By the time the third march in London was planned other Sunny commitments had already been put in place so taking the rig again wasn’t an option. That commitment was a nationwide tour of music, art and performance to promote awareness about the civil liberties implications of the CJA called The Velvet Revolution Tour.

The night before the 3rd march we were at Middlesex University Students Union pulling an all-nighter. With a few hours’ kip under our belts after the get out, we got in my truck and excitedly headed towards the center of town for another round of personal political responsibility.

This time the march would end in Hyde Park instead of beginning there. Clearly the Police strategists wanted to keep such a large volume of people well away from Downing Street after the events of the 2nd march. Keeping that in mind, and taking advantage of the relative quiet early in the day, I found a parking space right outside the Brazilian Embassy in a side street just off Park Lane.

From there we headed to Whitehall on foot, where we found our colleagues from the previous marches assembling and preparing to leave. From the outset the police presence was massive. Literally a battalion of riot vans were on hand, windscreen shields down, to bring up the rear of the march. There were policemen everywhere.

On the other hand, it was clear that this was going to be the biggest march yet. An estimated 100,000 people were in attendance. This was a social issue that had taken hold in the minds of the general public, motivating yet another large increase in the volume of those taking time out from their lives to make their opinions felt to government.

Once again the march itself was a huge rave carnival of colour and sound, representing a massive cross-section of British society. Instead of walking you just danced through the streets of the capital, with everyone around you following suit.

The SWP had really gone to town as well. There were organized stations of groups of their people handing out Kill The Bill placards by the thousand. It took hindsight to understand just how effective this tactic was. They made it seem like they had massive involvement and support, when the reality was somewhat different, as we had never come across them during the organization of the events before.

To our knowledge it was the selfless hard work and vision of the Advance Party, The Freedom Network and United Systems that deserved respect and acknowledgement for keeping it sweet, keeping it right and remembering that this was a peaceful fight.

At the bottom end of Park Lane things just got amazing. Further up there were several big rigs on lorries, waiting to be granted admission to the Park, and the atmosphere around them was crackling with positive energy and the rhythmic deep house beats of our mates from Sheff, the Smokies. I remember feeling gutted that we couldn’t have a rig there. It just would have been massive, but then again, thank goodness we didn’t.

The Park itself was mobbed with people. After a laborious struggle to get to through everyone to try and say hello to the mighty Immersion sound system who were hosting the speakers stage, and grab some pictures of the immense crowd with a view from above, it soon became apparent that much more fun was to be had with the rigs in Park Lane.

Back with Smokescreen, the crowd next them was liberally peppered with familiar and friendly faces. Hugs and love were freely available, even from people you didn’t know. Complete strangers were turning up who recognized us from the previous marches to say hello, and make it clear that they loved our presence and what we had brought to the proceedings.

People were in the lorry dancing, with every available space taken up. People were on top of the lorry, so many of them that the roof was flexing under the weight of their dancing. Whistles were going off everywhere. Every bus shelter had people dancing on their roofs. Getting through the crowd though was no problem given the density of people, because pretty much everyone was polite.

In the central reservation of Park Lane a line of menacing looking TSG turned up and formed a line nearby. Masked up for the most part, with visors up and holding shields, they just stood there impassively. Of course people started to harmlessly play up to them, dancing up and down the line, making it clear that their presence was unnecessary and that people were not going to be intimidated.

All of a sudden a ripple went through the crowd and heads began to turn to look down Park Lane, particularly those people who had a high vantage point on top of the bus shelters. Climbing up the back end of the Smokies lorry and I held on with one hand to see above the crowd. There was a thick cloud of what looked like smoke. It could have been tear gas for all I knew, as it was a distance away. There was sudden movement in the crowd and more smoke appeared.

That was going to be it. There was going to be trouble. I had a girlfriend to look after but also photos to take. Then it all did just kick off. Police horses were clearly charging the crowd in the Park. TSG seemed to appear from everywhere ready for battle. I remembered the words of the copper in the car park of the mobile control centre at Chipping Sodbury earlier on in the year.

I headed down Park Lane to get a better view of what was happening down where the smoke had appeared. People were screaming and shouting in Hyde Park behind the railings, trapped against them by the violence of the Police behaviour in the Park.

Down by the Grosvenor Hotel there was a line of riot police who were repeatedly charging the railings that those very people were trapped against. They were reaching over to batter people who couldn’t get away with their riots sticks, before retreating as people tried to resist.

One man stepped out in front of the line of police as they regrouped in between charges. He began to implore them to stop what they were doing, stressing that everyone came in peace, and that they should behave accordingly.

I walked to the gap behind him conscious that we could both be in for a beating and shot a few frames from directly behind him. He was silhouetted in the headlights from the police support vehicles on either side of the line as he was making his speech to them.

At that point there was a decision to be made, people were being attacked everywhere. My girlfriend and I started to walk hand in hand back up Park Lane to go back to my truck outside the Brazilian Embassy, and hopefully its safety.

It was just too dangerous to not be wearing a police uniform. Somehow we got back to the truck without being molested or accosted. The scenes around us were heartbreaking. It felt like a harsh end to beautiful dream.

The idea that the violence might have been deliberately sparked by police agents provocateurs planted in the crowd was already there, but back then it seemed harder to believe.

Recent revelations of the activities of the Special Demonstration Squad make it easier to believe. Their deep cover infiltration of people with alternative lifestyles and beliefs; combined with the fact that I had already been mistaken for an undercover copper by actual policemen only a matter of months before; makes the reality of that idea much more concrete and valid.

It is distinctly possible that undercover officers orchestrated the flash point for violence. How better to discredit the campaign of opposition and the sections of society targeted by the legislation? There is also a documented history of such police violence being employed against those sections of society targeted by the CJA legislation that continues to this very day.

Back in the truck we made tea, keeping an eye out through a tiny gap in the front curtains, and out of the high back window, on what was going on around us. There was no going outside again, at least for a while, as pretty soon the street we were in became a solid mass of TSG heading for the Park, all tooled

up as the dogs of war were unleashed, and the Act hadn’t even come into force yet.

We sought comfort in each other and as the riot raged outside we made love in the back of the truck, the violence kept at bay by each other’s warmth, and by the walls of my old Dodge Commer walk thru. Outside, nobody would have a clue we were inside.

The next day the papers and the national news media were screaming with rabid headlines. They finally had the sensationalist subject matter that they love so much.

Kill The Bill! The headlines raved, as if ordinary people had weapons, armour and the training to use them. The Battle of Hyde Park had been fought right in the heart of London, only it wasn’t a battle, it was another massacre. My friend Danny Penman, from the Independent, was hospitalized by police batons. What had happened to the women, children and families who come to the party? 100,000 people had been there.... 



After the success and peaceful carnival nature of 1st march against the CJA, we were invited back to take part in the 2nd national demonstration against the legislation in London on the 24th of July 1994.

The first march had attracted virtually no media coverage. There was no violence. There was no PR value in giving it space in a mainstream media dedicated to hysterical reports about the killer nature of ecstasy, the scourge of illegal drugs, the activities of rampaging hordes of crusty traveller ravers and the plight of poor old ladies being displaced from their homes by villainous, destructive squatters.

The 2nd march was much larger than the first, which had attracted maybe 20,000 plus people. The word had clearly gone out on the bush telegraph that existed in rave culture at that time, as word of mouth was everything. Practically every major city in the country was holding, or had held, its own local anti CJA demonstration. Post event estimates put the attendance at between 50,000-80,000 people depending on whether the sources were establishment or not.

The Socialist Worker Party had also got on the bandwagon and annoyingly branded the demo with placards saying Kill The Bill, which in retrospect was kind of not cricket. This time we were in a 7.5t curtain sider rather than a flat bed, in case it rained. We needn’t have worried. It was blazing hot. This time we invited local Bristol crew Mutant Dance to come along and jazz up our rig with their crazy flouro madness. Hyde Park was simply singing with people as coaches arrived from all over the country to gather in opposition and voice their protest.

There were a lot more rigs too. Oops from Reading, Exodus from Luton, Smokescreen from Sheffield along with a DiY crew from Notts, who gave everyone All Systems Go t-shirts. Traveller type folk heroes the Tofu Love Frogs had also got a rig on their lorry representing the London contingent, along with a pink armoured car that turned up from somewhere.

It took ages to get going and the route to Trafalgar Square was much more convoluted than on the previous march; taking us away from the major thoroughfares in an attempt to make the demo less visible. There was also a massively increased and threatening Police presence. Lines of them were blocking every road off route with riot vans of reinforcements as back up, the passive aggressive threat of impending potential violence implicit.
The streets of London were turned into a massive rave. The march seemed to stop and start along with the builds and breaks of the music. The Smokies with their bouncy throbbing deep house vibes full of disco love. Exodus with huge jungle breaks sending the crowd into a series of exhilarating, roaring peaks.

Once again it was a massively celebratory and peaceful affair. The only small flashpoint occurred after the march had reached Trafalgar when a small contingent tried to scale the gates of Downing Street just down the road. This clearly caused some unrest and gave the Police their the excuse to wade in on a small scale. They charged the crowd there with Police horses, before 14 people were arrested.

That mini event also gave the press something to focus on in their subsequent reporting of the event, which clearly also featured the SWP’s Kill The Bill placards. In public order situations like that however, it is never possible to assume that people are who they appear to be. Possible infiltration by the forces of evil was on everyone’s minds.
In the Square Tony Benn spoke again, while people played in the fountains, accompanied by a selection of other politicians and union types keen to get themselves some exposure, including one Jeremy Corbyn.

We missed all that however, as having developed their strategy since the first march where Trafalgar Square had danced, had fun and raved without incident to our rig and Desert Storm; the Police had requested that all the sound systems be directed away from the march before it reached the square.
At the first march, one of the lines of defense to the Police when they were trying to move us on, was that it was far better to have us there and keep people dancing, giving them a positive focus on fun, rather than provoke a potential public order situation by sending us away. A sentiment clearly they ignored this time round.

That meant a detour south of the river, on a magical mystery tour away from the route that the rest of the march took, before heading back over London Bridge. Then came the instruction to head towards Victoria Embankment, taking us right in front of the Houses of Parliament , and the gift of allowing us to take the rave to the very institution that was acting to outlaw us.

The volume got turned up, and we waved at the row upon row of empty windows, wishing the MP’s were in session, but clearly being MP’s there’s no way they work weekends in that particular house.
This time we decided not to do an after party, but as Claremont Road was still a thriving center for everything counter cultural we headed up there to take part in the festivities along with what seemed like half the march.
Late into that night we finally left the city in a friends big green hippie bus, and made the journey under cover of darkness back from one roads protest to another, finally reaching Solsbury Hill in the dawn of next morning, just a short trip from away from home.



Knackered from the events of the Mayday march, we headed north to hideaway at a friends place in Kentish Town. A few hours chilling out came to an abrupt end with the telephone call we’d been expecting. We had a destination and a purpose once again. It wasn’t long before we were behind the wheel of the 7.5 tonner heading for Wanstead Common in East London, not too far from the newly familiar neighbourhood that had seen us evicted from the cold winter roofs of Wanstonia.

It was pretty much dark when we got to the trees of the Common, to find cars and trucks parked all over the place and were guided off the road into the forest. The buzz that greeted our arrival was enough to bring a smile to our tired faces, as were all the offers of help in setting up.

Its pretty hazy now but we got the rig going on the back of the truck once again for a bit but after some problems with the PA, and the arrival of a couple of other rigs, including the wicked Desert Storm CF from earlier, we decided to knock it on the head and use our generator to power them instead.

To provide light I got up into the trees with a load of festoon lighting and strung that up around the place. This big black Merc truck had turned up purpose built to house a rig, it had an amp rack bolted in to the back of it to keep the amps permanently in place and air cooled. The speakers came out on either side of the back doors and the decks sat on the back doorway with Dj outside, back to the crowd. Our music was generally pretty fluffy. What they played was definitely not.

I was in the back of the Merc checking out the amps when everything was finally wired up. There was a geezer ready with his records on the decks and as the generator fired up and the power came on to the rig and the lights pure noise exploded into the night and the assembled crowd went mental in unison.

It was like a flash going off down a dark tunnel so all of a sudden I could see. Trash that fucker trash that fucker trash that fucker trash that fucker was the screaming line that opened the tune. Hard gabba that I’d scarcely ever heard before and definitely not at volume close up. It was more like a mosh pit in the crowd at a punk gig than any rave I’d been too. Loads of people in black, pierced, tattooed, with big-soled boots and shoes going mental the instant the music started. Beautifully mutant.

We made some connections that night. The Spirals were doling out these golden microdots that looked like shimmering eye make up if you crumbled them between your finger tips. In the morning there were lakes that you couldn’t see in darkness and a beautiful sunrise, despite the music it was properly tranquil, nobody came to complain and there wasn’t a sign of being busted anywhere. Literally everyone had a go at filling a bin bag afterwards too.



It was an early door’s start that morning. The hire lorry needed picking up, followed by the rig and décor. Then it was the drive from Bristol to London in a variety of vehicles.

For weeks beforehand we’d been preparing, sitting in circles on the floor of various living rooms night after night; making and assembling literally thousands of Raver Saver packs by hand, in a production line, to give away on the march.

The elements were contained in little plastic sealey bags. We’d designed little fold out information sheets with useful info on them that echoed the format of our flyers. There were friendly lawyers phone numbers, rights on arrest info, epaulette identification guides so you could recognize the rank of given police officers, a form to write down info in case of arrest and a great quote about money from Joseph Campbell; all in a cute graphic package. On the front was a symbol of a copper, with the words Get Out Of Jail Free.

Also in the pack was a folded big rizla, a couple of non safety matches, a small yellow sticker with an appropriate word on it, a silver holographic sticker that had been re-purposed from its original use as an identification device for people attending the Tory party conference that year; a menu detailing the contents, a roach card, a multi vit, a chewing gum and either a sunflower seed or a cannabis seed to plant later.

One of us had designed a poster for the march for Liberty with an image of the palm of my hand on it, made to look like a turkey. It was a reference to the repressive nature of the discriminatory ideas contained in the proposed policy creation.

A summons had originated to take the rig on the march by the Advance Party, and a lady from United Systems, that we’d met earlier in the year during our involvement in the No M11 link Road Protest. We were pretty much unknowns being from the West Country.

Hyde Park was buzzing when we arrived to set up the rig on the lorry. People were everywhere, the sun was shining, the grass was green. There was an overwhelming sense of community and friendship from the people around us.

This was an opportunity to congregate and voice democratic opinion against the impending Tory legislation to criminalise the free parties that were successfully happening across the country pretty much every weekend; parties that we had all had so much harmless fun at. They were the real time social networking events of the time, catalysts for friendship and the sharing of ideas and common ground.

This was a government as ever dedicated to enshrining injustice within law, while claiming it was actually justice. The idea that it would make criminals of us all overnight, as well a whole generation around the country, simply for
wanting to hang out and dance together in a new kind of previously unseen community within which we all felt at home; was self evidently wrong.

Politicians always pretend to the moral high ground, when in reality they are mostly mired in the foul swamp of corporate corruption. As our current Prime Minister is so fond of reminding people, in a democracy everyone has a personal political responsibility to do what they feel is right. This is true, even if it is inconvenient to the agendas of Parliament. That is the nature of freedom in a democracy.

The march set off in a massively carnival atmosphere and we were allocated a position at the rear by the stewards. There were a couple of rigs, one a customized Bedford CF by Desert Storm.

People were looking on in amazement. There was impromptu dancing to our music on the streets of the capital. The back of the truck was crowded and bouncing. Down Marble Arch and into Piccadilly we went, occasionally halting for stragglers and latecomers to catch up, occasionally urging forward to keep the crowd together.
The thing about demonstrations is that they are like icebergs. Only a small amount of the support for them is visible in those actually attending. Most people have lives and responsibilities that prevent them from being able to go. They are the ones hidden under the surface, the uncounted.

Stood on top of the speakers going through Piccadilly Circus there was a massive line of policemen presumably put in place to prevent any deviation from the agreed route but we were heading for the heart of the city, Trafalgar Square, to hold a rave at the very gates of Whitehall.

As we arrived we were directed to pull up at top of the square in front of The National Portrait Gallery. The square was full of people. Desert Storm were actually in the middle of the crowd down in the square itself. We turned off the music to allow the speakers at to say their peace. Tony Benn was the last person to speak out in opposition. When he concluded, that was our signal. We turned on the music and at that point, that was the moment. Our 8k of speakers began to do their job and nothing was the same ever again.

The roar of the crowd as they turned everyone punching their hands in the air in communal celebration, sent adrenalin through my body up my spine. The hair on the back of my neck stood up in a rush like I’d never known while stone cold sober. For a couple of hours we played, our designated driver unfortunately lost in the crowd, so we couldn’t move, despite the Police advice that we should do so and bring proceedings to an end.

When we finally did move, we did a lap of honour around the square before heading up Tottenham Court Road and back down Oxford Street, with the music pumping all the way to de-rig the truck back in the Hyde Park and rest. Our opinion voiced, our civic duty done, with not a trace of civil unrest anywhere.