Tag Archives: X Ray Spex

The Clash at the Anti-Nazi League carnival in 1978

Aged fourteen, I went on the huge Anti-Nazi carnival in east London in 1978. I got split up from my mates and ended up on my own – bit of a daunting experience. Got out at Embankment tube and watched loads of punks vaulting over the barriers while I politely inserted by ticket stub – as you did in those pre-Oyster days.

Then walked up towards Trafalgar Square glancing nervously at the big police vans nearby. I’d never seen anything like this and they were clearly looking for some aggro. The noise in the square was something else. A band was playing and the cheering was deafening.

At some point, we began the very long march to Victoria park in Mile End. I mean seriously, could you get people to go that far these days? Recall passing under the railway bridge near St Paul’s that was taken down in the 80s and then arriving at the park to hear more bands on a big stage including….The Clash!

But a small confession to make. I just don’t remember The Clash on stage at all. What my memories feature are X Ray Spex and the Tom Robinson Band. But….here’s The Clash and for some reason, Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 got up on stage with them.

School Kids Against the Nazis – a 70s schools campaign against racism

At the same time that the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism were organising monster carnivals against the extreme right wing National Front in 1978, a group called School Kids Against the Nazis (SKAN) emerged. Leaflets were distributed in our school and I still have this copy.

The message was that if the NF ever got into power then a lot of our favourite pop stars would be deported for being black, Asian or having one or both parents from outside the UK. It was a simple theme but resonated at the time. I don’t recall SKAN ever being anywhere near as popular as the ANL or RAR – even with us as young teens.