Monthly Archives: May 2020

Freak Out

Classic Crown Court from 1973, the first episode was shown on ITV, 7 March.
There were three episodes to a case and were shown on consecutive days in the afternoon. If you were sick of school the rule was you couldn’t go back ’til you’d seen the verdict.
The series was all set in the court and there were some great stories and acting turns frequently in it.

Ony Doing Their Duty

From the 1983 anthology Hard Lines.

They Say They’re Only Doing Their Duty

Them eyes watch you
Till you don’t feel no pride
Them eyes watch you
Nowhere to hide
Them eyes gonna get you
Not much time
Them eyes will catch you
You’re next in line
And when them eyes grab you
It’s useless to attack
Them eyes don’t care nothin’
To them we’re “fucking black”.

Carlene Montoute

Star Letter

Poem from Misty, the spooky girls comic, 9 September, 1978.

As I lie in my bed not quite asleep
I suddenly hear the floor boards creak
So out of my bed I silently creep
To kneel by the keyhole and take a good peek.

Someone is roaming out in the hall.
Who is it? Who is it?
I don’t know at all
Is it a midget or six feet tall?

It sounds rather friendly
But it gives me a scare
Yet I feel very frightened
As up goes my hair.

And now the thing opens my door.
A spook? I’m still not very sure.
The light’s switched on, thank Heavens it’s Dad.
Phew, what a relief and I’m mistily glad.

Sue Boyd
Ashurst, Hants


Interesting couple of paragraphs on the impact of A Clockwork Orange on a boot boy gang from The New Savages, Timeri Murari’s 1975 book.

There was one film Bicklo had really loved; A Clockwork Orange. it was a cool picture and Bicklo had seen it, with his whole gang, twice. They decided after the second time that they would become Clockwork and twenty of them dressed in those white uniforms and bowler hats, with boots and swagger sticks. Whacker had been in charge then and for two months they’d strutted around the territory in their uniforms. It was exhilarating to be visually identifiable, instead of being just another kid. Everyone knew them as the Clockworks. They’d all been attracted by the violence of the gang that so resembled their own. The uniform wasn’t a change of identity; it was basically only the donning of an elaborate mask. The mask isn’t hideous and distorted, a monstrous creation of their own imagining; but it is tragic that the mask each one of them fits on is a perfect replica of their own face. The mask creates the illusion that Bicklo had changed character: he is the same boy and not created by A Clockwork Orange, even though onlookers might see in him and his spars the original of the film. Art is too often blamed for violence.
The foundations of Bicklo’s violence had been carefully laid years ago. His mask is mere ritual. Like a bullfighter dressing in his suit of lights., the racing-driver donning his helmet, or a knight his armour, so Bicklo climbed into his Clockwork uniform. But it is really the final act of the play. His violence finds its origins in the concrete and asphalt womb in which he was born. Like a mother’s womb it has undulated with the daily pressures, gradually distorting his vision, his thoughts, his actions. The act of violence on the screen or on the television is only a reflection of his own violence. His actions take place not after but before the film. A Clockwork Orange was only the imitation of his own life.

Natalya Gorbanevskaya

On 25 August, 1968, Natalya Gorbanevskaya (1936 – 2013) and seven other dissidents gathered in Red Square, Moscow, to denounce the Soviets’ sending tanks to Czechoslovakia four days earlier to quell the reforms known as the Prague Spring. The group stood on a spot reserved for executions in pre-revolutionary times and held up banners with slogans like “shame to the invaders.”
Her companions were arrested, but she was not, as she had recently given birth. She wrote about the trial of her associates for The Chronicle of Current Events, an influential underground publication she had helped to start earlier that year. Produced on mimeographed sheets, it concentrated on human rights news. Such publications — called “samizdat,” meaning self-published — were meant to be counterweights to official Soviet publications like Pravda and Izvestia.
In 1969, she helped found a group to promote civil rights in the Soviet Union. “One must begin by postulating that truth is needed for its own sake and no other reason,” she said.
The next year, she published a book called “Noon” about the demonstration and subsequent trial. Later in the 1970s, it was published in Britain, France, Mexico and the United States under the title “Red Square at Noon.”
Ms. Gorbanevskaya’s Chronicle writings prompted her arrest and imprisonment in December 1969. Psychiatrists diagnosed “continuous sluggish schizophrenia,” a diagnosis frequently given to dissidents, and she was confined to a psychiatric prison until February 1972. Joan Baez sang a song about her, titled “Natalya,” with lyrics by the Iranian singer and composer Shusha Guppy. It was included on Baez’s 1976 album “From Every Stage.”
Natalya Yevgenyevna Gorbanevskaya was born in Moscow on May 26, 1936. She was expelled from Moscow State University for her political activities, then earned a degree in philology from Leningrad State University.
She worked as a librarian, bibliographer and translator, but her focus was on poetry, little of which was published. Her poems were described as more modern in style and content than most Soviet poetry.
She emigrated to Paris three years after her release from the psychiatric hospital. There, she worked as a correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and as an editor of Russian-language publications.
In 2013, on the 45th anniversary of her arrest in Red Square, Ms. Gorbanevskaya returned there with nine other demonstrators to commemorate the protest. They were arrested on charges of holding an unsanctioned rally.

‘Don’t touch me!’ I scream at passers-by –
they do not even notice me.
Cursing the rooms of other people,
I hang about their anterooms.

But who will knock a window through?
Who will hold out his hand to me?
I am roasting over a slow fire.

Natalya Gorbanevskaya

A Picture From Lifes Other Side

Tim Wells poem from If You Can Read This You’re Too Close, his 2003 collection with Donut Press.

A Picture From Lifes Other Side

I don’t live in west London
Where how cool you are
Is determined
By how stupid your name is
Where Hip Hop climbs like a weed
And bad slang
Spreads like the ‘flu
Not having a problem
IS the problem
Complexes masquerade as complexity
And neuroses
Hunt in packs

I don’t live
Where lunch on the move
Is a way of life?
Where JAZZ
Is the tears of an unseated addict
Choose life!
But will life
Choose you?
All you need is love
And the Portobello Road
Seduces itself

The keys rusting
Atop the ‘bus stop roof
Lyricise your search
For something to search for
And the chick in the shades
May look cool
But she’s still nursing
Two lovely black eyes
Where the Underground is overground
And you can’t get enough
Of too much

I do not abide
Where the attention span
Is as long
As the last white line
Where Jamiroquai
Working on a building of love
Is really nailing down the roof
On his musical career
No, I don’t live in west London
But I write poetry
And that’s bad enough

Tim Wells