The Road to Blackpool Pier

NME, 24th October, 1981

Eighteen-year-old NME reader and contributor X. Moore, from Yorkshire, had his first review published in these pages three weeks back.
When he told us he was joining this year’s Right To Work March, stretching some 180 miles from shell-shocked Liverpool to the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool, we asked him to keep a diary of his ten days on the road.
This is his account.

There are ten days in the diary, it was a centre page (and over) spread for the NME. Much is as you’d expect of an early 80s political march. I’m just going to blog one day, as it’s one that mentions ranters. X. Moore was Redskins singer, Chris Moore.

Sunday 11th October
Lie in till 9.00am and then up for tea and toast. Frank Allaun, Labour MP for Salford pops in over breakfast and says “thanks” to us for taking on Maggie. You don’t usually meet a friendly MP in your bare feet but then this week was always going to be something different.
We’re shuttled in Transits to Salford Tech, where the other half of the march slept, after wandering round the wastelands of Trafford looking for postcards. Christ, if you think your town is bad, go take a look at someone else’s.
Wind driving the column – leaning into the gust, the banner an uncontrollable sail. We visit Lawrence Scott’s, where workers have been in occupation for over forty weeks. The massive (obscenely massive) police presence reminds you what the sides / stakes are. The West Ham crew come into their own and shake the cops with noise: “Marchers In! Bailiffs Out.”
We wander around and find Coronation St. two blocks down form Hovis St. (!) Later we discover the Granada set of Coronation St., boarded up with only a peephole to spy at the Rover’s Return. The rest of Manchester dozes through a Sunday afternoon and the wind storms.
A lad nearby is trying to shift leaflets to a well-dressed woman at the side of the road. She refuses to take one, claiming indignantly that she’s a Tory. The lad replies, “No hassle, missus. I’ll read out all the big words for you!” Crack up and march to U.M.I.S.T.
That night there’s meetings, films and a disco. A few of us walk in on a RAR meeting already in progress, interrupting an argument over bands flirting with fascism. We talk about fighting the Nazis with Oi! bands and the involvement of new groups in the RAR movement.
There’s quite a few bands involved in the march. No Swastikas sponsored the march before they split up and half of Nervous Disorder are going the whole way to Blackpool. One of the Scottish punks turns out to be from Paisley RAR band XS Discharge, nearly famous for their Groucho Marxist intervention, ‘Lifted’.
Seething Wells and Little Brother, activists on the Yorkshire rock poet front, are also here. SWells acts cool and disproves the myth that pop stars who join political parties aren’t hip. Martin, from York band Redskins, and another SWP member (are they infiltrating rock?) was dismissive of bands who talk militant through mikes and cop out as soon as they’ve left the venue, “Bands shouldn’t be allowed to get away with preaching politics on stage and not getting involved in the political struggles they sing about.”
We talk about the need to expose the racist / Nazi tag attached to skins and argue over who are the villains and who are the angels of Oi! before we head off for another meeting…


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