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Welcome to The Polite Force Archive

Hey there!

This is a backup of the site which used to be at The site, which was meant to host a thriving community dedicated to all things avantgarde in music and particularly bands and music from or relating to the Canterbury scene, never managed to attract enough people to really keep it going. Paying the bills for the domain eventually seemed pointless, but there was some good stuff on there so I’m trying to preserve it.

Possibly I am also preserving the forum posts. See



Romantic Warrior III : Canterbury Tales

Documentary filmmakers Adele Schmidt and Jose Zegarra Holder need your help! They are working on their documentary series, Romantic Warriors, and now they’re currently in production of their third film, Canterbury Tales. As you might have guessed already, this film focuses on the Canterbury scene and will feature interviews with a wealth of musicians like Phil Miller, Dirk Campbell, David Sinclair, Brian Hopper and Didier Malherbe, just to mention a few.

They’ve also made a trailer.


Currently, they are working on getting funding to complete their film and, unless i july 11th already, you can help them. Read more about the project and help them reach their 20 000 USD goal on :


Canterbury Soundwaves June Episode

Canterbury Soundwaves, the Canterbury Scene podcast

Yesterday, the June episode of Canterbury Soundwaves came out. For those of you who don’t know, Canterbury Soundwaves is a podcast radio show by Matthew Watkins who explores the far corners of the Canterbury Sound. On June’s episode, he’s written the following :


A tribute to Elton Dean (1945-2006), from his earliest recordings with Bluesology and the Keith Tippett Group through his classic work with Soft Machine and beyond, including Ninesense, Newsense, Soft Heap, Pip Pyle’s Equip’Out and National Health, to his very last composition and recording. Also, Caravan playing Gershwin (1970), Daevid Allen playing dubious guitar with Princess Flower and the Moonrays (1968), the Gong Family Glissando Orchestra playing a single note for a very long time in an Amsterdam coffeeshop (2006)…and the fool who appropriated Mr. Dean’s name making an incongruous cameo on a Kevin Ayers song.


Link : Check it out! 

What’s Your Favourite National Health Song?

Sometimes, you just have to ask the hard question. The really hard question. If you had to pick out one recorded National Health song to be your proclaimed favourite, which one would it be?

To make it all nice and organized, I’ve created a helpful poll with the tracklists of their studio albums and the archive release Missing Pieces. There you can place your vote and you’re even allowed to re-vote and change your mind should it be necessary in the future.

There are so many good songs to choose from, The Bryden Two-Step (For Amphibians), The Collapso, Portrait of a Shrinking Man, Binoculars, Agrippa, Brujo, Clocks and Clouds .. But my vote now will go to the first National Health song I ever heard and still can’t get tired of, the epic Tenemos Roads, the band’s longest piece and opener to their debut album. The band sounds great and I just can’t get enough of Amanda Parsons voice .. and it’s a Dave Stewart composition and, when it comes to composing music, he’s the man.

Agree or disagree?

The Wire Salon: An audience with Robert Wyatt

Robert Wyatt
Robert Wyatt, picture by Helena Dornellas

At Cafè Oto in London, Thursday April 12th year 2012, Robert Wyatt appeared on stage for a discussion to talk about selected tracks from his back catalogue. The discussion was chaired by The Wire’s Tony Herrington and the audience also got the opportunity to ask Robert questions.

Being there would’ve been wonderful, but now even those who spent their evenings elsewhere that fateful day can get to enjoy this talk. An MP3 featuring the evening’s dialogue has been made available on The Wire’s website. Check it out!

Link : The Wire Salon: An audience with Robert Wyatt

Favourite Jimmy Hastings Solos!

Jimmy Hastings (brother of Pye) may be one of the most underrated musicians from the Canterbury scene. He was an “unofficial member” of several of our favourite bands – Caravan, Soft Machine, Hatfield and the North, National Health – often credited, but generally not an official member. Although he’s contributed saxophone and clarinet, it is the wonderful addition of his flute which I personally enjoy the most. I just love the sound of the flute and Jimmy’s phrasing is always wonderful. What beautiful melodies!

So, I thought it’s time to celebrate this wonderful musician and so I would like to ask all you Canterbury fans out there. What is your favourite Jimmy Hastings recorded solo performance?

Join the discussion in our forum thread : What is your favourite performance by Jimmy Hastings?

Richard Sinclair plays with Maartin Allcock and Oak

This popped up on the Richard Sinclair Live info Facebook page so I thought I’d help spread the word by posting it here as well. It seems Richard will be playing a couple of concerts with Maartin Allcock and the band Oak. :)


Next Live Gigs coming up are a new project with Maartin Allcock and Jerry Cutillo’s OAK, we’ll be performing in Rome and also Umbria …


Dance of the Goodbyes available as digital download and LP

Dance of the goodbyes album cover

Alberto Villarroya from the Italian Canterbury inspired prog band Amoeba Split dropped by our forums to give us the following message.


Hi everyone!

Finally, since last week we have the new Amoeba Split Bandcamp page: Here you can download our first demo and our debut album “Dance of goodbyes” (Flac or 320Mp3), along with original booklet and artworks.

Also, its for sale the double vynil edition (high quality 180 grs) of “Dance of goodbyes”, nominated by italian web page “Progawards” as “Best debut album of 2010″, with original artwork all in a single folder. This is a very limited edition of 300 copies, only 150 left available at this moment, so hurry up!.

Thanks for your attention and support, best wishes to all,

Alberto Villarroya
Amoeba Split


So there you have it! I have yet to hear Dance of the Goodbyes, but I’ve been looking forward to it and so I’m very pleased. Those curious about Italian Canterbury prog should definetly check it out. The price is a mere 5 euro minimum with the option of donating a bit more if you feel charitable.

Thanks to Amoeba Split for sharing this :)

Happy Birthday, Mark!

Today we celebrate the birthday of the magnificent guitarist and adventurer Mark Hewins who is 57 today. As a musician, Mark got involved with the Canterbury scene in the mid-70s when he played in Polite Force alongside ex-flowers Graham Flight, Dave Sinclair and many other Canterburyan heroes who guested the stage with the band. Later on, he would befriend and collaborate with many other musicians from the scene like Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper and Richard Sinclair in projects like Going Going and Mashu.

Mark has also been a a great resource to many of us fans as he has happily shared with us both Canterbury-related music, pictures, videos and anecdotes, for example stories from when he was on the road with Soft Heap. He is always friendly, always approachable, and many of us owe him our personal thanks.

Some time ago, Mark sent me a video which is an interview with him while “on the road” – or perhaps “in the air” – and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to share it. Enjoy!

Also don’t forget to check out Mark’s account on Soundcloud where he shares his music, both his own solo works and collaborations with others. It is a treasure trove for any Canterbury enthusiast.

Happy birthday, Mark! :)

Mark and Hugh Interview

Mark Hewins has graciously shared with us a couple of interviews/talks between him and Hugh Hopper from 2007. I have embedded them here in this post for your viewing pleasure.

Hugh Hopper interview

This first one is a video of Mark interviewing Hugh and the two discuss subjects like experimental music, how Hugh first got into tape loops and a bit about how technology has changed music.

The Pedals (pedal heaven)

In the second one, Mark and Hugh talk about pedals. Among other thigs,  Hugh explains how he created his signature fuzzy bass sound that he used in Soft Machine.

Both videos should be rare and highly welcome treats to all fans out there. Thank you so much for sharing them with us, Mark! :)