Published in 1981, this book by punk poet Garry Johnson – who can be heard on some of Gary Bushell’s ‘Oi!’ albums – has long been out of print. Even the 2008 reissue now sells for 100 quid on Amazon. To be honest, it isn’t really worth this kind of money.
Time to make a free PDF available, then – guaranteed without viruses, malware, dodgy redirecting, etc. I don’t think the publishers, Babylon Books, are still in business – and even if they were, they wouldn’t stand a chance against my super-expensive lawyers. So here we go:
Contents include a Southall eyewitness account – more perspectives on the same disaster are available here – rants, and poems. What’s striking is how similar the views expressed by Johnson really were to those of the much maligned Crass/hippie punk camp. ‘Politics’ left and right only stop you from ‘thinking for yourself’. All politicians are ‘the same’. All organisations just want to ‘use the kids’. And so on.
If your politics have never evolved beyond this basic outlook, then you should probably, ahem, start ‘thinking for yourself’. Or read a book, and not just punk lit either. However, there’s an immediacy to ‘The Story of Oi!’ (about which, alas, we learn very little) that makes it one of the most authentic and therefore most ‘punk’ documents of the era. And, in fairness to Johnson, he was a real pissed off kid, not an earnest peace punk passing this stuff off as philosophy.
A mere two years later, his poems would become much better. Anyway, enjoy the book!