R*E*P*E*A*T – Fighting the power since 1994
Piece written for Jude Clark at the Cambridge News to mark R*E*P*E*A*T's 21st birthday where I totally missed the point as she actually wanted something else entirely...

Despite having been on the go for 21 years, R*E*P*E*A*T has never really fitted into any cosy niche on the Cambridge music scene. Set up as a homage to the irascible rebellious unfashionable genius of the Manic Street Preachers in 1994, largely as a result of the enthusiasm and artwork of my class of 7-8 year olds (several of whom are still active in music – see Careless Sons and The Silent Majority), we appropriated the S*T*A*Rs of DIY punk rebels S*M*A*S*H and the clique free conviction politics of the Manics, whose ironically entitled anthem You Love Us was originally a response to the bottles and abuse lobbed up at them by the uncomprehending in crowd.

Nicky Wire brandishes a bottle thrown at his head, Swansea 93

This attitude means that R*E*P*E*A*T has always been free to champion whatever it wants, regardless of what everyone else thinks. This bloody minded independence may have lead to financial stupidity (I am proud to be the world's worst capitalist), but has also given us the freedom to champion overlooked bands and causes that have deserved a fairer crack of the whip. I think of the delay-infused perfect punkish poise of Miss Black America (The Edge meets Joe Strummer), the glitter-clad teen glam scene that moshed around sleazy rejects The Saffs, the teen angst of The Virgin Suicides whose nihilistic wails still make connections around the world, the 4 girl-perfect punk harmony of Beverley Kills, the epic lyrical sweep of The Dawn Parade, the crazy and chaotic compilations of bands from East Anglia and beyond, the beautiful guitar backed warblings of Horse Party. And I remember the thrill of plays on national radio, the most recent of these being only last week. And I think of those chewed and spat out by the music 'biz' who we've been honoured to work with on the rebound – the completely brilliant Johnny Panic, punk poet icon Attila the Stockbroker and our original inspirations, S*M*A*S*H.


Most recent release, Horse Party's Paydirt

Then there's the website creaking with reviews, rants, photos, views and bile – none of it scene driven, all written by people who want to write or draw or dream, be it the 12 year old finding a real reason to write for a real audience after the stuffy pretence of target driven classroom English lessons, or the 50 year old who finally finds a creative voice after a lifetime as a passive consumer. 2 million plus hits last year... The misunderstood and marginalised who've felt empowered to have their band recorded, promoted, or their words online, and who've gone on to be legends, if only in their own lunchtimes. And then there's the paper zine, now a free broadsheet augmented with a book showcasing the best bits of the zine, and the writers who've gone onto 'better' things at the likes of Radio 1, The Fly and NME. There's also the gigs, motivated by music not money, including those by young performers, which look like spawning our next release (recorded in our own recording space), a 2 track flexi. Following on from a second Horse Party single, a Bury St Edmunds vinyl compilation and singles and eventually, sometime, an album from Gavin Chappell-Bates.


Much of this creativity has been linked to a desire to make the world a better, fairer place, particularly through our work with Love Music Hate Racism along with other causes. 'Fighting the Power' is an old Public Enemy slogan we appropriated to stand for the way that writing a song, forming a band, joining a Union, designing a logo, going on strike, writing a poem, being on a demo, or even just having an alternative opinion or wearing a slogan on a badge, are all ways of resisting the push of society to make us all passive consumers of idol pop pap and accepters of the status quo. Instead we can become active creators of a better world.

Self refential post modern pic alert

I guess R*E*P*E*A*T maybe the longest running Cambridge record label, but I know for sure that we're the only one with such indelible ideals. Which may be why we never really fit into passing scenes. Which may also be a clue to our longevity?

Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T September 2015

Saffs fans at R*E*P*E*A*T gig, 23.3.98

Balance sheet (so far):
40 issues of the fanzine,
41 shop releases,
1 website – 2 million hits last year,
1 book,
10 metric tonnes of posters, fliers, postcards and leaflets,
5 wardrobes of T shirts.
6 billion badges.

(some of these figures may have been estimated in the interests of journalistic hyperbole)

ps Jude's article is here