The River

She pulled him out of the river
Fed him, clothed him, found him a home

Cos pulling folk out the river
Is the only way she’s ever known

She pulls him out of the river
And tomorrow she’ll pull him out again
She pulls him out of the river
But she’ll never meet the bastards
That keep throwing him in

Keep throwing him in

She pulls them out of the river
Without ever asking from where they’ve come

Fishing souls out the river
And some days her day’s work is never done

She pulls him out of the river
And tomorrow she’ll pull him out again
She pulls him out of the river
But she’ll never meet the bastards
That keep throwing him in

Keep throwing him in


She’s fishing souls out the river
Seems that’s the way it’s always been

While the soulless bastards in government
Keep throwing them in

She pulls him out of the river
And tomorrow she’ll pull him out again
She pulls him out of the river
But she’ll never meet the bastards
That keep throwing him in

Keep throwing him in

She’s fishing souls out the river
Seems that’s the way it’s always been
While the soulless bastards in government
Keep throwing us in
Keep throwing us in
Keep throwing us in

Steve’s Retirement Do – Reviewed by Jason Newson

Picture by Dave Craig

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.

The first time I saw them and was taken by how bloody good they sounded as a band.

Tonight they sounded even better.

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.

Since the last time I heard this, the Duke Of York has had a bit of a rough time of it

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.

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

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

Reviewed by Grassroot SE Magazine

I’ve always felt an affinity with the dry, cutting observers of the world, and this is certainly amongst the best of that.

Andrew Moreton

To read the full review, get your copy here.

The Princess and the Presenter

Promoting her show bought her a stalker
A breakfast programme professional talker
Who’d say “Not all men” while just the sort
Who’d hack kids’ phones and not get caught
Thought he should have a princess, by right
On account of being rich, male and white
But she married her prince and left him a frog
And his mid-life crush, a one-sided dialogue
As she quite rightly saw fit to ignore
His emails, text messages and more


But Hell hath no fury like the male gaze scorned
And he’d met Epstein, she should’ve been warned
That the gutter press is his dominion
And trial in the court of public opinion
His stock in trade, where he took up arms
To do her reputation just as much harm
As he could, thinking only of himself
While claiming she was lying about her mental health
A step too far for ITV
As he parted company with GMB


But just wait for the “I’ve been cancelled” cry
As he gives his career another try
On a new opinion-led news station
Serving blinkered news to a blinkered nation
Where opinion is often fuelled by hate
And despite the facts given equal weight
Where like minds will give the airtime
To his “She ghosted me” incel whine
So, prepare to boycott that news organ
And let’s have a curfew for Piers Morgan


(There’s a lot of him about)

The Singles Club

No, not that sort of club.

After the success of Santa is English, we’ve decided for as long as we’re locked down we’ll produce and put out a new video every few weeks, recorded and shot in isolation but brought together by our nascent mixing and video editing skills and the power of the internet.

The first one lands this week, using up previously unreleased footage from the last time that we were allowed to meet up outdoors, after that, we really are flying solo (together).

Happy New Year!

In the meantime, may I wish you in advance every happiness for the New Year. If it’s anything like the old one, I, for my part, would sooner consign it to the devil.

Karl Marx, writing to Friedrich Engels, 27th December 1861

Gimme the vaccine, Maxine.

John Cooper Clarke, Walking Back to Happiness 1979

My late father would say keeping body and soul together. I never really gave the phrase much thought at the time but it’s a fair summary of the challenge that’s faced us all this year: the struggle for sustenance for our bodies: food, housing, medicine, employment; with none of that nutrition for the soul: live music, football, pub, socialising. At the end of the day a Zoom1 call is only so rewarding, particularly if that’s what your day-to-day work has become, and it can be a poor, though necessary, replacement for real human interaction.

Being in a band is all about that interaction, sharing the creative process, the synergy of playing in time and in tune with one another (like flapping your arms and finding out that you can actually fly) and the shared experience of band and audience that makes a great gig, well, great.

We’ve spoken elsewhere about what we’ve done to compensate for not being able to gig: the make-it-look-live videos, the live streams where we could and, of course, my sprawling COVID-19 drama set out in nearly 150 songs and poems, and while there’s no substitute for the real thing, online shows are here to stay and we can reach people that way who would otherwise never get to see us live.

But it’s New Year’s Eve, so let’s look forward. It’s big pharma2 (of all people) to the rescue and with a fair wind and a following sea the return of real football, real pubs, real music, and real people is coming, but with lessons learned, continuing to reach out to those who can’t get out, and not leaving newly created mutual aid structures3 behind.

Onwards into 2021, friends. Look after yourselves, look after each other and, in the wise words of his holiness, John Cooper Clarke:

Gimme the vaccine, Maxine.

Happy New Year!

Steve

  1. Other online meeting software is available.
  2. More on that another time.
  3. The extraordinary efforts of We Shall Overcome with Pauline, Joe, Matt and Pete at the helm have continued throughout the pandemic. We’re not going anywhere until we’re no longer needed.