What a great experience, and a very controversial one! I arrived at the and was given an ‘artistes’ badge for security by Adrian Collins, the Redskins manager. I was really, really nervous, and rehearsed my speech in the toilets to try and get it word perfect. I kept a low profile as the studio began to fill up with the audience. I was really surprised at how small it is because on the telly it looks huge. I watched the Alarm and Billy Bragg before joining the band for their bit. I had to satand at the back between the drums and the brass section, clutching a tambourine for the first song, ‘Hold On’, then came out for my bit after being introduced by Chris.
I was literally shaking with fear as the song closed and the lights went off briefly as Nick played the drum intro. Chris spoke into his mike and introduced me by saying,’On extra percussion, tambourine, and on strike for 35 weeks, a Durham miner’, at which point I stepped forward to the mike. I can’t honestly remember speaking, I only noticed the audience applauding loudly when I’d finished. Then I walked to the back of the stage as Chris sang the song, ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’.
As soon as the band finished we all headed backstage to the ‘green room’ to recover. It wasn’t green but Martin told me that’s what they called the place where you get free drinks and within seconds I’d downed a pint of lager. Billy bragg came over and said no one heard a word of my speech. I was really disappointed because all that worry and nerves had been for nothing. I got a triple Southern Comfort with ice but was called outside to see Jools Holland and he said if I’d told them what I was going to do they would’ve made sure I was heard. A load of bollocks! Loads of people spoke to me and expressed their support for the strike, including The Tube’s press officer, who wanted to know what I’d said so I told them.
‘There’s been six miners killed in this strike, five miners on life support machines, three miners with fractured skulls, over 2,500 serious injuries and more than 7,500 arrests. we’re told we’re out on a limb, we’re on our own, and that no one supports us, yet hundreds of thousands of pounds have been collected for us by ordinary working class people – miners support groups have sprung up all over the country, in towns, factories, offices and colleges. They’re supporting us – you should be supporting them!!’
Anyway, I got pissed on free booze, met the stars and enjoyed the rest of the show.
I travelled down to London in the van with the roadies and am now comfortably settled on Chris’s settee in his flat in Willesden Green. At Cortonwood there has been an invasion of over 1,000 pigs to get one scab into work. Anyone who can try to justify that needs their head looking at! Majority rules and the majority are still on strike, ballot or no fuckin’ ballot. That’s a fact.