Rubella Ballet - Ballet Bag LP
Label: Dark Entries
Rubella Ballet began an as act of spontaneous combustion in Britain's punk heyday, with their first live appearance taking place during a legendary Crass performance at London's Conway Hall in 1979 when Crass left their instruments onstage for the audience to finish the show. The four members of Rubella Ballet at the time - Zillah Minx, Sid Ation (Flux Of Pink Indians), Pete Fender and Gem Stone - leapt on stage quick to take their space and make their noise. Yet, the spontaneous eruption did not quickly extinguish with the band establishing themselves as a unique voice in the realm of British punk. Much like Crass and Poison Girls (whose Vi Subversa is the mother of Rubella's then adolescent members Fender and Stone), Rubella Ballet took up the politics of anarchism in direct opposition to Thatcher's conservative policies. Vivid colors abound in the Rubella Ballet iconography, as they hand-painted clothes with day-glo and ultraviolet paints that popped against much of the black-clad, proto-goth visages of the London punk scene. Such was their music as well, full exuberant shrieks and vigorous punk mayhem.
Ballet Bag is the debut recording for the band, who published it in 1982 through Poison Girls' XNTRIX imprint as a cassette with an accompanying booklet, poster and button. A pogo punk giddiness on "Belfast" thrashes in juvenile brashness next to the haunted discord of "T" (alternately titled "Emotional Blackmail" elsewhere), this latter being the best track that Siouxsie and The Banshees never wrote. Zillah Minx' voice even shares feral, snarled Cockney that Siouxsie spat forth on Join Hands with the rest of her band ripping through gusty three chord punk, with a panoply of absurdism, horror and galant excess.
The Dark Entries reissue features the nine tracks from the original tapes plus six Peel Sessions from the same time period.