Garry Bushell (born May 13, 1955 in Woolwich, South East London) is a newspaper columnist, rock music journalist, television presenter and author. Bushell also plays in the Oi! band The Gonads and manages the New York City Oi! band Maninblack.
Pink Tent evolved into The Gonads, an Oi! and punk pathetique band that has continued to perform in the 2000s. 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 also played punk rock versions of old music hall numbers such as Gus Elen's "Half A Pint Of Ale." Other Bushell musical projects have included the bands Prole, Orgasm Guerrillas, and Lord Waistrel & The Cosh Boys. Prole were a self-defined socialist punk band that also included Steve Kent, the original guitarist of the Oi! band The Business. Bushell also managed The Blood and Cockney Rejects, getting them their EMI deal. He also discovered Twisted Sister and got them signed in the UK to Secret Records. Many bands wrote songs about him, some hostile and some positive. Examples include: "Hurry Up Garry (The Parson Farted)" by Crass, which also attacked Tony Parsons, "Press Darlings" by Adam Ant, "Garry Bushell's Band Of The Week" by the Notsensibles, "C'N'C-S Mithering" by The Fall and "I Wanna Be A Star" by Cockney Rejects.
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. He quit and returned to the Sun three months later after Sun Editor Kelvin MacKenzie published his thoughts on the Star's executives after a private conversation.
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 fifty episodes and was Number One on ITV's Night Network. Guests included Ray Winstone, Lily Savage, and Lenny McLean. 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. His TV CV includes appearances on a whole range of shows from Celebrity Squares and Drop! The Celebrity to Newsnight and The Southbank Show.
A regular feature of Bushell's newspaper column is the "Garry's Goofs" section, in which he highlights an unintended double entendre. In 2002, he published the book King of Telly: The Best of Bushell on the Box, containing highlights of his column. In 2001, Bushell's crime novelThe Face was serialised in the Daily Star, leading to his dismissal from The Sun; even though Sun publisher John Blake admitted that Bushell had no knowledge of the serialisation deal. At the time, Sun editor David Yelland had decided that the book was "too filthy" to be published in The Sun, breaking his promise to promote the book. Two years after Bushell was fired, a poll of Sun readers named him as their favourite columnist.
After The Sun, Bushell wrote for The People and left that paper on February 18, 2007 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. 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. In May 2007, Bushell's column returned to the Daily Star Sunday. Bushell explained that he "missed the pressure of a weekly deadline." As of 2007, he has been presenting a monthly punk and ska podcast show on Total Rock. Since November 2007, he has been the resident TV critic for Nuts TV (channel 2007).
In 1993, Bushell wrote an article urging ITV to ban comedian Julian Clary from ever appearing on live television again, in the wake of Clary's headline-grabbing appearance at the British Comedy Awards ceremony in December 1993. 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." He also 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 sexuality. Bushell has publicly praised many gay performers over the years, including Frankie Howerd, Paul O'Grady, Alan Carr and Joe Longthorne.
In 1994, Bushell was named critic of the year at the UK Press Awards. In 2000, Comic Heritage (formerly the Dead Comics Society, now the Heritage Foundation) gave him an award for "Services To Comedy." In 2007 they named Bushell "Critic Of The Year."
In August 2007, Bushell made a remark during an 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. 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." 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". Bushell later said that it was not homosexuality which he was referring to as a peversion, but the further lowering of the age of consent; and that his remarks were taken out of context. He has now left talkSPORT.
His tabloid column and writing style were regularly satirised in adult comic Viz, including a one-off comic strip titled The Adventures of Gary Bushell The Bear, about a homophobic, brown-bear hating hibernating black bear.
In the 2000s, Bushell's main political focus has been patriotism and individual liberty. He sees his identity as 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 June 23; winning 643 votes (2.51%) His campaign was supported by the Campaign for an English Parliament and Veritas. It has been reported that he is considering standing as a candidate for Mayor of London against Ken Livingstone in 2008. His nomination was submitted to the English Democrats in June 2007, and his campaign slogan was to be "Serious About London".. Due to work commitments Garry pulled out of the mayoral race in January 2008 and stood aside for Matt O'Connor.
"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."