The Fiction Negative Fun (Off the Hip)

One of the best music docos in recent years was A Band Called Death. The doco chronicled the short lived career and legend that was the band Death and there LP that never came out but became the stuff of legend. It took em a few decades but they are now getting the due respect they deserve. Since then it seems every kid that has ever made a demo has had their cassette released in recent years. The Fiction made a demo before they even played a gig, by the time there EP was finished they broke up, so it came out as a Little Murders EP, and Little Murders are still going strong to this day with Rob Griffiths up front, as he was with the Fiction. Rob Wellington, the guitarist in the Fiction formed the International Exiles and today plays with Winter Sun, The Originals and The Peptides and occasionally watches the footy me Fred and Pete and Gordon as hes a good pies man. Someone has kept the Fiction Tape and now forty years later via the mighty Off the Hip records the Fictions songs are now finally getting an airing in their full lo fi glory.

Classic three chord 1234 rough as guts but still very listenable lo fi  punk rock, very Billy Childish and Ramones. Robot Love is an interesting track, given it was written in 1978, I wonder if these guys thought this was a shape of romance to come. Although with things like Tinder I don/t think anyone could ave predicated that, personally I thought romance would be like the way it was portrayed in the Woody Allen classic Sleeper where sex takes place in some machine. ”Gonna make you piece by piece” could still yet be a sign of things to come.

One of the things I love about this CD is that they kept all the banter inbetween tracks. One track they shout 123 and you hear STOP. You also hear the tape being stopped and started inbetween tracks, its the sort of thing other bands may wipe but I enjoy little things like that.

Years ago I was lucky enough to be on a panel at a punk expo at Brightspace with Rob Wellington himself, he mentioned that while other cities like London had issues to rebel and say fuck you too, one of the big issues in Melbourne was fighting boredom. Nothing to do in the city sums up Melbourne and at the time and how the young folk might ave felt. Subterranean City starts with the 123 starting over again, its is a great Ramones style track. Public Eye which comes in just under four minutes is as close as you/ll get to slowing things down, love the gang vocals. Victimless Crime has a brilliant military style drums combined with swing like guitar, and I  love the line take a darg take a beer. Another close to four minute track Whose Side Are You On has a great stand together arms in sing along chorus. Before Happy Just to Dance we get some more banter, something bout Clouds I think. The title track could easily be considered up there with (I/m) Stranded as an iconic punk anthem. Boytown Boys sounds like a gem you would find on an early Back from the Grave comp.

Negative Fun is twelve short fast loud in your face three chord punk tracks, and even at a time when punk was stripping back the layers and sticking to the basics The Fiction still stood out. With its rawness, funny lyrics and the tightness, considering they hadn/t played a gig at the time. This recording still stands up today. Just wondering why Rob (Wellington) never mentioned this to me when we watched the footy? Maybe he did I don/t know. And good news. There playing gigs again! The two Robs with Mick Batty on drums are blasting these tunes in all its dirty glory. While theres so much great new music round, its little lost classics like this that will always keep me going back to the record shop.

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