People my age were lucky to grow up in Southend-on-Sea when we did. The clichés of the Essex town all rang true – the Novas with down-lighting and dump valves, the rude boys that drove them, the dicey arcades, and the public appearances at clubs called TOTS by Beppe Di Marco from Eastenders. There was actually plenty to enjoy within all of that, and then a punk club called Junk started up playing not UK garage but rare garage rock 7-inches. From Junk came The Horrors and Neil’s Children, around the time that These New Puritans got going. It gave the alternative young people of Southend something else and for a time inspired a handful of other club-nights and vintage shops.
Following the end of Junk and the ascension of its bands, Southend slowed back down and returned to its default settings somewhat, but in recent years that’s been changing once again, with the opening of the South record store, renewed life in a pub called The Railway and now the formation of Southend Records – a new label from Rebecca Gillieron to promote experimental music from the town and the surround estuary area.
On October 13 the label will release the debut album by The Plan; Gillieron’s own group that started as a side project to her trio Wetdog, and now includes members of other DIY bands like Vic Godard’s Subway Sect, Private Trousers and The Ghosts.
The record is called ‘Nervous Energy’ (out 13 October), which brings us nicely to the tumbling post-punk of new single ‘Annotate The Text’, which is over within 93 seconds.
Gillieron, who sings and plays guitar in the band, says of this first track:”I used to be an editor, so this was probably written whilst I was meant to be working, and it’s about taking control of reality, embellishing the best features of your existence, deleting negative factors, shaping the positive elements.”
If you think Margate’s good, you really should check out what’s going on beneath the surface in Southend-on-Sea.