Rubella Ballet





"Come round for dinner," they said.

Gastronomically intrigued, my stomach rumbled in anticipation. An eating-packed, bloaterising evening was well on the cards, what with Rubella drummer Sid being a fully qualified five star chef and all.

I spent the appointed day with unfed mouth and rapidly rose to a feverish starvation buzzed, hunger high. Taste buds not so much salivating as positively dripping.

But the wicked ballerinas put a cruel twist on the night’s expected orgy of consumption. I arrive to find slack jawed lead stringsman Pete Fender on the cuisine-duty roster and presented before me is a pilchard, some potatoes and several dollops of green slime with lumps.

Fork stuck well in, I chew heartily actually finding the mess quite tasty. In fact there isn't an unfinished plate in the house, all eight diners tucking in with equal vigour.

Eight? I should explain. Me, the four Rubella Balleters and Poison Girls, Vi, Lance and Richard. No, these last three didn't gatecrash, they live here too.

Vi is the mother of one half of Rubella; namely bassist and voice, Gem Stone and the aforementioned galley serf Pete. Besides the resting cookery professor (once prepared nosh for fourteen hundred, y`know) Sid, there is chief singer Zillah.

By now you’ve probably already made the Bushellian mistake of herding Rubella Ballet in amongst the seemingly endless line of Crass/Poison Girls clones all of whom rampage furiously away with varying degrees of impact.

But while the Poison Girls spectre is unavoidably near, any direct and obvious influence is minimal. Just the briefest glimpse of Rubella playing live, or for that matter, lounging around on a sofa doing an interview, leaves a person in no doubt as to their variance from the dressed all in black, every word I say is important school of (more often than not) cliched music.

The quartet are attired in a colourful array of bright togs, not a leather jacket in sight. Bondage? Forget it, this is the glad rag liberation!

Sid: “Everyone is very dark these days. Black and dismal and singing about warfare. We don't play songs about warfare, it's time to think about living, not worry about dying.”

Pete: “If people aren't dark and dismal they're soppy and wet looking like that other group with Ballet in their name. The sort of songs that Crass bands do always end up sounding really depressing. I want to make good music and have people enjoy it. I don't want them to go away thinking 'oh, I really agree with that, I must get some information on it’."

To continue reading this article and to discover many more (over 140,000 words-worth!), purchase Mick Sinclair’s Adjusting the Stars: Music journalism from post-punk London. 


mick sinclair

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