Monthly Archives: March 2018

Leading The Way

In the late 70s Chip Hamer penned this poem about his favourite band, the Jam. It was in a ‘zine, he reckons it was probably Making Time.

Leading the Way!

Black and white
In the night
Sharp crew cut!
Look alive ’65
Outta the rut!
Sound attack
Union Jack
Red ‘n white Ricky!
No bores,
Just chords
Nuffin’ too tricky!
Youth group,
Truth troop,
Something to say!
Put down
Pushed around
Won’t go away!
New start,
Pop-art,
One step ahead!
Mohairs,
No flares,
Get this instead!
Stick around,
Button-down,
Follow that band!
Oh guitar,
Rising star,
Angry young man!
Street beat,
Real neat,
Here to-day!
Front row,
Go-go,
Leading the way!

Chip Hamer

Dem Kicksy Sah

A poem from Frederick Williams’ 1981 collection Me Memba Wen.

Dem Kicksy Sah

De young boy and gal dem a now a days
Dem kicksy sah.
First time wen mi go a dance an a dance quadrill,
Minto, rumba, bassanova, and even de ska,
Yu se man and woman drop som breed a foot,
Yu se man shake a leg and woman shimmy
Movie maker no know weh dem mis.
De man dem ina cream serge tight foot pants,
De woman ina dem flare or abble skirt,
We use to enjoy we self yaah.

Wat a way tings change.

Wey day, mi go to a dance,
So mi stan up ina one corna
Jus a fatten mi eyes,
Me notice sa every ting change,
De music to raggae,
De people, younger faces,
De dress, a bit of every ting,
De dance, well mi cant call dat dancing
Mi affe call it body movements.

After a wile fattenin me eyes,
Mi ask one nice looking girl
May I have a dance, she give a slow glance,
Den she hole mi roun me waist as hard as she could,
So me hole her too – belly touching belly,
We start fe wine rocking to de beat,
Wen de bass hit her mi feel she flip she hip,
Mi jus hole aan tight.

Wen de record dun, swet runnin dung me face,
De place crowded an hot,
But de password is kool runnins,
Mi ask a few more girls fe dance,
An mi get de chance fe experience
Dat rite here woman’s lib gain momentum,
For me se sa,
Ono man a dub dung woman agen,
A woman a dub dung man,
But it nice yaah,
Mi like it,
Yes, Man mi like it.

Frederick Williams

You I Love And Not Another

You I Love and Not Another

In sleep
she balled her fists,
kept me up
with her grinding teeth.
One time
she cupped my ‘nads
so tight
I had to wake her up
to let them go.
That very morning
she’d lobbed
bottles at the Chelsea.
They arced over
the traffic
on Pentonville Road.
Her love
was like that.
A hundred
sharp edges
that made a deep
and wondrous whole.
Levi jacket
sleeves folded twice.
Mars bars
on her knuckles
stood predominant.

Tim Wells

John Bitumen – This Joke

From the Nottingham lad’s 1988 pamphlet Personal Vendetta.

There should be more to alternative comedy than saying FILOFAX. This is a designer poem aimed at getting cheap laughs at an alternative cabaret based loosely on Mutabaruka’s ‘Dis Poem’ (apologies).

This joke …
this joke is not about laughing at our own jokes
this is a serious joke
this joke is not about laughter at all
this joke however, is funnier than Jim Davidson
this joke is NOT about the Irish, mothers-in-law, the size of breasts or limp wrists
this joke is not about the colour of skin, the fat and the thin medallion man and his fake tan
oh no
this is a new joke
this joke is alternative
this joke is middle-class angst
and justifications for watching Dallas
this joke is for half-sharp students
who can laugh at themselves (why not? everyone else does)
this joke is acne, muesli and a Citroen 2cv
this joke is wee-wee, VD, MSC, and PMT
this joke is the BBC, 18 to 30
the morning after a curry
the voice of God and the CID
this joke is social workers and Star Wars

Civil War – Katerina Gogou

Greek anarchist poet Katerina Gogou (1940 – 1993) was a child during the Greek Civil War of 1946 – 49. Her memories of her childhood during the war were published post-mortem in an unfinished poetical autobiography My Name is the Odyssey.  The war was called the Gang War by the monarchists.

“Gang-war
Aaaaaaaaa! This is the gang-war.
Grrrrreeks with big hats, I know, they called them republicas.
Square, biiiig, with long coats and cabardines, they had guns in their pockets, maybe
more gun inside. With their hands in their pockets they shot other Greeks and they walked fast as if in a great hurry or as if someone was chasing them.
I wanted -they did not let me, they said- to go out. Out I wanted. There I wanted. To the “It Is Forbidden”.
In our corner, Lambrou Katsoni and Boukouvalla, piles of eaten cats and famine corpses -they called them trash- parents and children.
I saw through the glass a bullet hitting my left hand palm, blood and the trash breathing. My mother was in the kitchen and my father I don’t even know where, I open the door and I go to the trash.
And there I saw, and I don’t give a dime if you don’t believe me, the most beautiful boy I had seen in my life. He was covered there, holding a machine gun, he had a short blond beard and long blond hair. His eyes…I don’t know to tell their colour. He looked like or was the Christ. “Go little girl, go”, he told me, “away from here. They will kill me”.
I took a deep breath to run fast.
“Bend so I can kiss you”, he told me.
I was already home.
The first man and the last I ever loved was an urban guerrilla”