Prince Buster

Prince Buster, with 2 Tone and mod revival kicking off, in the NME, 9 June, 1979.

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Are We Not Men?

Punk rock letter from Spare Rib, No. 80, March, 1979.

Pogo

Dear Rib
I am a feminist and a punk. I was at a Devo gig on Monday, and between sets I was standing eating chocolate buttons, when I noticed a guy eyeing me up. I think it was because I wasn’t wearing a bra. He came over to talk to me about the badges I was wearing. He asked me what my Spare Rib one meant. I said that Rib was a feminist magazine. He looked at me blankly so I said, “Women’s Lib”. He walked away. Pathetic.
I lost the badge pogoing later that night. Does this mean that punk guys won’t walk away from me any more?
In sisterhood,
Anna Burnside,
Glasgow.

Dalston Incident

This poem comes from the anthology From sleep-dark tower blocks. This was published by Hackney Library Services in 1976 and was a collection of poems from the 1974 and 1975 Hackney Poetry Competitions.

Dalston Incident

“If anybody is in a hurry, they want to catch a bus…”
said the guard on the train.
Some person had spread their body across the track,
messing up the timetable.
Literally.

Death is like that;
it happens when no-one is looking;
creeps up and transmutes a person
into meat and so much
inconvenient mush.

No-one saw it;
the most important happening in his life!
No cameras zoomed in,
no blood squirted, curving through the air.
It was graceless, under-rehearsed,
and untimetabled,
emptying bag of humanity,
bruised beyond recognition.

Maybe he had decided upon the futility
of catching this train for the 26,327th time;
perhaps he was protesting against
the 6.39 from Dalston
being late yet again.

The train was late because somebody
threw himself in front of it—-
somebody threw himself in front of the train
because it was late.

Which came first,
the timetable or the train?

Most likely he was hurrying home
to happiness and
a fresh-young-bridegroom’s-Utopia
and was given
a slight twinge of death –
Courtesy of COSMIC JOKES INCORPORATED,
British Rail Division.

Brian Abbott

Bus Conductors With Blue Eyes

This poem is from Hackney Writers in Print, number 5, 1982. The anthology is a collection of work from the Hackney Poetry Circle, who met every Thursday night at Dalston Library:
‘Circle meetings are conducted on informal lines. Poets are invited to read their poems aloud. The listeners discuss the work. Comments are frank, but usually constructive and helpful. Most writers profit from the co-operative instruction. Mrs Stella Freed reads out the work of writers who do not like reading out their own material.’

Bus Conductor With Blue Eyes

Blue eyes
With a pin point
White diamond light –
Both penetrating
And vacant,
As if looking inward
While watching the world outside
Through Justice’s gauze bandages
Or the front room’s net curtains.

She flips out a wallet
to give change of a fiver,
I snatch a glance
Of a photo of a child.
And I can only assume that
She is a woman
Who is used to
Watching and waiting,
Wounds and work.

Barbara Smith

God Save Us From The USA

A benefit album for the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign featuring poets Nick Toczek and Attila the Stockbroker. There are also several punk bands including Zounds, the Apostles, and the Neurotics, as well as Welsh language punk band Anhrefn. The album came out in 1987 on Happy Mike Records. In 1988 it was released again by Workers Playtime Records.

Nick Toczek – Noo Yawk Squawk 0:00
Nick Toczek – Sheer Funk 1:45
Culture Shock – Catching Flies 3:23
Anhrefn – Nefoedd Un Uffern Llall 7:21
Dan – Best Of Families 11:57
Neurotics – Never Hold Your Tongue 13:46
Zounds – Demystification 16:53
Attila The Stockbroker – Libyan Students From Hel 20:36
Karma Sutra – Let Them Eat Samosas 23:45
Some Weird Sin – God Bless America 28:11
Instigators – Eye To Eye 32:26
Heresy – Flowers In Concrete 35:14
Heresy – Cornered Rat 38:12
The Apostles – Inner Space

For The Grey Men

This poem is from the 1984 Lancashire Association of Trades Councils ‘anthology of working class art and literature’ Different Drums, a Second Trade Union Annual.

For The Grey Men

The supervisor led to
a new machine

signalled the instructions.
He knew them by heart,

“Twenty gross is your target” he said
tossing a black plastic stick into the box

smiling to me
in his white supervisor’s coat –

“All right? It’s an easy little job
a child could do it” –

And when he’d gone
I looked round the shop

and counted the men with white
or greying hair.

Andy Fletcher