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East End Babylon was featured at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday 26th April at the 02 Arena in Greenwich. Director Richard England, editor Henry Stein, Jeff Turner and Mick Geggus from the Rejects presented the film showing clips and answering questions from a rapt audience.
Read more: EAST END BABYLON AT SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL LONDON
Rarely in the long history of British rock'n'roll has there been a story of such depth,magnitude and sheer turbulence as that of the Cockney Rejects.
There have been many "rockumentaries" over the years, but director Richard England looked between the lines and realised that there was something very different here - a story spanning over a hundred years, a story of the most impoverished place in Britain, it's people, culture and way of life that is now all but extinct, that in turn gave birth to one of the most ferocious rock'n'roll bands that ever lived.
From the heaving masses living around the largest docks in the world, to the bombs that flew through world war two, 'East End Babylon' takes us on a journey through smoky boxing clubs, battles on the terraces and piss stained boozers as three dead end kids formed a band that would be the last word in rock'n'roll savagery.
Mistrusted and misunderstood by the rock elite and media, the Rejects were one of a kind - the first band to combine rock'n'roll and football, and imbued with a "take no shit" attitude, which has often been copied but never equaled.
Follow the band and its road crew of West Ham's infamous ICF hooligans as they take their furious brand of rock'n'roll on the road, resulting in running battles with Nazis, rival football firms, legendary Top of the Pops performances, culminating in the vicious "battle of Birmingham" which finished the band as a touring unit.
Witness the redemption as the Rejects, now a worldwide cult who's music has influenced some of the biggest bands on the planet, play to hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe, uniting kids from all backgrounds with their particular brand of rock and football.
Come and feel the mighty heart that beats to the sound of rivet hammers on a background of claret and blue.
This is East End Babylon.
Canning Town teenagers Cockney Rejects signed to EMI in 1979. A year later, their cover of West Ham FC's terrace song 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' went Top 40, leading to horrific gig violence and the unwanted patronage of right- wing skinheads. Produced and directed by Richard England (of the Dr Feelgood doc 'Oil City Confidential' fame), this is a shocking but very funny tale vividly brought to life, especially by motor-mouthed singer Jeff "Stinky Turner" Geggus. He suggests that had he not been in the band "I'd have stuck a stocking over me head and walked into a NatWest". Inevitably, it all went wrong in the early 80's, with Jeff's brother and Rejects guitarist Mick facing GBH charges following one particularly chaotic gig in Birmingham. When scores of later US punk groups started dropping their name, the Rejects came back to life in 1999. A happy ending of sorts then; albeit with a lot of bloodshed along the way.
**** Q Magazine
THE COCKNEY REJECTS – East End Babylon DVD: Fuck me! This is one of the best punk rock DVD’s ever released and I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it. The story starts off with the family back of the Geggus brothers which was interesting in it’s own right with their proud mum having lots to say. Then you’re hit with the story and where it all started. Not only is a great story told with some awesome footage you’re also treated to some of the best Rejects tunes ever released. Lots of people are featured including Garry Bushell who helped push the band at the very beginning. The madness that surrounded the band was mad and that’s what made the Rejects such a legendary punk band. If they weren’t fighting other football hooligans they were battering the shit out of Nazi’s. Dangerous times! In fact after watching this I just wanted to play some Cockney Rejects and go and kick some ones head in! Ha! Brilliant! A DVD that should be on your shopping list if punk rock is your thing! 10/10
Richard England's East End Babylon (2013) tells the story of the rise of the Punk band Cockney Rejects, and how they amazingly became a band against many odds from the fall of their industrial town due to Thatcher-era dismantling of the UK's industrial base to managing to get signed to the now defunct EMI records and cutting some very important and influential music in their teens.
The band too is saved from the problems around them to a great extent by art, but they do not get the respect or money they should have initially, have problems with skinheads, they get banned from the BBC and as is apparent from this 104 minutes, were targeted by the Thatcher forces more than anyone interviewed seems to realize including being duped into a TV appearance designed to make them look like troublemakers they were not.
Despite all being in the dark about what exactly transpired (including the director?), this is a valuable chapter in music history that had to be told, is filled with its moments of irony and great music as all the members, relative and friends are interviewed throughout. It also echoes more than a few similar 1980s stories of rollback politics and the dark exploitation that resulted on both sides of the Atlantic. You should see this one at least once.
Extras include a booklet inside the DVD case, while the DVD adds ten featurette clips and an additional band performance.
COCKNEY REJECTS ON TOUR IN THE USA IN 2014
14 Santa Cruz, CA 15 San Francisco, CA 16 Orange County, CA 17 Los Angeles 18 San Diego 20 Pomona, CA 22 Phoenix, AZ 23 Las Vegas / Punk Rock Bowling 28 DC 29 Phili 30 NYC 31 Boston
Thirty years ago, a rock writer coined the term 'Oi!' to decribe his
favourite music. Soon 'punk's idiot half-brother' was synonymous
with arson, racism and football violence. By Alexis Petridis
The Guardian Thursday 18 March 2010
Read more: Misunderstood or hateful? Oi!'s rise and fall
Director / Producer : Richard England
Executive Producer : Mick Geggus
Associate Producer : Karen Janody
Director of Photography : Steven Organ
Editor : Henry Stein
Original music by : The Cockney Rejects