“Love the earth and sun and animals. Stand up for the stupid and crazy. Take your hat off to no man.”
Anarchy – the belief that our species would be better off without any form of centralised power or state – has existed throughout (and indeed before…) history. There are quotes from Taoist sages alluding to man’s natural tendency for anarchy which date back millennia; most famous of these are Zhuangzi’s “There has been such a thing as letting mankind alone; there has never been such a thing as governing mankind [with success],” and Laozi’s “A petty thief is put in jail. A great brigand becomes a ruler of a Nation.”
In 1891 a group of gentlemen, for that’s who they were, gathered. They printed the first Sheffield Anarchist, in the years following the industrialisation of this city has seen lives wasted, the earth raped in the name of what progress? On the weekend of The 18-20 September 2009 The Corporate Beast shall beat in the form of repetitive beats, WARP is 20 years old and we are told there is a need for celebration?
A city changes in 20 years, this year we have seen the closing of Rutland Cutlery works 300 years lost, The demolition of Tinsley Wire goes on as people gather to dance on the roof of Q Car Park, Tinsley Wire where 900 people worked 7 hour shifts, only paid for six, the first hour was change over from the last shift 24 hours 7 days a week, now it stands still, the same for Sheffield Crown Court – the former Sheffield Town hall stands still as the flora of Mother Earth creeps upon the now ruin.
As the social elite of this city party, the under-class are asleep in their ghettos, where the day to day reminders of poverty hunger crime, drug addiction are there tomorrows, but for now in sleep it can be forgotten, and perhaps they might have the bus fare to walk the streets of Sheffield paved with gold for the social elite of this city, as they walk they are told utopia is within their reach, but never getting there and there of course at fault, for not trying hard enough their aspiration was not enough.
The underclass who worked the shifts at the still Stocksbridge Steel works, now they are laid off being paid to be idle 400 of the 1200 former workers, like the giant they wait for the work, but it lays still a ghost of its former self, like much of the former industry of this city, it has made way for shopping hell of Medowhell, around is the waste ground of all our yesterdays, up the road in Tinsley the school has to time the children into the playground to avoid the pollution, the fresh air is full of lead from the cars going to the concert at The Don Valley Stadium, built in 1991 for the student games.
In those 20 years, we have lost more of the industry that made Sheffield, indeed WARP moved a while ago to London, the former FON shop is now an upmarket jewellers it moved over the road, it become FOPP the new Sheffield paradise for the bohemians looking for the nostalgia on the cheep, well 5 pounds is a bargain to be seen to be cool, yesterday sells even if you were not born when the crow in this city had a baby, the Comsat Angels gave us a tune not so heavenly, and Don Valley and The Rotherhides did the gig for the opening of the five weirs walk, where The FON Studio stood is now a car park, will there be a blue plaque to mark over the road where PULP worked their backsides off in the former factory of the common people.
The former FOPP is now a coffee shop, where you could help the aged with lunch for a pound, stands luxury flats, below is an high end store selling you the right look, but if you are down with it try Oxfam, then call into Record Collector, thank fuck some things do not change, in the 20 years Rare n Racy have seen the wolves from their door, but the shadow of West One looms to remind them of the new city, down the road is The Forum, this is our northern quarter Manchester has come to Sheffield, in the 20 years on from WARP we live in a changed city, but the wastelands remind us of the former industrialisation, the poverty, of the unemployment is not hidden you need only walk down the Dickensian Quarter, it is all their screaming children, drunks looking for there oblivion, smack heads chasing the dragon, there is an ugly edge here time has stood still, the decay hasn’t, it has taken over the humanity, as well The Sheaf Markets, in this mist the gentrification has visited like a virus it stands making an effort to fit in, but it can not hide the social problems.
As the WARP circus comes to town, change has not come for the underclass of this city, on the edge of this city the former derelict cutlery works has become a smack den, a shelter for the homeless, desperation leads you to places, as the party gathers a quite storm, the bohemians snort there white powder, drop an e with a polite knowing nod of hypocrisy from the likes of Creative Sheffield, the drug dealers will deal their shit in the former tailors shop in the Northern Quarter and the police in full knowledge, will hassle the homeless outside the project to help them, but will leave the drug dealers along with the bohemians, ensure there is enough police to make the freshers safe. Of course this is all about revenue so a blind eye is turned to the anti social behaviour of the middle class, of course 20 YEARS OF WARP is a celebration it is about an income stream now our city has been desecrated of the industry what made it, but there is no need to rember our history and heritage, but if you need to understand the under ground culture of this city then the WARP weekend is not for yourselves, it comes thorough the bullshit of this city, a nod towards MATILDA, Freenoise and Singing Knives, there are people in this city kicking the sand into the faces of the beast.
Being alternative, is not how much shit you can snort, what E you have taken, walking round stoned all the time is neither fucking radi-cool but the middle class give there own class a bad name, just the same as the working class agreed, in the 20 years of WARP I see a changed city in the physical but not in the bullshit and attitude of the village fools. I kicked my addictions, for self preservation fed up being a hypocrite bullshiter, I was nothing different or alternative just the same brain dead moron as those fair weather friends, you see change is good I have not felt this good for some years, I wake fresh and alive forward-looking to each day, love living in this changing city, the cultural diversity of students, immigrants, but I also understand the lack of equilibrium in this city, from the formation of WARP there is no fucking celebration unless you are one of the bohemians and might I add that T Shirt made from 100% recycled organic cotton, with the raise fist crushing the coke can, along with the words COKE THE REAL THING THAT KILLS COMMUNITIES shows you fucking hypocrisy off with style and 10% from each sale goes to the Columbian education project, fucking deal ill have 2 please and a line of course keep the change, oh shit I need that 20 pound note, do you take cards?
If you have been offended by this rant, then look at the reasons why you did feel offended, in a city of change the people need to change, we need only look to The Artic Monkeys and there time in the desert, Richard Hawley the way he moved forward change is progress it can only be good, this said we need to remember what brought and whom brought us here, I can honestly say I feel pride to be from Sheffield, the other week I stood in The Harley next to and on stage with Bare Knuckle Soul words fail that joy, likewise when I here Tom Rodwell, Joddy wildegose there is more to Sheffield than fucking WARP, along with the drug taking fools and piss heads, who to be frank give me reason not to goto gigs, be as an active part of this wonderful city, because you ruin the joy, otherwise i’d be on the roof of Q Car Park but to be frank and northern I ain’t a fucking a hypocrite bullshitter, I like getting drunk walking home as the sun comes up, sometimes I enjoy the hangovers, liked getting stoned, however as someone told me a while back self harm has lost its charm and change become a challenge now that would be a celebration to see the brain dead change, I live in anticipation I would as an anarchist, sometimes it is good to kick and go against the grain to what is expected.