photography by Jacqueline Cook


25 Years of Subsidised Disfunctionality – The Levellers at Shanklin Theatre


The Levellers are 25 Years old. How did this happen? Does this mean my drinking and dancing days are finally over. Certainly not, which was testified by my recent trip to Shanklin Theatre to help them commemorate this momentous occasion.
To celebrate this marvellous 25 years The Levellers have embarked on A Curious Tour, a tour with a slight difference. Being an almost lifelong Levellers fan, how could I possibly miss out on this opportunity to see them in the flesh, a mere bus ride away.

photography by Jacqueline Cook

photography by Jacqueline Cook

The evening began with a screening of the bands documentary A Curious Life Directed by Dunstan Spence. A funny and at times moving, bizarre and beautiful insight into the world of illustrious bassist Jeremy Cunningham alongside a potted history of the band. The film, packed with vintage footage and funny anecdotes from back in the day, is a must watch for any music lover. The film was followed by a Q and A session with Dunstan Spence and Jeremy Cunningham
After a short interval The Levellers then took to the stage for an hour and a half long acoustic set. For those of you unfamiliar with The Levellers, shame on you, they are a punk rock outfit hailing from Brighton with seven consecutive albums including Levelling the Land and Zeitgeist. An acoustic set for The Levellers feels like a bit of a side step from the norm, so it was difficult to know what to expect. Safe to say that I wasn’t disappointed! It was a pleasant change to be able to appreciate what accomplished musicians The Levellers are, although I was of course up and moshing with the best by the end! The Levellers proved themselves to be not too long in the tooth to pull off the protest songs and slid effortlessly between such classics such as Boatman, The Road, Elation, Maid of the River and Barrel of a Gun. Seeing one of my all time favourite bands in such a familiar setting as Shanklin Theatre is a surreal and wondrous experience. Great to hear acoustic arrangements of beloved favourites. Come back soon Y’all!

Selection of Q and A’s

How Long did it take to film a Curious Life?

photography by Jacqueline Cook

photography by Jacqueline Cook

Dunstan worked with the Levellers for 3 years and the actual film took about 2 and a half years. The film is released at the end of April

How hard was it to persuade The Levellers to let you in?

Dunstan has known the band since the nineties and as such is a trusted friend.

Most Memorable Gig?

The Peckham Dole House after the Poll Tax Riots and Glastonbury 1992 to an 80,000 strong crowd

Set List

Boatman – The Road – Hard Fight – Confess – Edge of The World – Alone in the Darkness – Didgeridoo Solo – Elation – After the Hurricane – Maid of The River – Barrel of a Gun – Truth is – Dirty Davey – Burford Stomp – Carry Me – What you Know

Written by Jacqueline Cook


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