Hugh Boatswain, along with writers such as Sandra Agard, were based around Dalston’s black and left wing bookshop, Centreprise. Some of their work was published in the 1976 anthology ‘Talking Blues’. The back cover of the book describes it as: “A collection of poems written by a group of young people who meet every Wednesday night in Centerprise.”
Stoke Newington police station through the 70s, 80s and 90s had a, well deserved, terrible reputation. The police station was known by police, villains and locals alike as ‘Cokey Stokey’.
‘A goin’ bounce up Stokey tonight,
But a h’ain’t goin’ run through the night.
You see Babylon got a thing:
(Nigger running in the dark) = CRIME
‘Hey Boy, what have you just done?’
‘Me hafficer? – Nat a ting.’
‘Why you running then?’
‘Late sa’, gotta meet de dartah.’
‘Sorry son, going to have to take you in,
Lots of crimes in this area,
Come on down to the station for questioning.’
Nex’ morning, black boy comes from the station,
No bookings, no charges,
Jus’ a heapful a bruises.
Man a’ goin bounce up Stokey tonight,
But a h’ain’t goin’ run in de dark.
…No! Don’t Run!
NEVER RUN IN THE DARK IN STOKE NEWINGTON!’
from Cut Up Dub