Norwich Benefit for Ian Tomlinson’s Family..


Every now and again, something really disturbing happens in this country that falls way beyond my understanding of how anyone can ignore it, yet since the aggravated death of Ian Tomlinson on 1st April 2009, I’ve seen more posts on blogs and social networking sites such as facebook expressing compassion and shock about a cat being put in a bin, who’s doing who on Big Brother and tear ridden rants about X Factor contestants than I have for the appalling cover up surrounding this man, and it makes my shit itch.

Thankfully not everyone is appeased by the fluffy cushion that is television and tabloid media or too afraid to speak out, or even think, about the bigger picture, and I’ve just spent the weekend with a beautiful bunch of folks who refuse to have apathy on their cornflakes.

We hosted the second stage at the Norwich Benefit for the Family of Ian Tomlinson this weekend, and it was emotional. The atmosphere was a gorgeous mix of chilled and charged. A protest for injustice and not just for one man, but for all of us, yet, maybe because his family were there,  it felt like a celebration of  Ian’s life too.

I can’t imagine this kind of fight on such a personal level, and was humbled by the presence of the Tomlinson clan. They stood out, but not because of their lack of mohawks and combats, but because of the collective energy that glows from them. Not only can you feel it, you can almost see it. We were a planet of solidarity on Saturday and they were so clearly the core, especially when the speakers were on. They were surrounded by over 100 gorgeous punks standing silent apart from the odd sniff to fight back the tears.

As well as the speakers, who included members of the family, the Guardian journalist who broke the story, an ex-MP and a Class War rep among others, we  had an eclectic mix of quality entertainment on our stage. I didn’t catch everyone but I did see some impressive anarchic poetry from the likes of Matt Taylor and Stan Skank, feminist comedy from Hilary Koe, an acoustic antifa rant from Don’t Fear the Delusion, a stompworthy set from protest folkies The Red Flags and I finally got Cosmo in my tent!

I did manage to escape to the main stage for a glimpse at Rob Johnson and most of the Graveyard Johnnys set, and I seem to recall dancing on the pool table.

Despite how serious this fight is, and this is just the beginning, we had a truly amazing time. There can be no guilt in celebrating unity, right?

Buckets of love and HUGE thanks to Rick Dutton, who I am proud to call a friend, Stan Cullen Grant, Boyd and the King Eddy, Ken from the Red Flags, Philo D Ranged, especially for his Ray Mears impression, everyone who performed and gave up their time to make this happen and, of course, my gorgeous crew.

The acorn is now firmly planted. Here’s to hugging the tree. xxxx

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