Tuesday, 14 June 2011

From the Top Drawer XVII - Inner City Unit

June 1985 wasn't a happy month for free festival goers in the UK. The start of the month (Saturday 1st) had seen the infamous 'Battle Of The Beanfield' take place in Wiltshire as a Peace Convoy of vehicles expecting to take the site for the Stonehenge Festival of 1985 was mercilessly attacked and devastated by Thatcher's eager constabulary, fresh from either cracking the skulls of striking miners themselves or gagging for some equivalent action to show their colleagues that they could go in hard as well.

ITN reporter Kim Sabido, recorded an emotional piece-to-camera:
What I have seen in the last thirty minutes here in this field has been some of the most brutal police treatment of people that I've witnessed in my entire career as a journalist. The number of people who have been hit by policemen, who have been clubbed whilst holding babies in their arms in coaches around this field, is yet to be counted. There must surely be an inquiry after what has happened today.
When broadcast that evening, the voice-over was removed, as was footage of the more contentious police acts. According to Sabido:
When I got back to ITN during the following week and I went to the library to look at all the rushes, most of what I'd thought we'd shot was no longer there. From what I've seen of what ITN has provided since, it just disappeared, particularly some of the nastier shots.
Some of the missing footage has since been rediscovered, and was incorporated into the Operation Solstice documentary shown on Channel Four in 1991.
Nick Davies reported for The Observer:
There was glass breaking, people screaming, black smoke towering out of burning caravans and everywhere there seemed to be people being bashed and flattened and pulled by the hair. Men, women and children were led away, shivering, swearing, crying, bleeding, leaving their homes in pieces.

Legal action against the police followed, but it took nearly six years to get any sort of compensation from the state.

Happily Nik Turner and Inner City Unit played some dates in June to keep spirits up and take collections to pass on to those brutalized and dispossessed from their criminally damaged and impounded mobile homes.

One such gig took place at the Underground Club in Croydon and the show was taped from the mixing desk for sale later on if you sent the band some £££ and stated which recording you wanted from the tour. I got back a Memorex chrome C90 (no track listing) with nearly 90 minutes of a rough'n'ready hallucinogenic mix of songs which come in all forms of garage psychedelia and mutant space-rock'n'roll, featuring a fair few cover versions (Hawkwind, Robert Calvert, obscure 60s garage punk etc). You'll know them if you're a fan. The quality's pretty listenable for its age, side two fares slightly better than side one.

Ripped @320kbps, get yours HERE
Dedicated to guitarist 'Judge' Trev Thoms, who sadly passed on 08.12.2010
(Trev didn't appear with ICU on this occasion, but was a founding member of the band and regular collaborator through the years.)


  1. RIP Judge - A top bloke and great muscian who would always have a chat after a gig.

  2. I think you'll find the gig on the tape is Angies in Wokingham :-)

    1. I asked for Croydon and this is what they sent me :-|

  3. The plan was to record all the shows and send people the one they requested.. but the recordings were all dreadful except Angies in Wokingham, so everyone got an Angies.

  4. Judge Trev was a true gent. Nice of you to think of him. :)

  5. great site thanks 4 uploads

  6. What a nice surprise, Trev was my best mate so thanks very much for the dedication. We started a club in Brighton together and a version of ICU has been an annual fixture since his death in memory of him - this year we finally gave his solo album 'God & Man' (which he'd only put out on CD-R in the year or so before his death) a proper release as a double CD with a whole disc of extra tracks. It's brilliant and you can get it by putting a message on the Real Music Club facebook page