Sunday, November 21

Last night saw the social event of the season in Birmingham. I am of course talking about Brownstock - the fundraiser for German Regional League anarchist football team - FC St Pauli, headlined by Gold Blade. Held in the downstairs room of the Royal George pub in Digbeth, a venue reminiscent of the front room of a northern terraced house (think garish carpets and anaglypta wallpaper).

The gig had sold out in advance and i'd like to think that had something to do with the excellent media coverage the event received. So I donned my Danish Anarchist T-Shirt and with Fincho we set off for the venue. Who do we spot outside, but the impressive quiffed mohawk haircut of Gold Blade frontman John Robb - we were in the right place.

Inside the venue was a mix of aging punks, football supporters, crusties and a smattering of Germans. An important part of the evening was the raffle, drawn by John Robb himself. Prizes included a selection of pornographic magazines, a trip on the 11 bus route, a bottle of Brown Sauce and other various Birmingham delicacies. What everyone wanted was the signed St Pauli shirt, but sadly I didn't win.

The compere was a man with a floor length leopardskin coat and some of the bands were...well....variable. The first band Eastfield were a railway obsessed punk band from Crewe featuring a woman whose sole job seemed to be to shout the chorus to every song, really loud.

Second band The People's Republic of Mercia were rather good and a bonus slightly less wearing on the old ear drums. And The Blunts were...erm...very loud.

But it was Gold Blade that the punters had come to see and as they blasted into 'Do You Believe in the Power of Rock n Roll' things got decidedly more lively. Now I don't pretend to be a huge Gold Blade fan, but I was pleased when they played 'Hairstyle' complete with a pair of scissors as a stage prop for extra effect (careful John, you'll have someone's eye out).

When female fans were invited on to the stage to dance, a randy middle aged woman took her chance. Over the next few songs she proceeded to grope each member of the band, whilst they were still playing perfectly in time - a skill to be admired. As her wandering hands explored the torso of the drummer, John Robb was prompted to ask 'How many people are playing that bloody drum kit?'

So it was an entertaining evening enlivened every time I went to the Gents. The first time a guy started this really long conversation about working on markets and very educational it was too. He has to get up at 4am you know. The second time, two German guys started talking to me in Danish, before realising I was local and then screaming ASTON VILLA into my ear. The third time featured an in-depth discussion about antique hand-dryers.

As we prepared to leave after the gig I spotted several copies of my article printed off on the bar. Now worse for wear they were covered in spilt beer and fag ash, after being used as makeshift beermats for the evening. A truly beautiful sight and surely something every writer worth his salt aspires to.