Notting Hill's radical history

Burn it Down

It’s been light posting this weekend as The Blogger has been laying out Tom Vague’s excellent Bash the Rich Radical History Tour of Notting Hill pamphlet.

It’s a kind of riotous, left wing, pop cultural, psychogeographic ramble through the streets of the forever beating heart of the capital’s left field neighbourhood – Notting Hill – courtesy of anarcho-historian and psychgeographer Vague.

From race course riots to race riots; from Mick Farren’s Social Deviants to Shaznay Lewis’s All Saints; GK Chesterton and Orwell; the Angry Brigade and King Mob; the Portobello Road market stall Vivienne Westwood had before heading south to ‘Let it Rock’; The Clash and Class War; Rough Trade and The Roughler; Police and Thieves – it’s all here – from the Westway to the world – the secret and untold story of the other Notting Hill, where media hype, local protest and class war have gone hand-in-hand down the centuries.

Highlights include not quite as glamorous tales as you hoped, like when Strummer and the boys joined in the Carnival riots of ’76 and got shot by both sides – “searched by policemen looking for bricks, and later on we got searched by Rasta looking for pound notes in our pockets.”

Still, the experience produced a song:

“White riot, I wanna riot, white riot, a riot of my own, black man gotta lot of problems but they don’t mind throwing a brick, white people go to school where they teach you how to be thick, and everybody’s doing just what they’re told to, and nobody wants to go to jail.”

Another almost lost gem is the real story of how ultra cool anarchists, the British Situationists, fell foul of the even cooler and happening Paris Situationist leadership in 1967. Officially this is because the Brits sided with the New York yippies against the euro intellectuals.

However Vague’s story goes that French Situationist supremo Guy Debord – the last word in polo-necked Parisian intellectual counter cultural cool – came to Notting Hill in person and was less than impressed when he found the cream of this country’s urban guerrilla forces watching Match of the Day!

Such is the stuff of anarchist splits. Read and enjoy:

Bash the Rich Notting Hill Radical History Tour (pdf)

This entry was posted in Activism, Bash the rich, Policing, Politics, Race, The British Left and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Notting Hill's radical history

  1. BristleKRS says:

    Not just watching MOTD, but – iirc – drinking McEwan’s Export 😀

  2. Wow I actually remember the graffitti in the photo from when I was a kid visiting my grandparents in the area, 60s? 70s?

  3. JB says:

    trying to get hold of Tom, any ideas?

  4. JB says:

    Tom Vague that is

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