Garry Bushell

Garry Bushell

Garry Bushell (born May 13, 1955 in Woolwich, South East London) is a newspaper columnist, rock music journalist, television presenter and author. Bushell also plays in the Oi! band The Gonads and manages the New York City Oi! band Maninblack. [ [ Maninblack: The Official Online Press Kit! ] ]

Early career

The son of a fireman, Bushell attended Charlton Manor school and Colfe's School (which was then a grammar school). He worked for Shell as a messenger, and then the London Fire Brigade before attending the North East London Polytechnic and the London College of Printing. Bushell was an amateur boxer, and he was a musician before becoming a full-time journalist. He first performed at secondary school in the group Pink Tent, which was heavily influenced by Monty Python. They wrote songs and comedy sketches; performing at parties and at each other's houses. Bushell was involved in The National Union of School Students and The Schools Action Union, a socialist organisation that had a strong situationist streak that led them to mix schoolboy hijinks with student activism. Through-out the early 1980s, Bushell was regularly confronted by members of the British Movement, who called him a communist. He was attacked and hospitalized by neo-Nazis in 1981.Fact|date=August 2007 The National Front magazine "Bulldog" denounced him as "a race traitor" and published his home address.

Pink Tent evolved into The Gonads, an Oi! and "punk pathetique" band that has continued to perform in the 2000s. [ [ The Gonads ] ] Many of their songs are comical party tunes, but they have occasionally written more serious material. Two examples of their songs that include social commentary are "Dying for a Pint" (which comments on nightclub bouncer brutality) and "Jobs Not Jails" (a critique of the Margaret Thatcher government's policies). One of their humorous songs was "I Lost My Love To A UK Sub", which is about the allegedly huge libido of UK Subs singer Charlie Harper. The Gonads have also played punk rock versions of old music hall numbers such as Gus Elen's "Half A Pint Of Ale." Other Bushell musical projects have included the bands Prole, Orgasm Guerrillas, and Lord Waistrel & The Cosh Boys. Prole were a self-defined socialist punk band that also included Steve Kent, the original guitarist of the Oi! band The Business. Bushell also managed The Blood and Cockney Rejects, getting them their EMI deal. He also discovered Twisted Sister and got them signed in the UK to Secret Records. ["Twisted Sister - The Official Story" - authorized biography] Many bands wrote songs about him, some hostile and some positive. Examples include: "Hurry Up Garry (The Parson Farted)" by Crass, which also attacked Tony Parsons, "Press Darlings" by Adam Ant, "Garry Bushell's Band Of The Week" by the Notsensibles, "C'N'C-S Mithering" by The Fall and "I Wanna Be A Star" by Cockney Rejects.

Journalism and book writing

In the mid-1970s, at the age of 18, Bushell became an active member of the International Socialists, writing for the left wing newspaper "Socialist Worker". He also wrote for "Temporary Hoarding", "Rebel", and his own punk fanzine, "Napalm". [ [ Garry Bushell Interview ] ] From 1978 to 1985, he wrote for "Sounds" magazine, covering the punk rock genre and other street-level music genres such as 2 Tone, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and the mod revival. Bushell was at the forefront of covering the Oi! genre, also known as "real punk" or streetpunk. [ [ - Oi! – The Truth by Garry Bushell ] ] In 1981, Bushell wrote the book "Dance Craze - the 2-Tone story", and in 1984, he wrote the Iron Maiden biography "Running Free".

Bushell moved to Fleet Street in 1985, working for "The Sun", The "Evening Standard" and "The Daily Mirror". He went back to "The Sun" to write its "Bizarre" column and to be the show business editor. Thousands of articles appeared under his byline in "The Sun". In 1991, he briefly became assistant editor of The "Daily Star" where he wrote a current affairs column called "Walk Tall With Bushell" as well as his TV column. He quit and returned to the "Sun" three months later after "Sun" Editor Kelvin MacKenzie published his thoughts on the "Star"'s executives after a private conversation.

In the mid-1990s, Bushell hosted the television programme "Bushell On The Box" (the same title as his "Sun" column from 1987 to 2001); commenting on the week's TV programmes. It ran for fifty episodes and was Number One on ITV's Night Network. Guests included Ray Winstone, Lily Savage, and Lenny McLean. The following year Bushell became resident critic on Jonatham Ross's ITV series The Big Big Talent Show. He also hosted Garry Bushell Reveals All for Granada Men & Motors. His TV CV includes appearances on a whole range of shows from Celebrity Squares and Drop! The Celebrity to Newsnight and The Southbank Show.

A regular feature of Bushell's newspaper column is the "Garry's Goofs" section, in which he highlights an unintended double entendre. In 2002, he published the book "King of Telly: The Best of Bushell on the Box", containing highlights of his column. In 2001, Bushell's crime novel"The Face" was serialised in the "Daily Star", leading to his dismissal from "The Sun"; even though "Sun" publisher John Blake admitted that Bushell had no knowledge of the serialisation deal. At the time, "Sun" editor David Yelland had decided that the book was "too filthy" to be published in "The Sun", breaking his promise to promote the book. Two years after Bushell was fired, a poll of "Sun" readers named him as their favourite columnist.

After "The Sun", Bushell wrote for "The People" and left that paper on February 18, 2007 to work on books and screenplays. He announced his resignation as a TV critic, stating that he was becoming depressed at the state of British television. [ [ - Bushell On The Box ] ] Bushell co-wrote the book "Cockney Reject" (about the punk band Cockney Rejects) and has written a film script for "Join The Rejects - Get Yourself Killed". In May 2007, Bushell's column returned to the "Daily Star Sunday". Bushell explained that he "missed the pressure of a weekly deadline."Fact|date=May 2007 As of 2007, he has been presenting a monthly punk and ska podcast show on Total Rock. Since November 2007, he has been the resident TV critic for Nuts TV (channel 2007).

In 1993, Bushell wrote an article urging ITV to ban comedian Julian Clary from ever appearing on live television again, in the wake of Clary's headline-grabbing appearance at the British Comedy Awards ceremony in December 1993.Fact|date=August 2007 The article was considered detrimental to Clary's career by some, although Clary has continued to be seen on television and Bushell has since dismissed the controversy as "a storm in a teacup." He also appeared on Clary's own BBC TV show, "All Rise With Julian Clary", and defended his stance; saying he objected to Clary's fisting joke rather than his sexuality. Bushell has publicly praised many gay performers over the years, including Frankie Howerd, Paul O'Grady, Alan Carr and Joe Longthorne.

In 1994, Bushell was named critic of the year at the UK Press Awards. [ [ - Garry Bushell by Garry Johnson ] ] In 2000, Comic Heritage (formerly the Dead Comics Society, now the Heritage Foundation) gave him an award for "Services To Comedy."Fact|date=May 2007 In 2007 they named Bushell "Critic Of The Year."

In August 2007, Bushell made a remark during an exchange on the talkSPORT programme "Football First" implying that homosexuality was a perversion, leading the regulator Ofcom to find the segment in breach of standards for failing to justify offensive material by the context in which it was presented.cite news
title=Talksport rapped over gay jibes
publisher=BBC News
] [ [ Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin - Issue no. 91] , August 20, 2007] A discussion about the 2008 European Cup Final, which was to be held in Moscow, digressed on to the topic of a recent gay rights march in Russia. When Bushell, while making light of the arrest of the activist Peter Tatchell, was questioned by a co-presenter because he appeared to find the situation amusing, he responded: "I would not go to another country and try and impose my views on them, it’s up to them what they do. I think there are a lot of things to put right in this country before you go around preaching the gospel of perversion." Ofcom rejected talkSPORT's claims that the comments made had been "off the cuff" and talkSPORT themselves issued a statement saying that its staff had been "made aware" that what Bushell had said was "unacceptable". [ [,,2152668,00.html TalkSport rapped for homophobia] , "", August 20, 2007] Bushell later said that it was not homosexuality which he was referring to as a peversion, but the further lowering of the age of consent; and that his remarks were taken out of context. [ [] 20 August 2007] He has now left talkSPORT.

Writing style

Bushell's columns are notable for similes and metaphors that court controversy, such as describing something as being "as fair as Frank Bruno's arse" or (in his May 1, 2005 column) "Today's TV is so obsessively gay, it's a wonder the "Radio Times" doesn't come with a pink Versace wrap and a free glass of Muscadet".Fact|date=May 2007 However, homosexual TV star Dale Winton is the godfather of Bushell's daughter Jenna. ["The Independent" (Deborah Ross) [ For Garry, England and St George: Interview - Garry Bushell] 25 June 2001 ] His humour has upset some "Sun" executives, such as Rebekah Wade, but fans include Dom Joly and Roy Hudd, who has called him "the Max Miller of the press."Fact|date=May 2007

His tabloid column and writing style were regularly satirised in adult comic Viz, including a one-off comic strip titled "The Adventures of Gary Bushell The Bear", about a homophobic, brown-bear hating hibernating black bear.Fact|date=August 2007


Bushell started out as a socialist and was a member of the Trotskyist International Socialists, which became the SWP. The first signs of his move from hard-left thinking were apparent from 1986. In his "On The Soap Box"' column, Bushell raged against the middle classes, who he claimed had ruined the Labour Party. He also objected to the European Union and unfettered immigration, because he said it under-cut working class wages. He wrote articles supporting the Smithfield meat porters who were fighting to preserve their market, and in favour of St. George's Day, the UDR 4, working class comedians and Page Three girls.fact|date=October 2007

In the 2000s, Bushell's main political focus has been patriotism and individual liberty. He sees his identity as English rather than British. He has campaigned to have St George's Day recognised as a public holiday in England, in the same way Saint Patrick's Day is a holiday in Ireland. He is a vocal opponent of the European Union. Amongst his heroes listed on his MySpace page are George Orwell and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

In the 2005 General Election, he stood as a candidate for the English Democrats Party, who promote the establishment of an English Parliament, and want England to leave the European Union. Bushell got 1216 votes (3.4% share) in the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency, finishing fifth out of seven in a race won by Nick Raynsford of the Labour Party. The result represented the high point for the English Democrats in the election, and Bushell finished ahead of the UK Independence Party candidate in that constituency. Bushell also represented the party in South Staffordshire, in the delayed vote (due to the death of a candidate) on June 23; winning 643 votes (2.51%) His campaign was supported by the Campaign for an English Parliament and Veritas. It has been reported that he is considering standing as a candidate for Mayor of London against Ken Livingstone in 2008. [ [ ] ] His nomination was submitted to the English Democrats in June 2007, and his campaign slogan was to be "Serious About London". [ [ cPanel ] ] . Due to work commitments Garry pulled out of the mayoral race in January 2008 and stood aside for Matt O'Connor.


Bushell has five children; three with Carol Bushell (Julie, Danny, and Robert) and two with Tania ("nee Ashbee") - Jenna, born May 1999, and Ciara, born March 2002. He also has one brother, Terry Bushell, and one niece Lauren Bushell. Tania Bushell performs as the country music singer Leah McCaffrey. [ [ - Garry Bushell by Garry Johnson ] ] In November 2006, Bushell appeared on the Channel 4 programme "100% English" and offered a sample of his DNA for testing. The results suggested that he was 8% Sub-Saharan African, most likely the result of a single ancestor within the previous five generations. ["The Herald" (David Belcher) [ A rare breed – and pure annoying with it] 14 November 2006 ] Bushell took the news with good humour and later wrote on his website "I’d be delighted if it were true." However, he questioned the science and the motivation of the programme makers, concluding:

"Only Nazis, and, it appears C4, think of national identity in terms of racial purity... Besides, you could apply the same tests to the French or Italians and get similar results, but no-one questions their right to nationhood."


External links

* [ Official Garry Bushell website]
* [ Official Gonads website]
* [ Garry talks about what it is to be English]
* [ Bushell's monthly radio show podcast]
* [ Garry's Official London Mayor campaign website]

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