Benjamin Zephaniah – Doncaster Co-Op – 19/11/83

Twenty Something Minutes Of Benjamin Zephaniah

The first minute of this set is very quiet until the soundman realises he needs to turn up the microphone somewhat.

This gig recorded in Doncaster at the Co-Op building with the Passion Killers and The Mob. This gig was also notable as it was the last ever performance of The Mob (search for The Mob’s set by entering Doncaster into the search function).

Unfortunatly my tape finished before the end of Benjamin’s set…Sorry about that!

Benjamin for a while supported lots of punk and alternative bands. I have seen him perform many times and the majority of those times were within a audience of brightly coloured hair visionaries with dogs barking in the venues! Welwyn Garden City Ludwick Hall audiences always gave a good reaction to his performances.

Last time I saw Benjamin perform was at the Conflict show at the Brixton Academy in April 1987, a show that ended in a mini riot on the streets of Brixton, amongst the damage to this long suffering community was the charity shop Dr Barnardos window getting kicked through, and the shop being looted, all for the good of the ‘the cause’. I believe the ’cause’ that night were nasty bouncers on the door of the venue…not many rioters fancied pushing their luck with that lot, so the stores would have to do! This was also the last time I saw Conflict perform as well, as it happens…

Benjamin was born in St Elizabeth, Jamaica then travelled to Handsworth in Birmingham and finally settling in London in his early twenties. He has worked with Mad Professor of Ariwa Records and has had material released on Bill Gilliam’s Upright Records. He has written many books of poetry and short stories. He is patron to the Vegan Society and has refused an O.B.E from that girl featured on all the stamps…He is also widely travelled having got to Ethiopia, Kenya, China, India, most of Europe and the U.S. and Jamaica of course.

Decent and rightous man…

  1. Nic
    August 22, 2008 at 7:50 am


    The only bad thing that you could say about him was that he deafed out Birmingham for “that London”…a bit of a traitor then, but still an excellent poet in the traditional idiom…

    Last time I saw Conflict was in 1983 at the Nottingham concert which was uploaded here…They’re not my favourite Oi! band…

    “And the world ended, not with a bang, but in Doncaster”…

  2. back2front
    August 22, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Great bloke – I met him a few years back and he has great stories of writing to Bob Marley and actually getting a reply which is what really got him into poetry and performing – later he met Peter Tosh and afterwrads became the first artist to record with the Wailers after Marley died. The 12in single “Free South Africa” was one of a two tracks that helped to bring the plight of South Africa to the West (There’s a picture of benji with Mandela online somewhere).

    Anyone got a recording of him at the infamous show with TOA and Conflict in 1987?

    Last I seen Conflict was last year – 23 years since the last time and funny thing is they’re still playing the same set!

  3. back2front
    August 24, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Penguin I have the “Dub Ranting” EP, his first recording from 81 I think and also the “Rasta” LP and early tapes – if you want I could forward?

  4. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    August 24, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Thanks B2F will email you seperately later on…ta.

  5. back2front
    August 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Just to say I’d entered my email wrong – have corrected – should work now

  6. Stewart
    August 25, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    ‘Rasta’ is one of my favourite LPs! 🙂

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