Peter Hooton Interview

Going along with our terrace, music, threads section.  Holywell Street have been hoping to bring in Peter Hooton from The Farm, for a chat for some time.  We are pleased to say that he has taken time out of his active schedule to pop into HWS Towers to see us.

Peter Hooton was born Liverpool September 1962 in the Everton district of the City.  This city was a massive influence on him and in particular his beloved Liverpool FC.  Famous for his music and sharp witted tongue.  He went on to create a fanzine, entitled The End.  With no journalistic experience, he felt that Liverpool (more so the football fans), needed something witty, warm and intelligent to read at the match. He is very much an activist for the working class.


Thanks for speaking to us mate, how things?

Congratulations on Liverpool winning the league, there was a spell there, you weren’t sure if COVID-19 would halt this happening.

Do you expect a bit of domestic domination going forward for Liverpool.

I hope so – I think we’ve got the players and arguably the best manager in the world, but it depends on a few things – nobody knows how Covid-19 will affect teams but I think if Klopp is at the helm, I am confident we can dominate. City were supposed to be the best team in the history of football, but Liverpool totally blew them away last season. I really hope they get their act together again so they can give us more of a challenge next season.

A few bands tour and play an album in it’s entirety is this something you would consider?

We did it a few years ago with Spartacus – I enjoyed it but would still rather play from our entire back catalogue.  I can see why bands do it, but I prefer the entire catalogue.

From the back catalogue which of the albums optimises The Farm the most?

Pastures Old and New was a selection of Peel and BBC sessions so I suppose that was our sound in the 1980s but as soon as we discovered and used technology Spartacus was our ‘sound’- we were ring to emulate what was happening in London with Big Audio Dynamite and Flowered Up but journalists lumped us in with Madchester which was lazy and inaccurate!

I believe Stan Smith is one of your favourite trainees … what are your top three?

Stan Smith originals
Stan Smith black
Stan Smith blue
Seriously they are my favourite closely followed by Puma States and Adidas Gazelle.

adidas-Stan-Smith-advert-magazine

What are your best three ’80s terraces looks?

That’s a difficult one but the first would be a green Peter Storm Lois jean and a pair of trainees.
Second would be the duffel coat with straights and a pair of suede desert boots
Third would be a tweed jacket polo shirt, jeans and cord shoes.

And of course can you give us your top three influential albums?

Revolver – The Beatles
The Blue Nile – A Walk Across the Rooftops
The Clash – The Clash
but this list changes all the time 

The End Fanzine began in 1981 what did you initially expect from it?

I just wanted to make people laugh and encourage people to write about their lives. Every knob head does it now on social media but in those days, it was quite revolutionary to get the working class to write about their lives. I wanted it to be observations of everyday life – we never had one ‘joke’ in The End, but people found it funny. We were ruthless and attacked every sacred cow and basically anything that moved. I wanted it to be a magazine that people had to take notice of. It was the first magazine to include music and football, but I did not see it as a ‘football’ fanzine even though we were trying to appeal to people who went to Liverpool and Everton matches especially the away games. Hopefully, we encouraged people to write and express themselves – if it was still going today, we would have a field day with the conspiracy theory crew!

c033263f306769024bf5987da164513dIn honour of the End Fanzine can you please give us an IN and an OUT for this week?

IN – Shamrock Rovers v AC Milan

OUT – Piers Corbyn

We were recently made aware that the Cavern Club in Liverpool being under threat due to COVID-19, are you supporting the case to keep it open?

Yeh, believe it or not I Chair the Beatles Legacy Group for Liverpool City Council – it is unthinkable that it would close but they need Government help to get them through this period when they can only open with a reduced capacity. It was 500 but they have been told they can only have 150 in at the moment. I think in fact I am sure people will rally around to help them. 

We were shocked and saddened to at the passing of Andrew Weatherall here. How did you view him and his work?

He was a visionary. When I first heard him DJing I was mesmerised as his tastes were so varied, I loved the way he mixed different genres. In a way he reminded me of John Peel. I did not know at the time, but he had started the Boys Own fanzine in London with Terry Farley and Simon Eckel after reading The End. They loved The End, but I remember Terry Farley telling me it was probably too left wing for Stamford Bridge so obviously with Boys Own they kept to clubbing and fashion. When we went to Ibiza in 1990, he was at the top of his powers but he was never big headed or pretentious. His remix of Soon by My Bloody Valentine was the sound of that summer for me. I was so shocked when he passed away – but his music will never die!

Pre-Covid, have you been up to Scotland for any games in recent times?

Not recently – a few years ago my mates lad was on loan from Everton at Motherwell so went to a couple of games and another mate was the coach at Hibs with Stubbs, so we went to Easter Road a couple of times. The last time I went to Celtic was when Liverpool played there but my claim to fame is, I shook Jock Steins hand when we went on a school trip to Glasgow to play some teams and got a tour of Parkhead with Jock. The next day we went to see Celtic v Aberdeen and the Celtic fans sang a wonderful version of YNWA – a higher pitch to the Kop but I will always remember it.

We went to Balloch after the game in the school minibus as we were staying in a Youth Hostel there. Our priests who were on the strict side were in plain clothes so when we went to a local chippy with them, we thought nothing of it. All sudden a police van screeched to a halt and a load of police pinned everyone against the wall. Our priests tried to explain we had just come from the Celtic match, but the police were not having it they just would not listen. We were all trying to control our laughter as one priest was a ‘authoritarian’, but the police were telling him to shut up. It turns out they were looking for a Glasgow gang in the area – oh how we laughed (we all had Celtic scarves bobble hats on) – the priests never got an apology but, in a way, we were made up they had been powerless!

Do you think Celtic will do 10-in-a-row? 

Yes, who will stop them?

As a vocal Corbyn supporter, what are you views on Keir Starmer?  

No comment until I see my lawyers

Has he got the metal to see it through and get rid of Tories?

Mass confusion appears to be the main weapon of modern politics – everyone should watch Bitter Lake and Hyper normalisation by Adam Curtis to understand how confusion is the weapon of control – how in the year 2020 we can end up with Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister is the perfect example of that. An old Etonian with few if any redeeming qualities was voted in by the so-called Red Wall to their eternal shame – nothing seems to have changed since the Ragged Trouser Philanthropists was written in 1914.

What was your favourite stadia Liverpool won a European Cup in and why?

Must be the Olympic Stadium in Rome when we beat Roma in 1984 in their own ground. I have never heard a noise like it before or since when the teams took to the field. As far as the Romans were concerned, they had already won it – after we beat them on pens it was like an inferno as they burnt all their massive flags. Let’s say they were not happy.

Football was very different, and the match going experience fraught with danger, No alla violenza, how did you become involved in that?

I was not involved in No Alla Violenza I just wore the t-shirts. As far as I know they were not an organisation as such it was a just a t-shirt – during that period the working class just decided fighting at the match was an 80s thing. Dance Culture swept the nation and after years of the authorities under Thatcher trying to clamp down on football violence it was football fans themselves who rejected it in favour of peace and love (and doves)

Would you agree that the “right-wing” tried to high-jack the casual scene of the ’80s?

I think they succeeded – as soon as every small town in England started dressing like the big city teams it was inevitable. But the so-called ‘casual’ scene was never about politics it was about fashion.

What’s your take on the Football Lads and Lasses against Fascism (FLAF)?

Anyone who fights against fascism needs support – I wouldn’t say I know much about them, but they are a good antidote to the DFLA who are an embarrassment.

Favourite “lively away day” and why?

I always liked going to London games – they had a touch of glamour and adventure about them although the tube stations could be scary places. I loved going to Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and Arsenal back in the 80s until I was kicked unconscious at White Hart Lane. I made the mistake of wanting to stay in London to go to a mates birthday party I had met on holiday, he was a Cockney but into The Clash, so we got on. Fatal mistake, as I had to cut off one of the side streets on the Tottenham High Rd to get back to his car. I unfortunately picked a street that about 50 Spurs were coming down and as soon as they saw me in my cagoule and trainees they pounced. I thought I was getting away jumping over parked cars but then heading towards someone on the pavement who looked like Giant Haystacks. He bounced me into the privots and the last I can remember was the pack of hyenas screaming kill the ‘scarse cant’ – I’m not sure how long I was out for but the lad who woke me up said he was a Millwall fan and he had rescued me. I went in the ambulance to a local hospital and it was like a war zone – when I staggered in everyone laughed – one Spurs wag with a screwdriver sticking out of his thigh shouted ‘fackin hell scarse you been run over by a bus?’ – oh how we laughed! The camaraderie in the hospital was something to behold.  I lost my two front teeth and had a fractured cheekbone, but I did get a grand in compensation, which was a good pay-out. Something happened that day as I could’ve died I suppose – I think I must have got some sort of brain damage as I became indifferent to what other people thought of me so maybe that enabled me to write The End and sing in front of people with The Farm- I certainly wasn’t as self-conscious after the attack.

Bramley Moore Dock, is this a good move for the peoples club, Goodison Park is a great away ground and one of the few left, will you miss going?

I think they should stay and invest in the team and redevelop Goodison. When the Spirit of Shankly were protesting Hicks and Gillett in 2008 to 2010 we argued with them to redevelop Anfield, but they said it was impossible but when the new owners took over in 2010, they did exactly that. I know Evertonians want a new start but I would say be careful what you wish for just look at Arsenal and West Ham – we told the West Ham fans the move would cripple their identity and they still would struggle to get in the top 4 – that move did just that and they have lost their heart & soul and they are still a million miles from the Champions League.

Finally, 2020 has been tough from promotion of live music, what is planned from The Farm?

There is very little chance of us playing again this year. All our festivals and support slots with Madness have been put back until 2021 so hopefully they can happen then. One consequence of the pandemic is All Together Now has become a song for unity in many countries around the world and we can see in our Spotify listeners that we should tour South America when all this is over as Brazil and Argentina can’t get enough of The Farm!

Thanks for popping in Peter and talking with us. Much love. 

My pleasure

 
Thanks to Peter and the Holywell Street team: Angela, Paul, Red Caz for the questions. 

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