Watch this trailer for a new movie about anarchist pop-punks Chumbawamba

Originally published at: Watch this trailer for a new movie about anarchist pop-punks Chumbawamba | Boing Boing


Oh, wow. I’ve been a Chumbawamba fan since the 80s. I saw them play their first tour in the U.S. LOOONG before Tubthumping. But I loved Tubthumping too. This should be fascinating. I’ve always wanted to know what they really thought about their strange success. I don’t think anybody in the mainstream really understood what they were saying. They just thought that the Chumbas wrote a catchy song.


til: Chumbawamba were anarchist radicals. I had no idea


My old fencing coach was a bit of a leftist radical and I remember having a conversation with him one day, where he expressed disappointment in Chumbawamba “selling out”. I tried to frame it for him as them working against an oppressive system from within:

“Would a socialist organization be selling out if they had a bake sale as a fundraiser?”

That gave him a few moments’ pause.

I’m curious to see whether Chumbawamba’s own view of their moment fits into the framework I ascribed to it.


you’ve got to hand it to them, they figured out how to get their band on tv.



OH I did. I had seen some interviews with them back in the day.

I probably would like more of their catalog, but I only have their Tubthumping album.

Aside from the hit single, there are a few others I like, specifically Goodship Lifestyle



I think their anarchist roots are more common knowledge in the UK, since Tubthumping was their only American hit…

And also, I really like the TMBG’s version…


Oh no! the Anarchist punk band are breaking the rules about how to be proper rebels. Someone should report them.


Truth is, I thought it mattered. I thought that music mattered. But does it? Bollocks. Not compared to how people matter.


Maybe there’s some sort of Anarchist Governing Commission that handles these matters.


I too was a fan of Pictures of Starving children… and Flux of Pink Indians(just to band name drop) who was surprised by the attention they received in 1997 but not really surprised that the earlier recordings were ever mentioned. I also await the film.

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That’s understandable. Their follow-up single wouldn’t have worked as well in the US, as it was a direct attack on New Labour and Tony Blair.


Yeah! It would have been lost on the average listener that wasn’t at least partially politically aware… But it’s also just not a problem for political bands, though. There are tons of bands from Europe and the UK who ended up being one hit wonders in the US, just because of how fragmented the market is here. It’s just far more difficult to get national airplay because there is no real equivalent of someone like John Peel, who was on a national broadcaster. MTV helped, because it was national as soon as cable companies picked it up and early on, it was thepostpunk labels sending in their low-budget videos when the American majors wouldn’t touch it. It’s only when the bands that got play on MTV began to get radio play, that the American industry took notice and began to push out indies…


I’ll be honest – I largely wrote off Chumbawamba in the 1990s because they had that one inescapable hit and kind of fizzled out here in America – and I wasn’t really paying much attention to popular music at the time anyway. In the late 1990s, when I saw that Negativland was doing a collaboration with them, that genuinely piqued my interest. I just had to find out what a radical counterculture group like Negativland was doing partnering with a top 40 one hit wonder band like Chumbawamba. That’s when I started looking into their catalog and really fell in love with the breadth and depth of their work.

From what I have seen, this was very much the case. Much of their proceeds went toward causes they were passionate about. For instance when GM licensed one of their songs to use in a commercial, the band used all the proceeds to fund anti-GM propaganda.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of Chumbawamba and am thrilled to finally see them get some recognition beyond “that one drinking song”.

Indeed – as an American fan, much of the highly Brit-centric social and political references are lost on me, requiring actual research (shocking, I know) to better understand the messages.

It’s whiplash inducing – every album is different. As is typical for artistic collectives, the lineup was ever changing, with different styles, influences, and collaborations in place. You would see stylistic shifts from punk, to more conventional rock, to dance music. Their last album was mostly comprised of largely folk-influenced songs with minimal instrumental backing – including one of my favorites of theirs:


Oh, and here’s the video link for the BBS:

6 posts were split to a new topic: Negativthreadland

30 years later and sadly it is still relevant. It only requires minor changes to be about trans people today. Of course the song was also about trans people in the late 80’s and early 90’s too, back when trans people were seen by the press as gay predators trying to trick straight people.

So, just like today then :frowning:

Here’s another version with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence


Or anti-immigration. Or so many other things. Its message against violence and hate toward others just for being who they are, and hatred as a disease just so damn versatile.