The '5 word meme' is just that - somebody gives you 5 words to say something about. Bob from Brockley gave me my five (as well as prompting Shalom Libertad and Waterloo Sunset to respond among others). If you want to join in, say so in a comment and I will give you five words to ponder.
A while ago, Cornershop declared that Funky Days are Here Again. What they didn't predict was that Funky would return as a noun rather than a verb, the name for the latest blending of bass and beats on UK dancefloors. It's always been hard to define funk, but there are certainly plenty who would argue that UK Funky doesn't have it (including Paul Gilroy). It's true that the rhythm owes more to house and soca than to James Brown, but who cares. I've always liked up on the floor female vocal anthems, so can only rejoice that a whole new seam of them has been uncovered in the disco goldmine. Check out Grievous Angel's Crazy Legs mix, which has the temerity to mix Brian Eno & David Byrne's Jezebel Spirit into Hard House Banton's Sirens.
When I first got interested in politics I was greatly attracted to Dada, Surrealism and the Situationists, initially through second hand accounts in books like Richard Neville's Play Power, Jeff Nuttal's Bomb Culture and indeed Gordon Carr's The Angry Brigade. The emphasis on play, festival and the imagination still resonates with me, but I would question the notion of desire as an unproblematic engine of radical change. Desire is surely formed amidst the psychic swamp of present social conditions and I would no longer advise everybody to take their desires for reality - sadly I have seen far too much of the impoverished desires of men in particular. Just look through your spam emails.
The untimely death of 'pirate' Paul Hendrich scuppered our scheme to raise the jolly roger and declare a pirate republic on a traffic island on the New Cross Road. Still the appeal of some kind of autonomous sovereignty beyond the reach of states lingers on- even if its contemporary reality of sailors held hostage in Somalia doesn't sound quite so romantic. I was also once in a short-lived Pirate Band, our one gig playing the yiddish potato song Bulbes in the Pullens community centre at the Elephant and Castle, supporting the fine indie pop duo Pipas.
I grew up in Luton but had moved away by the time of its greatest counter-cultural contribution, the Exodus Collective. I made it to a few of their events though, and their massive free parties were as legendary as their tenacity in defending themselves in the courts. If Rastafarians transposed the Exodus myth to Africa, the Exodus Collective were more modest - an actual practice of leaving the Town (and in particular the Marsh Farm council estate where some of the them lived) for parties in the Bedforshire countryside combined with plans to create some kind of alternative society of community housing and support. Some of the people involved are still keeping the faith, but Exodus itself seems to have imploded at the end of the 1990s. Not sure exactly why, but I guess it was the usual story of conflict involving drugs, money and personalities. Still the land of milk and honey did materialise briefly next to the M1 motorway.
121 Railton Road was a squat in a Brixton terrace that ran from 1981 to 1999. During that time it served as an anarchist centre, radical bookshop, meeting place, print shop, office for feminist and anarcho magazines and venue for countless gigs and parties, including the far famed Dead by Dawn events. As I lived in Brixton from 1987 to 1995 I spent a lot of time there, the best of times (dancing and chatting all night) and the worst of times (seeing somebody die in the street outside after a party I was helping with). And also the plain dullest of times, with seemingly endless meetings of bickering and intra-anarchist faction fighting.