Saturday, February 25, 2006

Adolescent anarchist dabblings

The 'peace through superior firepower' link to the right reminds me that through most of my teenage years (and maybe still now) I had a small poster on my wall saying "Bullets, not ballots. Put the bastards in the cemetary". For some reason this sort of thing has always made me giggle. Like many other sub-editors, I always have to resist the urge to write entirely inappropriate headlines or sell-lines, even as a filler (as they always get left there by accident and then Bad Things Happen). My sense of humour doesn't tend to appeal to the serious pacifist, religious types, as I learn every time I forget myself and write something in The Friend.

When I got the poster I was, with a few other readers of this blog, a member of the Potteries Defiance Alliance. We fought the tyranny of the Conservative government and the Criminal Justice Act which (I think still) makes it technically illegal for more than two people to gather without permission, especially if they are broadcasting 'repetitive beats'. We, aged 14 and too old for youth club, too young for nightclubs (just), spent a happy afternoon in the front garden of the local Conservative Club dancing to the subversive beats of Beethoven while the Staffs and Keele students with us drank beer and baited the Tories therein.

I don't think we ever actually achieved anything - except a lie-down protest to demand speed-humps in Chesterton did work, if my poor memory serves me right - but it was good fun. We took to the streets of Stoke each week, sometimes sitting-in at the police station or the MP's surgery, handing out flyers with striking communist symbols to passing shoppers for them to place in the nearest bin. I used to make a fiver a go by venting my rage in the Sent'null's Startwrite page once I realised that they would instantly put anything in that was anything a bit more well-written than "There is lots of litter in my road". Now I come to think of it, it was probably that profitable sideline of the protest movement that halted my development into a fully fledged communist.


Jess said...

Ahh, those were the days.

chloe said...

Yay! PDA! PDA!

Mini Cheddars always remind me of those meetings, sitting at the back giggling with Andy the Student who smelt of weed.