Another great band that was very obscure, The Astronauts were early touring partners of The Mob and Zounds from around 1979/1980(the infamous 'Weird Tales' tour), and mixed punk with folk and came up with of the most brilliant songs and lyrics ever created. Inspired by the punk explosion around 1977, Mark 'Astronaut' started the band that same year in his hometown of Welwyn Garden City.
They began playing an endless amount of free festivals and helped start the hippy collective Fuck Off records. They released several E.P.'s and began touring with Zounds and The Mob. Due to the immense amount of releases and musicians that have taken part in this band, I will only talk about two important albums and list the rest of the material in the downloads section.
Like most of the 'Anarcho' punk bands, The Astronauts were swept under the carpet by the media seeing as though the media is only interested in trendy, fashionable, middle class garbage. One reason why their music was so different was because they showed an influence from the early Industrial/Experimental scene which included bands like Surgical Penis Klinic, Throbbing Gristle and 23 Skidoo. The excellent 'Peter Pan hits the Suburbs' was released in 1981, and showed how the band could write beautiful traditional folk ballads with a mix of punk and genius anarchist lyrics. Their audience usually consisted of hardcore punks and hippies and they responded positively to what the band was doing. During the early eighties, the band gigged with several other 'Anarcho Punk' bands and released several E.P.s and L.P.'s while maintaining an underground anti-mainstream attitude.
'It's all Done by Mirrors' is considered their best work. It features several tracks such as 'Typically English Day'(which appeared in the recent Overground label's compilation)which are similar to the first album. By 1986, the band disappeared after growing tired of playing so many gigs, but continued passively gigging and releasing material even to this day. Recently, The Mob, Zounds and The Astronauts organised a gig together to be played this year just like they did in the late seventies in the 'Weird tales' tour almost 35 years ago. They still hold their old values and refuse to sell out and will also be also playing with Idiot Strength, Rubella Ballet, and Andy T.
I live my own life - do what I want - say what I mean And you've got your own hope - strange ambition - different dreams So who are you to say I'm wrong? And who am I to say I'm right? Though we live in separate ways, why do we argue, always fight? A man who disagreed with a regime was termed a rat. One night, some men came round - "we've read your books, we'd like a chat" And then they kicked him round the cell With cigarettes they burnt his face Said "Remember, we're the law. Do you love your family, your dwelling place?" And it seems that fools control the world, the nuclear button, the poison pen. Most of us are in the dark, but then we're only little men. But little men have mouths to feed And little men don't want to kill So little men are never told unless, of course, the earth stands still. We have got a chant, ain't got a chorus, ain't even got a name But it helps us through the night to know we don't share the blame It's just another protest song ("Oh what a pretty protest song") With words to try and make you think ("I think I'll go and have a drink") But come the dawn resume your search for your ultimate power Your missing link.
"Baby Sings Folk Songs"
Beautiful schemer came in through the door Took off her necklace and crouched on the floor Says she wants peace but don't know why for sure Tell me your plan beautiful schemer 'Cos I've been out working my hands on the farm Curse at my bosses that don't do them no harm I'm waiting for action 'cos I can't stand the calm Then I come home, baby sings folk songs. Here I lie waiting for me true love to see me His heart of the white rose and mines of the red Northern romance in the inn of good plenty Lord make him kind when he goes to my bed Beautiful schemer came in through the night Smiled with her left eye but glared with her right Said shall we go out and worship the night Tell me the prayer, beautiful schemer 'Cos I've been out working my hands on the grime Working at Turner's on the assembly line And I heard of the good life, but I know it ain't mine Then I come home, baby takes downers Here is a nice little bottle of sleepers They'll help me to stay in me little dream world There's moggies and mandies and nice little white ones I'll dream that me true love is stroking me curls Am I out of this race is that a smile on your face Am I sorry for this misdemeanour On the Icelandic coast with some hot buttered toast Would an artist have made it much cleaner Now you sit on the floor when he calls out for more Did you feel the effects of the acid With his lunatic air and face so debonair He made Liszt and Lord Byron look placid Beautiful schemer she wanders through the yard Trying to make her good love look so hard You think she's the answer but you hold the cards Deal me in quick beautiful schemer I've been out working to buy you a meal My protest is shrink-wrapped, got a factory seal And you say shall we go out and try to make it real I need you to help that baby's got pen friends Beautiful schemer with the never-ending smile Invites you inside to her head for a while Minx of the North lake, mad bitch of the Nile Go back to Troy, beautiful schemer. 'Cos I come from Fulham where fables aren't made Where night-life is ruled by DMs and blade Sometimes I just get to feel quite afraid I need you to help but baby plays hockey Swish goes the stick when the ball hits the netting I play with the girls on the old village green And later we go to the fair and eat liqourice Soon it will be Mayday and I'll be your queen Beautiful schemer she lives far away Never did listen to much that I'd say Lives in a parallel world in a way That I just can't come in, no no no. And I'm going to go, don't want to see you no more Going back to the ghetto with an uncultured roar We never got much further than your door Beautiful schemer, why are you crying My body boys left me for a far away haven My ribbon is wasted, my maidenhood black He says that he's going and he won't be returning Oh speed little glove and bring my Johnny back
"Typically English Day"
On a typically English day When the man in the street alway has his say On a terraced house with no yard A couple of people are playing cards And the street outside is a dance hall floor of the lunatic brigade To help compensate the profits and the losses of the men who'd been self made And she says maybe we should leave this place And he says watch out I've trumped your ace And they put the cards back and quietly fasde away And they both have a doze on a typically English day On a typically English night When the announcer on the telly hopes that we're alright ON a terraced house with thatched roof A couple of people are hoping for truth Becauase it's getting colder and they're both aware That thier health is getting poor And a man in a sports jacket on the TV Was saying something about the war And he says if I wasn't confined to this bed I'd pick up my pistol and go and teach the reds And she says "I know dear" and quietly turns off the light And they both have a doze on a typically English night On a typically English day When the baying of the hounds keeps the fallout at bay On a terraced house with no yard A couple of people are finding it hard But he says they can drop all the bombs they like just as long as I've got you So lay down next to me, hold my hand, lets make love like we used to do And damn this gout, and damn this leg I really want to have you and I ain't got time to beg So the fire storm slowly came their way So lets leave them to cry on a typically English day.
The sun beats down on the wills of the oppressors They never learn, they just keep you under thumb They say if you want to go out late tomorrow Don't go out tonight till your homework's done And you behave yourself When you behave yourself the day seems so much longer Don't behave yourself it won't do any good When you behave yourself you don't turn out any stronger Don't behave yourself I know you would break out if you could Now the people that seem to rule your lives forever will one day be gone, So you had better be prepared And you behave yourself You may wake up one bright and sunny morning And you will have found that it caught you unawares You behave yourself When you behave yourself it get so bloody boring Don't behave yourself it will drive you round the twist When you behave yourself you spend the whole day snoring Don't behave yourself and you'll have better fun than this So the sun beats down on the wills of the oppressors But they never learn, they just keep you on the run And you behave yourself And all the time you sit around stagnating You could be outside and having better fun Still you behave yourself When you behave yourself you're waiting for tomorrow Don't behave yourself it'll only bring you down When you behave yourself you spend the life in sorrow Don't behave yourself and tonight we'll take the town.
In these days when good news Barely gets a mention Pills and booze Can't ease the tension. Money making is your pastime But what good is profit If it's the last time? So what am I supposed to tell My Children About social barriers And why you build them. So where's your police force? Where's your system? Once the lips of fate Have kissed them....... (There isn't much time left and they're crawling out of the walls)
"Gothic Rooms"We all live in Gothic rooms Live out our dreams in Gothic rooms It's always clean in Gothic rooms It's never ending We have come to sink in Gothic rooms Still on the brink in Gothic rooms And it's hard to think in Gothic rooms Who you're defending But in the day we're holding hands We use in-jokes to make our stand But get depressed by the barren land And the roots of the soil and the buds and the trees And the bills and the dole and the misery And the changing of moods and the state of our blooms In Gothic rooms The children sleep in Gothic rooms Screams in the night in Gothic rooms The gas has filled our Gothic rooms But we're still breathing If I collapse in the night Turn my gun to the West One last desperate strike Against the rich men of zest Who take what they like And fuck the rest So we sit in our rooms With the strange and the scared And the weird and the twisted and the silent And the impaired And a man calls each week to inspect our rooms In Gothic rooms"Getting things Done"There's a woman on the corner and she's carrying a banner Saying down with the oppressor and the men who overran her And at least she's getting things done There's a factory and a union and the men are having doubts About working for a pittance so they're going to do a walk out (At least they're getting things done) You sit there with a grin on your face Always been a moderate and you knwo your place Slowly going nowhere in this nowhere race (And if you get into power nothing, nothing's going to change) There's some schoolboy on the corner from the school just down the road Teacher said he'd have to punish them - they decided not to go And they've got a sort of feeling there's a better sort of scene So they put their heads together and they start a magazine But you turn round with your pint of real If you'd been so oppressed you'd turn quite pale But "I'm alright Jack" is what you always wail There's a lot of them talking and their heads are getting prouder There's a lot of them been talking and their voices getting louder They're growing in their number and they will not go away They're growing in their number and waiting for the day But you turn round and say "That's not fair - you know that Anti-Nazi rally man I was there" But when the music stopped that's when you ceased to care And you still turn round with your pint of beer Don't like radicals - think they're weird Still do anything to get out of here"Latin and Greek"Provided this letter can reach you on time It gives me a chance to redress the crime Because things aren't as clear as I thought they would be And I suppose that I blew out my chances to be free So wipe off your make-up and screw up the myth Let's walk hand in hand to the edge of the cliff Have you got a gas mask to face the crowd with To try and suss out a brand new way to live Now I am not very tall and my hands they are sore My body is thin and my head's in a roar But I think that the violence begins to make sense Because we're bored with the feel of the weight of the fence If I conduct myself with precision and grace Do I stand half a chance of losing this place Pretend to be jelly, forget about hate How far is the goal, how long must we wait Because I scream in the night at the slightest excuse My mind ain't unhinged, but it's pretty damned loose Shaking hands as I wake to the muddle again But there's some who are worse off so why complain And my secretary's phoning me three times a week In a curious mixture of Latin and Greek There's a shop on the corner in which we all pose There's a life which we live in in which we all doze Don't talk very loud there's a maniac inside Hits out of self-defence, hits out of pride In the room when the conversation gets tense Shall we drift to the ceiling to try and make sense In the street when the feeling is never at ease We can touch passers-by, give them the disease So send me your wire, please drop me a line I need something concrete through which to unwind If I sit here much longer I think I'll implode I wonder if screams will be heard down the road But I am just insecure, nervous, scared Need someone to help us, need people to care Isolations ain't fun, but it gets pretty real How to put across all the things that I feel Shall I take a few drugs, as I feel like a kick Can I smash up t he wall, can I make myself sick It's a laugh, got to grin, what a nutter they say It's all part of the act though he's really OK And my secretary's phoning me three times a week And she always is speaking in Latin and Greek"Seagull Mania"Early in the morning, just after dawn Baby's posing around the lawn Because it's quiet at the moment And the world is hers She has responsibility for that obscure freaking sound of the old milk float She adds a postscript to the letter she wrote Saying "City living takes it out of me - Won't you send me a sachet of sanity" Sits with a pile of magazines Her face is falling apart at the seams Looks pretty awful But she says she dreams of some land But dreams get frozen pretty fast around here Choked by the suffocating atmosphere Nothing ever seems to be really clear Living in the urban slum land In spite of the heaviness of her heart She claims that her life is killed by art And no reality shot will spoil it D.H. Lawrence in the downstairs toilet See pictures on the bathroom wall You could swear you could hear the curlews call The kindly fisherman drags his net Goldfish in a bowl in a stereo cassette But I bet you deny her methodical grace Keeps every fantasy filled in its space But still has a vision she could leave this place For some land A Dorset coast is where she would rather lie With a chorus of gulls serenading the sky As she watches the unemployed sail by Living in an urban slumland Radical solutions didn't get very far The past disappears like a falling star And now she follows the normal rule A time warped fossil of the social school But one day a letter came through her door Mailed by a lover from '64 Saying "Come along to the coast with me, I'm setting up a communal fantasy" 1 o'clock she is watching the rain 2 o'clock she is running for a train At 9 o'clock she is home again With shaking hands Because Gerald was married with a house in Slough He had wanted to escape, fate wouldn't allow And now she wants to disappear somehow Away from the urban slum land There is a crippled note by the side of the phone Traditional excuses for being alone She's dressed in a white frock trimmed with lace Beaks and feathers all round the place The radio blares it's usual tune Bruckner comes from each part of the room"Sod us"It's six in the morning and this corner's getting cold Occasional faces but they all look too old And all the others have gone safely back home Mystical moneyless or somewhere on their own And it's a gas They're searching around looking for someone to harass And they don't like your face Well you'd better run away or get out of this place And they're speeding their balls off getting nicked for petty crimes The clerk of the court says you're a problem of the times Probation officer he gives me his word Says he's on my side but he's a stupid bloody turd I couldn't care less As he babbles on to me about the way I'm in a mess You don't hurt me Well you may have a salary but at least I'm still free And sooner or later you know something's gonna come To get us off our feet and get us off our bum But until that day arrives we'll go back to our room Play the guitars though they're all out of tune And it's sod me sod you And sod the people who tell us what to do I know we're right So get up off the streets we're gonna need you tonight I said get up off the streets we're gonna need you tonight.Downloads: The Astronauts E.P. 1979 Bugle http://www.box.net/shared/at8ac0ux0dhmke2audho Restricted Hours E.P. 1979 Stevenage RAR http://www.box.net/shared/k0qx72b46gcr9619b10m The Night 1979 really Weird Compilation http://www.box.net/shared/xffxh5mnyqzpo2a4gn3v Pranksters in revolt E.P. 1980 Bugle http://www.box.net/shared/66g2mnxo3j1mb1ir2cg3 Peter Pan Hits the Suburbs L.P. 1981 Bugle http://www.box.net/shared/22930lqxqoc8b3tanzoi Only Fools & Optimists Cassette Album 1982 All the Madmen http://www.box.net/shared/xvu52j5ordx0bp4ijpjd It's all Done by Mirrors L.P. 1983 All the Madmen http://www.box.net/shared/h271ksph178e61dasgjj Soon L.P. 1986 all the Madmen http://www.box.net/shared/7y0ufmd09g0ycegde6hg Live at the East Coker Hall, Yeovil 29/12/84 http://www.box.net/shared/28dq8oz3kavm8vmvk8ac Live at The Crypt, St Albans 07/12/85 http://www.box.net/shared/54d1nyxxjhs52d3zb342 Seedy Side of the Astronauts L.P. 1987 All the Madmen http://www.box.net/shared/6uo02emj43b6qvm9l834 In Defence of Compassion L.P. 1989 Acid stings http://www.box.net/shared/n6vu423h3xibfv9u1crr Constitution 7" 1991 Acid Stings http://www.box.net/shared/7arftmm4n54i9zylpk1h Upfront and Sideways L.P. Acid Stings http://www.box.net/shared/zledz869bf2pcmvkx6qz You're All Weird C.D. 2000 Irregular http://www.box.net/shared/94u0zznxhqyjo3fv8hid Donkey Riding E.P.(I Don't have this one. I have have to buy it)