This thread is dedicated to the greatest punk rock band to have ever come out of Northern Ireland. I had the privilege of seeing them play two years on the trot in the early 80's at the Ulster Hall, Belfast. They always did a Christmas gig, and the atmosphere was always electric. Unlike the Undertones (Teenage kicks - John Peel's favourite), Stiff Little Fingers dared to sing about the conflict in Northern Ireland, with songs like "Wasted Life", "Suspect Device" and of course their classic "Alternative Ulster".
Their debut album "Inflammable Material" is a punk classic, and Jake Burns really sang his heart out. Whilst the troubles were raging in the early 80's I was one of the spiky haired punk rockers who used to congregate in Corn Market in Belfast city centre, and as well as the Stiffs, we also used to attend the Labour Club to see local hardcore anarcho-punk bands "Toxic Waste" and "Stalag 17".
Of course by 1984 the Belfast punk movement had greatly declined in numbers since the punk explosion of 1977 (no pun intended), and the music had become a lot faster, harder, and even more political in tone than before, but the central message was always there: the punks had created for themselves an alternative culture, an alternative to the Ulster that was characterised by bloody conflict, and if the people of Northern Ireland wanted an alternative to war, all they had to do was reject the paramilitary groups on both sides and embrace peace.
In 1998 the people of this country officially rejected political violence and embraced the peace they had been yearning for. The punks had got it right. Their rejection of political violence and their alternative thinking communicated a desire for change, and that change has finally taken place. I know that some Republicans will say that what we have is an alternative six counties and not an alternative Ulster. The same people who will walk into a Belfast cafe and order an "occupied six counties fry" as opposed to an "Ulster fry". Feckin eejits.
To the Stiffs! Get some volume on it!
"I could be a soldier
Go out there and fight to save this land
Be a people's soldier
Paramilitary gun in hand
I won't be a soldier
I won't take no orders from no-one
Stuff their ******************************ing armies
Killing isn't my idea of fun
They wanna waste my life
They wanna waste my time
They wanna waste my life
And they've stolen it away
I could be a hero
Live and die for their 'important' cause
A united nation
Or an independent state with laws
And rules and regulations
That merely cause disturbances and wars
That is what I've got now
All thanks to the freedom-seeking hordes
I'm not gonna be taken in
They said if I don't join I just can't win
I've heard that story many times before
And every time I threw it out the door
Still they come up to me
With a different name but same old face
I can see the connection
With another time and a different place
They ain't blonde-haired or blue-eyed
But they think that they're the master race
They're nothing but blind fascists
Brought up to hate and given lives to waste"