Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rubella Ballet - Ballet Bag (tape, XNTRIX, 1981)

From Wikipedia: The band was formed by former Fatal Microbes Pete Fender (Dan Sansom, guitar), Gem Stone (Gemma Sansom, bass) and It (Quentin North, also bass), with vocalists Annie Anxiety and Womble, and drummer Sid Ation (born Sid Truelove, 18 April 1960, Sutton Coldfield, a former chef, later also the drummer with Flux of Pink Indians). Annie, Womble and It were involved only initially, left and were replaced by vocalist Zillah Minx (born Zillah Elaine Ashworth, 31 March 1961, Birkenhead). Fender and Stone were the son and daughter of Poison Girls singer Vi Subversa. The band used Poison Girls equipment to jam and write songs and their first performance was when they took to the stage at a Crass/Poison Girls concert. They had originally been called Rubella Babies. The band's first proper gig was a fundraiser for the Theatre Royal in Stratford, which ended in a riot, and the band played frequently, often asking audience members to put them up after gigs.

The new line-up were soon known for wearing brightly coloured dayglo clothes on stage, to differentiate themselves from the anarcho-punk bands who tended to wear black, 'army-surplus' style clothing. Pete Fender left at the end of 1982 and soon afterwards joined Omega Tribe as a full-time member, having been their early mentor and record producer.

The band released one album on cassette tape, entitled Ballet Bag (1981) and a 4 track 7" EP, Ballet Dance (1982), both for Poison Girls' XNTRIX Records, after rejecting the opportunity to put out a record on the Crass label. Adrian Thrills, reviewing the single in the NME stated "the Ballet have an appealing sharp edge to their claustrophobic punk thrash, a poppy surge and even a discernable funk readjustment...of course, they could always just be taking the piss". After releasing the 42f single on Jungle Records (with Sean replacing Fender) the band started their own Ubiquitous label. Rubella Ballet toured extensively with Poison Girls and Crass, and recorded two John Peel sessions for BBC Radio. In 1984 they embarked on an ill-fated tour of Italy to promote 42F. The band had only been given single airline tickets and after a week of playing without getting paid, they returned to England by train.

The band's line-up underwent several changes before their next release, "Money Talks" (1985); Sean and Gem had left, to be replaced by Adam and Rachel Minx (Zillah's younger sister Rachel Irene Jane Ashworth), and Adam himself has replaced by Steve Cachman prior to the recording of the debut album At Last, It's Playtime, the same year, an album that has been described as "chugging mid-paced stuff, many of the tracks dominated by Zillah's steamroller-flat vox". The line-up stabilized over the next few years, the band recording a second album, If... in 1986. A compilation and a double live album followed, but it would be 1990 before the next studio album, At the End of the Rainbow. The band split up shortly after its release, Sid already playing in the dance band Xenophobia.

In 2000, the band reformed for a performance at the European Gathering festival in Milton Keynes, and have continued on and off since, with the core members Sid and Zillah joined by a varying line-up including original guitarist Fender. A retrospective covering the first half of the band's career, Anarchy in the U.V., including Ballet Bag, Ballet Dance, At Last It's Play Time, the 12-inch version of "Money Talks", and two previously unreleased tracks, was released in December 2008. A second volume is planned for release in 2009.

Ripped from the original cassette, only a scan of the booklet, not the poster or the badge. Not For sale



Anonymous said...

shame on you, I feel a cruel culpability forgeting this hit

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed every bit of it! Thnk you kindly!

Anonymous said...

Like it!
Song Yong, Japan

Anonymous said...

SOme songs droney, some more punk. Good divrsity!

nortoncommando said...

Ive got this one! I think I picked it up in Sunderland in '84. Thanks!

Fred G. Sanford said...

holy hell !

this was a freakin great tape.
still have my copy.

about time somebody put it online someplace.

Novemberer said...

Very pleased to hear this again! I still have a copy somewhere - in a box at my parents' probably - but haven't had chance to listen to it in AGES. Don't suppose you have their Peel session to hand do you - it was a right corker? x