The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Lance Armstrong's fate got me thinking that in the world of sport, the worst thing that you can do is to be caught taking performance- enhancing drugs - "to be caught" being, of course, the important bit.
You immediately become a non-person, your achievements are wiped from the record books and you are fated to live out your days in a mixture of ignominy and obscurity.
And rightly so.
But imagine if the same principle applied to the world of rock'n'roll - if every song, every album, every gig performed by people who had taken drugs was eradicated from the musical canon and cast into the pit of oblivion.
Who'd be left? By my reckoning, US straight edge hardcore band Fugazi, Cliff Richard ... and me.
Yes, I'd definitely be safe. I got through my poetically formative years on beer rather than stuff like LSD which, fortunately, means that my work has always been devoid of hippy bollocks and when I talk about "cherry blossom" I invariably mean boot polish.
My drug of choice is definitely not performance-enhancing in any sense of the word. Is it, darling? Is it, occasional unlucky audience members? No, I thought not.
Three lovely gigs last weekend and as for the snow I really don't know what all the fuss was about.
Friday in Welwyn Garden City, where I was pleased to see a healthy contingent of the Hatfield anti-fascist mob who saved my arse several times during the gig wars of the 1980s.
Incidentally, the late Dave Hann's book Physical Resistance, A Hundred Years Of Anti- Fascism (Zero Books) has its launch in Brighton this Friday and comes highly recommended.
On Saturday, after a trip to a freezing Saint Andrews to watch the Seagulls, I had a really enjoyable night at the Rising Sun Arts Centre in Reading, an autonomous and volunteer-run venue which has been hosting radical culture for years.
Such places are few and far between and are exactly what we need in these Tory-ravaged times.
If you live in the area, please give it your support. You can find out more at www.risingsun-artscentre.co.uk.
And then last Sunday I was part of a benefit gig for a food bank. In Brighton, in Britain in 2013, we needed to do a gig for a food bank.
It was a great night and we collected a mountain of food to help the poor and needy - big up to Robb Johnson, MC4, the rapidly becoming stellar Bandana Collective, wonderful young singer songwriter Momma Swift (pictured) and the acerbically tuneful Pog.
But the fact that we had to do this gig at all means that there are evil scumbags in government who should be rotting in jail for crimes against the people.
Simple as that.
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