Monthly Archives: February 2022

(Ahem) Excuse Me

This is from Hard Lines, the 1983 anthology of new poetry and prose.

(Ahem) Excuse Me

(Ahem) Excuse me.
I never wanted atom bombs
but they didn’t ask me anyway.
I never wanted two world wars
but I wasn’t born then anyway.
I wasn’t asked about things in Ulster,
I was the quiet one mumbling “Please sir.”
My vote didn’t count when it came to Angola.
I gave my opinion, but I don’t think they heard.
It wasn’t me who wanted Vietnam
but they didn’t ask me anyway
and I never wanted Afghanistan
but they didn’t ask me any BLAM …

Peter Astley

Hell’s Angels ’69

Cinema double bill reviewed in The Illustrated London News, 7 February, 1970 by Michael Billington.

Let me commend to your attention one part of a double bill shortly to go on release. The better half is Scream and Scream Again, an extremely well made horror thriller with Vincent Price as a wide-eyed doctor flooding Britain with composite people, and Michael Gothard as one of his murderous concoctions: Gordon Hessler directs with flair. Unfortunately the film is teamed with an atrocity called Hell’s Angels ’69, over which it is best to pull a denim shroud.

I Come From Belfast

From the 1974 anthology Love Orange Love Green – Poetry of Living, Loving and Dying in Working-Class Ulster. The anthology collected work from across the divide.

I Come From Belfast

You stand so dark and dreary, your streets so cold and grey
And many a man who loved you so, has long since gone away.

The people who tread your paths, have hearts of purest gold,
But like this precious metal, they are hard and very cold.

It is said that they are Christians, and place their trust above
Don’t be taken in by them, they have killed the homing dove.

Your children are all scattered, throughout the world so grand,
To be found in very city in every foreign land.

No better builders in the world, and this be oh so true,
But when it comes to working they’ll never work for you.

They have fought with one another, for many years gone by,
And live in fear and ignorance, and in this they’ll one day die.

So I suggest to you, my friend, before it gets too late,
Unite the people for once and all and forget this thing called hate.

For when the day of Judgement comes and they stand before their God,
He won’t turn and ask them if they are Taig or Prod.

So forget these silly differences and let’s be friends at last,
And some day they’ll be proud to say ‘I come from Belfast.’

Liam Molloy

Public House

Poem from Pen Pusher Magazine, No.12, Spring/Summer 2009.

Public House

As if I’d seen them naked, last night’s drunks
who leaned across the bar to speak quite frank
have pulled their hoods over their heads like monks
and quicken when they see me by the bank,
walk past without a word; forgetting how
they lingered after closing, last to leave,
and told me things they didn’t know till now.
Today, the morning rain is their reprieve,
but come tonight, they’ll greet me like old friends
again, and straighten shirts their wives have cleaned.
They’ll call for whisky till the bitter end,
square up in turn around the quiz machine.
They’ll crack their knuckles as they walk through town.
Is this what’s meant, then, by another round?

Helen Mort

Mixed UP Shook UP

Review of the Riot Stories anthology from Birmingham’s Smart Verbal zine, Number 6, 1980. Riot Stories was Paul Weller’s press.

Mixed UP Shook UP

Poetry was once looked upon as funny or just for people in velvet jackets. So, Riot Stories was a real breath of fresh air. This is their second book (first being David Waller’s ‘Notes From Hostile Street)’ and made up of young people’s poetry.
Throughout the book, love and hate is made clear. A HATE for concrete buildings and overcrowding. Most of these people are screaming out against the bloody mess we’re in and want something done quickly. This book is very working class. One poem called ‘Entertainment’ by Paul Drew must have influenced ‘That’s Entertainment’ on ‘Sound Affects.’ (Hey Paul W, heard of copyright?) IT HITS RIGHT ON THE NAIL. I hope you buy this book and it shows you that we’re all in this together and that HATE and LOVE does really exist. Recommended to the full.

S. Oates

In 2015 Paul Weller told Mojo: “I was doing a fanzine called December Child and Paul Drew wrote a poem called ‘That’s Entertainment.’ It wasn’t close to my song, but it kind of inspired me to write this anyway. I wrote to him saying, Look is it all right if I nick a bit of your idea, man? And he said, It’s fine, yeah.”

54-46

The reggae classic reviewed in Melody Maker, 20 February, 1971.

Maytals: “54-46 Was My Number” (Trojan).
Shuffle them boots, it’s reggae time again, with a beat that reminds me of “Last Train To Skasville”. More guts than usual.



Editor

Eddie Linden poem from his 1980 collection City Of Razors.

Editor

So you run a magazine?
A, that’s right.
Who do you publish?
Cunts that think
They’re geniuses; poets.
It’s a craft so they tell me.
The postman hates me
Ye understand why
And those poor bastards
Get upset if they’re
Left out.
There’s nay money in this
Game, but literary parties
Where every cunt cuts each
Other up. This is not the trade
For you Jimmy, if a wis you
I’d go back to the pit. Why?
Because you meet real people.

Eddie Linden