Various – Why Diet When You Could Riot? (Tuff Enuff)
By Tamsin Chapman
You live in Brighton – scrub that, Britain – scrub that, the world… and you want to come out (2 nite)?
Currently the best night out in Brighton, and its only truly queer night, is Riots Not Diets. Not here, the resentment by Ls and Gs for the Bs, Ts and the rest. Not here, the tired soundtrack of other so-called queer nights (biphobic Beth Ditto, “guilty pleasures” – yawn.) (No one should feel guilty about the music they like. Unless it’s anybody who voted in the Pitchfork “Peoples” List obv, and no I’m not going to link to it, because you can all guess what tediosity is contained therein. In pie charts). Riots Not Diets puts on the thrillingest bands, shows queertastic films, festoons itself with balloons inked with smeary Riot Grrrl slogans and gives out free zines and badges instead of hand-stamps to get in. At one of their nights you can forget for a few hours the worries about size, gender, race, age, sexuality or trouser choice that you struggle with for most of the time. And you can dance like a maniac, grin like a buffoon and shriek like it’s 1992 and you’ve just heard Huggy Bear.
The people behind Riots Not Diets, headed up by the prince of cool badges, good hair and exhaustive knowledge of Fall lyrics – Tobi Fail– have now released a strictly limited edition LP, featuring some of the bands who’ve played the night; from Slampt veterans Milky Wimpshake to new-school darlings Skinny Girl Diet. Luscious magenta vinyl with a fanzine insert, the blurb describes the night thus: “Riots Not Diets began life as a (then unconscious) effort to sublimate a collective feeling of dysphoria into one of collective euphoria”.
Yay to that and the album starts with a mighty bounce, with one of the standout tracks, Cover Girl‘s ‘Ice Father Nation’, all fire-raising chants and echoes, meshed in boinging keyboards and swishy drums. Featuring members of Trash Kit (also on the album), Peepholes and Wet Dog, among others, it’s a song on springs, a trampoline dream.
The wonderful Humousexual‘s contribution is sadly short but very sweet; a tribute to the city of Bristol. The night they played was one of my favourites ever, ever, and they’d remind me a little of The Wedding Present if Gedge wasn’t such a glowering douche.
In contrast, Ethical Debating Society‘s ‘Kill You Last’ cronk-cronks like the contents of a Black & Decker work bench smeared in Constance Carroll lipstick. Satisfyingly horrid noise.
Time for the heavyweights on side B: Skinny Girl Diet with a speeded-up version of their meisterwork ’14-16-18′, harsh shriek-fiends Woolf, Town Bike‘s unselfconsciously unhip, Donnas-alike rock ‘n’ roll, Trash Kit‘s melodo-tribe punk, Roseanne Barrr‘s, well, just shouting basically and a nod to the Buzzcockian past with Milky Wimpshake.
My favourite moment though, is Jacky Heron‘s version of ‘Waste Of Time’ from the film Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains, stills from which also feature on the album cover. A simple guitar riff, wistful harmonies and an understated delivery so resigned and sad it almost turns itself inside out in its Razorcutting ‘Sorry To Embarrass You’ style self-effacing sense of hopelessness.
“It seems that the only way to escape is to attempt to carve out however small a pocket of resistance as one can,” reads the album’s fanzine.
Times are hard right now. These pockets of resistance might appear small to some, but they’re bottomless.
Why Diet When You Could Riot? can be purchased at http://riotsnotdiets.bandcamp.