In the early 1980’s Rugby had a visible black population, generation who I guess were the first of their kind, they were angry , not at any particular injustice that affected them, it just boiled down to simple  resentment at being a minority in a small town.

Being the same age of these guy’s I got to understand that it was a good idea to avoid them at all costs, I saw  knives  pulled on the street for no reason, I got to hear about the random acts of violence , crime was high and so was unemployment.

A  group of black  youths squatted an empty  building in town, their intention was  to establish a club of sorts for unemployed youth, against the odds it worked and they were given assistance to become a legitimate organisation Youth Promotions.

Some years later there was no black people left involved in the project, all the money and resources had evaporated  through dishonesty and mismanagement, it was mainly propped up by white people but at least it was still serving a function to the community.

It was the civil unrest in London and Liverpool that incited rebellion, the infamous SUS laws and heavy handed policing, it was not a racist slur to suggest black youth had an agenda to hit out  at white society it was obvious, the most insidious and worrying trend in Rugby happened on New Years Eve, the local black youth decided to initiate a ritual of beating up white men, to set an example to the community, one year they set about a guy I knew from the factory, they dragged him through town to the clock tower like a pack of mad dogs, incidents like that got forgotten.

By the time I was involved in the YP it was a safe haven from the mediocrity of  this little town and for some years it was a really great place to be .

The Tory government sent in the spies right at the end of the YP, by this time it had cast off the past and was operating as a community print room, Charlie Pritchard was the sole figurehead.

They came out of no where at a time when I was beginning to set up a music studio from the remnants of a previous studio which had been  government funded , the room was there but all the equipment had been pilfered by it’s previous occupant a partially sighted black guy called Barlow Wright.

The  spy who  had the job of infiltration and information gathering was an odd character, completely oblivious to everyone around him,  he scoured all the computers for evidence and generally acted like he was radio controlled from a distance. He was a creepy fuck no doubt about it, his friend was a lot more friendly and approachable.

What were they up to? I will tell you, although it was some years since the civil unrest that erupted in Brixton and Toxteth, the Tory government was concerned about the rise of black activism,in particular anything to do with an American  called  Louis Farrakhan,the man people call a  ‘Black Hitler.’     It just so happened  we had a very visible Farrakhan  devotee in Rugby and this individual had used the print room in the past, this activity bought the spooks to the YP.

The guy assigned to me was a very straight forward likeable chap , initially I though he was like a lot of people who washed up in the YP just out on a limb, it was when he showed up with a large piece of hash that I began to get worried . He seemed determined to sell me this dope, it was an absolute bargain and he seemed to know absolutely nothing about it, I asked but he could,nt tell me a damn thing, I took it anyway but I knew something was not right.

It was designed to win my confidence and it worked, almost , my only concern was if the fool would keep bringing more.  In the meantime his mate the professional was working his way through the local black dj crews, I observed him from a distance at the local Caribbean Carnival, he had no idea he was under surviellance.  His movements and behaviour was so odd I knew he was up to something but I just could not work it out, once he had his baseball cap on the right way  he zeroed in on a large mob in front of a sound system and worked his way to the centre of the crowd like he had known these guy’s all his life, but he had,nt Rugby was a small town and I knew he had only been here a matter of weeks.

They both disappeared instantly ,perhaps they hoped to find a hotbed of subversive activity  instead they found the YP, a place full of benign dreamers ,stoners,musicians, whilst not exactly normal a far cry from what they were looking for, the spooks may of left but the phones remained tapped, during a conversation I said to the person on the other end ‘You know what we are being bugged .’ there was an audible sound as the person listening in pulled the connection at the exchange.

One thing that concerns me today is the level of cooperation the government must have needed to spy on The YP, the local council, the Police, they all must have known what was going on. I just got on with my life and the phones went silent,  no more conversations shared with a secret listener.


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