East End Babylon

Movies, Documentary
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At the arse-end of the ’70s, west London spat out punk; from the East End came oi!, a working-class aftershock, driven by boot-to-the bollocks anger. The chief agitators of this overlooked and misunderstood movement were teenage brothers Jeff and Micky Geggus’s Cockney Rejects, the subject of this evocative, energetic and honest debut from Richard England. ‘It was in many people’s eyes a shithole,’ Micky says of Canning Town. ‘But it was our shithole.’ Archive footage shows their city defined by dockers’ strikes, air raids, West Ham worship, poverty, boxing and villainy. The result: one of the most provocative bands ever to trash a London stage, with the ensuing storm of boozing, blagging, brawling and loud guitars unflinchingly recalled. ‘It was a load of old rubbish,’ their mum reckons of their music; maybe, but few bands have roared ‘fuck you’ as convincingly as the Rejects.

By: Euan Ferguson

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Director: Richard England