The Buff Medways, Pleasure Unit, London

"To decide against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country," wrote Mark Twain in Papers of the Adams Family. This sentiment sums up the ethos of another ritzily moustached patriot, "Wild" Billy Childish, who was on manoeuvres in Bethnal Green on New Year's Day with The Buff Medways, his small but tightly drilled platoon of reservist punk rockers. A totemic English eccentric, the 45-year-old musician, painter, poet and novelist is most famous for his ongoing spat with former lover Tracey Emin, his founding of the anti-Britart "Stuckist" movement and the regard in which he is held by a roll-call of rock and pop stars, including Kurt Cobain, The White Stripes, Andy Weatherall, Cornershop, P J Harvey and REM. His autobiographical novel, My Fault, is also an ongoing filmic work-in-progress for Kids director Larry Clark.

The Libertines' penchant for Crimean war uniforms, Estuary English Chas'n'Dave humour and shambolic saloon-bar confessionals can also be found in Childish's oeuvre.

2005 sees Childish adding to his body of 100-plus albums. One is of original songs, entitled Medway Wheelers, released on Graham Coxon's Transcopic label, and the other, The Genius of Billy Childish, has been culled from gigs performed between 1984 and 1993 with his two former bands, Thee Milkshakes and Thee Headcoats. This year also sees the publication of his third novel, Sex Crimes of the Futcher, a torrid account of the relationship between a painter, William Loveday, and Karima, a dark-haired fashion student from Margate - also described as "the Troll" - which may or may not be based on Childish's five-year romance with Emin, whom Childish met at Medway College of Art and Design, where she was studying fashion. A collectable painter in his own right, he has previously lambasted Emin as a "media whore", describing her artistic output as "shit". Emin, in turn, has threatened to bring in the lawyers if her name ever appears in any of his work.

But this performance is less about ire than about fun, as that fabulous walrus moustache hoves into view. The Kitchener-approved First World War apparel and the racket coming from the vintage equipment on the two openers - the Kinks' "Misty Water" and The Who-ish "Troubled Mind", from 2002's Steady the Buffs - recall Wilfred Owen's lines about "the monstrous anger of the guns... the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle". Drummer Wolf Howard is here disappointingly sans his trademark pickelhaube, but his drumming is louder than a self-propelled Howitzer.

The rough but thrilling awkwardness of the delivery, complete with the manly Cock-er-ney banter, is indeed "buff", as in deliberately amateurish and naked as Adam. It's the Buzzcocks in their birthday suits on the punky R&B of "Unable to See the Good" and "Nurse Julie" - from the last album, 1914 - and "You're Looking Fine", from Thee Headcoats' Headcoats Down!. Like a lusty general charging the Hun, Childish also tears through classics, such as Jimi Hendrix's "Fire", and ends with some Link Wray-style surfabilly that wouldn't sound out of place on Kill Bill Vol 3.

The star of the show, though, is that moustache - the kind that should have its own carriages and length of track. What a shame he turned down £20,000 to appear in Celebrity Big Brother.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?