RAR. Music & activism. Words & 2 tracks.

Sam was often by my side at gigs and events….. the single parent life innit?

Above. The Round House, Chalk Farm. London, one of the 1st few gigs for RAR. 2 amazing drummers! Greedy me. Glen Lefleur and Mitch Mitchell, of Jimi Hendrix band fame. He did several benefit gigs with me. A good man.

A letter. August 2018

Dear all our fellow authors, things are moving very fast at the moment and we face the resurgence of Fascist organisation here in Britain. Below is a letter drafted by some founders of RAR and the ANL calling for wider anti fascist action.

Statement from founder members of ANL & RAR

All of us who are committed to a tolerant, multiracial and multicultural society face a growing and serious challenge from the alt and fascist right the UK. Encouraged by Donald Trump and his close associate Steve Bannon, the release from jail of former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, the storming of Bookmarks – the socialist bookshop, and the disturbingly large mobilisations on the streets of London, Leeds, Manchester and elsewhere underline the scale of the threat. Boris Johnson’s recent racist and Islamophobic remarks are a calculated bid in the same direction.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s recent statements calling for an Anti Nazi League type cultural and political campaign is therefore very welcome and timely. We need a broader based, imaginative and vibrant campaign which unequivocally opposes all forms of racism, islamophobia and antisemitism.

As founder members over 40 years ago of both the original Anti Nazi League and its sister organisation Rock Against Racism we think that Stand up to Racism, Love Music Hate Racism and Unite Against Fascism have been established firmly within this tradition and indeed these organisations have already provided essential and much needed rallying points of opposition to the far right . This is a process which as John argues, now urgently needs to be deepened and extended uniting all people and organisations of goodwill against the huge challenges we face over the next few years from the alt and fascist Right. This will involve applying the tactics the ANL of mass propaganda for the 21st century and an unrelenting opposition to the racists and fascists wherever they organise with the cultural appeal of ANL/ RAR of large scale music and similar events in asserting the values of our multiracial and diverse society.

We believe this needs to done with the utmost speed. Tommy Robinson and his international backers are preparing a national and international tour this autumn seeking to build support and influence. Developments in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy highlight how urgent this now is. Echoes of the 1930s are all too real. Whatever our other political differences, we believe the time to come together against the deadly bacillus of racism and fascism is now. Please add your name to the unity statement published by Stand Up to Racism and thereby stengthen us all in building opposition to a new but equally dangerous c common enemy.

Paul Holborrow

Roger Huddle

Carol Grimes

Red Saunders

Reply to me and/or go to: http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/press-release-john-mcdonnell-anti-nazi-league/


Shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s recent call for an Anti-Nazi League-type cultural and political campaign is therefore very welcome and timely. We need a broader-based, imaginative and vibrant campaign that unequivocally opposes all forms of racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism.

As founder members over 40 years ago of the original Anti-Nazi League (ANL) and its sister organisation Rock Against Racism, we think that Stand up to Racism, Love Music Hate Racism and Unite Against Fascism have been established firmly within this tradition, and indeed these organisations have already provided essential and much-needed rallying points of opposition to the rising far right.

This is a process that, as John argues, now urgently needs to be deepened and extended, uniting all people and organisations of goodwill against the huge challenges we face over the next few years from the far right and fascists.

This will involve applying the ANL’s tactics of mass propaganda, unrelenting opposition to the racists and fascists wherever they organise, and the cultural appeal that ANL/RAR pioneered, with large-scale music and similar events asserting the values of our multiracial and diverse society.

We believe this needs to done with the utmost speed. Tommy Robinson and his international backers are likely to be preparing further national and international events in the autumn, seeking to build support and influence. Developments in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy highlight how urgent this is. Echoes of the 1930s are all too real.

Whatever our other political differences, we believe the time to come together against the poison of racism and fascism is now.

Peter Hain House of Lords; founder member, Anti-Nazi League 
Paul Holborow Founder member and national secretary, Anti-Nazi League 
Red Saunders Founder, Rock Against Racism 
Roger Huddle Founder, Rock Against Racism 
Jerry Dammers Musician, The Specials, 2 Tone, Rock Against Racism 
Carol Grimes Musican, Rock Against Racism 
Tom Robinson Musician, Rock against Racism 
Mykaell Riley Musician, Bass Culture, Steel Pulse, Rock Against Racism

 Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Below. My community 1960/70s St Stevens Gardens, All Saints Road. 1st Pics. A Benefit for the Powis Square Play Hut. Sam on Drum kit and Louis on Congas. I met Louis in Earls court in my bed sit, crashing on friends floors and homeless days around west and north west London. He would be like a Father to me until he died. I never ever met my own Father. I have a track further down called ‘Blues for Louis.’ On the CD Below.

Above. Neil Hubbard, Louis RIP. Dee RIP. A gathering of the community to raise money for a play hut for the local kids.

Dee on the right…cooked in The Mangrove next door to us, in All Saints Road. I was out in the world at barely 15. Along the way I made my own Family… Barely knew my own. Dee became a dear friend, like an older brother. I miss him still. RIP. Frank who ran the Mangrove really had my back when I lived next door. An extraordinary man.

Outside our yellow door. Susie and Sam. Below- the kids hanging out. The days when the community watched out for our collection of kids. Sam, Dee’s Boys, Tristram and Tarquin. Neil Hubbard from The Grease Band and then Kokomo

OUTSIDE MY WINDOWS ON ALL SAINTS ROAD.

Dee and me down in Wales, where I had a caravan.

Below. Some of the books which my life collided with the writers

Below a Track. When I was singing for Rar in the 1970s an album was recorded. It was during the days when I was afraid of bringing out my songs and poems. In every situation it was the men who wrote the songs. As I had been barely educated I had a rather big fear of making a fool of myself! I met inspiring musicians along the road, who inspired and encouraged me to write my own stuff. So I pulled them out from inside my head and underneath the bed. My life changed. The words poured out …..

A poem. ‘Blues for Louis,’ a little life story. Recorded at The Cowshed studio
Produced by Ian Shaw. Photo, Louis & my son Sam playing drums.

Inside my room, single bed, sink and gas ring
I listened to the blues, black vinyl warm spinning heart wanting the sound in my mouth.
Outside a window open in the summer heat the street the rowdy – dow of Earls Court Road
Saturday night down to Louis subterranean home made mystic with leaves, sticks, stones, incense filling the air as he cooked fragrant food from Mauritius, new tastes for my tongue, his hands beating time on a drum singing the songs I never forgot.
Seeking bohemian magic in Soho where Jazz is, late afternoon sun shooting lights and dusty smoke spirals, setting fire to golden brandy in my glass.
Sitting small in beatnik black and blue velvet, taking in mind seeds, drinking the juice of truth hanging on to the threads of dreams wanting love and more…
Bottling for Paris Nat in Piccadilly one spring his accordion, squeezing out the songs of France and the war, lost love and more.
Down to the big river.
A mournful London lullaby of tugboat and train, the evening rain on my face.
I remained at the riverside, mesmerised by the water, the tide and the flow of it, the comforting old of it
A raucous chorus of seagulls winging in on the wind from the sea in the east, hungry for the city’s feast.
Castles and elephants, bridges and spires, factories, domes, a million red brick homes.
Back to my home in The All Saints Road in The Grove next to The Mangrove Now I am in a winter mean morning wind raw in Bethnal Green, grey London streets blood shot with buses. A woman catches my eye, I smile, she curses, her voice a sore sound in the air, howl and scowl. I knew her a long lifetime ago.
He droops over his big issues near asleep underneath stooped back, heels clip clipping, cigarette tips glowing.
Underground sulphur smell, hot breath, bodies close and souls apart, swaying in a metal tube, eyes avoiding eyes avoiding touch and mind the gap. Behind newspapers roaring the words of war once more, where I came in.
Glow burning sunset on top of a hill, purple night inching in from the west. In the City below the Sirens wail and headlights strobe flicker between the leaves on the trees; on the road side a dog laughs…
A man barks and the breeze lifts the hem of a skirt, flowers low bow to the earth as I look with older eyes through tears and a once upon a time song. I remember Louis and the drum and the song as I sing my blues…………. Blues for Louis.

Below My very early days 1st Band The Race. 1965/6

Although we began to pack out gigs on the circuit, we were not signed….Bands who got those contracts were in the main 4 or 5 white men. Long story. SEE – https://wordpress.com/post/carolgrimes.com/21938

Below. A few projects at The Drill Hall Arts Centre. London.

Below 2 pics – With Hannah Wilson, Annie Whitehead, me, Josefina Cupido & Gail Ann Dorsey.

Below Soul Britannia. With Root Jackson, Linda Lewis, Madeline Bell, Hamish Stuart ……

For more see – https://wordpress.com/post/carolgrimes.com/12298

Below Scene on the Green Stoke Newington 1989

With- Juliet Roberts, Ian Shaw, Me & Charlie Ezikea

https://wordpress.com/post/carolgrimes.com/12422



Above SING VOICES Common Ground.


Below Wonderful Project with young people – South Africa, London and Manchester.

https://wordpress.com/post/carolgrimes.com/7764

Project Above & below with Najma & Jannette.

Below…a few Benefits over the years.

A wonderful project, one of many, with Rock School and the Princes Trust.

Below – Singing under the Lions in Trafalgar Square for Bengali friends… A Community Centre in Whitechapel London. Sam, by then, was a Punk! With Dave Vasco, Shelly Morris, Ollie Marland, George Butler, Colin Bass.

Below A few interesting events. 2020s

https://wordpress.com/post/carolgrimes.com/9937

‘Mau-Mau.’ Carol Grimes Eyes Wide Open. Recorded 1986. CD Eyes wide open.

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When I was a child growing up in the 50’s
I remember the Mau Mau.
Portrayed in the News I heard it on the radio.
I saw it in the papers & on the news reel screen.
Savage hoards of cannibals.
people who killed and plundered
raiding white peoples home and lands.
Mau Mau was the bogey man!
The dark reason for my fears in dreams.
Flashing eyes and spears and deafening screams.
They crashed through jungles and crept across the lands,
silently in the night to get me In my bed.
And I was afraid.
Why did nobody tell me
Who was Mau Mau and why?

On hot earth still throbbing with the heat of bloody turmoil.
Cities who’s riches and splendour are denied-to those who built them
with their sweat and their pain.
But spirits don’t die-
They cry but don’t die.

Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Piccolo Flute – Simon Clark*
Backing Vocals – Didi Hopkins, Dyan Birch, Hanna Wilson, Johnny Meringues, Josefina Cupido
Congas, Percussion – Neville Murray
Double Bass – Mario Castronari
Drums, Percussion – Mike Bradley
Electric Bass – Andy Herbert
Flute – Angele Veltmeyer
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Maciek Hrybowicz
Horns – The Kick Horns
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Steve Lodder
Producer – Alastair Gavin (tracks: 2 to 11), Maciek Hrybowicz* (tracks: 1)
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Tim Sanders
Trombone – Paul Nieman
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Roddy Lorimer
Vocals, Percussion – Carol Grimes

Rock Against Racism Forest Gate gig By Neandra Etienne 30 October 2021

Roger Huddle

On Friday 12 November 1976 at the Princess Alice, Carol Grimes and the Boogie Band performed at the first Rock Against Racism gig (RAR), organised by Roger Huddle, Red Saunders, local anti-racists and a few dock workers.

At the time, the popularity of the National Front (NF) had increased via the ballot box, on the streets and at West Ham United football ground. To counter their presence, Roger and the Anti-Nazi League (ANL) started to leaflet the football fans. He said:

“When we first leafleted as the ANL, most fans were very pleased to see us which once again showed that the NF were feared but not supported by everyone.”

Rock Against Racism Gig Black Echoes, Courtesy Carol Grimes

The NF blamed Black and Asian people for the cuts in social spending and rising unemployment. This led to increased attacks on these ethnic groups. The situation was not helped by musician Eric Clapton, who made a racist rant during a Birmingham concert in August 1976. He called for the repatriation of all immigrants and gave support to the far-right racist Tory Enoch Powell.

Roger explains why it was important to make a stand against the NF by forming RAR as a political movement:

“We knew what the NF stood for from studying Hitler and Germany in the 1930s. The NF’s hatred of all things foreign, including Black music. “It seemed a good idea to hold a gig claiming diversity and cultural unity against the ideas of the NF. We decided right from the beginning to call it Rock Against Racism: Reggae Soul Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jazz Funk Punk – Our Music.”

Roger and Red launched their book Reminiscences of RAR: Rock Against Racism 1976-1982 on 12 November 2016. They asked 71 people to write their memories of the period and published them alphabetically as written.

Roger and Red also contributed to White Riot, a 2019 documentary film about Rock Against Racism. Roger feels that RAR helped to destabilise the NF:

“Across the country, we broke the NF sending them into the dustbin of history. Music changed; the diversity of our everyday lives was reflected in the culture. Racism ebbs and flows and must always be fought. We were part of the history of that fight.”

There was a second gig at the Royal College of Art in December that year and a third on May Day 1977 at the Roundhouse.

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