Monthly Archives: August 2022

Hippys Playground

The “Phun City” festival at Ecclesden Common, West Sussex, 24th-26th July 1970, was “organised” by Social Deviants’ Mick Farren, the festival degenerated into chaos and quickly became a free festival, security proving inadequate. Alongside some hippy types there’re poets Tom Pickard, Jeff Nuttall and more and even some good music from the mighty MC5 and the interesting Pink Fairies.

The Poets

This sketch by Gerda Mayer of 70s poets comes from Treble Poets 2, published in 1975. The Treble Poets series published work from 3 poets who’d not yet had a collection of their own per book.

The Poets

Here they come down Adrian Henri Street,
In droves they come, in processions, wending their way,
dancing the green and zany which is this year’s mode,
Each with a plastic daffodil filched from the master.

And no worse surely than those going plod plod
Up Ted Hughes Lane, those earthy honest voices
In country boots, as sincere as a BBC gardener’s
And living five centuries from Oxford Circus.

And when I encounter them, as I often do,
I hurry by and past, I largely ignore them;
What I look for is angels, elegant and profound;
These occur rarely, and they largely ignore me.

And I go my own way then, my mouth full of complaints;
Complaining to myself I go and when I lift my eyes,
I’m part of a procession walking in a common way,
saying vanity vanity as the peoms fall down like leaves.

Gerda Mayer

Crew’s Missile

Letter about casuals in Sounds, 26 May, 1984 from Anti Social Workers singer, Paul Wellings.

Crew’s Missile

I have nothing against the “soccer casual” music and clothes movement. In fact most of my mates wear the gear when we go to see West Ham and it has style. But I really must have a go at the “under five mentality” from the younger elements of the once glorious ICF, and other well organised crews like Pompey Glory Boys, Scouse Scallies etc.
Cos these kids dress to kill (sometimes literally) in all the Tacchini, Fila, Burberry and Head gear, they seem to think the movement means giving our own kind a good kicking or sticking Uncle Stanley in some ordinary geezer’s kidneys.
I remember all the times I’ve followed West Ham (way back to the original ICF, Rejects, drinking, having a crack etc), and Spurs and Luton Town and have gone with people to actually watch the game. And I follow these three teams (even though I was born in Wapping, East London and should by rights murder anyone who doesn’t support West Ham), cos I love their style of football, cos I’ve moved to different areas and cos most of all I hate the mindless tribal, territorial warfare similar to the Krays vs the Richardsons.
At least when the old bill get hospitalised, it’s a welcome change from attacking the other teams’ fans. Some, like the ICF, have the style and organisation to ruck without getting nicked (but most of it is brainless tribal war) and others have more suss to know the filth are the real enemy.
It’s a pity anger was not saved for the rich scumbags in the directors’ boxes treating football like a monopoly game for real, or the nazi wankers bringing racist shit into our grounds (it would be great to organise leafletting on same scale as we did at Upton Park, White Hart Lane etc in the ANL days – where we got a terrific response). I’m very much a lumpen prole.
It’s better to attack these sort of people and enjoy our game again than thrashing some working class geezer like me or you, who lives down the road or up North, cos their team is different.
Soccer casuals, if it means anything, means pride in your background, going to the football with your girl, laughs, self-respect, style, soul, lover’s rock, funk etc. Like Mod and Tamla, Skins and Trojan reggae, Punks and the Pistols, Casual both music and clothes, as Garry Bushell said, comes from the streets and not the industries, and for those into it, it hasn’t meant reconsidering your mortgage to buy the gear – cos the black market is booming. (Ask Scotland Yard! Look sharp, think sharp!) – Paul (Geezer) of reggae rockers the Anti Social Workers, Wapping.

Welcome To The Notts Miners

from the 1985 Women Against Pit Closures anthology of children’s writing, More Valuable Than Gold.

Welcome to the Notts miners

We put a big sign up in the hall of our school and it said, ‘Welcome to the Notts Miners’. We had Punch and Judy, Doctor Smarty Pants and a big party in the hall. The miners’ children came and we played. One boy had a funny badge. It was a little clown saying, ‘If Thatcher gets up your nose, picket.’ Some of the children said they weren’t allowed to talk about the strike in their school. The newspapers said our school put little children out on the street for Arthur Scargill, which is silly. Then an inspector came to our schools, and the teachers were worried. There shouldn’t be any inspectors – all the children and all the grown-ups in the school should be the inspectors.

Anna Winter, 5, Hackney, London

Yannis Ritsos

Yannis Ritsos was a Greek poet born in 1909 whose work was burnt by the Metaxas dictatorship. He spent many years in several prison camps. He died in 1990.

Short Story

One soggy sailor’s cap
was bobbing in the waves
like discarded black bread
when people were starving.

It was war.

Yiannis Ritsos

Too Pure

The 1990s weren’t good for me musically. The Too Pure label had some good music coming up, most notably P J Harvey, who I’m lucky enough to have seen live from pubs to big concerts: she’s always interesting. This MTV special on the label is from 1993. You can tell it’s American cos the titular 60 Minutes is less than 30 running time without adverts. Good to see the Voodoo Queens too.

Magic Mushrooms

From Manchester zine, Sense, 1980.

Magic Mushrooms

Oh have you seen the mushroom cloud,
it’s hanging in the sky,
Hurry to your shelter,
Or you’ll find you’ll die,
It’s solved your small job problem,
And starvation too,
Isn’t it amazing
What science lets us do?
There’s people with their skins burn off
And cancer – oh what fun!
Their legs are fused together
So it’s difficult to run,
And when you hear the sirens wail
Here’s what you must do,
(it’s nice to know the government
is taking care of you)
Hide underneath the table
And wrap yourself in foil,
Then you’ll see a flash of light,
And feel your body boil,
Now how do you fancy dying,
There’s such a choice for you,
Burnt to death? irradiated? and leukaemia too,
What a lot of bodies, rotting on the ground.
And at the gates of heaven, there’s millions queuing round,
Well earth was overcrowded,
So someone had to die,
It justifies the mushroom cloud
That’s hanging in the sky.

Tracey Toulouse

Stepney

From the Stepney Words collection of schoolkids’ poetry, 1971.

Stepney

I think Stepney is a very smokey place
But I like it
People in Stepney do things wrong
But I like them
Everything in Stepney has its disadvantages
But I like it

It does not have clean air like the country
But I like it
The buildings are old and cold
But I like them
The summer is not very hot
But I like it.

Rosemarie Dale