Wednesday, 6 July 2016


Manic Ears:The Histyrical Years


When I started thinking about doing this blog I was trying to imagine an 80's DIY fanzine style produced digitally. I remember how I used to produce my fanzine, distribution lists, flyers and the first few album covers on the label by cut and paste techniques. I later asked John Yates to do Manic Ears cover and label art design. He came up with the very appealing Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' painting as a label logo. After John Yates left for San Francisco I asked Bear And Beano of Skate Muties From The 5th Dimension to do this being the kings of DIY art, cut and paste methods.

I hope this is a representation in design but still reflects the spirit of the hardcore scene during the mid and late 1980's in the UK. I would like to this call a 'digital fanzine'. The initial idea was to produce a digital representation of running Manic Ears Records at that time. The resources available today are astonishing as I have managed to find a lot of photos, flyers, adverts, and even tapes digitized already on the web through band and personal websites, blogs, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter. It appears the hardcore underground is still alive and kicking and has moved online.

These days I regard this as a form of cyberpunk. Hardcore and punk bands thrive these days through online networks in 'cyberspace' and still producing quality hardcore music. Physical record sales are exceptionally small these days but still bedroom DIY enthusiasts communicate and distribute ideas, beliefs and music by vinyl, CD, print, online radio shows, email, downloads, gigs and shows exposing new hardcore bands from around the world in a networked underground environment.

In the 80's and early 90's we did this from our bedrooms surrounded by letters, paper, records, tapes and fanzines manically writing to everyone we spotted in a fanzine, on a flyer or record and cassette label to contact about new bands, interviews, music and distributing this stuff all by mail. Soaping the stamps was a standard practice at the time but as I moved into the record side the sheer volume of mail become quite phenomenal. This was all enthused by a worldwide  DIY underground hardcore scene. With the benefit of hindsight in 2016 it is very remarkable that hardcore thrived this way at the time.

This blog represents my involvement in hardcore in the UK running Manic Ears Records coming from the fanzine and tape label underground hardcore scene. If you are reading this then I hope you find it interesting, informative and a relevant account of my time involved with hardcore during the early and late 1980s.

I hope to improve it over time as my idea is to let it evolve with possibly more material in future. I have not done any web design work for at least 15 years and my skills are somewhat out of date and my memory of studying that in college is rather vague.  By the time this blog is live I am studying an MA Programme in Digital Media: Technology & Culture Form at Goldsmiths. I cannot commit to regular updates and emails may not get a reply for quite a while. I hope I have managed to achieve a digital fanzine in the style of a blog. Enjoy reading it.


I would like to thank everybody for contributing to the blog in any form whether it is interviews, articles photos, flyers and music.

This C4 documentary pretty much sums up the time: Soap the Stamps
BBC John Peel Television programme 'Suffolk Comforts'
The Manic Ears June 1989 Extreme Noise Terror Jettisoundz/MTV Video 'From One Extreme To Another - Live Fulham Greyhound Show'
The Manic Ears June 1989 Dr & The Crippens Jettisoundz/MTV Video 'Live Fulham Greyhound 1989'
Extreme Noise Terror/Napalm Death Snub TV 1989

UPDATE: Feb 2017

As you can see, I started writing this blog July 2016 last year. In September, I started my MA and all my plans for this were put on hold. I have been planning more tabs (or pages) on the blog that are currently hidden. I do not have the time to complete them yet. Hopefully, I may have time Summer 2017 or thereafter. I had written all this stuff and gathered my own digital captures last year. I just thought I may as well go live with these pages as a start. Also, there are a lot of digital captures of flyers, tapes and records that I obtained from the Facebook group, 'The Soaped Stamp', which was created by Carlos Regadas (of CARCASS fame) and Dave Ballantyne. Many thanks to these guys and all the hardcore enthusiasts from the 1980s on the group. If you see your capture thanks and sorry for lack of credits but there are so many different people that I did not keep track of who posted the photos. 

Thanks and all the best.

Shane Dabinett. 13th Feb, 2017.

ps. If you want to copy or use any this blog please just drop me an email and let me know what you are doing with it. I would like to consider this as a form of Open Access.