Alarm ReviewsPoppyPoppy



Dodgem City

Fun fairs are far from fair say The Alarm. The welsh four-piece from the holiday resort of Rhyl have been involved in all the fiddles that make sure people lose on the swings and the roundabout. "It's a ghost town in the winter but in summer the kids from the north west like Liverpool and Stoke liven the place up," says guitarist and singer Mike Peters. "It's then that we made our money."
"One fiddle involved banging on the tills so that the wrong amount would register. On the ride called The Waltz the customer would get pressed against chair and their loose change would get pressed against the pocket by the momentum. At the end of the night you'd lift up the seat and there'd be a fortune there."
But often methods of making ill-gotten gains need even more sleight of hand according to the band who are charting with "The Stand". "The best fiddle was to wait until a ride had started before you'd give someone their change. You jump on and count the change into your hand in full view of the customer," explains Mike. "As you tip the money into their hand you lodge the 50p piece between the thumb and forefinger part of your hand and jump off. The customer is too busy enjoying the ride to check his change. I fiddled it hundreds of times."
The band, Mike Peters, Dave Sharp and Eddie MacDonald on guitars and Twist on drums, found out that while crime pays, being noble doesn't. They opened a club called The Gallery and lost out. "We didn't have bouncers because we put all the money into buying records," says Mike. "We notice which said that the club was run by kids for kids and for the love of music. If we had any trouble then we'd close."
The warning worked until punk band Discharge played and attracted an undesirable element who tore the place apart and the club ended. The Welsh cowboys knew that the town wasn't big enough for them and hatched a plan to go to London.
They released their first single - financed themselves - called 'Unsafe Building' and promply sold all 2000 copies - an event which attracted most record companies. In contrast to most provincial bands The Alarm have no qualms about coming to the English capital.
"We're looking forward to seeing the world - it opens your eyes. You can only take in so much life in one town," says Mike. "We love life and we've written all our best songs in London."
Already The Alarm are marked down as ones to watch in 1983. They are one of the few punchy nights out on a very slack live scene. Their western appearance and energetic approach to music has been compared to The Clash and other bands containing the glorious spirit of 1976.
"Yes, we've been compared to The Clash," says Dave Sharp, "but they seem to be talking more about our spirit. We launch ourselves at the crowd because that's how strongly we feel about what we're singing.
"I think that spirit has been watered down and diluted by people who think that because they've a leather jacket and spiky hair then that's going to do the job." Mike continues: "All those people who were inspired to pick up guitars by punk have learned to play their instrument but lost the reason why they learnt to play."
"Too many people have only got music that isn't very encouraging - most of it is dour and black. We are optimists and want people to be fired om. Bands like the Pistols and Clash, and the Beatles and Stones before that, used to give you a boost that could carry you into the rest of your life. The world is wide open and it's to be taken on."

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