Martin Jones 2

Martin Jones 2

Interviewed on 31.05.2011

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[TRACK 1]

 

TONY WRIGHT:

It’s Tony Wright, 31st of May 2011 and I’m interviewing Martin Jones at his home.  So can you tell me your full name and where and when you were born? (Martin’s dog is in room)

 

MARTIN JONES:

My name’s Martin Jones, I was born in 1966 at Queen Charlotte Hospital, Hammersmith in London and it went downhill from there really [laughing]

 

TW:

And Hammersmith – what was it like in Hammersmith?

 

MJ:

It was alright.  I was brought up in Shepherds Bush really which is next to it, West London.  Yeah nice place, it was great because it was a largely West Indian, Indian-Irish community which was great to grow up in as a kid….went to Elesley Road School till about the age of ten……then moved with my parents to Abingdon in Oxfordshire which was very nice

 

TW:

What brought that change about?

 

MJ:

Wanting to get out of London I suppose. I went back to live with my grandmother later on but I spent most of my life in…..either London or Oxfordshire

 

TW:

So if you moved with your parents was it because of their work that they moved to Oxfordshire?

 

MJ:

No they just wanted  something better I suppose because it was….dunno…clean air, clean air, fields that sort of thing

 

TW:

Right.

 

MJ:

I never ever left the house when we got there.  

 

TW:

What work did they do?

 

MJ:

My father was a mechanic……my mother was a hairdresser…..both very decent, hard-working people…..my mum for some reason….family reasons, now lives in Kenya, my dad lives in Great Yarmouth which is where I met my partner Samantha sixteen years ago and moved to Norwich for a while…..eight years, nine years maybe and then I moved to Hebden Bridge

 

TW:

Right.

 

MJ:

There’s an awful lot happened in between that obviously but

 

TW:

Yeah, there’s a lot really.  So, did your parents….were they born in London?  Were they Londoners who wanted to go away

 

MJ:

No, my mum was an Eastender…..my dad was, I think he actually came….my dad was born….he was actually born in Abingdon itself, I think is what made him want to go…..I can’t remember…..I think we lived an a place called Harwell as well but I was very, very small so I don’t really remember that…..I remember going back to London but it’s……never really talked about it – it’s nearly thirty years ago, so…..yeah, forty years ago…..

 

TW:

So it was almost like your father going back to his roots in a way.

 

MJ:

Yes he had all these brothers and sisters and obviously his mum who I never met; I never met his father as well – his father passed away, I think before I was born……yeah is was his town, it was where he was brought up, so…….haven’t been back there.  We drove through there once a little while ago but like everything, they’ve built on every bit of green landscape, and where it was a separate town with small villages around it, it’s now…..the….housing estates seem to be drawing them all together if you know what I mean.  What was once green belt area no longer exists and fields we used to play in, allotments and things like that are…..they’ve gone which is a shame, but…..that’s the way of the world

 

TW:

I knew some friends who lived in Abingdon – went there in the late seventies…..a place called The Grange which was quite a large sort of old manor house and they turned it into a kind of commune.  There must have been about thirty or forty people lived there and it seemed to be….in that part of the world there was that sort of mentality of people were working together and doing things…..do you think any of that kind of idea has rubbed off on you, or did your parents agree with that sort of thing?

 

MJ:

No, I think my mum and dad both………….I suppose I could say they were working class….but they…apart from the time thinking now….in the seventies when Labour had really messed everything up big time, and it was….it was the three day week and I can remember…..the power cuts, three days of electricity and that sort of thing, cos my dad…..because of his work…..they were part of the people that voted Thatcher in….I didn’t like that…..and yeah…..I’m at the other end…..sorry we’d better cut it……no it’s fine, sorry

 

TW:

So you would have been….a young teenager at that time

 

MJ:

I think that Thatcher was voted in it was about ’79……I’d sort of be like eleven, twelve, maybe a bit older, I don’t know, it was the year I started my secondary school so I’d be….yeah, eleven or twelve and I knew there was something wrong with her right from the start

 

TW:

So were you sort of rebelling against your parents’ attitude do you think?

 

MJ:

I think so, yeah, I think it started me off as a punk rocker, I just dunno….yeah definitely…..went against everything they stood for, yeah and probably still do…..so I haven’t seen them in years…..probably haven’t seen my dad - haven’t seen my mum in ten years, haven’t seen my dad in probably….six years, seven years maybe……that’s just the way it is.

 

TW:

Is that because of politics?

 

MJ:

No, it’s just……don’t know, just…..how I live and how they live are at the other end of the spectrum. I don’t have this craving for money and awful things – cars and big houses which is what they wanted. My dad……he owns a guest house now; they did own a thirty six bedroom hotel until they split up, or something stupid like that – it was a massive place and….as I said my mum moved to Kenya and I’ve seen her once since which was a great loss, and my dad – my dad does his own thing, he’s a biker…..right wing biker…..two good reasons not to speak to him……[speaking to dog] Go!, I’m not speaking to Tony.

 

TW:

So, back in the seventies, early eighties, you were just going into high school, you’re conflicting with your parents…politics and you’re getting into the whole punk thing then, so what kind of…..what was your…..kind of….. what were your ideas about, you know, growing up at that time?

 

MJ:

I think I liked the music and I liked upsetting people.  It was…..yeah, it was…..I dunno, it was…..I suppose when anybody gets into rock ‘n’ roll or punk, or whatever you wanna call it – it’s just a name – it’s that thing of discovering who you are, how you’re going to define yourself in life and that was a building block for me, and it also…..yeah, it just…..it’s been part of my life every since and I got into the sort of music and fashion thing, it’s now the politics of it, cos in the late seventies it was anti-political and hate everything and destroy and smash everything up, and mid eighties, early eighties it was very… well,  for me, the punk rock thing put CND back on its feet in the seventies and early eighties – very late seventies, early eighties, which was a massive part – I still believe in that today….and it also got me into the DIY aspect of things, form your own bands, do it for yourself, don’t….put money in other people’s pockets for your hard work…..I still go with that ethos today……just got older and fatter now [laughing]

 

TW:

When you say DIY, do it for yourself, do you mean everything in life or just the music side of things?

 

MJ:

I think it was….definitely the music side of things.  I believe whole heartedly that….I don’t…..when you make albums, you can, you know, copy it as many times as you want and give it away to your friends.  When we play gigs we play benefits, we don’t actually get anything for it, it’s not why we’re doing it, and if you’re doing it for the money then you’re playing the wrong sort of music.  As far as I’m concerned you should be in a……band on MTV or if you do…..if you’re playing real punk rock it should be about…..like making things a bit better in the world…..knocking down barriers between people and….it got me into the animal rights thing, very definitely….I’ve been vegan over a decade and a half, so no, I think the band ‘Crass’ were a massive influence in my life in that day, because they were mainly….they were a mixture of between middle class and working class people.  Who found……they found a common denominator, they found that they just wanted to be people, you know, middle class, working class, what a load of shit is one of their sayings and I still agree with that, it’s just a case of…you treat people how they are, I don’t care if someone’s a millionaire or…..cut the arse out of their trousers, I couldn’t care less, still give them the same respect and hope I get the same respect back, but it’s not always the way is it with rich people

 

TW:

I mean, talking about you know, believing in CND and anti-nuclear, and a few other things like that from the punk era – do you think that was just a new expression of like old hippie values, who were very anti-corporate and all of that.  Is there a connection between hippies and punks do you think?

 

MJ:

Yeah I think it was Penny Rimbaud who was the drummer in Crass – a very, very well read, very intelligent – he’s a hippie, he’s written a book called ‘The Last of the Hippies’ – he’s very much into the Windsor free festivals and all the free festivals in the seventies, and he was brought up in rock ‘n’ roll in the fifties, cos he was you know, he was knocking on a bit when he was playing drums for Crass and….they had a commune, Dial House, which is….I think it’s Essex way….it’s still a commune now, it always had….it’s a beautiful place, it’s…it’s always had this open door policy.  If you’re an artist or if you wanna go there and think and get away from things, there’s a room, we’ve always had that, that’s why we have people staying upstairs; if people need a room and we’ve got one, they can have it, we don’t charge them for it, and I think Crass did the same – it’s yours if you need it, you know, and…..that was very…..that whole attitude was a very hippie, was seen as a very hippie attitude by a lot of punks, and at first I thought it was, you know, hippie shit, but it isn’t, it’s sort of like you get into an ethos and it’s very connected with the hippies, it’s…..there was a lot of…..punks who started growing our hair in dreads and stopped wearing the uniform and just wore black, just to separate ourselves away from the chaos punks who were just into smashing things up and stuff.  We started doing our own gigs…..started going to see a lot of very influential bands such as Crass, Conflict, Subhumans, Icons of Filth…..Flux of Pink Indians again, that’s what got me into the animal rights side of things…..there is a difference, and I know it’s another sub-culture in a culture, sub-culture…..but we tended to get more done.  A lot of people wrote their own fanzine or organised demos, you know, organised festivals, organised gigs, organised fanzines and now they’re all been done on the computer, and I miss the fanzine, I miss the paper, but yeah, it was a much more constructive way of life; it had its madness as well, you know, it was still a punk rock scene, it wasn’t acceptable in normal society, but it wasn’t….you know, it was….yeah, it was more constructive.

 

TW:

Is there any connection then, like hippies as going backwards or going forwards into Goths – is there any connection there?

 

MJ:

I like the Goths.  For me when the Goth thing started it was….in the early eighties.  It was, again, it was all part of the punk scene, it was just ‘you’re a Goth punk’ you know, you were all black and you watched Sioxsie and the Banshees and The Damned which I like as well, but again, people….people didn’t want….they broke away and done their own thing, and also…..a lot of people had a problem with ‘em. [laughing]

 

TW:

Let the cat out.  Why did a lot of people have a problem with them?

 

MJ:

Well it’s just that whole…..bullshit cult division thing you know

 

TW:

Categorising people, putting them into pigeon holes?

 

MJ:

Yeah, my gang’s better than your gang and that sort of….exactly what it’s meant not to be – it’s meant to be about ‘we don’t give a shit’ but really it was just another cliquey set of values from a cliquey set of people on both sides you know, and it’s…..I suppose it still is today.  I like Goths, I think they’re smart, I like the Edwardian look, you know, very…..very classy, certainly better than any punks ever looked, but it’s… the ultimate thing is  how stupid it is….like the young girl that got beaten to death in Bacup….and it’s just what…..over clothes?  And if you could step back and sort of say to yourself, you know, ‘this is absolute madness’ you know……that really upset me….sort of twenty years old and got beaten to death because she was a Goth, it’s just…..I can’t think of anything more abhorrent than that to be honest…..

 

TW:

The DIY thing and this idea of being self reliant……it reverberates within this area because the history of this area is full of different kinds of people who stood up for themselves

 

MJ:

And sorted it out and did it for themselves, yeah.  Well speaking for my friend Suzie, she must be…..I think she must be getting….I’m not gonna say sixty cos if I’m wrong she’ll punch me, but she was here ..….she’s been here about fifteen years and she thinks she’s a……can’t think where she comes from but it begins with D….anyway she’s a Northerner, she’s a right Northerner and she…..she was explaining the history of the town to me and how it was pretty much a derelict town and it came in and people squatted the area – I wholeheartedly agree with squatting, I think if there’s an empty building and people need somewhere to live – live in it, you know, so long as you don’t wreck the place, you’re more likely to look after it than somewhere that’s falling apart….yeah, so the hippies started all that – the hippies – the squatters came in basically took all the top rows of streets and the kids got brought up with a different attitude to other places, which is brilliant, so I think that’s why I love this town, and you very rarely meet an arsehole, and that I like, and I’ve met a lot of arseholes in my life, and it’s nice….when I first moved here I walked across the…..I walked across the car park and somebody said ‘are you alright mate’ and I went ‘what’s up?  Are you taking the piss or what?’ – ‘no he’s just been friendly, that’s what they do around here’ – ‘oh okay’ and it took me about a year to get used to how friendly people are up here, and I still get took back by it sometimes, it’s nice, and Hebden Bridge is like…..it’s described as where all the punks come to die, and it’s basically a punk graveyard – it’s like the elephants – the elephants go off to die, so that’s what punks do you know, we’re all growing old disgracefully [laughing]

 

TW:

What brought you to Hebden in the first place then?

 

MJ:

…….I was playing in a punk band in Norwich and I’d just about destroyed myself on speed, and Sam just said ‘why don’t we go’……I’m lucky still to have her, very lucky, and she got me going, we went on a map like that, literally like that and it just happened to be Hebden Bridge, it could have been Tod, it could have been Mytholmroyd; a friend drove us up in winter, it was snowing, sort of didn’t know where the town centre was so we walked through the town centre and thought ‘God, is that it?’ and I said ‘we’ve got to get a house’ – we happened to see a house – we got a seven and a half ton truck up here, brought all our stuff up here, couldn’t fit much of it in the house, ended up giving it to Daryl, the guy who drove us up, cos he worked for a charity, an alcohol and drugs charity, donated all our furniture, had to go back with all this Victorian stuff that we’d happily given away because we couldn’t fit it in the house, so we had to go to the dreaded IKEA and buy all this horrible flat pack furniture and put it upstairs, cos it was the only way that we could fit it in, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else……yeah, I think I’ll just grow old and miserable up here – old and grumpy [laughing]

 

TW:

So you said you found the people here….sorry, how long have you been here?

 

MJ:

Been here five years, five years now, it seems like I’ve been nowhere else, cos I can walk across to the newsagent’s and I know three or four people – I think going to The Fox and Goose helps, I think working behind the bar is a…..that’s a mistake [laughing] but yeah, I really….I don’t wanna go anywhere else……I’ve got friends who moved down to Cornwall, to places like this, and they moved there, and it’s a case of……. ‘there’s nothing to do down here’ whereas here, there’s lots going on in the town, and you’ve got Bradford, I’ve spent quite a bit of time there, Leeds and Manchester, and York, so you’ve got the best of both worlds.  I certainly don’t feel any need to go to London again – I’m not saying that I won’t, but…..that yearning for the city and the life, it’s just…..no interest.

 

TW:

Right.  You said people were very friendly.  Were those local people or were they other people who had come in from the other areas and were like yourself, open… 

 

MJ:

I don’t think there’s that many locals round here any more is there?

 

TW:

Oh they’re still about

 

MJ:

I think we’ve invaded and driven ‘em out haven’t we? [laughing] No, it’s both – I don’t even notice now, it’s all….again, who cares?  They’re nice people…..apart from Pete Sutcliffe - he’s a local….. if you’re watching this Pete, sorry…[laughing]

 

TW:

What’s your kind of take on the sort of….the gap, the generation gap kind of idea, you know, kids that were born here and are fairly young, in their teens or early twenties….and some of ‘em stay, some of ‘em leave because there’s not a lot of work and if they do get it, it’s not that…..not paid that well

 

MJ:

I think it’s…..I think it’s the same all over.  If you’re born in a small place you wanna get out.  If you’re born in a big place you wanna go somewhere else – the grass is always greener on the other side isn’t it?  But it’s not really, it just looks like that until you get to it, and then it’s as shit as where you are, but I think you’ve got to find your own place where you are but I think people in Hebden don’t realise how lucky they are, you know, even if they’re born here.  I think the film that was done about Hebden a little while ago…..it’s no different from any other part of the world or any other town, no matter, that stuff happens

 

TW:

Was that about that young person on drugs and

 

MJ:

yeah

 

TW:

He committed suicide didn’t he?

 

MJ:

I know four, no five of my friends have committed suicide through drugs, it’s stupid, but it happens everywhere, it’s not a….I thought the film actually gave Hebden Bridge a disservice, I didn’t think it was…..dunno, just didn’t think it was that…..dunno, can’t put my finger on it, it didn’t sit right, I think that that happens all over the world, in every town, in every country, you know, and it’s cos Hebden Bridge, it’s very small, and somewhat cliquey place; you might notice it a bit more, but you go behind any bus shelter or under any bill board, there’s gonna be people jacking up, or living behind there and that’s in every town.  There was a young lad,  living in a tent on the top of the hill there with mental health problems, we bought a load of clothes the other day to take up to him and he’s disappeared, so it’s a transient town; you’ve got a lot of travellers here, you’ve got a lot of people come here for summer on boats and whatever, and go….again that’s a very positive thing, cos it’s an input for people, but you also get people who come here because…..it’s the right place to be

 

TW:

Well they’re trying to….what they have done made it a tourist town, so you get a lot of visitors who come for a day or two and then go – does that affect you, having that many people around?

 

MJ:

No I don’t mind.  I know a lot of people who moan about people coming in and looking – gorping at the shop windows and that, but that’s what keeps the town alive, that’s what makes it, you know, it is a little……someone described it as the Glastonbury of the north, which I agree – it’s got that nice… I don’t think it’s as commercial as Glastonbury, obviously not, but it’s got that…..I don’t want to sound like a hippie, but it’s got that energy about it, it’s got that…..it’s just a nice place to be - it’s very beautiful, even in the winter it’s beautiful, and I think people don’t actually realise how lucky they are if they’ve been born here and live here – stick ‘em in the middle of Shepherds Bush where I lived, or Hackney, stick ‘em there for a month on a council estate on the dole, or in a tower block and they’d wanna come back here, I know I would, and it’s just…..yeah…..right move [laughing]

 

TW:

Right, okay.  Well....I mean you’ve been here five years, and even in those five years Hebden Bridge has changed.  Can you notice any of those changes that have happened?

 

MJ:

Well the first thing that did change for me was in a structural, physical way, which was the fire station being knocked down, and then it being turned into a car park, and then they were trying to put a supermarket on it or something, and then they wanted to build flats on there, and it’s…..we don’t need more flats, what you need is affordable housing for people to live, not luxury flats for people that are…..you know, who’ve got the money and wanna come and live here for the weekend, cos that’s ….you need affordable housing for the young people here.  They’ve got a great transport system; if you wanna get on a train to go to work it’s there – you can go to Leeds, Manchester, and forty minutes travelling these days, it’s not a lot to get to work, and I think that’s what this town lacks, is affordable housing for young people and, you know, but that’s the same all over since they sold the housing stocks off, they have a job getting their feet in the ladder, and it’s no different here, it just happens to be more prettier.

 

TW:

The fire station being knocked down and turned into a car park, and then people putting in plans to build, you know, supermarkets and flats and…it’s not the only scheme like that that has been tried in Hebden Bridge.  People sort of…..protested against it and in many cases, got people to stop

 

MJ:

Is this the chap that was trying to build that awful monstrosity in the car park?

 

TW:

Well there is that one on Garden Street, yeah, but did you protest against it?

 

MJ:

I signed the papers, he was actually in the office, and I just went in and said to him ‘I’ve moved away from shit holes like this – I don’t want it built here – I’ve moved here for a reason’ you know, and that view, when you get off the train and walk over…..I don’t know what that’s called…it’s the…..as you’re sort of going down into town, you go up and over and you can look right over the whole town, down the valley, that’s my favourite view, that is, you can see right down the valley, whether it’s snowing or it’s raining or whatever, I will stop and stand and just think ‘shit, I live here’ and it is, it’s just…..and that would have all been obscured; it was a very selfish thing, but you know, he wanted to put……stacked car parking in there…..he said ‘but they are ecological’ – no they’re not – he’s a ridiculous man.  It’s a classic case of…..he’s one of the very first – he’s done a lot for this town – he was one of the first hippies to come and squatted, bought a couple of houses and now very rich

 

TW:

Well he wasn’t , Fletcher you’re on about, he was born and bred here, but has done a lot for this town, but a lot of people are anti some of his plans.  Do you think it’s because he’s…..he has the right – he has the heart, the right heart and he wants to help and improve and preserve this town?  Maybe this part of his vision has gone off track – do you think that’s what it is or

 

MJ:

Possibly, I don’t know the man.  All I knew about him was he was…..that’s all I knew – what he was gonna do, and Simon told me he was born and bred here, I suppose he feels he’s got more right to, so…..I don’t know…..but I just think it’s a place that if you…..if you start….. I had an Eric Morecombe moment then, [laughing] if you start…….if you try to improve it too much, if you try to improve something too much, you then ruin it and I think this place is….it’s not perfect, but it’s not far from it, for somebody who’s lived here, lived here for only five years, I’ve fallen in love with the place….

 

TW:

What do you think can be done then to improve it?

 

MJ:

……..I don’t know, again, the only thing I think, on the outskirts there should be….I don’t think they should build the centre up any more, I don’t think there should any more building there.  I do quite agree with the whole Town Hall been done and turned over to the people of Hebden Bridge, I think that’s a fantastic idea, but I think there should just be somehow more council housing, more affordable houses – that’s the only thing, you know, and obviously the work thing for younger people to keep ‘em here because if you haven’t got younger people here then a place dies, you lose the idea and soul of the place, but there are still loads of young people here….  I like the way the council embraces the skateboarding thing and…..[dealing with dog, Go]] but yeah, sort of how they built the massive skateboard park for the kids to play in – if you don’t give them something to do, they turn out like me [laughing]…..don’t moan about kids and offer ‘em nothing, that’s stupid.  I think Hebden Bridge is quite an enlightened place as far as that goes; they’re starting to…..you know….the skateboard park is a classic example of giving them something to do. 

 

TW:

Do you mix with the other generations, like, I mean, if you’re in your forties, do you mix with people like…in their twenties and then people in their sixties?

 

MJ:

Yeah I couldn’t care less as long as I get on with people.  As Sam describes me, I’m a gobshite that will speak to anyone, I don’t care, you know, yeah I think people….I quite like speaking to some of the older guys that go in the…..there’s one guy was born opposite The Fox and Goose and explained how it used to look when it was…..it was all terraced housing.  I like looking at black and white photos of it as well from years ago…what’s the really steep road that goes up to Heptonstall…..from The Hole in the Wall

 

TW:

Oh The Buttress

 

MJ:

The Buttress, that’s it, and I’ve seen photos of all the terraced houses on there which looked really smart but they wasn’t really fit to live in, so….yeah, I can’t explain how much I like it here… 

 

TW:

So you think you’re gonna stay then?

 

MJ:

I hope so, yeah.

 

TW:

What could take you away do you think?

 

MJ:

I don’t know…..a hearse!  As I said, I don’t know, I don’t think there is anything….I think you reach that point in your life….I’ve sort of lived, squatted, travelled, you know, I still like travelling now, I’m just starting to discover your fine nation and…it always feels really good to get back here…..travelling to New York for two weeks; second week, Sam’s wondering how the cats are and what’s on telly, you know, so I like being here, it’s good.

 

TW:

Right. 

 

MJ:

As you can gather, I quite like the place! [laughing]

 

TW:

That’s good, yes.  Well we’ll just stop for a minute…..I’d like to go back a bit….about the idea of politics and maybe the anarchist kind of ideals that you had in the eighties and bring it up to date to now, cos…is it replicating itself in any way do you think?

 

MJ:

Yeah, I think….it seems to be every ten years, this political thing goes around and around and around – nothing ever gets changed, just have a new war, people make a lot of money out of it and people get richer, which is ideally what it’s all about, capitalism, and for me, when Thatcher came into power after the nightmare of the Labour government, and all through the seventies and the strikes which I can vaguely remember, it was very much a dog-eat-dog world [dog barking] there’s a sort of  echelon of people, it’s making money, making money, off the backs of the proletarians, whatever you wanna call us, the people at the bottom, you know, the reason they’re rich is because we let it happen….and that sort of seemed to carry on through the eighties and an awful lot of protests and riots and…..you know, from the miners’ strikes to the Falklands War, you know, terrible, terrible times….again, if you were in the right place and had the right connections you had a wonderful time.  If you had money and you had that attitude, you know, you were looked after, but if you wanted to actually look after your community and give a shit about what’s going on around you, then….then you obviously….you know, you were a trouble maker, you weren’t fitting in line with what they wanted and a lot of people went against that – that’s when you had the riots in ’81, ’82…..and she was gonna get voted out, there was no doubt about it.  She was going, she was going, and then just happened to get involved in the Falklands War which was very convenient, lots of Union Jack waving, and it seems to be replicating itself now, it seems to be happening whenever people seem in trouble and they need something, like Nine Eleven, or something horrific like that, or a war to get involved in.  Again, it’s lots of young people go out, get killed or come home horrifically maimed mentally and physically, and people make millions of pounds out of it.  The only people who profit from this is….is the people who make the machinery they kill each other with, and the people who want the oil and want to rebuild the country, I think this country and America and Europe are as guilty as anything you know, they’re all criminals…and I think the other factor is the rich poor divide is worse now than it was then because it’s been done so….so slyly, you know, so…..it’s deceitful, it’s a very deceitful government; it’s no different from what Thatcher was, and it’s worse, because at least with Thatcher you knew she was horrible, you knew what she was about, but since Tony Blair….to the present Government now, you don’t, well you know what they’re about but they’ve got this very friendly face, you know, smiling at you with one side of his face, you know, and spitting on you with the other side of his face – that’s Government for you….I’m an anarchist [whispering]

 

TW:

What’s an anarchist then?

 

MJ:

Don’t know whether it’s a political….yeah there is a political side to it, but it’s more ideology.  It’s about, for me….it’s about treating people with respect, it’s about not telling people what to do, you know, I’m not a sheep – I won’t be led, and I won’t lead people, I won’t lead sheep.  I’m probably more of an anarcho-syndicist which I think the collective….is more powerful than the individual, as people, as a unit, as a group, as a movement.  That’s how you get change.  As an individual you can still have your ideas and do what’s right for you and what’s around you, but that’s….as a collective people you can actually make some changes, you can make things better, you know, that’s….you know, that’s proved in this place, you know, cos there are a lot of anarchists, a lot of anarchists….yeah, and you wouldn’t know they were anarchists, and I like that…….yeah, I think it’s a collective….it’s more of a collective consciousness with people, not in a spiritual way, but in a…..a thought process that says ‘right, we can do this together – we don’t need someone telling us to do it, we’ll do it cos we wanna do it’

 

TW:

So is that sort of small groups of people or is it like a tribal thing rather than….cos you could say each political party is a collective, but it’s massive isn’t it?....So do you focus on smaller groups?

 

MJ:

I think smaller, autonomous groups…..is a pretty cool thing to be involved in but you do come together, you come together like I did in London, and you go into Central London and you arrange it, but rather than sort of…..rather than writing on your own doorstep and then being left in the shit you’ve created yourself, which was happening a lot in the eighties, people writing on estates and then being left like that for two years as a punishment, and then maybe we’ll sort it out, whereas I admire the youth and the black block for going into London and taking it to The Hilton and to The Ritz’ and that, and showing ‘em what it’s like – people were angry and I don’t have a problem with that, because that’s a good thing.  I don’t really agree with the violent side of….blowing things up and rubbish like that, but I do agree with people having the right to demonstrate.  If you’re angry, go and do it, you know.

 

TW:

So you think today that movement of people doing things like that, is that getting bigger and bigger – is it like the early start of something else?

 

MJ:

I think so, yeah, I mean it started off with the G8, G7, and it was Seattle – Seattle kicked it off…..for me it wasn’t over, I was inspired by what was going on – inspired by the Greek anarchists who fear no-one or nothing, and my friend lives over in Kefalonia, one of the islands, and….it was going on for months and months and months, it was an everyday thing, but it wasn’t getting reported on the mass media because they didn’t want you to know that people are standing up and people are saying ‘oh right, this is more honest than anything that’s on the telly cos you don’t get told those sort of things’

 

TW:

Was this a protest that kind of….is it….environmentally based or is it just anti-capitalist, or is there something else?

 

MJ:

I think it’s….

 

TW:

Or all of those things

 

MJ:

I think it’s…again it’s that mass consciousness of people coming together and saying ‘we’ve had enough’ you know, and a lot of it is, I think…..there’s a lot of secular movements out there that are starting to join up with other movements and….you know, you get fifty thousand people on the streets, you know, I don’t know if it would make a difference you know, two million marching through London on a day in mid-summer and being part of a massive anti-war thing, and they said ‘look I understand but I’m going to war anyway’ so I think that just protesting and marching with a placard doesn’t do anything, but it’s the same as the Poll Tax – it was the Poll Tax for me that destroyed Thatcher, and then she stayed on for a while afterwards, but that was what brought her down, you know, cos that wasn’t just people like me, that was…..people in general, which you need you know; you can’t change anything unless you’ve got everyone involved in it, you need…..you can’t just have people who dress in black and who wanna change the world, you’ve got to be able to say to people, you know ‘here is a better way’ you know…..

 

TW:

I mean what you’re saying here sounds to me a bit like, or quite a bit like….sort of what happened in Egypt and Tunisia and parts of Libya and parts of the Middle East, you know, over the past couple of months, and of course it’s all gone….each country that’s sort of like this rising up of people joining and thinking together, and different kinds of groups joining together against something….do you think that sort of thing could happen here, or are we far too cosy in our lives

 

MJ:

 We’re far too cosy in our lives.  I think it’s….I’d like to think it would, but as the saying goes you can be a better society by robbing the old one – I don’t quite agree with that, you know, but I don’t think it will happen here.  I think I’m just a hopeless utopian….dreamer, but it’s not a bad thing to dream of, a better world, is it?  But I think, as far as the Middle East goes, you know, it just proves how hypocritical the West is cos you have people writing on the streets here about things that are wrong and they’re labelled hooligans and terrorists, but then the Egyptians and Lebanese got labelled freedom fighters, you know, it’s words being used very carefully and the shit thing about that is two years ago, or however long, Tony Blair was giving……Gaddafi, you know, we trained those pilots that were robbing people, we sold them the weapons that were killing people, so we made money on that front.  The only reason we wanna go in there and get a secure Government is because of the massive amounts of oil that are there, and people know that – we say that to Government – ‘oh no it’s not for that, it’s for the right reason’ – they’re just lies and it’s….and people know it’s lies but do nothing about it, you know, it’s…..it’s like me coming and taking your camera off you, and you saying ‘it’s mine’ and walking away with it, and you saying ‘it’s mine’ and me saying ‘no, I bought it – it’s mine’ and it’s the same thing, it’s a lie, it’s theft, it’s a lie, taking something that doesn’t belong to you, and pulling the shit out of their country in turn, and that’s….but that’s what we’ve always done; we’re very good at war in this country.

 

TW:

One last question really about….I suppose it’s about the idea of democracy, because the West, whether it’s the U.S., Britain or the rest of Europe, or countries that were part of the commonwealth, they promote this idea of democracy, particularly in countries that they want to have influence over – however they do it, whether it’s through trade or through warfare

 

MJ:

It’s the great D lie we call it

 

TW:

Do you think democracy is a good…thing to do shall we say, or a good export?

 

MJ:

No I think democracy’s one of the biggest lies ever, cos we’re just…..we’re just replacing one system with another one that happens to be better for….  There’s a system there that’s been in power for ages that’s shit on people – oh we’ll come along and give you democracy, you can have the vote but you can only vote for the people we give you, you can only have what we say, so you’ve got your puppet who stays there, who has as much control over the country as they let him have – it’s the same with the guy in Afghanistan they voted in; there’s no say in what goes on there – corporate America and corporate Britain have a say in what goes on over there, but it’s…..but I suppose if you lived under a dictatorship for years and years and someone offers you all the trappings of the West, of course you can fall for it, because you haven’t had it and it will steal your culture, your identity and it will just become a massive MacDonald’s or Disneyland, which……that’s democracy…..democracy is a bigger better car, bigger better telly, and bigger better bullshit done to you everyday, and that’s….I am quite happy sometimes [laughing]

 

TW:

Okay.  The only other thing is – is there anything you’d like to say that I haven’t asked about?

 

MJ:

No, no I’ve sort of waffled on enough I think……as an anarchist which I think is another loose, bullshit term, but it fits what I believe – I think you’ve got to trust people, treat people and animals and the environment with a bit more respect, you know, and get to know your next door neighbour…..that’s a start……

 

TW:

Well thank you very much

 

MJ:

That’s alright.  Thank you for letting me talk bullshit for an hour!

 

 [END OF TRACK ONE]

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Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

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