Pubs to avoid: the Alma arms, Southsea.

Alma

Barry painted the Alma white.

The Alma arms at 193 Highland Road, Southsea, Hampshire, PO4 9EZ [map] [gmap] for years was notorious as a hangout of the far right; the former landlord Barry Smith being an old-school Nazi who hosted regular events for local fascists and hooligan firms. The pub was taken over in July 2013 by Steve Lant who also runs The Nell Gwynne, in Jessie Road, Southsea, and The Old House at Home, in Locksway Road, Milton, Portsmouth, on behalf of Enterprise Inns. Since then the Alma has been keen to shed its Nazi image, to the extent of sucking up to local antifascist groups and other lefty causes.

Last Sunday Pompey Punx Collective put on a benefit gig at the Alma on behalf of Medical Aid for Palestinians; according to a friend of one of the bands the venue had been leaned on by the cops to hire ‘security’, supposedly in case of fascist ingress. When we arrived there were a couple of awkward looking bodybuilders striking poses in tight-fitting black uniforms and we wondered if someone had hired a striptease act. Anyway we got to see Grant Sharkey do his unique socially-conscious double bass comedy thing (his act is pretty hard to describe, you just need to check it out). The acoustics are shit by the way, no really they are.

It was a Sunday night and the place wasn’t exactly rammed, more like a private party as nearly everyone knew each other, but the atmosphere was dampened by these dudes glaring at people and constantly fussing over who had paid – frankly a gatecrasher would have stuck out like a dog’s bollocks and been challenged instantly. One of us put up a Palestine flag, and was told by the management (one Simon Lawrence, who confesses to be a mate of the old landlord) to take it down, so she wore it instead, the bodybuilders told her to take it off and she refused, we had a word, but they were intransigent, so we just ignored them. Grant’s set, which is the kind of material you really want to listen to, was marred by the bickering going on in the background. More fussing, it seems they were texting Grant’s lyrics to the owners! They didn’t want anything to do with politics they said, they actually used the phrase ‘sitting on the fence’ and we all know where that goes. They were there ‘as a deterrent’ – to what exactly? They didn’t inspire a lot of confidence, “have you done this before?”. Really they should stick to playing paintball. We were informed the event was now a closed one and no-one else would be admitted.

Next up was Thee Infidels, A riotous German Ska/punk band, they got through a couple of numbers then a male comrade put the flag on and was forcibly thrown out. We all followed, the band walked off the stage and came with us. We could not continue under these circumstances and started loading up the gear. About 20 minutes later there was a call from the owner to say he was calling the event off – a bit late for that, mush!

So, is this just a case of a venue badly run by incompetents out of their depth, or was it a set up in league with the police to shut down autonomous organising in the area? A proper antifascist gig was to follow in a couple of weeks, at which they would never have got away with such antics, so this little set piece seems well timed. Never mind, there are plenty of proper venues to choose from.

The Alma will now have to go back to hosting fascists because no one else is going to touch it with a barge pole.

Here’s Grant Sharkey performing the song they got upset about:

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We are Bournemouth!

We Are Bournemouth - August 2014

We’re pleased to support this, it’s emphatically not a front group but a genuine grassroots initiative by the people of Bournemouth. None of the parties who have signed up to it has any overall control. Fair play to Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Trades Council for setting the ball rolling, and to those individuals who have done the leg work, you know who you are.

UKIP upstaged in Bournemouth.

Bloody UKIP, coming over here, taking our shops!

This afternoon UKIP opened one of their weird ‘shops’ in Pokesdown, Bournemouth, they already have one up the road in Parkstone and another in Christchurch, the bloody things are springing up all over the place. This in itself is strange; since when have political parties needed shops? they don’t sell anything, apart from purple balloons so who pays the rent? If Farage is such a man of the people. where does his lavish funding come from?

As expected we found a cluster of blokes in stripey ties and blazers looking as if they’d stepped into a time warp about 1956, some protesters, press, and a plod film crew. Some chinless twit was running back and forth telling people he isn’t racist. To our surprise, UKIP’s neighbours across the road, Dorset Tech, had also decided to throw an opening party at the same time, with a healthy sound system, wine, lager, biscuits and crisps, a Pride banner for a tablecloth and the window decorated with flags of all nations. Their shop isn’t actually open yet, but will have a film and photographic studio and graphic design facilities. They are looking for creative partners to help get off the ground and will give advice free of charge, nice people.

Image0473

We didn’t bother taking a picture of the UKIP shop, they all look the same to us.

The snacks and rather fabulous soundtrack attracted more passers-by than did UKIP and interesting discussions were had. The jollity was still in full swing when the reactionaries all left for a £12.50 a head tea-party with upper-class spiv Neil Hamilton, (cash for questions) whose unsuccessful libel case against Mohammed-al-Fayed was bankrolled by a cartel of far-right millionaires. Colourful Bournemouth con-man and convicted paedophile Peter Hamilton-Harvey was also present..

In the past year the EDL have latched on to UKIP, having always lacked a political platform it has provided them with some stock explanations for their xenophobia. South coast fascists have taken to shadowing UKIP, and trying to intimidate the tail end of lefty protests, especially Gaza solidarity events, see the Post below. Incredibly six blokes believe they can look tough by attacking three women after a demo from which they have just fled. Sure enough a couple of local boneheads were observed skulking around the periphery, but with no opportunities for mischief, they buggered off early.

Protest for Palestine tells racists they are not welcome

Portsmouth Anti-Fascists

Who takes to the streets to attack a march calling for an end to war crimes, specifically the aerial bombardment of civilian areas leading to the mass killing of children? Well, when the victims are predominantly Muslims, the answer is, of course, the English Defence League. On Saturday (9th August) a demonstration in central Portsmouth calling for an end to the Israeli assault on Gaza and for a free Palestine attracted around 200 people. Starting from the Guildhall Square it went through the shopping precinct and back to the square for a rally with speeches. The turnout was broad, with a sizeable contingent from BME communities and the left.

Excellent community turnout for Gaza Excellent community turnout for Gaza

As Anti-Fascists suspected 15-20 racists just could not stop themselves from turning up to show the public once again what an utter bunch of mindless morons they are. The usual idiot gang from Portsmouth plus a…

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Flyer for the 23rd.

not on our manor

Bournemouth mobilises against fascism! 23rd August.

23rdbannerr

Oppose the racist English Defence League in Bournemouth on 23rd August!

Once again this bizarre right-wing cult threatens one of the most peaceful and diverse communities in the south. Their proposed ‘Bournemouth against the Islamification of Britain’ march is a crude provocation to a section of the population that has been here since before most of them were born.

A broad-based coalition, ‘We are Bournemouth’ comprising unions, community organisations, traders and individuals from all walks of life has called for a massive, inclusive, family-friendly counter demonstration against racism and fascism.

Local antifascist groups such as BHstopEDL, StopEDL Bournemouth and of course ourselves will also be out and about on the day, something for everyone. Bournemouth EDL has a history of importing fascists from elsewhere, notably Southampton and Portsmouth, as the blighters have been quite effectively blocked in their own areas, so we call on antifascists from across the south to join us on the day – who knows, you might get to spot one of your local boneheads!

The EDL, which mostly focuses its hatred on Muslims but attracts every kind of bigot has suffered badly in recent years from defections, criminal convictions and internal splits, but has somehow stayed under the radar in Dorset – mainly because most people have never heard of it or are unaware of its fascist origins and sinister agenda, and because there are few racial tensions here to exploit – let’s keep it that way. Their new chairman Tim Ablitt, who was Dorset organiser for the BNP splinter group ‘British Freedom Party’, lives at Fitzworth Avenue in Poole.

Now, we didn’t make this up, honestly.

berksIt was a response to Bournemouth fascist Gary Hazel‘s plea on farcebook for a field where out-of-towners could get heavily refreshed the night before. The cops having refused the fascists permission to use public campsites – not that any would have them – after telling them they aren’t allowed to cook a pig on the beach.

Details will follow as both march routes are being challenged by the locals, we’ve been forwarding e mail enquiries to BHstopEDL

See you on the streets – they shall not pass!