a brilliant night of positive affirmation that things can get better!