• sootallures

Rough Musick instead of Clapping in the Streets


When we beat our pots and pans in the street,

When we make a public din,

Rather than a private dinner,

Ringing bells, banging pans, blowing horns,

With domestic utensils used in public,

Expressing disapprobation

Through community pandemonium,

And a cacophony of disharmony,

It’s the revival of ROUGH MUSICK.

A symbolic representation of social discord,

Marking a transgression of agreed social norms

By the great and good;


To indicate disapproval of rulers,

With a pantomimic declamation of their crimes,

The wrong-doer often shown in effigy,

Sometimes riding the SKIMMINGTON,

As in The Mayor of Casterbridge,

Or the 1825 Stroud weavers’ riots,

As the world is turned upside down.


Perhaps we’ll see Priti Patel in effigy

Placed backwards on a donkey in Chalford,

Or wheelbarrow or bike in Stroud,

As we beat the bounds,

Beat the pans,

And symbolically beat

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill.

This is our history,

This is our story,

This is history from below,

Liberty and freedom and the right to protest

For the excluded.

And what is this if not an example,

Of the government’s beloved

‘Retain and Explain’?

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