This September, we’ll celebrate ten years since we drove the fascists out of Walthamstow.
I remember walking up a packed Hoe Street, past closed and shuttered shopfronts, with the notable exception of the Rose & Crown of course, thinking “This is big”, but it wasn’t until we got to Bell Corner that I realised quite how big. Over four thousand local people, anti-fascists and trade unionists had turned up to oppose the racist EDL who had been escorted to Blackhorse Road with the intention of marching through our community to a rally outside the Magistrates Court and whose numbers barely troubled two hundred.
Met with opposition from local people from the moment they set foot outside the tube station, their route blocked by thousands of us at a key junction, forced into the back streets and literally wetting themselves in a police kettle in Farnan Avenue, and their leaders surrounded by anti-fascists in Forest Road, it’s fair to say that that Tommy Robinson and co. did not have a good day.
Like Roger says, most people aren’t racist.
To mark the anniversary, there’s a whole series of events which can be found here, including us playing a show at the Trades Hall, with tickets available here.
In honour of the occasion, we’re also re-releasing the Double B-Side, The Day We Kicked The Fascists Out Of Walthamstow (Graham Larkbey & The Escapees) c/w No Pasaran In E17 (Steve White & The Protest Family). It’s a free download and you can find it here.
The River is inspired by and a tribute to Pauline Town.
Pauline is the beating heart of We Shall Overcome. Every day, her tireless work feeds over one hundred people, homeless and rough sleeping, and she has helped over a thousand people into safe, secure, permanent accommodation.
At the heart of everything that she does is a raw kindness and down-to-earth humanity: a practical socialism that doesn’t judge but raises a fist of anger at the cruelty of the system while extending the helping hand of solidarity.
If Pauline is the beating heart of We Shall Overcome, then it’s spiritual headquarters is her pub, The Station in Ashton-under-Lyne. Over the course of the pandemic, it has become a community hub and place of safety and refuge.
The Station is re-opening as a pub in May 2022 and costs need to be covered alongside the fundraising for food and shelter, so go and have a pint if you can and chuck a few quid in this digital bucket to help our hero keep doing everything that she does to support people living at the roughest edges of Tory austerity.
You can support Pauline in keeping The Station going here.
Will he resign? Will he be forced out? Will the 1922 Committee get their 54 letters? (Just how archaic is this process?) Or will we have to build a statue of him and throw it in the Thames? Who knows? But in the meantime, a little gentle encouragement Protest Family-style, or the theme tune to a celebration. Let’s see…
We thought thatDear Mr. Johnson might make a late run at it, or even The Day They Cancelled Christmas, but the winner is the ode to the playthings of the super-rich, inspired, at least in part, by Jeff Bezos’ thanks to the shoppers and workers at Amazon for paying for his nearly-into-space jaunt. The surprise entry at number 2 is, we think, down to people searching for positive stories about anti-vaxxer Cassie; an algorithm win for us then. Good to see people still remembering our mate Chris too.
It seems that Orient fans are still obsessed with the owner who nearly killed the club, or maybe they’re just fans of lists of managers and Christmas harmonies. Nice to see that Brisbane Road continues to have a loyal following (as does Sean Thornton) and good showings from the three Lockdown Singles Club releases.
Songs from The debased street music of the vulgar proved popular along with live favourite God Save the Queen’s Speech. Interesting to see both versions of Where Tina Goes in the list; we always said it would be a hit.
I ummed and ahhhed about reviewing this one as I know a couple of the guys in the band, even played in a band with one of them, it could be a bit awks if it’s a bit of a shit show, but it wasn’t, in fact I really enjoyed it.
This sell out show doubled up as Steve’s retirement do and to my surprise, if you had a pink wristband there was a free bar, happy days. I caught the back end of the support band when I arrived and was a bit concerned that the front man only had one leg, fortunately it turned out this wasn’t the case, of their music, it sounded alright to me.
Before the main act came on Steve had a few tributes paid to him by his fellow fire fighters and union members. It was clear to see they had a lot of respect for him but if you know Steve, this would not come as a surprise. Then came the main attraction. The last time I saw Steve and the Protest Family was their final show before lockdown in March last year at The Birds Nest in Deptford, this was also the first time I saw them and was taken by how bloody good they sounded as a band, even with a bit of a shitty PA. Tonight they sounded even better.
The set was a mix of older material, new material and a golden oldie that goes back so far I even played on one the the many versions there are out there. The opener appears to be the standard opener as they started with it last time out, the a capella Hardworking. When I first heard this I thought it was a brave one to begin with, but in context with the rest of the set it works well and goes straight into Side Of The Fox, a ditty about the pointlessness of foxhunting (well that’s what I took from it without going into too much analysis). Keeping with the fox theme, the first newbie of the night Not That Fox, yes Lawrence Fox, an easy target for Steve to work on, and quite frankly a deserving target.
A couple of tunes about our glorious leader BoJo were next followed by one of the highlights of the gig, and one played last time, Air Miles Andy. Since the last time I heard this, the Duke Of York has had a bit of a rough time of it, and not even because of his overall pointlessness as a member of the Royal Family, no, as it is quire clear that he is a loathsome person who should do some jail time at his mother’s pleasure but clearly never ever will, he is a Prince after all. However I digress, if I was not mistaken the lyrics to this one had been updated.
The first real old classic, and anybody who has been on a Sunshine Coach should know this song very well, was Brisbane Road. Back in the 6 Of 8 days occasionally we would play this as an encore with Steve, but it never sounded as good as this, and with a fair few O’s fans in attendance it was no surprise that this went down well. OK, so Tamika Mkandewire dates this song a bit, but who cares, this was definitely sing along of the night, and The Orienteer is still only a quid.
Song of the night for me was up next, Supersonic. I love the backing, it works for me, don’t know if this has been recorded, but for me this sounds like it would always work better live. Before you knew it the final song came, the closer last time out as well, God Save The Queen’s Speech. Can’t argue with that as she has a bloody enormous council house and it does need mentioning. No encore was played, but no matter, perhaps next time.
I really enjoyed the show, but what took it to another level from last time was the band sounded very tight and solid. Also, a mention in dispatches for Funky Lol’s fabulous guitar sound. I loved that scratchy high sound he had and thought it worked great with the sound of the band.
So, if you like a bit of satirical song writing performed very well indeed, you could do no worse than catching SW&TPF at a venue near you, if you happen to live North and East of the river, otherwise you may have a bit of a wait. Up the O’s
Setlist: Hardwork Side Of The Fox Not That Fox Have I Got News For You A Statue Of Boris Johnson Air Miles Andy No Pasaran In E17 Have A Word Should I Be Wearing A Mask? Brisbane Road Supersonic Han Solo The Gable God Save The Queen’s Speech