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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Review: Cock Sparrer - What You See... Is What You Get DVD

Cock Sparrer,TKO Records and Belgium filmmaker Pollet Yannick collectively produced this 8 hour, 2-DVD set featuring concerts, interviews and extras. The 90 minute documentary is a glorified home movie. It's a bit random and a bit much at times, and gawd knows the concert footage needs an index, but my money is my vote for the first and greatest street punk/Oi band of all time, Cock Fricking Sparrer. In a genre where "real" means "real stupid", Cock Sparrer are really nice people playing real music for real reasons.

What you learn from What You See is that Cock Sparrer are absolutely free of affectation. What they believe is simply how they feel, and they don't find themselves heroic. They're quite amazed people still remember them and pay to see their infrequent shows. I still have no idea what a Cock Sparrer is. The name was once Cock Sparrow if that helps.

Cock Sparrer didn't play the UK for years because they didn't want anyone getting hurt, a problem not found elsewhere. To them it wasn't worth the money. Sham 69 wanted it both ways and the crowds they incited bit them on the ass. Sparrer stayed in the pub and shook their heads. Writing on their site about the recently cancelled Wasted USA festival, they note:

It has been suggested that part of this problem has been caused by some bands demanding their money up front. We would like to state for the record that COCK SPARRER have NEVER, and never will ask, for any advance payment for any gig we do - we know how difficult cash flow can be for promoters. Anybody who knows us, or has worked with us will know this to be the case.

I'm telling you, Cock Sparrer are working class heroes with an ingrained integrity that's not a political statement. They also look old enough to be The Rolling Stones. Do they have day jobs? I imagine they'd have to. I loved this line from an interview, "'England Belongs To Me' took 10 minutes to write and 25 years to explain."

Where was I... Cock Sparrer, the first and still the best. Bats Out, indeed.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Ishabaka said...

Cock Sparrer is a play on words. Oi music started with Cockney Londoners. Sparrer can refer to a boxing type sparrer. So it can mean "Cockney Fighter". On the other hand, cock fighting (fighting roosters) is popular with Cockneys, although illegal, so the name also means "fighting rooster". Now ya know - because you're young.

3:29 PM

 
Blogger Emerson said...

Damn, Ish. Thanks for checking my blog every 12 minutes! And for answering the question.

4:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought that "Cock Sparrer" was a variant of "Cock Sparrow" from the old nursery rhyme of "Cock Robin & Cock Sparrow." Also, to comment on Ish's statement: Steve Burgess and Gary Lammin went on to be in a band called the Little Roosters (produced by Joe Strummer!) so there may be some truth to the cock fighting reference....

Hope this helps.

6:47 AM

 

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