Despite its reputation as an abrasive style of music, punk has a long history of backing up its broadly socially conscious worldview with community-led charitable actions.
Niall McGuirk, who has run Dublin punk group the Hope Collective on a not-for-profit basis since the 80s, has been using the pandemic to put together a book of stories by people from the punk scene describing their favourite gigs. The book is, in fact, the collective’s second of its kind, both produced entirely for worthy causes.
Back in the 80s, Hope Collective were more involved in actual gig organisation, and bought the likes of Green Day, Fugazi, Babes In Toyland and The Membranes to Ireland at a time when punk gigs in the country were seen as real outsider events. Their previous book, ‘In Concert: Favourite Gigs of Ireland’s Music Community’, raised over €5,000 for the Irish Red Cross and their Syrian refugee appeal.
The new book goes still more in-depth, bringing in a collection of high-profile artists to write about their favourite gig memories, with the profits going to COVID-19 relief work. Acts that have contributed to the book include The Cure, Fugazi, New Model Army, Chumawumba, The Levellers, Gang of Four and Crass. More locally, members of Stiff Little Fingers, Paranoid Visions, Microdisney and The Outcasts (and plenty more) provide Irish interest.
The contributors are, essentially, a best of those willing to put together a story from the music collections of McGuirk and his partner in crime for this project, Michael Murphy, and came together thanks in large part to connections fostered over decades, and a willingness to contribute to the charitable effort.
To grab a copy of the new text, entitled ‘Great Gig Memories from Punks and Friends’, head over to the Hope Collective website at hopecollectiveIreland.com, where a pre-order of the 200-story book is currently available for €15.