Monthly Archives: April 2021

Quality Of Shepherds

Poem from Rising Tide. This was a 1984 anthology of poetry and prose from the London Voices Poetry Workshop.

Quality of Shepherds – Pope John Paul

Here are the shepherds.
Where are the sheep?
Herded in ghettos, hiding from Juntas,
Tortured in prisons.
The quality of shepherds is redundant
In a world overrun by wolves.

Kay Ekeval

Step Forward Youth

Film about black youth in Brixton and Ladbroke Grove made by Menelik Shabazz in 1977. He was born in St. John, Barbados in 1954, and lived in the UK since the age of five. From an early age Menelik watched mobile cinema in his village in Barbados, but didn’t think about making films until aged 18. This was when he was introduced to the first portable video technology whilst studying at North London College. This revolutionary technology, the Sony portapak, demystified filmmaking and made the filmmaking process accessible. This is his first film, made when he was 21.


Snuff brought mod harmonies to punk swagger and were one of the best live bands of the time. I was lucky enough to have gigged with them quite a bit. This is their first Peel session, broadcast on 30 January, 1989.

Big Policemen

Poem from the first issue of Blackburn zine Fight Back, 1984.

Big Policemen Dressed in Blue

I lie down and I think of things
They revolve inside my head
I lie down and I cry a bit
But now I’m tired, I’ll go to bed
And as I sleep I dream a bit
Of being born and being dead
And slowly I remember
How my childhood started
I remember when I was two
Seeing pictures on the tube
Big Policemen and what they do
If you step outside the boundary line
Flames and fire, Police vans smoking
Petrol-bombs and people burning
Screams and shouts, people choking
I remember when I was two
Seeing these things on the tube
Then I grew up and understood
I began to differentiate
Some people bad others good
Oh! and I thought I understood
But that’s not so, it isn’t true
Big Policemen dressed in blue
You hound me and you beat me up
You shove me in your big blue truck
You drive me off without explanation
You curse me, drive me to damnation
You the Police Force of my nation
You my protector – you my satan
Things that shock, things that startle
But I’ve seen it all before
I lie in my cell my thoughts revolve
I go to sleep you lock the door.


Police And Thieves

Junior Murvin’s single reviewed in the NME, 12 April, 1980, and they’ve managed to find the one person in the world who doesn’t like it. Surprise, surprise; it’s Julie Burchill.

Junior Murvin: Police And Thieves (Island)

A sentimental world away from the Clash Battle Hymn of the People’s Republic cover; lovers rock practically, Joni-voiced Junior sounding like he should be singing “(I Check For) Police And Thieves”. I’m biased because I grew to loathe reggae via sitting through years of it waiting for punk bands to take the stage. They made a fuss about the violence – the endless reggae was much worse. If this version moved any slower it would get hauled in on suspicion.