With an election around the corner, accusations, allegations and inferences of antisemitism have hit the headlines of media outlets once more, especially those known more for their sensationalism than their serious commitment to combating this evil.
Last Thursday evening I had the privilege of being among a group of 60 people who genuinely cared about antisemitism. They were people so committed to deepening their knowledge about it, that they had travelled to Poland to attend a 4-day educational programme that included a day at Auschwitz/Birkenau, where we could see at first hand the harrowing evidence of what European antisemitism led to in the 1930s and ’40s.
From 6th form students to pensioners our group spanned several generations and ethnic backgrounds, Asian, African, South American, European. There were at least seven Jewish people there. One among them had two relatives who stepped off the cattle truck when it arrived at…
Artist: Steve White & The Protest Family
Keywords: punk folk protest singer-songwriter United Kingdom
Steve White is the protest artist that gives it to you raw and in your face. With a sense of humor, but not with the laughing laughers as he is certainly no comedian. He apparently is one of those special ‘snowflake’ people in the United Kingdom that got a lot of things to say, probably accumulated things that angered him and gladly found the right way to get it all out of his system and off his chest. A great thing as worrying too much about stuff & keeping it all in might be an invitation to get the cancers.
Here these worries and cases of social commentary are punching out songs with strong meaning, as if they are fists that want to beat some sense in the all-round senselessness of the times that…
Well if you were hanging around with us the weekend before last, then you were hanging around with some of the Hope not Hate crowd because they were behind the Billy Bragg/The Wakes gig at Islington Assembly Hall and our show with The Wakes at The New Cross Inn the following night. And what a weekend it was! Uncle Bill was on fine form on the Friday and if you enjoyed The Wakes that night then their extended headline show was even better.
You may also have noticed our good friend Matthew trying to upstage Billy Bragg with his intro and, um, dancing on tables at the New Cross Inn. Here he is, in slightly more serious mode, introducing this month’s Far Right Round Up. We know songs about quite a few of them…..
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a confession or something I am ashamed of. This is something that I shout from the rooftops , like all Orient fans .
Us Orient fans are used to ridicule from fans of richer clubs, some of whom think a crisis is when their team has not made the later stages of the European Championships (whatever they are) . NO, I am an Orient fan and proud. Here is a club that apart from one season in the toppermost of the poppermost league has always struggled against its more successful neighbours.
I saw my first Orient game in 1969 with my Dad. Orient got a pretty uneventful 1-1 draw with Torquay. My Dad and I would go to about one or two games a year until the mid 70’s when I started to come to games on a regular basis with school mates . That is where regular football started for a lot of us, with mates.
To be honest, over the years the socialising has been more fun than the football , but that is not really the point. It’s a bit like waiting for a bus (no not THAT analogy) you have been waiting so long for the bus to come that you cannot leave the bus stop in case the bus finally comes along. (This analogy too has its problems as most stops have those electric thingys that tell you when the next bus comes along , but that is progress. Anyway, I digress). It’s like waiting for a win or a side that we can have confidence in. I used to go to Arsenal as a teenager one week and Orient the next week. A win at Arsenal was expected no matter who they played and the fans left in relief (they probably still do).At Orient a win is greeted with delight as it is not expected, it is hoped for and so the pleasure is more .
I recently said at a LOFT meeting that the people you meet in life is comparable to the film Sliding Doors . Without Orient, mine and other fans lives would have been different .
I had personal issues in 2009 and it was my Orient family that got me through it with support and love. In 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and again it was my Orient friends that I turned to for support, love and encouragement.
Without Orient, I would not have met my wonderful and supportive wife Sarah, because we met at a wedding of an Orient fan.
Leyton Orient truly is more than a football club. It’s a common thread running through all our lives, binding us together.
The Protest Family would not exist without Orient . The original line up of Myself , Lol Steve and Rory, met through following the Os.
There is a story to tell on how this band got together and that will be for another time , but being in The Protest Family has opened more doors (or is it a train carriage, beginning to regret the Sliding Doors analogy now) to new friendships and experiences that I am eternally grateful for.
In 2000 myself and a few other Os fans thought about starting some kind of fans group as we felt that our voices were not being heard in the game but specifically at the Orient. The more we looked into it the more we found that there was an appetite among fans all over the country for the same thing. At this very time, an organisation was being formed called Supporters Direct, under the leadership of the wonderful Brian Lomax, that would be an umbrella for all Trusts .
With their advice and guidance we were one of the very first trusts launched in 2001. Now the Trust movement has moved not just beyond football but beyond the UK. As the song says we were ‘In the right place , at the right time’
I am one of two founder members that have been on the LOFT (Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust) Board since the start and I have been Chair since 2002. It remains something I am very passionate about, as the rest of the Protest Family will tell you, especially on long car journeys .
LOFT formed to give fan’s a voice in the running of OUR football club, be a critical friend to the OUR club and to be there in case of a crisis.
And that is where we find ourselves at this very moment
LOFT have launched a Regeneration Fund , details here savetheorient.com
If you are reading this before Saturday 1st April you can see us with Brighton fan Attila The Stockbroker who offered his help to the Save The Orient campaign as soon as he heard about it and local legend (and Brentford fan) Graham Larkbey. Details here https://www.facebook.com/events/353102875087017
best to keep an eye on our Facebook page for availability
If you are reading this after Saturday 1st April, you missed a great gig
Writing this after an amazing gig at The Wanstead Tap with Attila The Stockbroker and Janine Booth.
I do not believe in God or Karma or any of that other whacky stuff, so I will put all of this down to coincidence. But nice coincidence.
In 2010 on this weekend, we played a packed gig with Mr Stockbroker at the much missed Plough in Wood Street , Walthamstow.
We managed to get Attila to play with us thanks to the O’s having a home game against his beloved Brighton. Brighton got a lucky 1-1 draw on the day so we were all happy.
Sadly for us, the idea of playing against them now is a pipe dream , thanks to mismanagement by the powers that be at LOFC BUT WE ARE NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT THAT!!
A year ago this weekend three of the Protest Family (clue, the one who plays the spoons was absent) went to Centre Parcs Longleat for Sonja Pedersen’s (Beryl T Peril) wake. The difference being that Sonja was still alive against all odds. That is how Sonja rolled .
I often go on about the time we played Derry and how defining that weekend was, but last year’s bash surpassed that.
We got there at about 1pm to be greeted with beer, wine and food and we set up our equipment. We started playing from that moment and apart from toilet and pizza breaks continued until God knows when (I am thinking it was about 3am the next morning).
The place was buzzing, apart from us there was also Paddy Nash and Diane Greer from the amazing Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas, Les Black and Grace Petrie. This was all in a really packed chalet in Centre Parcs. For me, the highlights were us all doing The Band’s The Weight and all of that lot playing while I sang Billy Braggs To Have And to Have Not.
So (I dislike sentences that start with SO, but still) it came to pass that last night’s gig happened to have many people from far and wide that were at Centre Parcs a year ago this weekend. Nothing was arranged , it just happened . Synchronicity as The Police sang (although I prefer Invisible Sun).
It was nice to see people who I last saw at Sonja’s funeral in a different atmosphere. Sonja is in all of our hearts and will continue to be so.
A word about last night’s gig. Attila was as Attila is. Great fun , but behind that, giving his audience food for thought. You must also catch Janine Booth. She is getting better and better with each gig that I see her. She gets the balance right between her humour and seriousness in her poetry.
And a word for The Wanstead Tap. It is a great place with great people running it with great ales.
Solidarity brothers and Sisters ( I always say that)