In the blog post last week I highlighted the song ‘All Together Now’ by Liverpool band The Farm. When I was writing that blog post it reminded me of the late eighties in Liverpool. I am pretty sure the The Farm played anti-apartheid fundraisers for us in the Polytechnic Student’s union around that time. I know another famous Liverpool band The La’s definitely did. The organiser of these concerts and the guy who was in touch with the Farm was Vinny McInerney.
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Vinny a big Liverpool fan and an anti-apartheid activist from Vauxhall died at a very young age, I think he was in his late twenties. He was run over in a hit and run accident late one night. It was a bit of crazy night in Chauffeurs and the next day was the Liverpool Eight carnival where we had an anti-apartheid stall. Vinny spent many months recovering only for the same thing to happen again around a year later, tragedy upon tragedy. The main character in my novella The One Road and both my completed novels is called Vinny. I’m not sure why, no doubt in some way it is to honour Vinny’s memory, but the character isn’t Vinny. Maybe just having his name live on outside his family is part of what we do to keep people alive to us.
Tommy Healey was a trade union activist in the Garston area, he was in Standard Triumph for a while before working on the railway. Tommy was one of the first people outside my family to talk to me about politics, as it turned out Tommy also died very young at around 38 of a heart attack. Tommy appears as a docker in my novel Under The Bridge, working alongside Bob Pennington. Tommy never worked on the docks but the character in the book is a solid working class militant in the same way that Tommy was.
Bob Pennington was an organiser for the Blue Union in Garston Docks in the 1950s. I knew him in the late seventies, by then he was in London and was still very much active in the Labour Movement. He appears as himself in Under The Bridge, although the strike in the book is fictional it follows the pattern of many real disputes on Garston Docks at that time. Bob lived quite a long life, although at the end he struggled with alcoholism and was homeless when he died.
These two great songs are reminders of that period and a real part of Liverpool’s musical heritage.
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