Online Archive  
Issue 13 - June 1973
Something In The Air
Just back from London, spent an afternoon and evening with Lindisfarne - new Lindisfarne going to be a knockout - Tommy Duffy on base and other great expatriate electric Geordies - bottles of wine - getting the numbers off the floor - waiting for Charlie to fly over from San Francisco - during the rehearsals I watched, the shape of the music comes from anyone of them with the ear and the inclination - Jacka told me that when he was sixteen and at the Art College in Newcastle, David Westerly had read him my scap and shagg poems in Geordie dialect - Tommy Duffy was with Sect when we all did the Town Moor free concert one wet summer Saturday a few years ago - a reunion - went to the World's End bar at the arse end of Kings Road near where they were rehearsing - great cockney vibes - watched Sunderland returning home with the cup, on the news - "howere the lads, howere the lads". Alan jumps on the piano under the telly ... "howere the lads, howere the lads", tinkles a little tune - back to the NEWS - an old cockney woman walks past on her way to piss, looks up at the screen, "that fucking Heath, he's the one - if I had a gun I'd fucking shoot him" - that's right ma - back to the bar - quick game of darts with Alan - London pubs play from eight foot - a couple of locals want to play doubles - Alan says; "we play from 7'6" in the north east so do you mind?", he's tall enough to stretch over and place it in without letting go of the dart - the rest of the lads want to get back and rehearse - down go a few more draught Guinness - the landlord has the last game with us; "has anyone explained the rules? If you beat the gaffer you ger thrown out" - bet a quid we lose - Listen, did you know that fucking Gateshead Corporation are ganin' to run a fucking motorway through the park? we talk feverishly - "what shall we do about it?" we make plans to be released later - back home in Gateshead the kids have discovered the motorway threat, and Matthew (nine) says "wa ganna have a revolution and hoy the councillors under the bulldozers."

We can forgive his impatience and lack of subtlety when you examine the conditions of his and his mates' lives ... VOTING DAY for the new Gateshead council - not one candidate is running against the motorway - meet Charley Rogers in the park; are you voting Charley? Who's there to vote for? I didn't vote either - the same story evident at the SOCEM rally a few weeks ago apart from the various housewives doing their star trips, what was most depressing was the lack of direction - and what was most amusing was the council panel game with some overweight civic gangster spewing out the cliches and the fob-offs to an irate and greatly amused audience chuckling into the paper aeroplanes the kids were throwing at the compere, who let it be known he'd "given up my time to be here, so don't make it hard on me by making me think you're anything other than a few thousand TV sets. I've some serious questions written on bits of paper to put to the panel. "... his parting words, 'if anyone here has got a car I suggest they drive it into the Tyne'. Ho ho, how pollution conscious. What's the Tyne done to deserve being used like that? Who came over was that even if we elect an independent candidate, he or she, would never get voted onto the decision making committees which are controlled by either of the two parties ... therefore our votes are like confetti ... we live in Avenue Road which runs onto the part - out the back is a lane from which the shit is infrequently collected and where paranoid house-owners bark like alsatians at the kids who are forced to run wild there - out the front the road runs parallel with the A1 and gets a lot of its traffic tearing along, which makes it totally unsafe for young bairns - opposite is the grammar school where the kids sometimes trespass to play on the grass - recently all the households in the street got a circular letter from the department of education for Gateshead corporation, asking us to report any children playing on the grammar school grounds to the police. I know we live in Nazi Germany, but would even Kafka have predicted that one? No wonder the 9 year olds are getting angry - two days ago a dozen fully ARMED commandos were running down the street in a commercial manner, dogs barking at their heels and the kids pissing themselves laughing - don't they have training grounds? or are they having work-outs in areas they expect to be deployed in at some point in the not too distant future? - they chanted as they ran "AIRBORN AIRBORN" were they angels? or don't we believe in them? How far away is Belfast again? The kids seem to think that Gateshead couldn't do what Newcastle did to its parks, because we're more desperate here - from all ages the people seem to be mobilising against the motorway - Gateshead has one of the worst records for recreational areas, amongst all the cities in England - THE PEOPLE FOR THE PARK watch this space for further developments.

Tom Pickard