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from the FPG Chronicles / London Demos

Born without a clue. A lifetime later, situation largely unchanged. Nevertheless, one perseveres.....


London Demos

Where we did expect to encounter the Babylon in large numbers were, of course, the demos. We frequently played demos and blockades, but the ones in London were always tainted by London’s own TonTon Macoute (the “Metropolitan” Po-liss). Several times we supported the Miners’ Strike at marches and fund raisers. We started by simply joining the processions and marching along with them, but soon worked out that the best plan was to pick a traffic island along the route somewhere and simply stay put and play as they flowed past. This worked especially well at CND demos because I would often re-encounter people that I actually knew - friends from distant times and places whom I would never have re-encountered otherwise.

We played at Stop the City more than once (yes people, by far the most part of what is rotten in our society originates from and/or is sponsored by the festering pit and tax haven that is the Corporation of the City of London - the vatican tumour in our midst). On one notable occasion, we were being “kettled” by Ton Ton horse police and were adding to the confusion by playing as loud and distorted as our poor amps could stand. We got separated and, while Nick was having his wiring ripped up by the Babylon, I was arrested and taken in a crowded bus to a sorting building a mile or so away.


The bus pulled into a yard where a couple of other busses were also pulling in, also packed with demonstrators. As I was frog marched past the other buses, I heard what sounded like applause. I looked up at the other bus windows to see smiling faces and waving and clapping and thumbs-upping as I went by. Feeling suddenly as though I was on an alternative red carpet premiere somewhere, I raised my arms and waved back. Inside we were “processed” - finger printed, asked for an address, and photographed. Interestingly, they took my mugshot without asking me to lift the wrap-around shades! (Must ask for that snap sometime.) When they’d finished, we were taken away and stuffed into cells for the duration. I had some good cell buddies who were up for a bit of acappella singing which helped pass the time. On release, I was re-issued with my gear and told to clear off. Just to test they hadn’t busted anything, I fired up and started to play a number. A few of the lower caste rozzers were clearly enjoying this until an upper caste officer came over and told them to get me the hell out of there.


roz doffers

On a side note, one time my friend Liz and I dressed up in smart Oxfam formal wear - me in top hat and tails; she in a gorgeous flowing gown and high heels - and went to a Hyde Park CND demo sporting badges saying “Insufferable tory gits against the bomb.”

We arrived, arm in arm, on the wrong side of the barriers and were wondering how we could get past the police lines and barriers to join the protesters when we realised how polite the rozzers were being. They smiled and nodded and all but doffed their caps as we were allowed to pass freely among them (either the badges were too small or they couldn’t read)! We spent the rest of the day wandering to and fro between the lines with complete impunity.

Ton Ton Macoute (the Met)

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© 2020 Deacon Martin

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