Tuesday, 7 December 2010

London Hooligan Soul - Then and Now...

In 1990, London felt the anger and passion of the people, Thatcher and her Tory party had instigated the Poll Tax and this was the last straw for many, it was the flame that ignited the blue touch paper and led to the 'Battle of Trafalgar Square'...

Dave Hill, a photographer tells his story...

"The Anti-Poll Tax demonstration had been a peaceful rally that was winding up by the time I arrived on that late Saturday afternoon in late March.

I had gone to Trafalgar Square in the hope of taking some interesting images of street protest, but within minutes of my arrival something had changed and the tension in the air quickly become palpable. Before long there was agitated pushing as the lines of demonstrators were contained by young and inexperienced police. The pushing soon escalated to a stand-off, with lines clearly drawn like those of a medieval battlefield, and bottles and stones started raining down on the police. This was when I realised that the 20 or so press photographers and I were in a no-mans land, halfway between the law and demonstrators, and anything thrown at the police that fell short was coming down on us.

The police lines then opened to allow the mounted riot officers to enter, heading straight for the demonstrators - through the ranks of photographers. To identify ourselves as press we held cameras in the air and the horses passed between us, towards those throwing bottles and stones. To my left South Africa House had just been set alright and black smoke poured out (this was 1990 and South Africa was still a hated apartheid regime).

Things were escalating very rapidly but it was only when a bottle smashed on a lamppost directly above me that I realised it was time to leave, so made my way to a pro-lab in Soho to get the film processed and safe.

In the days that followed the police appealed to all photographers present to surrender their images so that the troublemakers could be identified. They obviously hadn't considered the implications to photographers in the future, who would surely have been viewed as agents of the police had this happened.

As a result the two rolls of film that I shot on that Saturday afternoon have remained unseen for 20 years, with the exception of one shot that was used for the cover of our Ballistic Brothers 'London Hooligan Soul' album."

Dave Hill along with Ashley Beedle, Uschi Classen, Rocky and Diesel, was part of The Ballistic Brothers and the album he refers to was released in 1995.

  1. "Portobello Cafe"
  2. "Come On"
  3. "Soho Cab Ride"
  4. "I'll Fly Away"
  5. "Jah Jah Call You"
  6. "Mark's Lude"
  7. "I Don't Know"
  8. "Sister Song"
  9. "A Beautiful Source"
  10. "Steppin into Eden"
  11. "Peckings"
  12. "Uschi's Lament"
Check the audio HERE

Our favourite track

Taken from the album sleeve notes

"If our memories serve us well... Bunking school for crackers on a Friday lunchtime, forget your dinner ladies. Pirate radio,codes from the underground...Saturday night blues dances and forbidden moves to Phoebe's,Four Aces and Club Norick. Shaka, Fatman and Sir Coxone, the original drum and bass. Sneaking out of the back door with your brand new shoes. Saturday's alright for fighting. Skinheads getting a beat down, ambush in the night. Stuarts in the day Fila, Lacoste, Tacchini, Armani, Lois, Nike and Kappa. Taxing the rich and famous and rushing the Burberry door. Scoring a draw down the Saints. A pick up from the SPG. Blair Peach a crying shame the NF and unmarked police vans who is to blame? Clash city rockers and white men in Hammersmith Palais. Road trips to Caister, Soul Tribes, The Frontline and the Soul Partners. All dayers in Bournemouth taking the train, taking a train, ego trip dabbing speed it's all you need. Westwood, Family Quest no contest. West End B-boys and fly girls, chrome angels Graff bombing the Met. Breaking in the Garden ... Covent to you suckers. An armful of Studio 1 from Daddy Peckings. Flim Flam to Meltdown. The Jay Brothers, goodtimes and great tribulations. Gilles P and Paul Murphy Zulu style at the Electric. Brother Paul boogie times. The Beat Route and Hard Times. Fifteen years of fucking Tories, on the dole, a thousand stories of promised lands and meccas - Blackpool. To you the sweet sounds of Levine and Curtis. The Language Lab said and Dirtbox spread and old bill cracking miners heads. Who killed Liddle Towers? The Jam at Wembley seven times and National Health for the last time. Bump and hustle, soul 45s, too far gone there is no way back. Phuture, Acid, Confusion, The Rush, The Love, the smiling hooligan with dodgy gear open minds close and get the fear. East Grinstead and Bognor lads away, falling and laughing, escape to Brighton or off to Ibiza tying to maintain the buzz. Getting older and getting wed. Elvis is dead. Is anybody out there? A poll tax riot going on. They have sold my country..."

The following photo is one of the unseen shots take by Dave Hill in 1990.

copyright of David Hill, reproduced with rights holders permission

In 2010 London and other major cities are feeling the anger of the people, the Tory government have instigated legislation that see's and end to funded University tuition fee's...

What's next...?

Dave Hill now runs the incredible www.rootikal.net events featuring David 'Ram Jam' Rodigan

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