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Lance d'Boyle - The Impossible Dreamer

Vi Subversa Poison Girls

Lance d’Boyle (aka Gary Robins)

the Impossible Dreamer (1940 – 2017)

Lance d’Boyle was the original drummer with Poison Girls.

1975 – Brighton - and Gary (not yet Lance) was working as a tutor for the groundbreaking Diploma in Applied Behavioural Studies course (DABS - in laypersons terms, ‘group dynamics’) at the North London Poly, and living with Frances (not yet Vi Subversa) and her two children, Pete Fender and Gem Stone.

Frances was involved with the ‘Body Show’, a theatrical review that went to the Edinburgh Festival in 1975, and became the breeding ground for Poison Girls. Gary, who joined the production in Edinburgh, was already playing various percussion instruments and needed no persuasion, claiming Animal from the Muppets as inspiration, to take to the drum kit.

A year or so down the line, and several musical groupings later, and inspired by the punk energy around at the time, we have Lance, with Vi Subversa, Richard Famous and Bella Donna, the original Poison Girls. Listening to some early (1976) cassette recordings makes you realise how quickly he learnt his own unique way round the kit. It wasn’t that he couldn’t play a simple rock’n’roll back beat, just that it was incomprehensible to him that he would want to.

His contribution to the sound, energy and creativity around the band was immeasurable. His drumming was inspired, and he was always pushing the band as to different ways to experiment. He was, in the early days, a songwriter too. One of his earliest songs was the first time the band married three chords and excess energy, a class of ’76 punk blast, “Busted’ (I got busted, I got busted, I got busted, I got busted, I got - - busted all over). {As a side note, ‘Busted’ was in response to being raided due to a tip off from a disgruntled neighbour who didn’t like the noise of loud music, and led to the search for a rehearsal room, that led to the opening up of the legendary Vault in Brighton. Hey ho!}. Some of his other notable titles were, ‘Massacre of the Flowers’, ‘Wallpaper Rock’, ‘Radio City’ (I’m the Roboman jerking – radio city’s gonna scramble my brains) Green Vinyl Burns’, and of course the couple that got recorded, ‘Political Love ‘(I’ve lost that Bambi feeling) from the ‘HEX’ ep. and ‘Dirty Work’ (bombing cities, pulling switches - we won’t do your dirty work) from the ‘All Systems Go’ single.

Lance was the drummer, some time vocalist, and percussionist on all the recordings of the band up until his departure, during the prolonged recording of the ‘Songs Of Praise’ album, in 1984. His leaving was because of commitments of care to his aging parents. He remained active in Xntrix Records and Publishing, and around the Poisons project. He was the brains behind ‘The Zany’, a multi media theatrical revue style show that involved Poisons, Pete Fender, Gem Stone, comedian Tony Allen, the writer Lee Gibson. And as a actor who can forget his outstanding performance as the demented Dr Kildaring in the theatrical production of ‘Aids - the Musical’.

His other major talent was as a visual artist. His first venture into publishing was the 1977 ‘Spitting Blood’ punk fanzine, produced from the Vault in Brighton. It came out in the summer of ’77, just before the band relocated to the legendary Burleigh House, and had the memorable tag line “we’re frank, we’re fearless , we’re leaving!”

And then there was “The Impossible Dream”.  Lance d’Boyle at his very best. There were 4 issues of the collage/photomontage/art magazine, all of which gave full reign to Lance’s artistic talents. They are still visually stunning and politically astute, an artistic expression of the cruel, limiting and oppressive construct of masculinity that men had to struggle against. The war machine that Vi sang about was depicted in brutally skillful black and white imagery. It certainly added another dimension to the Poison Girls repertoire.

Lance was always interested in ‘situationalist’ non violent direct actions. From his student protest days through to the self styled ‘Kamikaze Kultural Warriors”, one of whose main action was an attempt to close down every record shop on Londons’ Oxford Street, on the last Saturday before Christmas. Basing the protest on the well worn battlecry of ‘the system stinks, disrupt it’ the plan was to seed stink bombs around the stores. The action only failed because of the price of stink bombs, though the Virgin Megastore was successfully cleared!

In 1990 he left Britain to go and live in the mountains of Andalucia in the south of Spain, where he was to make a living as an artist. Vi Subversa moved to the area in 1994 and the two of them reunited musically in several ad hoc bands, one of which, ‘The Room’, gained quite considerable local notoriety.

Lance could be a difficult and infuriating man, but could also be relied upon to be honest, warm, funny and dependable. His flights of fancy, his impossible dreams, seemed at times if not absurd, then just weird, but when they came to fruition, it proved what a special take on reality he had. It was no coincidence that he named the Poison Girls ‘business arm’ Xntrix.

Lance was much admired, respected and appreciated in the community in Spain, and of course amongst the legion of fans and friends he met through Poison Girls. He seemed to have had difficulties getting over the loss of Vi in early 2016, his one time partner and lifelong friend. He died after complications from a fall towards the end of the year (2016) from which he never recovered. His sudden passing left family, friends and colleagues saddened and shocked.

He was truly a one off, a visionary with unique talents, and will be greatly missed.

Let the beat go on.

Richard Famous 2017



Everybody has their price


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