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THE MCGONAGALL SYNDROME: PETER WEBB AND 'INTELLECTUAL' DECOMPOSITION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
The McGonagall syndrome is a form of mental confusion that causes sufferers to be overcome with dizziness and sometimes hallucinations when exposed to piss-poor pieces of music or works of art, particularly if this garbage is neo-romantic in tenor. Although the McGonagall syndrome is psychosomatic it can cause contemporary cultural critics and superannuated sociologists to overlook the racist and fascist core of far-Right 'subcultures' such as national socialist black metal or neo-folk.
The McGonagall syndrome is named after William McGonagall who achieved fame as the world's worst poet. In his autobiography McGonagall explains how he hit upon his calling at around the age of 50: "...Dame Fortune has been very kind to me by endowing me with the genius of poetry. I remember how I felt when I received the spirit of poetry. It was in the year of 1877, and in the month of June, when the flowers were in full bloom. Well, it being the holiday week in Dundee, I was sitting in my back room in Paton's Lane, Dundee, lamenting to myself because I couldn't get to the Highlands on holiday to see the beautiful scenery, when all of a sudden my body got inflamed, and instantly I was seized with a strong desire to write poetry, so strong, in fact, that in imagination I thought I heard a voice crying in my ears--"Write! Write!" "
Among the many contemporary heirs of McGonagall are those 'musicians' associated with neo-folk and in particular the three founder members of Death In June who currently obsess University of Birmingham sociologist and McGonagall syndrome victim Peter Webb. I've attempted to convey how dreary Death In June (DIJ) are in the article "We Mean It Man", so rather than repeating myself, let me quote other people on this subject from the uncarved.org blog. John Eden: "Musically, the strummy folkiness lost its appeal when I finally got to hear Nick Drake." Comment from Martin: "Aesthetically, my main problems with DIJ have been 1) the vocals mostly suck - like a really, really bad Scott Walker impersonator (Jim Backhouse said that) being filtered through a pregnant cow…. 2) musically, they just always seemed like a bloodless Joy Division or a less funky Bauhaus..." Comment from Greg: "I really never liked DIJ — I felt very uncomfortable with their fascist flirtation, but also, it was all done in such an exploitative, kitsch way — I got the impression they knew full well that if they camped it up in the camouflage/ancient Greek masks etc, they’d pull in the “kids” who have always liked an air of threat and amoral gloom, from the days of the first Black Sabbath album to Joy Division.... After a Google search about DIJ, I remember ending up on one of those creepy, sleazy right wing sites that leave you feeling dirty... Anyway, there frequently seemed to be long discussions on that kind of board about whether DIJ represented the “higher mysteries” of Aryan power - or whether they were “a bunch of vegetarian old queens” in Nazi drag. I must admit, after seeing a picture of their singer in a jacuzzi, posing in a Nazi helmet with a dagger and a bunch of roses, both categories seemed likely, and if they were making a buck out of that, it seemed pretty shameful and sickening too... I felt disquiet about what DIJ were/represent, either in a real, or an exploitative money making sense before that — but felt nauseous after reading the rot on those nazi boards."
The reactions cited immediately above come from people intimately involved in the industrial music culture that Peter Webb describes as an important influence on Death In June and neo-folk: "Douglas P from Death In June (DIJ) discussed how important he felt the album Heathen Earth had been. He also discussed the packaging of TG singles that all came in camouflage bags and how that had been influential for the way that he looked at the whole idea of packaging and artwork for Death In June. He then stated that Psychic TV, the collective formed by Genesis P Orridge and Peter Christopherson post TG, would be even more of an influence on him." (Neo-Folk or Postindustrial Music' chapter in Webb's book "Exploring the Networked Worlds of Popular Music: Milieu Cultures", Routledge 2007, page 63). John Eden whose website hosted the discussion cited above was involved with Psychic TV affiliated organisation Thee Temple Ov Psychic Youth, but these days he has no time for the crass right-wing garbage spewed forth by Death In June.
By way of contrast, Webb in his ostensibly 'academic' work on neo-folk comes across as a fan-boy: "Neo-folk, folk-noir, apocalyptic folk, or postindustrial music has a genesis that can be traced through a variety of predecessors: inspiring artists, influential music, and aesthetics that informed and were used creatively to inform the work of the key artists of this still growing genre. One key act that has been important for the whole scene, and two others that have sprung from it, is Death In June. Formed by Douglas P, Tony Wakeford, and Patrick Leagas in 1981, Death In June would become an act that was central to the developing British underground and postindustrial/post-Punk music milieu, but also it would cast an influential shadow musically, aesthetically, and in terms of references to ideas of paganism, eurocentrism, a thirst for esoteric knowledge, and an art of self questioning and soul searching." (Webb page 65-66).
Webb is equally enthusiastic about Tony Wakeford's post-Death In June output. “His albums are full of songs with titles such as `In a Garden Green,' `An English Garden,' `Old London Weeps,' `Where Stone Lions Prowl,' `English Murder,' 'Somewhere in Europe,' `In Europa,' `Abbatoirs of Love,' `The Street of Many Murders' - all these songs present lyrics about loss, decay, haunted gardens, and a narrator often hidden away or just watching the destructiveness of human activity unfold. There is a pessimism here that doesn't on first glance seem to be nihilism. On recent albums Wakeford seems to have found a belief in Love and some kind of hope: the track `Do and Say' from the `Thrones' album describes a love that whatever anyone does or says is `here to stay,' this more optimistic lyrical theme is however still in the minority of his overall lyrical themes. A type of melancholia and pessimism pervades much of the work of artists in this milieu. Also a longing for something that has disappeared or a description of something that has left a void is ever apparent. The legacy of the Romantic poets of England lies heavy on Sol Invictus's work: the writing and imagery of William Blake (Marshall, 2000; Ackroyd, 1996), William Wordsworth (Gill, 2003), Percy Bysshe Shelley (Gilmour, 2002), Lord Byron (Mcgann, 2002), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Holmes, 1999) and John Keats (Keats, 2001) - a type of reactive art against the surety and rationality of the enlightenment where scientific reason seemed to these writers to have overtaken any understanding of emotion and any respect for nature. This theme runs through neo-folk clearly and tangibly."
Webb's invocation of the star names of English romanticism (Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron, Coleridge, Keats) is rather too flattering to Wakeford and it doesn't really hold up when one looks at his lyrics. for example the Sol Invictus song "Gold Is King": "Gold is king, and the wind blows misery/Gold is king, and the wind blows usury/A falling leaf from a poisoned tree/ A fetid river flows into an empty sea/The lute is cracked as is the spinner's wheel/A broken plough stands on a barren field/The sun is dying, dark comes the dawn/And in the womb, the child stillborn..." Well the rhymes are as naff as they could be - 'sea' and 'tree' - and Webb overlooks more immediate influences than Coleridge's proto-Toryism such as the fascist and Nazi propaganda of twentieth-century figures such as Julius Evola, Adolf Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg, Joseph Goebbels and Julius Streicher. Read in the context of Wakeford's real influences (Nazi and fascist propaganda), in the context of his other song lyrics ("Blood Against Gold" etc.), and with the knowledge that during the 1980s Wakeford was a leading member of the fascist National Front, it is clear that gold is a reference to the Jewish people. In a manner typical of anti-Semitic propaganda, Wakeford is portraying the Jewish people as an unproductive, uncultured and parasitic (hence the use of the term 'usury' and reference to a cracked lute); as laying waste to the fertile 'culture bearing' 'Aryan' people and 'their' lands. Wakeford owes a heavy ideological debt to the high priest of the Italian extreme-Right Julius Evola, and like his mentor rejects Christianity as Judaistic and favours instead a fascist 'pagan imperialism' modelled on the worship of the Mithraic sun god Sol Invictus in ancient Rome, and this accounts for the names of two of his bands Sol Invictus and his openly fascist outfit Above The Ruins (who were named after a tract by Evola). Webb with his enthusing fan-boy approach fails to see any of this precisely because he is suffering from the McGonagall syndrome and is therefore incapable of providing rational analysis of the worthless dross he is eulogising.
Webb not only misses the actual source of Wakeford's lyrics, so advanced are his McGonagall syndrome delusions that while allegedly 'researching' this material he established contact with me and other individuals who are critical of the political orientation of the neo-folk scene to request interviews. Webb even arranged to meet me in London, although he cancelled the appointment at the last minute. In retrospect it is obvious that while he presented himself to me as a disinterested academic observer, his ultimate intention was to persuade me that Tony Wakeford wasn't a Nazi and the neo-folk music scene wasn't fascist at its core. Like most of those suffering from the McGonagall syndrome, Webb appears unaware of the distortions in his thinking and suffers from paranoid delusions about anyone who refuses to confirm his warped views of the world. Therefore it is hardly surprising that his contact with me should culminate with the following message posted in the comment section of a blog about eBay banning Death In June records as hate material:
"As you are commenting here on your `update’ to your website on the whole Tony Wakeford, Sol Invictus material, I felt I should reply to your statements in those updates. In them you state that I `actively promote the far right neo folk music scene’. This is a bizarre statement - yes I have written about the Neo-folk scene and yes I interviewed Tony Wakeford on a couple of occasions. Firstly; I do not `promote the far right neo folk music scene’ I have been an active anti-fascist all my life. This goes from active involvement in a number of Anti-Nazi and Anti fascist movements, a number of left-wing groups, being part of the Bristol music scene where the bands that I have played in, and still do (Statik Sound System - Breakbeat, drum and bass and trip-hop sound system), have done anti-racist/fascist/nazi benefits. I have been involved in organising demonstrations and coach trips to many national anti-racist/fascist/nazi demonstrations and am very `active’ in my community in Bristol with a wide variety of music and community projects that promote anti-racism. Secondly; it is interesting that in your material on Tony Wakeford you have called for him to `make a break’ from his fascist past. This he has done on several occassions (sic) and most recently in the interview he gave me where he talks about being a `racist’ in his time in the National Front and how stupid he was for getting involved in the `Strasserite group’ in the NF. Now you claim that he hasn’t discussed his `street violence’! It seems to me that you are moving the goalposts every time you add to your `work’. Tony Wakeford was a member of the NF and states that he is no longer a part of that movement or indeed shares the views, opinions or ideological positions of those involved in the NF or associated organisations. If he is lieing (sic) to me about that then that is his problem. If he is trying to re-energise the occult-fascist axis across the world with his brand of alternative neo-folk then he isn’t doing a great job of it. Advertising campaigns against the deportation of an Iranian Lesbian on his myspace - Pegah Embrakesh - being one example of his staunch family values oriented fascism! There are groups within the neo-folk or post-industrial scene who are definitely swimming in 'new right' and 'traditionalist' political waters with murky followers and people attached. I would list groups like Von Thronstahl and Herr as being particularly involved in promoting those ideas either through their music or through the associated activities of members of these two bands. I find these ideas particularly pathetic and abhorent (sic) especially when they claim not to be `fascist’ but are avowedly `racist’ (at least I can say for certain that one member of these acts is a racial seperatist). (sic) There are however lots of people involved in this scene who are totally anti-fascist /traditionalist /nazi /new right and having been researching this scene (amongst many others e.g I have done a lot of work on UK hip-hop /dub step /drum and bass /breakbeat scenes) for many years I have found just as many anarchists, communists and liberals who either like the music or go to the gigs. So Stewart your assertion that I am a far-right sympathiser is totally ludicrous and just plain wrong, I’m sure that you will not change the 'material' on your website but as far as I am concerned your comments are completely slanderous, still I’ll let you get on with it - Ciao - Pete Webb." (Dated 26 March 2008, 12:17 pm ).
I have never asserted, as Peter Webb falsely claims, that he is 'a far-right sympathiser' - my own view is he suffers from the McGonagall syndrome and is unable to deal rationally or reasonably with Tony Wakeford and the neo-folk scene because he is deluded. I don't deny that there are people involved with neo-folk who call themselves anarchists, and former National Front activist Troy Southgate (whose band Herr even Webb denounces as promoting the 'New Right') is probably the most visible among them. Personally I do not consider Bolshevism to be a form of communism, but I suspect this is the current to which Webb refers when he talks of communists enjoying neo-folk; but what I come across when I look at this scene are not regular Bolsheviks but fascist National Bolsheviks. Webb avoids all specifics and fails to name individuals who can be linked to specific political tendencies (or is he referring to Tony Wakeford having been in the SWP before joining the NF etc.?); and, of course, ‘liking’ the ‘music’ is not necessarily the same thing as feeling at ease with this scene's far-Right ideological orientation. Webb had previously used email exchanges to try to convince me that there were reasonable people involved with neo-folk and sent me a link to an internet forum called "Neo-Folk Against Racism", which rather than challenging dominant white racism was carrying on the brand of so called 'anti-racism" developed by the political soldier faction of the National Front (to which Wakeford belonged) by seeking to redefine racism so that the ideological heirs of Hitler might intoxicate liberals and leftists with fascist ideas hidden behind pseudo-radical sloganeering. I have already quoted Webb stating that Death In June (of which Wakeford was a founder member) 'cast an influential shadow' over 'eurocentrism', and this is an example of just that. Eurocentric 'anti-racism' is an oxymoron promoted by fascists and it is designed to carry forward their New Right political agenda.
As new information on Wakeford's far-Right activities emerges and this reveals his ongoing attempts to cover it up by lying, I can be increasingly specific about the various things he would need to do to break with fascism. Webb claims I am moving the goalposts and whines: "Tony Wakeford was a member of the NF and states that he is no longer a part of that movement or indeed shares the views, opinions or ideological positions of those involved in the NF or associated organisations. If he is lieing (sic) to me about that then that is his problem." Webb's reiteration of Wakeford's claims on this score mean little and appear designed to exploit potential confusion created by the existence of two rival organisations calling themselves the NF at the time Wakeford belonged to the official National Front; there was a competing National Front known as Flag Group, from the name of its newspaper, and a splinter from this latter organisation still uses the name today. No one is claiming that Wakeford is currently in the National Front, the strategy of the fascist current to which he belongs is to disguise its ideological roots and abandon organisations and initiatives after they become widely exposed as Nazi and instead set up new operations; having adopted this tactic, those fascists with whom Wakeford continues to work decided more than 20 years ago that the National Front name was a political liability and ditched it. Likewise, the political soldier ideology Wakeford embraced was from the onset of his far-Right activism resolutely opposed to the 'staunch family values oriented fascism' of the tiny Flag rump that still calls itself the National Front (this is a completely separate organisation to the long ago disbanded official National Front of which Wakeford was a member).
Webb also seems to be suggesting it doesn't matter if Wakeford is lying (his usage of the spelling 'lieing' may be a 'Freudian slip' or may be a conscious attempt to obfuscate matters); the logic of his position might also lead others to the false conclusion that it doesn't matter if holocaust deniers like David Irving are lying when they attempt to rehabilitate Nazism and fascism. Webb's indifference as to whether or not Wakeford is lying is an unlikely stance for a staunch anti-racist and anti-fascist to take but then this superannuated sociologist IS suffering from the McGonagall syndrome. Likewise, such indifference to truth undermines any 'academic' credibility he may hope to accrue from pursing his obsession with neo-folk via his position as a lecturer at the University of Birmingham. John Eden on whose site Webb posted his comment replied by saying Stewart Home (i.e. me) is happy to be corrected if he gets things wrong and he has: "…changed stuff on the page (about Wakeford) when new information has come to light. Presumably you don’t count that as 'moving the goalposts' as well? The difficulty with all this is the vast amount of subterfuge and outright lie-ing at the heart of the neo-folk scene. Wakeford himself has never been honest about his past and it does look very much like little titbits are dragged out of him when he is exposed." (Dated 26 March 2008, 2:52 pm.).
When I was initially conveyed Wakeford's claims that he was no longer a fascist circa 1991 by David Tibet I was prepared to entertain them, and Tibet subsequently engineered a chance meeting between Wakeford and me. At the time I asked Wakeford various questions about his fascist involvements and he gave me answers similar to those Peter Webb reproduces in his interviews with him. I pushed Wakeford on various specifics, including asking if he'd been involved in the openly fascist National Front band Above The Ruins. Wakeford told me the 'rumour' that he'd been in Above The Ruins was completely false, and the accounts of his musical history in various published interviews skip this episode (see for example the book "England's Hidden Reverse" by David Keenan), despite the fact that not only was Wakeford in the band, he also continued to sell their fascist propaganda right into the 21st century (and may still be doing so via third parties). Wakeford's ongoing dissimulation on this score is evident in Webb's chapter on neo-folk:
"TW - Well I think that it is fairly known now that I got involved with, well made the big mistake of joining the National Front for a few years—it was well after Crisis but in to my time with Death In June and I really lost it. All I can say is that lots drink (sic), drugs and a broken relationship and having a six foot five Jamaican schizophrenic sharing your front door for two years, you had to go around with a hammer in your hand, it's no excuse it was just stupid but there are some mitigating circumstances. So that was just a dead end I was drinking to excess and fair play to Doug, I wasn't turning up to rehearsals so I got the sack, and I won't go into details but I was drug dealing as well. One day I realized that I was and it was all crazy and I thought I don't agree with all this crap. I though that this has all got to change. So I went into town one day and bought an acoustic guitar and started writing songs again. After about three months I rang up Doug and said can you recommend a cheap studio and it was IPS studios that he had used and I started going in and rehearsing and trying to get my life together again. It really was a case of if I hadn't of done that then I would be dead or something. (Interview with Author, 2006)" (Webb page 85).
Webb doesn't mention Above The Ruins, and allows Wakeford to skip over this National Front fund raising act in the manner quoted above; but Sol Invictus are actually a continuation of Above The Ruins under a different name. While Webb may or may not have known this when he was writing his book, he was alerted to Wakeford’s activity with Above The Ruins more than six months before his tome was published. Webb chose to let these lies by omission stand in the text and extends them in his subsequent interview with Wakeford. Sounding like a 'no win, no fee' brief acting on behalf of a career criminal, Webb even offers the following mitigating circumstances: "Tony's move from a left-wing Punk band to the artistic approach of Death In June and then his gravitation towards the National Front can be explained by the chaos and upheaval of the time and the experiences he was going through as a young man from his particular background growing up in and trying to deal with the social climate of the times. It can not be understated how challenging the cultural and social climate was in the 1970s and early 1980s. What is interesting is that this period threw up many varied responses where a small section of the population sought out ideas and ways of understanding and dealing with the period." (Webb page 85).
Leaving aside the repeated use of terms such as 'period' which mark this passage as being as badly written as the rest of Webb’s book, this is stupid because everyone is forced to deal with the historical circumstances of the times they live through, not just a small section of society. Where Wakeford differed from most of those around him was not in being forced to confront the contradictions of the 1970s and early 1980s but in opting to become a paid up member of the fascist National Front. That said if someone joins a fascist party and is honest about this having been a mistake, then it is important to reintegrate them into more civil forms of society; to take a concrete example, in the nineties I was on friendly terms with various Anti-Fascist Action activists including Matty "Blag" Roberts who'd been a teenage member of the Nazi British Movement. The difference between Roberts and Wakeford is that Roberts was honest about his far-Right involvements and broke decisively with those he'd befriended in Nazi circles. By way of contrast Wakeford has lied about the extent of his far-Right involvement, continues to associate and work with those he's befriended on the extreme-Right both during and after his involvement with the National Front and IONA, and 20 years after his alleged break with Nazism was still circulating records by his fascist propaganda band Above The Ruins.
Returning to Webb's chapter on neo-folk, he writes: "Tony Wakeford was involved in a webzine called Flux Europa. This was a webzine that discussed postmodernism, art, literature, philosophy, film, and music. The content was diverse, e.g., articles on Camille Paglia, Jack London, and Ezra Pound sat next to film reviews of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Jackie Brown, and Amelie and a huge music database and review section that covered neo-folk and alternative music such as Nick Cave, The Young Gods, etc. Tony Wakeford, like many around him, was moving into new ideas, understandings, and artistic work that took inspiration from a wide variety of sources and showed their thirst for new knowledge and new ways of interpreting things." (Webb Page 89). Flux Europa is a continuation of the cultural activities of Transeuropa which emerged from the wreckage of National Front 'intellectual' front IONA (Wakeford has a documented involvement with the latter two organisations), When I was still prepared to entertain Wakeford's claims that he'd broken with fascism I'd asked him if he was involved in the Transeuropa Collective and he assured me he wasn't, but these days I'm not at all convinced he was telling me the truth on this score.
In his essay "Co-opting the counter culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction" (Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 39, No. 3, 2005), what Graham D. Macklin has to say about the leader of the National Revolutionary Faction applies almost wholesale to Wakeford: "This desire to create a decentralized volkisch identity has its roots in the ideological ferment gripping National Front News and Nationalism Today in the 1980s. Southgate's continued ideological morphology was stimulated through contact with Perspectives, the journal of the Transeuropa Collective formed in 1989 to discuss 'European identities, autonomies and initiatives' and which emerged from the NF’s cultural appendage IONA (Islands of the North Atlantic). IONA organized joint symposia with Michael Walker's Scorpion magazine at which 'former British Nationalists' met to discuss finding a 'rooted radicalism' to challenge the nationalism of the NF that was 'out-dated, discredited and overtaken by events'. Despite such ideological innovation Southgate betrayed signs of remaining wedded to older biological fulminations espoused by Nazi racial scientist Hans 'Rassen' Gunther and American racist Lothrop Stoddard. Even his assimilation of Noam Chomsky's scathing analysis of social control and hypocrisy at the amoral heart of American-led liberal democracy was refracted through the conspiratorial ideological lens provided by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," (Pages 306-307).
Macklin also observes: "Southgate's discovery of Evolian 'Primordial Tradition' and his consequent rejection of Catholicism as 'the sole cosmological truth' ran in tandem with his immersion in the industrial music scene. This 'cultural vanguard' is spearheaded by a number of Gothic-Industrial, Dark Ambient, Black and 'Viking' Metal bands, including Allerseelen, Blood Axis, Burzum, Current 93, Dark Holler, Death in June, Endura, Mayhem, Ostara, Puissance and Sol Invictus, though it also encompasses more commercial bands like Cradle of Filth. Although it would be an exaggeration to say that these groups conform to a defined political agenda, their music serves to diffuse the ideals of Mithraic paganism and Nordic folk myths within this youthful underground subculture far more effectively than any number of meetings and marches could, thus providing the 'perfect antidote' to the spiritually enervating, multiracial values of a globalizing 'system'... Although Southgate realizes that the groupuscular right cannot control music-orientated youth cultures, he believes a minority can be induced 'to take a direction basically conducive to our aims'."
The Transeuropa Collective publication "Perspectives" was exposed as a far-Right front project in the article "Fascists Step Up Fight To Take Over" (Searchlight August 1995) and this piece of journalism contributed to the abandonment of that particular magazine title. The Transeuropa Collective then issued a ‘new‘ magazine "Radical Shift", with Flux Europa set up as a nominally independent cultural front more or less simultaneously by Transeuropa mainman Richard Lawson. At the National Front's late seventies peak Lawson had been its student organiser and he was subsequently an architect of the 'national revolutionary' ideology of the official National Front's Strasserite leadership, as well as being the driving force behind IONA. After "Radical Shift" was pilloried by publications such as "Here & Now", and shortly afterwards "Searchlight" also exposed it as a Nazi front in the article "Fascist Environmentalism" (April 1997) this magazine title was also dropped. Macklin in "Co-opting the counter culture" puts it this way:
"Southgate's espousal of Evolian Traditionalism underwent further ideological morphology through his contact with the anarcho-primitivist ideas of Richard Hunt, the founding editor of Green Anarchist who had been forced to resign over his support for the Gulf War. Southgate was exposed to Hunt’s ideas through the pages of Perspectives, the journal of the Transeuropa Collective that eventually merged with his new publication Alternative Green... The furore led to Hunt’s further marginalization within green anarchist circles and, despite Southgate’s frequent contributions to Alternative Green, his views have not permeated further within the far right. Denounced as a ‘fascist’ Hunt found his speaking engagements cancelled, and several independent bookshops refused to stock Alternative Green. Having become ill Hunt finally relinquished the editorial control of Alternative Green to Southgate; it was however, suspended after only one issue and replaced with a new publication, untainted by the furore, entitled Terra Firma,"
Although Macklin omits the abandonment of the 'Perspectives' title and the launch of the 'new' magazine "Radical Shift" his account is essentially correct, and his stress on the major role Anti-Fascist Action activists played in countering these attempts at 'convergence' (not evident in the passages I've quote but obvious if you read the entire essay) is to be welcomed since the important role AFA regularly takes on in such struggles is all too often overlooked (among other things Amti-Fascist Action more or less single-handedly destroyed the Nazi bonehead music scene in UK by preventing bands like Skrewdriver and No Remorse from playing in London). I've been aware of anti-fascist scrutiny of cultural and political collaboration between Southgate and Wakeford since 1999, and Wakeford has known of this scrutiny since at least 2000. That said, while claiming to have broken with fascism, Wakeford linked his Sol Invictus MySpace profile to Troy Southgate's MySpace profile until February 2007, when mounting criticism forced him to end these publicly visible connections.
Despite all the above and a plethora of information elsewhere (including more on this site), McGonagall syndrome sufferer Peter Webb felt able to give Sol Invictus and related projects a clean bill of health in an interview with Wakeford that has been posted not only at the Tursa MySpace profile (a publicity site for Wakeford's indie record label) in February 2008 but subsequently also on the webzines "Judas Kiss" and "Evening of Light" (I don't link to sites carrying this type of material, that said from I've been told about Lee Powell - the man running "Judas Kiss" - he appears to be a McGonagall syndrome victim like Webb). Given this syndication via non-academic outlets, Webb’s recent interview with Wakeford is probably the biggest publicity boost neo-folk has received since "American Renaissance" ran a feature on 'The New Nationalist Music: Adolescent rebellion or racial commitment? ' by Eric Owens in its November 2000 issue. Owens pushed Death In June and Sol Invictus almost as heavily as Peter Webb does, and since Owens is an unreconstructed fascist bigot he is considerably keener on promoting Tony Wakeford's National Front fund raising act Above The Ruins than you average COMMITTED to anti-racism sociologist from the University of Birmingham.
Since the 1980s the strategy of the fascist current to which Wakeford belongs has been to present itself as engaged in legitimate cultural and political activities, in the hope that it can spread far-Right bigotry among people who might be less receptive to it if what they were encountering was too readily identifiable as Nazi bilge. The neo-folk scene is an outgrowth of this strategy, but it can only function effectively if it draws in dupes like Peter Webb. That said there is still a huge difference between being someone's useful idiot and a Nazi idiot, Webb is the former and Wakeford the latter. Fortunately neo-folk music is so awful it doesn't have wide appeal and even though the McGonagall syndrome is a serious condition Webb is not beyond cure. While Wakeford has lied to Webb, the hapless sociologist has not so much been conned as semi-consciously pulled the wool over his own eyes; but plenty of rest and full time retirement from music and sociology may well be enough to set him back on his feet.
More On Pete Webb (and stuff on ICRN too!)
The Sound of Sadism: Whitehouse & the 'New' 'British' Art (post-aesthetic fascism)
Skrewdriver (chapter from book on punk rock Cranked Up Really High)
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