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May Day 1998

md98 MAY DAY '98 LIVE REVIEWS - more 1



May Day History on menu for canteen discussion

April 23


The History of May Day, it's decline as a British celebration and the moves to reclaim it, were the topics for a lively lunchtime chat at Bradford Resource Centre. It was one of the centres monthly "Futures" meetings and 1 in 12 Club member Matt Hannam introduced the discussion.

Did you know.... that McCormick's, the company at the centre of the bitter Haymarket dispute in Chicago in 1886 which led to the execution of 4 anarchists and the birth of the modern May Day, subsequently changed it's name to International Harvesters and became one of the major employers in Bradford, where it flourished until the 1980's. And one of the original 35 people who were charged with conspiracy in the Haymarket events was Sam Fielden from Todmorden.



i - portraits of anarchists

Most people will have missed this exhibition by American photographer Casey 0rr when first shown at Huddersfield Art Gallery two years ago and this May Day show provides a welcome opportunity to see the work. The exhibition comprises 35 portraits of ordinary people for whom the description anarchist is held to be of significance. In addition each print is accompanied by a short piece of text penned by the subjects themselves.

There is, it must be said something slightly odd about an exhibition of portrait photographs of anarchists, the obvious question must be why? For Casey the avowed intention was to counter popular media stereotypes of cloak-clad, bomb carrying terrorists with the less dramatic, more mundane reality, that "normal people are anarchists too!" But there is an inevitable and uncomfortable tension here, a danger that rather than 35 photographs of people who are anarchists, one gets a collection of photographs of 35 anarchists. Being an anarchist does not presumably make one more photogenic (although some would disagree!) so there remains an artistic question here too.

Until going to see this exhibition my knowledge of this collection had been confined to the published book of the photographs (AK Press) and in that format these questions seemed confirmed. But in this exhibition Casey's intentions work well, hung on the walls of the Love Apple Cafe, the celebration of ordinariness is much better achieved. The prints mingle with the customers and that is just as it should be. Lifted from the glossy page the collection is no longer a catalogue of anarchists Casey has known, but a collection of beautifully composed portraits, elegantly photographed, and simply presented.

This is an exhibition which stands on its own photographic merits, the images are engaging and the attached text seems much less pompous that it somehow did in the book. These are photographs of people and above all photographs that celebrate the diversity and difference that being human is all about. And after all it is the recognition of this that continues to make anarchism such an important idea, a continual antidote to authoritarian tendencies however and wherever expressed. 1 guess that was what Casey Orr was trying to say all along! - Matt (April 20).

i - portraits of anarchists

Love Apple Cafe (upstairs), 18th April - May (Free)


"When I worked in print we earned more than the management, but we were still working class. It's what you know, who you identify with. People mistake affluence for class"

- Albert Meltzer



Fun'da'mentally Sound

"Your brain is an instrument of torture or protest"


This statement found on the cover of "Erotic Terrorism" (Nation Records), the third wave of the Fun'da'mental musical onslaught illustrates the foundation of their highly charged aural assault. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights replaces the customary lyric sheet and brutal outrage dominates the beats, entirely appropriate for the deeply moving topics of oppression and injustice. Wonderfully, however, all this is underpinned by a typically effortless mastery of the finer points of both current vibrations and eastern tablatronics. Ferociously exciting on stage, they combine punk dynamics with warmly unifying grooves. Recent gigs have seen several thousand people from many cultures reshape the earth to their irresistible rhythms. Prepare to be moved!

- Craig (April 12)

Fun-Da-Mental play for May Day at the Communal Building, Saturday, May 2. Tickets £5 advance.


NoBacon's Bingo Bash Boost

Thursday, April 9


"It's number 2 - John's wet through"; "4 and 20, the bucket's empty"; "3 and 30, soaking shirty".

Punters braved an audience with Chumbas wild boy of pop on Thursday night, without the protection of brollies, for Danbert NoBacon's Grand Bingo Night. But rumours that Danbert would create a splash such as that at the Brit Awards turned out to be a damp squib.

Instead the packed Bar at the 1 in 12 enjoyed an evening of traditional Bingo, adding a further £80 to the May Day Collective coffers. A stunning array of prizes heightened expectations, leading to 2 impromptu encores for the top prize of a pint of bitter.

The May Day events are expected to cost the Collective over £3000, with other independent events costing about the same. A series of benefit events like this will lead up to May Day.


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