wpe88062.gif (499020 bytes)down on the Front Line

all was quiet

the calm before the storm

of the Brixton Riot


the atmosphere was tense

but life carried on

seemed like business as usual

in Babylonbrixton4.gif (13214 bytes)


a cop car pulled up

like a thousand times before

& out popped

the long strong arm of the Law


what happened next

is anybody's guess

you won't learn the truth

from the right wing press


imagine being young

unemployed & black

hassled by police

you'd soon fight back


everyone's born equal

with a right to be free

try telling that

to the S.P.G.


they'll ignore your words

but may listen to sticks

Molotov cocktailsbrixtonpolice.jpg (13729 bytes)

stones & bricks


don't blame the Rasta

he's not a brute

the British Empire taught him

how to burn & loot


just because he's black

he's been treated like a slave

would you put up with that

from the cradle to the grave


so come to the Front Line

show which side you're on

remaining undecided

you're as good as dead & gone


brothers & sisters

they can't arrest us all

there's only one way forward

if your back's against the wall


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"A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard." (Martin Luther King)


(Was living in Brixton & left literally the day before the notorious Riot. Could see it coming a mile away - so many unemployed, disaffected Blacks standing on street corners, one spark & the lot would blow...)


brixton4.gif (13214 bytes)police

riot 2






I published "Blitz on Brixton" by photocopying it on red card with a hand-drawn brick design. Sometime later, when Linton Kwesi Johnson performed in Edinburgh, I went to his dressing room before the show & asked to see him - he seemed to have a private army of guards - eventually I negotiated for him to come to the door & rapped "Blitz on Brixton" to him & gave him a copy. He said, "Really nice, man" & that was it, it felt diplomatic to leave. I was rather hoping he might offer me a spliff! What I really wanted was to perform it on the same stage as him... but of course that wasn't going to happen 'cos he was a celebrity & then, as now, I was a non-entity.


[NB to hear embedded sound, enable audio in your browser & you'll hear me, the man, singing this hear song to a reggae backbeat track specially composed by my good friend of old Mark Farrar]