Dead Kennedys/Redskins

This was one hell of a gig. Dead Kennedys had a kick and sense of humour that punk had lost, and the Redskins were bringing some soulful fire to a despondent Britain. The excitement leading up to this gig was for this little skinhead (then) intense. The venue was packed and both bands had plenty to say, and the tunes to say it with.
It’s a shame the NME got Miss Prissy to review the gig. The reviewer went on to join dire punk band Brigandage.
This is from 11 December, 1982.

Succumb To The Beat Attack!

Dead Kennedys

Ace Cinema, Brixton

First onto the soapbox are The Redskins who are the meekest bunch of skinheads I’ve seen for a long time, although still macho enough to put me off, and inherit the earth they shall not. It’s a close thing though ’cause their music is an exciting and joyous form of rock/pop that has the crowd bouncing along throughout the set.
Their sound is an extremely well crafted concoction of The Jam, The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers – if you’re a traditionalist and you like tunes then this lot will be enough to make you purr. Everything is fine until leader X. Moore opens his mouth and begins his tough guy socialist tirades. “Kick over the statues” he raves, presumably so that he can replace them with other, ultimately similar, icons.
What The Redskins want to do for architecture, the Dead Kennedys do for your mind. They go for the throat of the power that is behind the statues, cutting across socialist dogma with pure, visionary common sense. X. Moore wants to be a politician, Jello Biafra is content to be a true man of the people, but of a people who think for themselves. This is his and the Kennedy’s basic message: think!
And, unlike all other punk groups, when Jello has something to say then you can hear him say it. The music comes right down, and over a bass backing Biafra will spout his piece. As dubious and dull as this sounds, it actually comes across very well – the man is a born orator and his from-the-heart pleas are very effective. He is a powerful and likeable figure, it’s just a shame that everything he said tonight will be taken as gospel by some of the audience because, as he says. “think for yourselves!”
The Dead Kennedys are an all-round experience. They are lucky enough to have an extraordinary lead singer with an equally special feel in their music to back him up. Only superficially could their noise be compared to the Oi/HM thing – it has a powerful, searing quality that transcends such slurs. Whereas HM/Oi hits you in the guts (making you feel sick), this music affects the head and heart. it’s a mighty and provocative nois that, when mixed with Biafra’s words, is capable of sweeping you away. The Kennedys came, saw and left people feeling happier and hopefully more suss than before.

Richard North


Caligula’s Poetry Slam

Despite all the froth that’s oft times whisked into them, poetry slams are nothing new. The Greek playwright Aristophanes has one in his play The Frogs that was first performed in 405BC. Euripides and Aeschylus compete to see who is the best tragic poet, with Dionysis as the judge.
The Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula was also fond of poetry. In The Twelve Caesars the historian Suetonius (born 69AD) relates this incident (translated by Robert Graves) from the life of Caligula:

20. Caligula gave several shows abroad – Athenian Games at Syracuse, and miscellaneous games at Lyons, where he also held a competition in Greek and Latin oratory. The loser, it appears, had to present the winners with prizes and make speeches praising them; while those who failed miserably were forced to erase their entries with either sponges or their own tongues – at the threat of being thrashed and flung into the Rhône.

Bring on George The Poet.


Ged Forrest

Who Wants It?

Who wants it?
Who wants to know?
Tactical ability is secondary to heart
there’s a thing that Governments and Generals rely on,
when soldiers fight
they fight for each other,
there’s a code that comes with friendship;
casuals know it in a single word:
Me and Jasper were stood at the end of the bridge,
they opened the gates at the ground,
the other end of the bridge began to swarm,
there was nowhere to go,
we don’t run.
They had a bounty on Jasper from the 80s
we stood next to each other,
an empty Budweiser bottle each
and faith, faith in loyalty,
we each knew the other wouldn’t run,
that we would Stand,
that we were Stoke,
that was the deal
when you enter a situation
knowing the extremes of its consequence,
you make a pact.
If you tell your friend that you will stand by them
then as long as they are true
you Stand.
As they circled us
it became surreal,
the fear began to ebb,
I felt a kind of calm.
I looked into their faces
there was a lot of young lads,
mebbe carrying Stanley’s,
there were fucking hundreds of them.
One of them gobbed at me.
I smiled and wiped my face
with the sleeve of me Stone Island jumper.
“Where are your boys Jasper?”
“Where do you think they are?
They’re still in there.”
After a minute they smiled
nodded and left,
we walked to the ground and started giggling.
“Fucking hell Gedi, that was close.”
We’d got away with it,
another tale to tell,
and tell again.
When the stand off is over
what happened matters little,
but the deal was kept.
In a fight it’s easy,
you Stand,
without the fighting,
the deal is the same,
you still

Ged Forrest

Bonnie Parker

One of a couple of poems written by gangster Bonnie Parker, of Bonnie and Clyde fame, before she and Clyde Barrow were gunned down by the police in 1934.

The Story of Bonnie and Clyde

You’ve read the story of Jesse James
Of how he lived and died;
If you’re still in need
Of something to read,
Here’s the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang,
I’m sure you all have read
How they rob and steal
And those who squeal
Are usually found dying or dead.

There’s lots of untruths to these write-ups;
They’re not so ruthless as that;
Their nature is raw;
They hate all the law
The stool pigeons, spotters, and rats.

They call them cold-blooded killers;
They say they are heartless and mean;
But I say this with pride,
That I once knew Clyde
When he was honest and upright and clean.

But the laws fooled around,
Kept taking him down
And locking him up in a cell,
Till he said to me,
“I’ll never be free,
So I’ll meet a few of them in hell.”

The road was so dimly lighted;
There were no highway signs to guide;
But they made up their minds
If all roads were blind,
They wouldn’t give up till they died.

The road gets dimmer and dimmer;
Sometimes you can hardly see;
But it’s fight, man to man,
And do all you can,
For they know they can never be free.

From heart-break some people have suffered;
From weariness some people have died;
But take it all in all,
Our troubles are small
Till we get like Bonnie and Clyde.

If a policeman is killed in Dallas,
And they have no clue or guide;
If they can’t find a fiend,
They just wipe their slate clean
And hand it on Bonnie and Clyde.

There’s two crimes committed in America
Not accredited to the Barrow mob;
They had no hand
In the kidnap demand,
Nor the Kansas City depot job.

A newsboy once said to his buddy;
“I wish old Clyde would get jumped;
In these awful hard times
We’d make a few dimes
If five or six cops would get bumped.”

The police haven’t got the report yet,
But Clyde called me up today;
He said, “Don’t start any fights
We aren’t working nights
We’re joining the NRA.”

From Irving to West Dallas viaduct
Is known as the Great Divide,
Where the women are kin,
And the men are men,
And they won’t “stool” on Bonnie and Clyde.

If they try to act like citizens
And rent them a nice little flat,
About the third night
They’re invited to fight
By a sub-gun’s rat-tat-tat.

They don’t think they’re too tough or desperate,
They know that the law always wins;
They’ve been shot at before,
But they do not ignore
That death is the wages of sin.

Some day they’ll go down together;
And they’ll bury them side by side;
To few it’ll be grief
To the law a relief
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie Parker