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The History Man

Malcom Bradbury goes Howard Kirk on Julie Burchill in the NME letters page, 7 February, 1981.
If you’ve not read Bradbury’s The History Man, or seen the 1981 TV series: I heartily recommend both.

For Julie Burchill’s information, a value judgement is a statement that cannot be substantiated by an appeal to empirical evidence or established fact. Therefore the vast majority of her Dangerous Visions column is comprised of value judgements since it is merely expressing her own untestable hypotheses. Does that make her a liberal zombie? I think we should be told.

Malcom Bradbury “one of the old halls of learning”, London School of Economics.

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.


Shine On Me

The Crowdfund for my next skinhead werewolf novel Shine On Me is here.
It’s a follow up to Moonstomp and we’ve moved from 1979 to 1980. There’s skinhead werewolf aggro, mod witches, and dead Crass fans. The fashions and music of the day play a large part in this New English Library style pulp horror.
Please do support.

No Enemies

The Chartist poet Charles Mackay (1814-1889) was a Scottish writer and journalist. He contributed articles and poems to the Daily News, the newspaper set up by Charles Dickens.
This poem is recited by Margaret Thatcher to the Queen in series 4 of The Crown.

No Enemies

You have no enemies, you say?
Alas! my friend, the boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none, 5
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never turned the wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.

Charles Mackay

Punks Are Nasty

Hand wringing letter in Spare Rib, No. 96, July 1980.

Punks Are Nasty

I am enclosing cheque for subscription for another year, and congratulate you on your achievement in appearing regularly for so many years.
I am continuing my subscription because I support women’s liberation and believe that a women’s journal committed to “consciousness raising” and news about efforts to combat sex discrimination etc. deserves support.
However, I feel obliged to express – not for the first time – my uneasiness about some features of presentation and style. First, why do you so often have such repulsive front covers? The latest (SR94) is even more than usually repulsive. That is, repulsive to me, and I suspect to most women who are not punks. And what have punks to do with women’s liberation? By their way of dressing and painting their faces and hair they deliberately emphasise that they are not and do not wish to be as other women. And considering the age and mental range of punks, either male or female (and if it were not for the lads there would be very few lasses), it seems to me that they are hardly the people to make any contribution towards improving the quality of life. (Yes, I know that some of them are kind to their mothers and help old ladies across roads – but that is not the point!)
Second, I am uneasy about the general feeling of hostility to men (half the human race!) so often expressed in contributions: dreary, incompetent lovers; brutal, selfish husbands; horrible fathers…. True, all true – there are such. But there are also dreary, incompetent women; brutal, selfish wives; vampire mothers…. So what! There are good and bad in both sexes, but nobody would get that feeling, from reading Spare Rib, that there are loving, kind fathers; loyal, helpful brothers; beloved husbands and sons; lovers who bring joy and contentment.
I think a bit more objectivity – more common sense – a touch of humour – would encourage a wider readership, if that is what you are seeking. I believe that the campaign for women’s liberation is one which must go on for a very long time to achieve it’s objects, and be carried on by – to a far greater degree than at present – ordinary women living ordinary lives, with whom other ordinary women can identify.
Yours sincerely,
Vivien Pixner,

P.S. There are some other points, like gratuitous bad language – but this letter is long enough already, and I think the obscenities have been toned down in recent months.

Perhaps we should point out that the young woman on the cover of SR94 is not a punk. Her picture was part of a series on face-painting at a youth club girls’ night, as the relevant article showed. But in any case, we do not agree with Vivien that a punk girl would make a repulsive cover!

There was a letter in response from a punk in issue 97.