London’s Burning: Clash Night 77

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Incredible day yesterday hauling down to London for ‘Clash Night 77’, the amazing celebration of 40 years since the release of THAT album.

Fantastic 11 hour Road Trip with Joe Francis and Damian Thomas, in which we discussed Gramsci, Marx, trade unionism, political activism, and the dangers of drinking too much pop on long journeys……though the latter always tempered by the knowledge that said pop can only be one brand and not the other, “Coca Cola is not coming in this car, they don’t recognise unions.” Big thanks to Joe for stepping in to take the wheel thus making my day a whole lot less tiring and a whole lot more fun. In gratitude I’ve donated half my fee for the gig to the Hull International Brigade Memorial Trust. We WILL get the statue to the Hull 8 up soon, and seeing Jack Atkinson‘s name on there will be one hell of a proud moment.

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The gig itself was nothing short of superb. Performances from Poetry on the Picket Line, Lone Groover, Attila The Stockbroker (who fought back a lung infection and heavy medication to be there to remember ‘Commandante Joe’. Respect.); 48 Thrills, Comrade X, Sean McGowan, Nia Wyn, Captain Ska, Emily Harrison and Dream Nails kept the room electric all night and it was an honour and a pleasure to take that stage with that backdrop and put in my shift.

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Fantastic company all night too. Loved spending time talking poetry and activism with Chip Hamer and Nadia Drews; getting the latest on the RMT Strike from Bob Oram and Sean Hoyle; explaining We Shall Overcome to Daniel Rachel, author of ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down‘ the story of music and political movements through Rock Against Racism to Red Wedge; talking to Paul and Lindsay Rutland who came armed with photos, a new badge, and a fantastic donation from ‘Wool Shall Overcome’ for Big Sis Pauline Town; and meeting first Sid Griffin (Internal monologue: “This man sang ‘Looking For Lewis and Clark’…..whatever you do, don’t say anything dumb”. External Monologue: something properly dumb); and Mark Thomas who told me he’d enjoyed my version of ‘Protex Blue‘.

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So that was that. A MASSIVE thank you to Mark Perryman and Philosophy Football for inviting me; the RMT, FBU, Brigadista Ale and R2 Magazine for sponsoring the event; Joe and Damian for their hilarious, interesting and inspiring company; all involved running the event on the night who were fantastic; and everyone who came and said hello or shook my hand or gave me a hug and generally made my second trip to London in a year something I will remember til the day I die.

No input, no output.

Damn right.

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