Pumf Records Interview
Incendiary are very, very happy to bring you an interview with the righteous and all-seeing genius that is Stan Batcow, chief of Pumf Records and member of the brilliant band Ceramic Hobs. And that's not all, kids, oh no. We've got the Hobs' wonderful and talented singer and vocal protagonist Simon Morris to contribute too. Believe me when I tell you that Ceramic Hobs are a musical revelation waiting to happen to most of you. Or better still, why not go and get the entire Pumf records back catalogue, it really is that easy.
IN: Pumf is an eclectic and productive label. Tell us poor mortals about the Pumf ethos.
pS B: Pumf Records was originally created as an outlet for music I was recording, both within different groups of musical creators and solo material; such as Howl in the Typewriter. Pumf Records has been releasing material on audio cassette,vinyl, CD and CD-R since 1984, slowly expanding to also release material byother people whose work I appreciated. Quality has been wildly erratic but spirit / integrity / enthusiasm / originality has not, remaining at aconstantly stratospherical level. Pumf Records has remained on an 'ultrastreet-level' throughout its 21 years of operation, selling product throughmail-order and more recently via the internet - www.pumf.net. For a couple of the Ceramic Hobs CD album releases - 'Straight Outta Rampton' and 'Shergar Is Home Safe and Well' - Pumf Records has managed to get distribution through RSK Entertainment Ltd, meaning that you can buy thealbums (or order them) from your local record shop. Pumf Records willcontinue to release material of incredibly high integrity regardless ofwhether or not it has 'commercial value' for as long as it sees fit.
IN: Obviously, living in Lancashire requires a certain amount ofexistentialism. Just what is it about that fair county that drives you onartistically?
pS B: I don't consider myself to be a citizen of Lancashire; I try to ignore the archaic boundaries of UK counties. I would be as 'driven on' wherever I lived... 'artistic' comes from within, not without.
SM: The good standard of air and water, and the close proximity to Jung's Pool of Life, (Liverpool, the psychic centre of the Old World). I would dispute that existentialism is necessary - the concept implies the existence of the'individual' - something which we would dismiss as an illusion born ofexcessive privilege. What we see as our 'self' is simply a blend of genetic and socio-economics.
IN: Why have there been so many Situationists in the North West of England(even Situationists who didn't know they were Situationists)?
SM: I am blissfully unaware of any Situationists in the Lancashire north western Quarter, and anyway I find other radical sixties currents more interesting than the control freakery of the CIA stooge Debord. There certainly comes a time when any armchair radical with an AK Press collection and Ulrike Meinhof fixation must confront his/her sense of despair and utter impotence in the face of institutional brutality. From this zero point come the most vicious and insidious memes in the Hobs' work.
(IN: That's me told, then. Last time I try to link any far reaching theories with my home county).
IN: Tell us what shakes your tree artistically.
SM: Anyone who doesn't primarily do it for money, who has a purity of intent anda pathological need to vomit out the work . . . Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Stewart Home, Andrea Dworkin, Manic Street Preachers, Whitehouse, MikeLeigh, Jim MacDougall, John Waters, Courtesy Orchis, Quentin Crisp, KathyAcker, Genesis P-Orridge, Cockney Rejects, Dennis Cooper, Donald Cammell,the Grateful Dead, the Butthole Surfers, Milovan Srdenovic, James Ellroy, Otto Muehl, The Fall, many more.
pS B: I once stated that I was inspired by people who attempt something artistic and fail spectacularly - I still feel much the same way. It's better to have the urge to create than the ability to do it well; especially if you also acknowledge that fact.
IN: Give me five interesting facts about Holland (you can make them up).
SM:(i) Clogs and that. (ii) Tulips etc. (iii) The very lovely white bicycle idea. (iv) Hey chill out man, this is Amsterdam. Why do you crazy English want to fight?(v) During the 70s the commercial production of child pornography was legal in the Netherlands, and the cocaine-OD'd corpses of the child 'stars' were periodically discovered dumped in hotel rooms. Something worth thinking about if we begin to over-eulogise either a free market economy or absolute moral freedom.
pS B: Holland is a giant hermaphroditic squid-like creature with only five tentacles, each of which can act independently of the others to reproduce and create a totally new creature once in its lifetime, therefore making Holland five giant hermaphroditic squid-like creatures. And that's true, that is.
IN: What is your favourite savoury product?
pS B: Pringles, undoubtedly. They are the closest I come to an addiction, being sanctimoniously clear of all stimulants and such like in my lifestyle - if there is a tube of Pringles open I find it incredibly difficult not to gorge myself on them, lending truth to their advertising slogan 'once you pop you just can't stop' (although that doesn't make sense of the fact that theycome with a resealable lid). I think a lot of my attraction toward them comes from the fact that they are all identical in shape, and therefore fit neatly into my obsessive 'neat and tidy' ness. A tantalisingly tasty snack that also stacks and takes up the least possible amount of room. I don't think that my obsession with neatness is actually proof of some level of Asberger's Syndrome . . . just an indicator, possibly. And there's no reason why a horse shouldn't have Asberger's Syndrome.
IN: Do the Ceramic Hobs play live? If not why not?
SM: We play live shows of wildly varying quality whenever we are asked to. Youcan see a full list spanning almost twenty years at http://www.aboutmylife.net/~uj_ceramichobs
pS B: There was a long period of time when there were no live performances, between about 1989 and 1996, but since then there has been a steady but irregular series of performances in a bewildering variety of venues, ranging from people's houses to prestigious concert venues throughout England, with a series of line-ups of varying ability. This will continue indefinitely.