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Garry Bushell

Born 13 May 1955
(Age 54)
Woolwich, London, England
Nationality British
Political party English Democrats Party
Occupation musician, music journalist, author

Garry Bushell (born 13 May 1955 in Woolwich, South East London) is an English newspaper columnist, rock music journalist, television presenter, author and political activist. Bushell also sings in the Oi! band The Gonads and manages the New York City Oi! band Maninblack.[1]


Early life and music 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.

Pink Tent evolved into The Gonads, an Oi! and punk pathetique band that has continued to perform in the 2000s.[2] They describe themselves as an Oi-Tone band as they mix Ska and Streetpunk. 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 played punk rock versions of old music hall numbers such as Gus Elen's "Half A Pint Of Ale" and Charles Coburn's "Two Lovely Black Eyes." They have recorded and released five studio albums.

Other Bushell musical projects have included the bands Prole, Orgasm Guerrillas, and Lord Waistrel & The Cosh Boys. Prole were a socialist punk band that also included Steve Kent, the original guitarist of the Oi! band The Business. Bushell managed The Blood and Cockney Rejects, getting them their EMI deal. He also got Twisted Sister signed in the UK to Secret Records.[3] He compiled the first four Oi! compilation albums and contributed songs to later collections.

Since Garry reformed the Gonads in 1995, the band has recorded five studio albums, including 'Live Free, Die Free' (2008) and 'Glorious Bastards' (2010). They have toured the USA, played dates in Germany and Sweden, and have more than 21,000 myspace friends. In 2010 it was announced that Bushell was recording a solo Ska album.

Journalism and book writing

In the mid-1970s, at the age of 18, Bushell joined the International Socialists and started writing for the left wing newspaper Socialist Worker. He also wrote for Temporary Hoarding, Rebel, and his own punk rock fanzine, Napalm.[4] From 1978 to 1985, he wrote for Sounds magazine, covering punk 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! subgenre, also known as real punk or streetpunk.[5] In 1981, Bushell wrote the book Dance Craze - the 2-Tone story, and in 1984, he wrote the Iron Maiden biography Running Free.

During his time at Sounds, Bushell gained notoriety for being responsible for penning several negative/sarcastic reviews of the early punk incarnation of Adam And The Ants which led to him being namechecked, along with veteran NME writer Nick Kent, in the band's song Press Darlings, containing the line "If passion ends in fashion, Bushell is the best dressed man in town."[6] On the version which appears on the B-Side of the Ants' no.2 hit single Kings Of The Wild Frontier (and on the US edition of the hit album of the same name) singer Adam Ant can be heard muttering "You can say that again, the scruffy sod!" after the verse in question.[7]

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. Three months later he quit and returned to The Sun.

In 1993, Bushell wrote an article urging ITV to ban comedian Julian Clary from appearing on live television again, in the wake of Clary's appearance at the British Comedy Awards ceremony in December 1993.[citation needed] 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." Bushell 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 homosexuality. Bushell has publicly praised many gay performers, including Joe Longthorne, Frankie Howerd and Alan Carr, and homosexual TV star Dale Winton is the godfather of his daughter Jenna.[8] In his book The World According To Garry Bushell (published in 2009), Bushell totally refutes allegations of homophobia.

In 1994, Bushell was named critic of the year at the UK Press Awards.[9] 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 50 episodes and was number one on ITV's Night Network. 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. He has appeared on a wide range of other shows, including Celebrity Squares, Drop! The Celebrity, Newsnight and The Southbank Show. In 2000, Comic Heritage (formerly the Dead Comics Society, now the Heritage Foundation) gave him an award for "Services To Comedy."[citation needed]

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

After The Sun, Bushell wrote for The People until 18 February 2007, when he left 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.[10] 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. He is currently co-writing the autobiography of Cockney comic Jimmy Jones. In May 2007, Bushell's column returned to the Daily Star Sunday. A biography of Garry Bushell written by Garry Johnson and Jamie O'Keefe will be published by New Breed Books in 2010.

In August 2007, Bushell made a remark during a jokey 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.[11][12] 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." In his latest book, The World According To... Bushell makes clear that he made the remark to wind-up another broadcaster. 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".[11][13] Bushell later said that it was not homosexuality which he was referring to as a perversion, but the further lowering of the age of consent; and that his remarks were taken out of context.[citation needed] He has since left talkSPORT.

Since November 2007, he has been the resident TV critic for Nuts TV. Also in 2007, he started presenting a monthly punk and ska podcast show on Total Rock, and the Heritage Foundation named Bushell "Critic Of The Year.". In 2009 he started an occasional ska show for Internet radio station dandbnoise.

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 1 May 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".[citation needed] 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."[citation needed] His tabloid column and writing style were regularly satirised in adult comic Viz, including a one-off comic strip titled Garry Bushell The Bear, about a homophobic, xenophobic brown bear.[14] Responding to comments made by Bushell in the November 25th 1993 issue of The Sun ("Liberal permissiveness is eating the fabric of our society. You want video nasties peddling stomach-churning filth? You got 'em. Western values? Who needs 'em!"), John Martin's book Seduction of the Gullible: The Truth Behind the Video Nasty Scandal comments that "[w]hen Bushell isn't blustering about decency and Western values, he can be found gloating and cracking jokes in his column over such incidents as the death of several transvestites in a sex cinema fire."[15]


Bushell started out as a socialist, and was a member of the Trotskyist International Socialists (which became the Socialist Workers Party). In 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 Four, working class comedians and Page Three girls.[citation needed]

In the 2000s, Bushell's main political focus has been patriotism and individual liberty. He considers himself 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 23 June; winning 643 votes (2.51%) His campaign was supported by the Campaign for an English Parliament and Veritas. It was reported that he was considering standing as a candidate for Mayor of London against Ken Livingstone in 2008.[16] His nomination was submitted to the English Democrats in June 2007, and his campaign slogan was to be "Serious About London".[17] Due to work commitments, Bushell pulled out of the mayoral race in January 2008 and stood aside for Matt O'Connor.


Bushell has five children; three with Carol Bushell and two with Tania Bushell. Tania Bushell performs as the country music singer Leah McCaffrey.[18] 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.[19] Bushell took the news with good humour and wrote on his website: "I’d be delighted if it were true." However, he questioned the science and the motivation of the programme makers: "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."


  • Hell to Pay (2005) .... One of Larry Malone's goons
  • "Harry Hill" .... Rory McGrath (TV, 1 episode)

He also played himself in a number of television series including:

  • The Execution of Gary Glitter (2009) (TV) .... Himself
  • All the Years of Trying (2009) .... Himself
  • "The ONE Show" .... Himself (2 episodes, 2007-2009)
  • "News at Ten" .... Himself (1 episode, 2008)
  • TV's 50 Hardest Men (2008) (TV) .... Himself
  • An Audience Without Jeremy Beadle (2008) (TV) .... Himself
  • "Nuts TV" .... Himself (5 episodes, 2008)
  • "Hell's Kitchen" .... Himself (1 episode, 2007)
  • "Dancing on Ice: Defrosted" .... Himself (1 episode, 2007)
  • 100% English (2006) (TV) .... Himself
  • "The Mint" .... Himself (1 episode, 2006)
  • "Big Brother's Efourum" .... Guest Panelist / ... (2 episodes, 2005-2006)
  • 50 Questions of Political Incorrectness (2005) (TV) .... Himself
  • The Most Outrageous TV Moments Ever (2005) (TV) .... Himself
  • "Banned in the UK" .... Himself (3 episodes, 2005)
  • The Curse of Noel Edmonds (2004) (TV) .... Himself
  • "The Weakest Link" .... Himself (1 episode, 2004)
  • "I'm Famous and Frightened" .... Himself (3 episodes, 2004)
  • RIP 2002 (2002) (TV) .... Himself/interviewee
  • "The Big Breakfast" .... Himself (2 episodes, 2002)
  • Another Audience with Ken Dodd (2002) (TV) .... Himself - Audience Member
  • A Celebrity Audience with Jimmy Jones (2002) (V) .... Himself in Royal Box
  • The Real Hughie Green (2001) (TV) .... Himself
  • 100 Greatest TV Moments from Hell (2000) (TV) .... Himself
  • "Loose Women" .... Himself (1 episode, 2000)
  • "What a Performance!" .... Himself (2 episodes, 1997-1999)
  • "The Best of British" .... Himself (1 episode, 1998)
  • "This Morning" .... Himself (1 episode, 1998)
  • "The Mrs. Merton Show" .... Himself (1 episode, 1998)
  • "The Jack Docherty Show" .... Himself (1 episode, 1998)
  • 'Red Dwarf' A-Z (1998) (TV) .... Himself
  • "Operation Good Guys" .... Himself (1 episode, 1998)
  • Another Audience with Freddie Starr (1997) (TV) (uncredited) .... Himself - Audience Member
  • "The Big Big Talent Show" .... Himself - Critic (17 episodes, 1996-1997)
  • "Harry Hill" .... Himself (1 episode)
  • "The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna" .... Himself (1 episode, 1997)
  • An Audience with Alf Garnett (1997) (TV) (uncredited) .... Himself - Audience Member
  • An Audience with Bruce Forsyth (1997) (TV) .... Himself
  • An Audience with Freddie Starr (1996) (TV) .... Himself - Audience Member
  • "Bushell on the Box" (1996) TV series .... Himself - Host
  • "Celebrity Squares" .... Himself (3 episodes, 1993-1995)
  • An Audience with Ken Dodd (1994) (TV) (uncredited) .... Himself - Audience Member
  • An Audience with Bob Monkhouse (1994) (TV) .... Himself - Audience Member
  • "Through the Keyhole" .... Himself - Panellist (1 episode, 1994)
  • Bob Monkhouse Exposes Himself (1994) (V) (uncredited) .... Himself - Audience Interviewee
  • "Star Test" .... Himself (1 episode, 1991)
  • "The Media Show" .... Himself (1 episode, 1990)
  • Rough Cut and Ready Dubbed (1982) .... Himself - Sounds


  1. ^ "The Official Online Press Kit!". Maninblack. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  2. ^ "The Gonads". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  3. ^ Twisted Sister - The Official Story - authorized biography
  4. ^ "Garry Bushell Interview". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  5. ^ "Oi! – The Truth by Garry Bushell". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  6. ^ "Press Darlings". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  7. ^ Kings of the Wild Frontier/Press Darlings, CBS Records 1980, catalogue no CBS 8877
  8. ^ The Independent (Deborah Ross) For Garry, England and St George: Interview - Garry Bushell 25 June 2001
  9. ^ - Garry Bushell by Garry Johnson
  10. ^ "Bushell On The Box". 1939-09-03. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  11. ^ a b "Talksport rapped over gay jibes". BBC News. 2007-08-20. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  12. ^ Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin - Issue no. 91, August 20, 2007
  13. ^ TalkSport rapped for homophobia,, August 20, 2007
  14. ^ "Viz Comic". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  15. ^ Martin, John. Seduction of the Gullible: The Truth Behind the Video Nasty Scandal. p. 72. ISBN 0-9533261-8-7.
  16. ^ "". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  17. ^ "cPanel". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  18. ^ "Garry Bushell by Garry Johnson". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  19. ^ The Herald (David Belcher) A rare breed – and pure annoying with it 14 November 2006

External links

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