I’m in two minds about charity. On the one hand, it offers direct help for people in dire need. On the other, there should be no need for charity in the first place. In a sense, the fact that charity picks up some of the pieces helps to keep those who do the devastating in business.
There’s a reason why billionaire company owners and inane celebs love nothing more than donating to charity – all set off against tax, of course, unless they have figured out ways to evade HMRC altogether. Noblesse oblige. It’s their way of keeping the deserving poor at bay while showing the rest of us that the rich man’s world isn’t quite so heartless.
But, as any fool can work out, their existence is the reason why people depend on charity in the first place. As the German playwright Bertolt Brecht expressed in a children’s rhyme:
Poor man and rich man stood there and looked at each other. Said the poor man, ‘if I weren’t poor, you wouldn’t be rich’.
Why is a roof over your head a luxury rather than a basic right? Why do charities need to step in to finance cancer research or provide refuge for battered partners? Why are entrepreneurs who withhold life-saving medication from the sick not simply hanged from lamp posts in the street?
Some may argue these are fine points to make when you’re freezing to death in the streets of London or have been struggling with cancer. Well, I do find myself chipping in sometimes, despite reservations. My favourite way of being charitable, it has to be said, is when I get more than just illusory good feelings in return. An unexpected vintage Ben Sherman from a charity shop, for instance. Or else, a night of ska, soul, and skinhead reggae in Tottenham. That’s where ‘In the City’ comes in.
This club night has already been going for one and a half years at the king of venues, Tottenham’s T Chances. I stumbled in by accident a few months back and was well entertained by the resident DJ. Guesting on the decks on Fri 12 February will be Javato Tough Times of Spanish Oi band Superbia (pictured below), who will also be DJing at the Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton in June.
All proceeds go to Shelter From The Storm, a charity that “provides bed, dinner and breakfast for up to 44 homeless people every night of the year”. At the danger of repeating myself: in a fairer world, accommodation would be extorted from those who have too much of it at gunpoint – preferably by people’s militias in Sta Prest. But since we live in a world that is far from perfect… we might as well enjoy ourselves at this well hosted, well intentioned club night.
What’s more, an Oi live event featuring the East End Badoes will be taking place downstairs on the same date. Remember the Badoes? Formed in the late 1970s, these herberts could be described as Cockney Rejects without the subtleties and artistic pretensions. I believe they only made it to vinyl once, namely when contributing ‘The Way It’s Gotta Be’ to the 1982 compilation, Back on the Streets. Following an extended ‘creative break’, they’ve been reactivated a few years ago to put the fear of Oi in you.
Also on the bill: Tear Up, who self-define as “Britain’s worst Oi band” – listen to excerpts from their demo below and judge for yourself – as well as The Commited and Terminal Heads, who I know nuffink about. Note: while the East End Badoes once released a demo named Let’s Ave It, Tear Up call theirs Fucking Ave It. A winning combination.
Provided you aren’t at the 100 Club to watch Newtown Neurotics and Ruts DC – as always, check the London Skinhead Calendar for details – there really is no reason not to attend this double event. It’s the ticket of the month.