Top Ten - Historical Brutes

By The Brute Chorus
The Brute Chorus
To celebrate ClashMusic's exclusive stream of their new album (listen to it HERE), The Brute Chorus put pen to paper for us to compile a list of their historical brutes. Selected by the whole band then scrawled down by James and Matt, read on for an unusual trip through historical brute-ism.

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We wanted to compile a list of people we admired that weren't necessarily musical but that we believe embody 'Brute' characteristics. Philanthropists, entrepreneurs, explorers, many benighted, some doomed and some just plain fictional made it on to our list for being doggedly willful, sheer bloody minded, blinkered, inspired and just plain inspirational. These people matter to us at this moment as we're in the process of carving out our own niche in music; acting (sometimes with assistance) as our own, label, pressing plant, tour managers, roadies, producers and writers. Here's our list, it's an aspirational list and we don't expect you to like all our choices but then many of those on it didn't care for others opinions either:

1. John Milton (b.1608 d.1674)

A poet, author, polemicist, republican and civil servant under Cromwell, Milton's career was as chequered in life as it was in death, moving through periods of ignominy and fortune. He didn't let his latent blindness stand in his way and dictated the entire psychedelic, allegorical epic 'Paradise Lost' over a six year period.

2. Tony Soprano (b.1960 d.-?)

Tony Soprano, fictional head of a TV mafia family is a famously flawed man. His Brute attributes speak for themselves. He enters this list for his sartorial inspiration to us. It's because of Tony that you'll rarely see a Brute not wearing a wife-beater singlet. Essential work wear.

3. Kate Adie (b. 1945)

Journalist Kate Adie's determination to move into a male dominated career found her thrown in at the deep end reporting the SAS Iranian Embassy siege live to the nation from behind a car door. Her undiminished desire to report from the world's front lines found her shot in the elbow at Tienanmen Square and the collarbone in Libya. A true hero who, when knocked down, gets back up and back to work.

4. Bryan Robson (b. 1957)

Captain Marvel of England and Manchester United, spent most of his career injured due to his full-on brutal style of playing. Great touch, hard tackler, great leader and one of the biggest boozing professional athletes ever. Managed to combine hard drinking and captaining England 65 times. Also had an extramarital affair with a TV presenter and once owned the 'Birthdays' chain of card shops!

5. Marie Stopes (b.1880 d.1958)

Beginning as a palaeobotanist Stopes became a potent womens rights campaigner and author. She wrote a ground breaking sex manual whilst still a virgin, despite Victorian taboos on the subject. She went on to open the world's first family planning clinic and even tried to get a ticket to the Antarctic with Scott to prove the Pangaea theory. A polymath who didn't understand the meaning of the word 'no'.

6. Billy Childish (b.1959)

Childish, an artist, musician, poet, author and moustache wearer, has been hacking away for over 30 years now. A man of such self belief and visceral tenacity that everything he does just fizzes with energy. Seeing his band rock up at the Dirty Water Club in an old ambulance and perform blistering garage rock through their own little 60s PA was an education not only in music but also in DIY.

7. Joan of Arc (b.1412 d.1431)

Inspired by voices and visions of saints and compelled to relieve France of England's stranglehold, Joan set out for Orleans in a borrowed suit of armour and lifted a 5 month siege in 9 days. An inspiration to those around her, Joan claimed to prefer her standard to her sword. Upon her capture she was last to leave the field of battle, resisted capture and even jumped 70ft from the window of her prison in an attempt to escape before finally being burned to death. A Brute from first to last.

8. Odysseus (b.? d.?)

Of all the Greek heroes Odysseus is the most Brute. Endowed with no supernatural gifts he used his brains as much as his physical prowess to survive the ten year war with Troy and then the ten year journey home. Upon returning he found his wife and home beset by pretenders but, even after his long ordeal, Odysseus maintained his focus and dealt out a bloody justice. Fox-like Odysseus is a redoubtable, resourceful man and a true hero.

9. Alexander Selkirk (b.1676 d.1721)

Alexander Selkirk was a Scottish sailor and privateer who was marooned on a pacific island for four years with only a musket, a knife, some carpenter's tools and a Bible for company. He survived and was rescued becoming a brief celebrity and the inspiration for 'Robinson Crusoe' before returning to sea and eventually dying of yellow fever. Alone and abandoned, Selkirk's will to adapt and survive is a lesson to us all.

10. Tony Benn (b. 1925)

Now a retired politician and former World War 2 fighter pilot. Benn is a stubborn, forthright man who was Britain's longest serving MP and retired from Westminster to "spend more time involved in politics". A keen follower of socialism, Benn never let the pursuit of power and fortune cloud his political beliefs. His focus and integrity should be an inspiration to all.

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