'Microdisney' by Bruce Dessau, Jamming Dec 1984.

These days, the tag 'Peel faves' does not bode well. Images are conjured up of dour, grey, moribund Liverpudlians with big egos. Not a pretty thought. But Microdisney harken back to the golden age of nighttime under the blankets with the tranny, the age of early Scritti, The Mekons and the ever present Fall. Microdisney's closest relatives must be The Undertones; like Derry's finest, Microdisney - Sean and Cathal - are also from the Emerald lsle and sing songs of love with hidden depths. The Microdisney boxing glove has a horseshoe inside.

Take the name, on it's own a charming word, images of sweetness and Mickey Mouse. Yet look how it jars in sentences. Too long for Whamlike snappiness, you hyphenate it at your own risk. Their last album was called 'Everybody Is fantastic; the new one is called 'We Hate You South African Bastards'. They can't both be genuine sentiments, and there are no prizes for spotting 'ironic one'. It's about time we met these perpetrators of pop subversion...

Cathal (voice and lyrics): "We've changed a lot over the last four years. We grew up in Cork where there was just no music at all except for Rory Gallagher, so when we played we got all sorts of people. We used to be much more frenzied in those days, a Fall-type mess, and our line up was always changing. Originally Sean was going to play guitar and I was going to recite poetry, then one week it was guitar, bass drums, then guitar, keyboard and violin, then we had a drum machine. At the moment there are five of us - just boring drums, guitars, bass and keyboards."

It would be fair to say that irony plays a considerable role in the mind of Microdisney. 'Everybody Is Fantastic' comes in a chocolate box sleeve, and on the back are sleeve notes about 'New Wave Rock Do I detect an air of cynicism boys?
Sean (guitar + most music): "Well yes, but some people completely miss the point. One photographer came up to us and said 'Don't you think the sleeve is a little boring?'! As for New Wave Rock, the whole thing about punk is that It claimed to be knocking down barriers, but it has put even more up. We seem to have been shunned by the press because we don't fit into a neat little scene or have the right haircuts. People sneer at us for having torn jeans in London which they don't do in Cork, and things are pretty reactionary there. New Wave Rock, skinny lies and dinner plate badges - The Photos and Blondie. It still goes on today with these awful bands like Savage Progress and Immaculate Fools. Punk has made big business produce the likes of them and Lords Of The New Church, with leather, jackets and tattoos for uniforms. People put on an X Mal Deutschland t-shirt and think it is some kind of political statement. ."

Where is the political content in your material then?
Cathal: "Different people see different songs on the first album as political, but 'Come On Over And Cry' is the clearest. It's like The Undertones, people always said they weren't political, but something like 'It's Gonna Happen' certainly was. But most of the time my songs are little tableaux I paint and they depend on my mood at the time.
Sean: "I have great faith in Cathal's ability to destroy anyone lyrically."
Cathal: "Some of the songs are done deliberately to get up certain people's noses. Like, I hate songs where the rhymes seem contrived so at times my lyrics intentionally don't rhyme."

Why is it though, that you have turned your political gaze onto South Africa, when there are considerable problems closer to home?
Cathal: "The kind of political sloganeering that Stiff Little Fingers indulged in can only be done so many times. It has a limited lifespan. And they only did it to get out of Ireland as soon as possible. The title and antiapartheid sticker on the new album are really doing the same as 'Nelson Mandela', showing where we stand. But beyond that, I don't think politics in music can really achieve all that much".

But at the same time, you obviously would like to be more than just a pop group, What would you really like to achieve as Microdisney?
Cathal: "We do want to offend people. I did cause a lot of fuss once when I ranted on in a song about the Irish flag, but that's just small fry. Look at Foetus and the fuss he has caused with his posters (Foetus himself in Christlike crucifixion pose). They've been tearing them down in Kilburn.
"Religion in Ireland, Catholicism particularly, is a monstrous creation. It's almost like Iran - the women have no rights whatsoever. There was an incident a while ago where a fourteen year old girl was found dead after she had given birth. She couldn't go on living because she believed she had sinned against God."

Sean "The thing about Catholicism is that you either get totally sucked in by it or you totally reject it."
Would it be fair to say that you fall into the latter category?
Together: "Yes."

Microdisney might have slipped through my fingers a few years ago when anger was all the rage, and each group seemed as pissed off about the whole bloody mess as the next. But now, when compromise seems the order of the day, the greatest irony of all is that this band who have the highest possible contempt for 'punk rock' actually seem to uphold its original ideals. Cliches they may be, but I can think of a lot worse ideals to live by than no compromise and the handfuls of two fingers which Microdisney wave at authority. Awkward buggers to the end, I can't even think up a decent pun on their name to close with. Now there's the ultimate way to subvert the rock press.