Pre-order Benjamin Zephaniah’s autobiography out soon in paperback, here. Benjamin Zephaniah, who has travelled the world for his art & his humanitarianism, now tells the one story that encompasses it all: the story of his life. In the early 1980s when punks and Rastas were on the streets protesting about unemployment, homelessness & the National Front, Benjamin’s poetry could be heard at demonstrations, outside police stations & on the dance floor. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, & to popularise it by reaching people who didn’t read books.

His poetry was political, musical, radical and relevant. By the early 1990s, Benjamin had performed on every continent in the … More

Born OTD in 1959, Happy 60th Birthday to Terry Hall. “We didn’t realise we were playing ‘ska’ – we grew up in a heavily Jamaican populated area, and we were referencing music we grew up with. We once played a gig to skinheads and found our audience by accident. We did venture to London, but none of the record companies were interested. They didn’t know who we were, so we formed our own label in Coventry” – Terry Hall.

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late Fifties and combined Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rnb. Ska … More

‘Sound Reasoning’ is a unique photographic journey through the Dancehall scene of the 1980’s with short excerpts from interviews Anna Arnone did with a whole host of artists from the scene. Coxsone, Saxson, Macka B., Smiley Culture are just a few of the names featured. Benjamin Zephaniah’s introduction to the book is very personal. He illustrates the importance of Sound System culture and just how powerful their pull was on the youth whose roots were in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, and how integral reggae, MC’s and Dancehall were to the continuing tradition of the spoken word as a way of spreading news, storytelling and poetry.

The book also covers much of the background and history to the Sound Systems in Anna’s images of and words … More

Prince Buster was a Jamaican singer-songwriter & producer whose records released in the 1960s influenced and shaped the course of Jamaican contemporary music and created a legacy of work that would be drawn upon later by reggae and ska artists. This book is a mind-boggling discography devoted to the Jamaican releases of Prince Buster’s productions from 1961’s Oh Carolina by the Folkes Brothers to 1977’s Uganda by Yusuf Ali & The Revolutionaries.

The titles; A and B sides, are listed by year of release with matrix numbers and introductory notes for each … More

“Between 1976-81, I collaborated with David (Widgery), in the organisation Rock Against Racism.. The music came first and was more exciting. It provided the creative energy and the focus in what became a battle for the hearts and minds of young working-class Britian” Ruth Gregory (Hastings).

An anthology of conversations and essays, memories and commentary from the heyday of British pop music writing. In its heyday, … More

Spike the Gypsy is a man for all seasons, that is, except for August Bank Holiday weekends. He arrives in London from Kingston, Jamaica at the beginning of the 1950’s & lives in a slum tenement owned by the infamous landlord Peter Rachman at St Stephens Gardens in Ladbroke Grove. The Gypsy knows people from all over London: musicians from jazz clubs, high class society women, politicians for whom he performs small services, drug dealers & whores. He scrapes a living by selling marijuana, shoplifting, cat burglary & intermittent bouts of gambling. Other prominent characters are the journalist Betty Hayes, who works on the Tottenham & Wood Green Journal; an ingenuous adolescent named Frank Stokes, who lives in Dalston, in Hackney; & a middle-aged man called Marvin Cohen, the owner of a second hand record shop in Lower Cut, Waterloo.

Their lives intertwine with that of the Gypsy.  Spanning more than 60 years, the book discusses the London riots that … More

Born OTD in 1953, reggae drummer of The Specials, John ‘Brad’ Bradbury. Brad played a crucial role in the history of the Specials, the still massively successful multiracial band that first shook up the British music scene in the late 1970s & early 80s by mixing Jamaican ska with punk energy, a bravely political stance & good humour. They were that rarity, a thoughtful band who created great dance music, & Brad was central to their distinctive style. According to the band’s bass player, Horace Panter: “He called his approach ‘attack drumming’ & it became the Specials’ signature sound. He mixed the drive of northern soul with a reggae feel. And he improvised. He was different every night.”

Against the backdrop of the demise of punk, social unrest, and the coming to power of Margaret Thatcher, the Specials … More

MOD ART is the definitive work on everything visual relating to Mod culture, the look that has never gone out of style. Featuring exclusive interviews with key artists and experts on the cult of Mod, MOD ART examines the art scene surrounding the birth of modernism in the UK in the 1960s and explains how the collision of high art, mass culture and sharp fashion produced a unique visual perspective on the way we dress, what we look at and the way we perceive design.

Beautifully illustrated with a treasure trove of colour photographs of famous, rediscovered and rare images from across the eras, MOD … More

In a 1970s commuter town, Tracey Thorn’s teenage life was forged from what failed to happen. Her diaries were packed with entries about not buying things, not going to the disco, the school coach not arriving. Before she became an acclaimed musician and writer, Tracey Thorn was a typical teenager: bored and cynical, despairing of her aspirational parents. Her only comfort came from house parties…

Meaningful Conversations and the female pop icons who hinted at a new kind of living. Returning more than three decades … More