By 1982, politically orientated, snotty punk of the old school had by and large been replaced by the New Romantics, but some pockets of resistance refused to let it lie. !Action Pact! (yes, that’s how you spell it, apparently) were formed in London in 1981 by guitarist Wild Planet, bassist Dr. Phibes and drummer Joe Fungus. Their lyrics railed at the self-satisfied middle-class in particular, and the band followed in the footsteps of X-Ray Spex, Penetration and Siouxsie and The Banshees by recruiting a female vocalist, one George Cheex. She got the job because she was willing to scream along with the band’s songs (although some were less than impressed by this).
The Heathrow Touchdown EP attracted JP’s attention, who praised the band for continuing the punk rock tradition and attempting, like Vice Squad, to try something new. That record, released while George and Jo were 15 and still at school, led to their first Peel session (on February 6 1982 and broadcast on the 22 February). John in particular liked the fact that George sounded so bad-tempered, like a harrassed switchboard operator: whether it was this that made the band a minor cause celebre at the time is open to debate. In any case, they were signed by Fallout Records, who made the EP Suicide Bag their first release. The song itself (FF 1982 #48), a diatribe against glue-sniffing, clocks in at less than two minutes, with a lot of power and punch packed into that small time space.
One further session, five singles and two LPs later (plus appearances on numerous punk compilations) and the band faded away, perhaps finally acknowledging that the punk revolution had transmogrified beyond all recognition.
P.S. Later in the day, I discovered some of a Peel Show lurking in my collection containing half of the tracks from that second and final session (recorded 1982-08-07). I figured some is better than none at all, so I’ve ripped what I have and share it with you below, since these sessions don’t appear to be available anywhere else. I’m too good to you, I know.
Action Pact, Suicide Bag
Action Pact, First Peel Session
2. Cowslick Blues
4. Suicide Bag
5. Mindless Aggression
Action Pact, Second Peel Session (part)
1. There Are A Few….
2. Fools Factions
3. Fouled On The Footpath