Author Archives: protestfamily

About protestfamily

The world's favourite east London semi-acoustic political sing along folk punk group.

Justice For Grenfell


Yes, we do know a song about that but for reasons that we won’t share here[1] we can’t link you to it.

What we will say is that two years on from the fire at Grenfell Tower, hundreds of buildings in this country are still clad in dangerous, flammable material. In the case of some privately owned blocks, the landlords and the government know about the cladding but have still failed to warn their residents.[2]

Two years on, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, situated conveniently close to the chambers of the participating barristers at Holborn Bars but distinctly inconvenient for members of the Grenfell Community to attend, has forensically examined the response of the London Fire Brigade on the night of the fire but has so far failed to ask a single question of those responsible for fixing flammable cladding to the outside of the building, let alone those that created the political climate that allowed it to happen.

Two years on, we are told, we are still at least two years away from any criminal prosecution, and of that there is yet no guarantee.[3]

The silent walk convenes this evening at 7 p.m., the demonstration assembles at Downing Street tomorrow at noon. Join us; show your respect, demonstrate your anger, convince those in power that we will not go away. Demand justice for Grenfell.

Steve White & The Protest Family

  1. Ask us at a gig or demo
  2. 24 Housing, 10th June 2019
  3. The Guardian, 10th June 2019

Donald’s In Town

trump queen

It was a week for all tastes and pockets,[1]: Trump’s state visit, the second phase of Theresa May’s resignation (announce a date, stay on as caretaker, actually go), Elvis Costello accepting an OBE and blaming his mum; I couldn’t really let it pass without comment. With a nod to one of the characters in The Brexit Trilogy[2], here it is: Donald’s In Town.

It was her birthday
The kids made a card
With folded paper
And fading felt tips
No gifts
No money for gifts
No gifts
No money for gifts

It was demo day
Lots of paint and card
Hoping to go viral
For the Insta crowd
Home made
Witty placard parade
Home made
Witty placard parade

And Theresa sobbed
When she left the job
But it never really made the news
‘Cos Donald’s in town

He was too early
For her birthday
Didn’t bring a card
It’s all about him
This trip
A massive ego trip
This trip (‘s)
A massive ego trip

(It’s got)
Dinner with a duchess
Supper with a princess
Downing Street too
21-gun salute
All missed
21 guns all missed
All missed
21 guns all missed

And Theresa sobbed
When she left the job
But it never really made the news
‘Cos Donald’s in town

On her birthday
Elvis took his place
In the Empire’s order
Tramp the dirt down
In a crown
How do you tramp the dirt down?
In a crown
You can’t tramp the dirt down

She smiled at the kids’ card
Laughed at the placard
Mocking the blowhard
Funny as milkshakes
Running down Tommy’s face
Running down Tommy’s face
(Save your outrage)

And Theresa sobbed
When she left the job
But it never really made the news
‘Cos Donald’s in town


[1] Hat-tip: Joe Durston
[2] Doesn’t mean I won’t write more about them

Johnson for PM, God Fuckin’ Help Us

Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead in the water of her crocodile tears. A fresh Tory leader with the charisma to succeed in Brussels where she has failed seems unlikely; no-deal versus no-Brexit is now the pundit’s favoured battleground, with or without a second referendum.

Dying with May’s career is my Brexit Prayer, performed once at the Fish & Bicycle Club, but there’s renewed interest in former London mayor and foreign secretary Johnson, as the wholly unrepresentative rump that is the Conservative Party membership elects a new prime minister.

Does Johnson have what it takes to make the deal that May failed to, or does Brussels see him for the loathsome charlatan[1] that he is? Speculation at Protest Towers is that the job’s going to an outlier with Johnson waiting to pick up the post-exit pieces once the dust has settled.

In any event, we know a song (or two) about him.



  1. Hat tip to Jonathan Freedland, writing in the Guardian.

Furry Little Fuckers

Alt text

Chicken Squawk pricked my conscience but not enough to make me change. My quiet admiration for vegan friends didn’t push me over the edge. The road to “ethical” meat-eating had been taken via organic and healthy, but the route abandoned on financial grounds. In the end it was a dog, and I stopped looking the other way.

He really loves you, but he’s just a dog
His love is real, as real as analogue
But the pigs share complex emotional responses too
And the cows to do much more than just go “moo”
So before your conscience recovers
Let’s kill and eat the furry little fuckers

Her name’s Daisy and she’s a sheep
The lucky one the farmer decided to keep
Bringing joy to the kids visiting the petting zoo
Who don’t associate her with being food
So before you think about her sisters and her brothers
Let’s kill and eat the furry little fuckers

Or you could tread a little lighter through this world

Her name’s Frankie, his name is Smudge
Grateful for the culture, the home, the love
But the goats and chickens ain’t got that kind of luck
They’re food not friends, their short lives kinda suck
So before your dinner ups and does a runner
Let’s kill and eat the furry little fucker

He likes pork chops and a steak or two
Maccy D’s and KFC too
Shrink-wrapped, pre-packed, juicy, meaty, fleshy food
Doesn’t think about a time when it had hooves
So before he starts to think about his suppers
Let’s kill and eat the furry little fuckers

Or you could tread a little lighter through this world



Workers Memorial Day and May Day



We are here to remember the dead and fight for the living.

We are here to talk about work. Work that defines, unites and sustains us; work that defiles, exploits and destroys us. We are here to talk about hard work; the language of the working class, co-opted and corrupted by those who would rule over us. We are here to reclaim our words and our work, in the time-honoured, traditional way.

And it goes like this…..”

Join us in Abbotts Park, E10 on Sunday for our combined workers’ memorial and May Day celebration. The event starts at 1:15pm and runs to 5pm. We’ll be lighting the blue touchpaper around 4:00.


The Fish & Bicycle Club


“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” said Irina Dunn, and so it is that the Fish & Bicycle Club sets out to bring intimate singer-songwriter nights to Kikirocs in South Woodford featuring a monthly bill of whom at least half are women.


Luke Fairhead

My views on music not as competition notwithstanding, on May 3rd, in the blue corner, we have me, and London-based folk singer Luke Fairhead, described as having “upbeat acoustic optimism in a Frank Turner-y kinda way”[1]. Frank Turner, fuck me that splits opinion. I know a song about him.


Geri Van Essen

In the other blue corner will be Geri Van Essen who learned to sing in the choirs of her Dutch childhood before tripping over a banjo in Bethnal Green and becoming an East London-based folk singer. Cerys Matthews on BBC R6 said of Geri that “her voice stood out”[2]. Better that than the banjo, Russ.


Jax Braithwaite

The final member of the quartet is singer-songwriter, theatre performer and London Underground busker Jax Braithwaite. We know a walking project about that. She’s not afraid to admit to being born in Essex, nor to being infused with a “quirky sense of style and smooth melody”[3].

A sapid evening of singer-songwriteriness therefore awaits, spoiled only by my brutish poetry and three-chord political dogma. There are songs left unsung from the Wanstead Tap show and poetry left unsaid. I should also explain more about the born in Essex connection and the Peasants Revolt. I shall make a list.

Kikirocs can be found in George Lane, a few short steps from South Woodford tube station. If you can’t see the Railway Bell, you’ve come out of the wrong exit.


1. amazingtunes
2. Folk On Monday
3. Winter Sun

The Appraisal

poster again 2 a4

Me: “I thought we’d have sold more advance tickets by now.”

The band: “Well, the poster you designed isn’t very good.”

Me: “You didn’t say anything at the time.”

The band: “Yes, but it’s not very good, is it.”

Now we all know that an appraisal should be a shit sandwich; say something nice at the beginning and the end, fill the middle with your criticism. Next time, perhaps we should try:

Me: “I thought we’d have sold more advance tickets by now.”

The band: “Actually ticket sales are encouraging this far from the date of the show, but the poster you designed isn’t very good.”

Me: “You didn’t say anything at the time.”

The band: “Yes, but we do like your hair.”

Here’s another poster.