Words: Brian Mimpress, AF Gang Administrator
One of the most incredible things to come out of Bristol in the last few decades is without a doubt IDLES. Love them or not, as a city you should feel very proud.
Together with two fabulous albums and another on the way, TV appearances, live gigs and tours that have become unforgettable experiences, there’s a group of people, some have called it a movement, that have joined together under the collective banner of ‘All Is Love’ to follow them on their journey.
The AF Gang, born back in June 2017, is a Facebook community of like-minded souls.
Membership grows daily and, as I type, there are just a few short of 25k of us. The place started out as an IDLES ‘fan group’, where people could arrange meet-ups and share their stories – but what it has organically grown into is something much bigger than that.
In these days of online ridicule, it’s hard to find somewhere to be yourself and talk about worries etc, without the fear of some online warrior pissing on your parade.
Going into my fourth year following IDLES and, together with Boss and Mum, our fourth year of running the AFG, the single greatest thing to come out of it is the complete and overwhelming sense of community that the members have built. When we all feel daily that we might possibly live in a country and a world that just doesn’t give a shit about our fellow (wo)man, the AFG aim to be there for each other 24/7. Complete strangers beforehand, they now meet up (in sometimes great numbers) in various venues and bars worldwide.
I say this happened organically because it did; we never thought about what the AFG would or could become. IDLES themselves, mainly frontman, Joe Talbot opened himself up to everyone from the off. Never a taboo subject, he talked to us about his struggles in life that have now been so well and so helpfully documented.
People, we found, were desperate for the same: somewhere to open up and talk to people who, like them, were going through the motions of everyday life but struggling, too. Sometimes all you need to hear is ‘It’s ok. It’s ok not to feel ok today. We’ve got you.’
Sometimes that can be enough.
We have no idea what the future of our little group will be or what it might possibly become, but if I can be brave enough to speak for 25k souls, I want to say that what it can give you daily, if you allow it to, can be a truly magical thing.
A beautiful thing.
It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.
You can join The AF Gang on Facebook via ALL IS LOVE: AF GANG, follow them on Twitter (@AFGANGAF) and enjoy their all-new website at www.afgang.co.uk. You can also find members in the most curious and unexpected places as you go about your daily business in the actual world of three-dimensional people.
It’d be wrong not to end with an IDLES video, so here’s video Joe fighting the good fight: