De Marbel closed down…

Filed under: Marbel, Tielt, NOT Smurfpunx — Tags: , , , , , , — smurfpunx @ 17:10

As indicated earlier before joining the Smurfpunx-collective but I was involved in a series of gigs organised in my hometown’s venue ‘De Marbel’ (my band ‘Repulsives’, and others, rehearsed there for a while). For an overview click on the category Marbel, Tielt or search Concerts * NOT Smurfpunx: some were done by ourselves (‘Repulsives’, ‘No Numbers’ and/or ‘Dirty Scums’), some I did together with Smurfpunx (before I actually joined them) and some in cooperation with Hageland Hardcore…

On May 31st 1987, the local band ‘Dirty Scums’ organised their 5th Anniversary Gig there. This turned out to be an eventful day… As you can read below it all ended with the authorities closing the place. The local bands didn’t have too much trouble securing an new rehearsal-space but we couldn’t organise any more gigs there. Luc ‘Zak’ Vannieuwenhuyse had always been very supportive/helpful and made things ‘easy’ for us. Of course we weren’t too pleased…

Nevertheless, in hindsight, one wonders how history would’ve evolved. Perhaps I wouldn’t have joined Smurfpunx, wouldn’t have started organising tours, etc.? Would Smurfpunx have become what it became? No-one will know…


Here’s my thoughts on the events shortly after that day and the resulting situation, that I published in my ‘zine Tilt! #3:

The whole thing caused a lot of commotion in the Belgian hardcore/punk scene and some other zines published about it aswell…

>>May 31st, we could again experience how lax and excessive the power of the police is. Many among you know very well what I’m talking about but for the reader who has witnessed it: I’ld like to let you know about what ruined such a nice day. It was the day that the ‘Dirty Scums’ celebrated their 5th anniversay. All was set up at De Marbel in Tielt, where ‘Full Time Drinkers’, ‘Vortex’, ‘Black Vampire’, ‘Crisis-C’, ‘W.C.F.’, ‘Dirty Scums’ and ‘Ear Damage’ played. When the concert started around 2 p.m. with ‘Full Time Drinkers’, there were already a few with some alcohol in their heads… But things didn’t stay that innocent. A guy named Clochard from Antwerp went outside for a breath of air, so we were told, and blind-drunk he hit for the street where he pounded a dent here and there in the parked cars. Two police-vans immediately drove up, Clochard was arrested in a violent manner. Many punks didn’t accept that and started pounding/beating into the or smashing empty beer-bottles against the windows. The took off rapidly. The concert went on. About 2 hours later, by 7 p.m., reinforcements showed up: all entrees of De Marbel were blocked. A general identity check-up was conducted, where a metre long truncheons were used against anyone deemed acting somewhat ‘troublesome’; these all got a knock. Those who weren’t able to present their ID, were forcefully taken by the arm and dragged towards the vans as if they were criminals. There was a real chaos in the venue and on the street, that was barricaded by 2 police-vans and 3 gendarmerie-trucks. Nobody was able to get in or out of the street, and those in the venue who didn’t want to show ID, were not allowed to get out. A few got ‘lucky’ and were arrested and held in the 2 vans – Eddy, Dirk Verkain (Extra Punk Special) and another guy from Charleroi; they got out after about an hour. These vans were from the gendarmerie of Tielt, and they seemed reasonable. In the other they shoved 6 people (Victor of ‘W.C.F.’, Kris, Pascal, a girl from Lille and a few others. These cops came from Roeselare; they were lax, hypocritical and very violent. One of the lads was hand-cuffed and hard-handedly pushed into the van, the boy screamed in pain, his hand-cuffs were way to tight. After severe pains he was dragged from the van to loosen his hand-cuffs but they twisted his arms until he almost fell to his knees, the 4 gendarmes seemed to find great pleasure in this. When we tried to approach the van, they were waving their truncheons at us. We were totally powerless: it’s hard to imagine how you feel like when they treat your friends in such an underhand way! This whole scene lasted over 4 hours. Some missed their last train and about 8 were taken away by the gendermarie. I’m still angry for what happened yesterday. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep.[…] Totally incomprehensible all of this but what can you do…<< [Durty Skum #19 (Kim Deschacht)]

>>Some find that speed-metal destroys punk because there are still many stereotypical (old-fashioned) heavy-metal-boys around. But there are certainly also stereotypical 77-punx (not all of course) who believe that punk is nothing more than getting drunk, blowing and following your dick. As long as they don’t bother anyone else in doing so, they have every right, but they don’t have a clue about what punk is about. One can also find machos, wanting to act tough and treat a woman solely as the sum of a cunt and 2 breasts, amongst punx. The very same that mostly lie on the floor, stoned & drunk, at an energetic concert. It seems as if a part of those 77-punx have turned into the new hippies, whose apathy they were supposed to rebel against. They’re the same who, year after year, walk around in their Sid Vicious & ‘Exploited’ T-shirt for lack of a personality. It’s exactly them, wearing that well-known ‘punks not dead’ T-shirt, who spoil the whole thing every time. Usually I tolerate them but now I’m extremely angry at them! Because it’s these – asking everyone for some spare changes (the 10-frank-punx), stealing from others at gigs and always making a lot of fuss, throwing cans and acting tough – who again succeeded to fuck up a whole concert. What could’ve been a fun party at De Marbel in Tielt; was spoiled by a small group of boozers. Everyone was the victim of that. Late in the afternoon a whole army of the gendarmerie burst into De Marbel in true Starsky&Hutch-style. All 80 to 100 people had to show her/his ID, one by one, and the whole street was blocked. The police had to show its muscles once again. But where were they when in Nijvel innocent people were slaughtered in a supermarket? Great opportunity to get a good reputation that was… But the truth has its rights too. What makes me even more furious, is that the provocation didn’t come from the cops this time, but from a few drunks who offered them the stick, that they had been looking for since a long time, to beat us. They had deemed it necessary to pester innocent passers-by and someone even thought it was funny to kick a few cars. If his friends had taken the trouble to calm him down a bit, then nothing would’ve happened. But only after quite some time someone gave him a knock to calm him down. By then it was too late because a few cops came to get him after a complaint was made. It could have stayed to this one person if his friends hadn’t attacked the vans, bombarding them with beer-glasses and kicking them full of dents. If you do something like that, you would have to have a good reason, for instance a squat being evicted – that’s about fundamental rights and not for some misguided solidarity with a quarrelsome boozer who had asked for it. But some just wanted to be macho. Well done, keep it up! Then you’ll have one place less to go see your favourite bands and you can get bored some more. Congratulations! I thought this kind of senile, old jerks were gradually dying out because there hadn’t been any fuss at alternative punk/hardcore-concerts for a long time. When there were troublemakers, they were thrown out by the audience itself, so that the police didn’t interfere. Unfortunately there still seems to be many of them around. Do we have to get bouncers like in a stupid disco!?. The modern speed-metal fans seem to have more principles than some 77-punx. So, please, stop that bullshit about speed-metal! If punk and speed-metal have to be kept seperated, it’s not just because speed-metal fans would destroy punk but because some 77-punx would better stay at home in their beds sleeping of their booze.<< [De Rattebeet #2 (Jan Claus)] [‘Ear Damage’ and ‘W.C.F’. didn’t get to play because the concert was ended.]

Of course the establishment thought all this served these “druggies”, “rebels”, etc. just right. Here’s what appeared in some of the local newspapers…

>>‘Punk pub closed’ – Sunday evening the Tielt police received a complaint about a punk damaging cars in the vicinity of café De Marbel. The gendarmerie of Ruiselede and Roeselare were called in as reinforcement to pick up the perpetrator from a group of about 40 punks. The drivers were able to indicate the person and he was put in a van for interrogation. Then the skirmishes started. Pints were thrown at the police-vans while some pounded and dented the vehicles. They retreated with the culprit, but not for long. Help was called in from Gent and a bit later some 15 gendarmes arrived at the scene. In the back of De Marbel there was a room with some 100 congeners. Everyone was subjected to an ID check-up while about 10 of them were detained. Around midnight, once the fury was over, some were released. Four punks had to stay overnight. Tuesday-morning the mayor of Tielt decided to close the pub for a year.<<

>>The inglorious end of café De Marbel – After the disturbances of Sunday evening the police of Tielt, ordered by mayor Vander Meulen, shut down the pub De Marbel for one year. Because of that the person running it, ends up without any livelihood and a group of youngsters looses its ‘mekka’. “Of course it’s a pit that we have to take away someone’s income”, mayor Vander Meulen tells our editorial office, “but what is for us of utmost importance, is that all goes well in Tielt and that the peace is not disturbed. For years residents have serious complaints about noise and certain forms of vandalism. After what happened Sunday evening, we thought ‘enough is enough’ and after consultation with the security-forces we decided to suspend the pub.” The fact that we’re using a rather rough brush and forbid entrance to the pub immediately for a whole year, is mostly inspired by similar interventions in pop- and rock-pubs in the surrounding communities such as Oostrozebeke and Roeselare. “Initially I didn’t think of suspending De Marbel for a whole year”, the mayor tells us, “but we were advised to do so by qualified authorities”. Moreover, the mayor added that this period is not so binding. After a possible negotiation it can be shortened if an agreement is reached. The mayor thought it was especially serious because the guy running the pub had shown no signs any goodwill. “He knew that his venue was disapproved by the fire-department and hence was prohibited, but he ignored all of that. Well, if one doesn’t want to listen, then we have to intervene.” Pub-owner Vannieuwenhuyse himself of course has a totally different view. He claims he hasn’t received an official notification of the fire-department about the fact that the venue was rejected. Furthermore he particularly regrets that his pub and his public became the victim of the irresponsible behaviour of a few ‘strangers’ who normally don’t have anything to do with De Marbel. These outsiders usually agree among themselves to ‘grace’ a certain concert and last Sunday they chose the one organised by the ‘Dirty Scums’ at De Marbel. “When the whole thing got out of hand, I closed my pub for a while myself, and when everything was over and my pub was open again, then came the showdown of the gendarmerie. They’re out to find me. I’ve learned to live with the fact that there’s a razzia from time to time but what has happened now, I find very serious. Agreed, things were loud sometimes but after repeated insistence of the neighbours I cut down the amount of rehearsals to reduce that nuisance to a minimum.” What he will do now, Vannieuwenhuyse doesn’t know yet. So far he hasn’t undertaken any steps towards the mayor or the security-forces. All posters have from the front-window to make place for one: the closing-order that the police put up. De Marbel, a name known far beyond the Tielt borders, is (temporarily ?) no longer.<<

Some pictures of the police-raid:

Brob: myself and Victor ‘W.C.F.’ were held for a while when I tried to negotiate letting him go (he didn’t have any ID on him)…

--- De Marbel closed (Rattebeet 2)Impression on what happened by Jan ‘Jangle Ratpoison’ Claus in his zine Rattebeet #2

Marbel einde (Durty Skum #19)Account on the hurly-burly by Kim De Schacht in her zine Durty Skum #19



  1. I actually remember that one as if it was yesterday. People have to see this in the setting of a town like Tielt, which really is ‘Deep Flanders’ with all its morosity. Contrary to Aalst, it even didn’t had the annual escapist mass debauchery of carnival. So certainly back then, dozens of punks coming down from all over Belgium and Northern France did had a shock effect.
    I was not there that notorius night and only attended one gig at De Marbel, a great one with ‘Instigators’ and the ‘Detonators’ which Smurfpunx organised. After the news came down that the pub was going to get closed, Brob phoned me with a trembling voice: “Duco, damn, they did it!! De Marbel… It’s closed! These fucking poseurs who started this, these arrogant gendarmes… You won’t believe it!” It was then that I promised him to look if a gig with ‘Ripcord’ and ‘Napalm Death’ that Brob planned to have in ‘De Marbel’ could be relocated to Netwerk. It did fit. The next day, Brob called me again, still with a trembling voice: “Duco, please, tell me it is so!” :-)

    Comment by Duco — 10/09/2011 @ 18:12

    [Brob: Pik organised this one…]

    Comment by Dirty Pik — 10/10/2011 @ 21:43

  3. Hey Brob, thanks for this. Unfortunately I have little material souvenirs of De Marbel…
    But I remember you well, your writings after the closure were a big support for me.

    Comment by Luc 'Zak' Vannieuwenhuyse — 10/12/2011 @ 16:17

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