Picture This

This poem was in northern zine Testament of Reality, number 9, 1985. Poet Alternative Turny was a Darlington lad.

Picture This…

Yo’re walking down the street on the way home from
the Art Centre at about 11.00pm. You can’t here a
thing except for your own breathing and your own
foosteps. STOP.

They’re round the corner, on the bench, about five of
them. Big muscles, big egos and no brains. You pass.
Five more sets of breathing and five more sets of
footsteps join yours. Speed increases, footsteps in-
crease. FASTER.

They bring you to the ground, all five of them. Five
boots keeping you in your place. Five fists making
sure you stay there. They’ve got you where they
want you and you’re gonna stay there till they’ve
finished with you, and that’s never. The odds are
always against you, whether you know it or not.

Is this heroic ? NO IT FUCKING ISN’T.
Is this clever ? NO IT FUCKING ISN’T.
Is this right ? NO IT FUCKING ISN’T.
Is this cowardice ? YES IT FUCKING IS!!!

Alternative Turny


Oi – The Nurses

Another clenched fist salute from the letter pages of Sounds. This from 27 March, 1982.

A Healthy Cause?

Oi – the Nurses. Fighting unemployment and nuclear bombs is all very well, but what about our pay?
You haven’t said a word supporting us. After all, who is it who stitches you up when you’ve had the shit kicked out of you, or when you’ve got a bottle sticking in your ear? People like me!
I can only afford to go out for a drink if I don’t eat and then it’s a double Britvic at the most. So, now we’ve had Oi Against Foxhunting, Oi Against Racism, what about Oi For More Pay For Nurses? After all, next time you get a knife sticking up your backside, remember who puts it back together again.

Angel Mikey ‘Wazhead’.

After Release From Prison

Nazim Hikmet (1902 – 63) was a Turkish poet. He was a communist and spent many years in prison.

After Release From Prison

Where are you?
At home.
Still unaccustomed-
awake or sleeping-
to being in your own home.
This is just one more of the stupefactions
of spending thirteen years in a prison.
Who’s lying at your side?
Not loneliness, but your wife,
in the peaceful sleep of an angel.
Pregnancy looks good on a woman.
What time is it?
That means you’re safe until evening.
Because it’s the practice of police
Never to raid homes in broad daylight.

Nazim Hikmet

Mods, 1982

Mod in Sounds, 11 September, 1982.

100 Club

As investigations into the current state of the ‘underground’ mod scene begin to take shape, one thing has become very clear. Either there simply aren’t many mods about anymore or not many of them bother to go to gigs.
Judging from fanzines and conversations, it’s the latter hypothesis which seems closer to the mark. Squire are arguably one of the best known 1982 mod bands and while they have a firmly committed following, it’s not half as big as I thought it would be.
From all accounts, the soul nights and all-dayers attract far more people; does this mean that the 1982 mod thinks soul discos are more worthwhile than live bands? If so, that’s terrible; live bands beat boring old discos any day.
For the record, Squire, one of the original ’79 bands recently back on the road after a long absence, were pleasant but not nearly as powerful as I had expected. ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘Girl On The Train’ were pretty good but it’s difficult to carry the mod movement forward in a half-full 100 Club. These are your bands, so where are you mods?

John Opposition

Why The British Need The NHS

This poem from Rising Tide, an anthology of poetry and prose from the London Voices Poetry Workshop. There’s no date on the anthology but 1984 looks a good estimate. The Workshop met monthly at the Crown Tavern on Clerkenwell Green and was a member of the Federation of Worker-Writers and Community Publishers.

Why the British need the NHS

It started with the pain in the neck
after the Tory political broadcast
and then there was the headache of
making ends meet.
The electricity bill was one in the eye;
the gas bill got up my nostril
and as for the food bills
they were always a kick in the teeth.
Then the bank manager
started twisting my arm
while the building society
put the thumbscrews on.
Meanwhile I was rushed off my feet
moonlighting with two jobs
until the boss of the daytime one
chewed my balls off
for falling asleep on the job.
As for my heart –
that had broken over Chile
and I couldn’t stomach
Reagan and El Salvador.
My hearing had gone
listening to so many appeals for support
(my sight had given out years before
with the horros of the ten o’clock news).

Then they made me redundant-
that was the straw
that broke the camel’s back.
If I did what the Tories wanted
I’d vote Social Democrat-
cutting off my nose to spite my face:
I wouldn’t stoop to that.
Not even if they’d left me
a leg to stand on.

Dan Garrett