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The Anti Nazi League/Rock Against Racism Rallies .


"all you Fascists bound to lose, I said, all of you fascists bound to lose:
Yes sir, all of you fascists bound to lose:
You’re bound to lose ! You fascists:
Bound to lose !

Woody Guthrie

Rock Against Racism

Brockwell Park . London .

September 2nd 1979

Aswad, Stiff Little Fingers, Verdict

Stiff Little Fingers onstage at Brockwell Park 1979.


Verdict was formed in Sydenham, London in about 1978 I think. I had played with Kito Poncioni, the Brazilian bass player when we met when he moved into the huge mansion we squatted there. It was brilliant place where we made a virtually sound proof rehearsal room in the basement where we could blast away at full volume. (Kito had come to the UK to study geography at Queen Mary college but this was just a ruse to get into the music scene).

Verdict onstage at Brockwell park early on as the crowd assermbled. © Paul Gilbert

There had been various bands forming and disintegrating in this place and originally we were playing covers of Marley, blues etc.

Typical pub band at that time. Kito and I wanted to get punkier and advertised for a drummer.
" Punks and teds or natty dreads
Beats or jazz or uncle Freds.
We don’t care what you look like or what tribe you’re from.
We just need a good drummer for original material."

We were inundated with drummers of all persuasions and we got it down to two: a young rockabilly lad and Sacha de Jong who was Dutch/ Chinese. Although she wasn’t technically the best, she was a fearsome player who was a great time keeper and dead powerful.

Sacha had just finished a tour supporting the Clash with the French all girl punk group, the Lous. We did some rehearsals and very quickly started to do local gigs including loads of RAR events in South London. We supported the cause and felt very strongly about the racism that surrounded us everywhere.

When the Brockwell park gig was mooted by those who had started running RAR (Red Sullivan? And someone called Dave) we were asked to play in a marquee at the peripheries of the show for nowt, which suited us, fine. However, the night before the show they rang and said blithely

" Would you like to play first set on the main stage at about 12 am?
" Er, yes" was my immediate, if astounded reply. Apparently the Selector had pulled out the night before the gig so we got to do it.

Well I was bloody made up but we then had to get all the extremely threadbare equipment together a bit faster and duly set off at some ludicrous time in the morning to get over to the park. Our amps etc were taken by the road crew and we went in Brockwell Park Lido dressing room where we hung out with Misty in Roots and had brief chat with SLF. We were supposed to be on at exactly 12 am, the graveyard shift, as the march which was meandering through south London to the park wasn’t due to get there till much later. However there were all sorts of technical problems and we eventually got onto stage at just after 14pm. The audience was just filling up and from the time we began it soon got packed as all the pubs had chucked out (before all day opening) and the march arrived.

We played well despite horrendous nerves. Everything seemed to be in 20s. The stage was 20 feet high; the PA system was 20 K and the audience was 20 K also. As we walked up the ramp to get onto the stage I froze with abject fear. I have never had such band stage fright in my life. I had hold of the hand rail and Kito and Sacha had to literally unprise my fingers from it. I got on stage and plugged in my guitar. We had not had a sound check owing to the technical problems and I remember turning the volume up on my guitar and hitting a D major chord (isn’t it weird what you remember). The whole stage shook like an earthquake!!

Warming up backstage

We did our set which went down really well. We even got an encore and Raphael Devins came on to play and sing a song with us called Basement Five. It was splendid and we went off to applause ringing in our ears.

Kito © Paul Gilbert

We had agreed to do this gig for nothing but Dave ( think that was his name) surreptitiously slipped 50 quid into my hand. We had been given free ale all day and they also gave us a crate of 24 bottles of Pils lager to take home with us. This was quite something for us totally skint musicians. Had access all areas of course and watched Misty in Roots and SLF do blinding sets.

I thought that might be the start of huge musical success but nobody picked up on us. Kito couldn’t get on with the two girls and quit in great acrimony. He came back to do a one-off gig with us at the Marquee supporting the Pretenders but then went on to form Blue Rondo a la Turk and then Matt Bianco. He quit the music bizz and went home to Brazil. He had just got back into playing and had secured a record deal with Warner brothers when he died of liver cancer.

I lost my best mate and soul buddy.

I had carried on with Verdict for a while including an eventful sojourn in Paris but then left the 2 girls over there and came home to form my own band The Holograms. I lost track of the girls but as they were both using smack I fear for their survival. I have a terrible feeling that I am the last one standing.

Many memories of that day but perhaps the most was actually the day after when I managed to pull myself out of bed. Staggered to the local Safeway where I was picked up by one of the checkout girls who recognized me from the band at Brockwell Park the day before. We arranged to meet after her shift and carnal knowledge was partaken in, then and on many other occasions!! Happy days. The one and only time I was "spotted" by punters in my long and illustrious musical career!!!!!

I have played ever since and did a gig to celebrate my 60th birthday in April

Paul Gilbert

Approximate set list for that gig. All written by me or Kito

  • DJ girl
  • I’ve been so low
  • The beast
  • Basement five
  • Wavelength
  • Just one percent
  • Aborigines
  • Factory
  • Working man
  • Just can’t guarantee

Have a look at my web site

Verdict personnel

Paul Gilbert -guitar vocals
Kito Poncioni- bass vocals
Sacha de Jong -drums
Raphael Devins -saxophone vocals


Stiff Little Fingers .





punks in crowd slapping someones face


Part of the crowd of 20,000

   The one that seems to have been forgotten.We don't have a full list of bands and we know very little about it . Other than there was some bottle throwing- which is utterly inappropriate at a bloody free concert, but then there are always some idiots around at concerts aren't there ? By this time Thatcher had been elected (an event that eventually led to me leaving the UK ) and the tories were once again in charge of the country , which was to have profound affects on the festival scene in Britain .

   Many thought Thatcher appealed to the more rabid right wing elements in the UK , but she also appealed to the middle class who were worried about all those nasty unemployed people out there. Her far right policies syphoned off votes from the National Front who received a measly 1.3 percentage of the vote. It appeared that for the moment the outright Facist threat was to some extent nullified . Thus the cessation of the giant carnivals and the emphasis moved on to trying to stop cruise missiles being situated in the UK . We cover these issues to some extent on the Greenham Common pages and our Carnival Against the Missiles page.

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Northern Carnival Against the Missiles 1981

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