It was as if a big orange guy had come up to me, slapped my face and said:spladoosh - you've been tangoed.
There hadn't been much traffic and all the lights had been green, so I was early for my appointment at the Chiropractor's. Not that I minded because, unlike the dentist, Duncan the aussie chiro has a good selection of magazines.
Top of the pile there was an article on Gil Scott-Heron and in an instant I was right back into 1970, on my old pitch opposite Camden Town tube station, resplendent in my Red Mole t-shirt, peddling left wing propaganda to the masses. It was after one of those (usually unproductive) sessions that I had wandered up to Compendium and discovered Gil Scott-Heron, or rather his novel The Vulture. (As an aside, I notice that The Vulture has recently been reprinted by Canongate, of all people. It's about the life of a murder victim as retold by four men who knew him as a boy and really captures what it was like to be black and american in the 60s - perhaps I should add it to the Big Read list.)
I found that I could relate to the polemic in the book , honed as I was on those long dadaistic evening in the Meadow Bar during the late 60s, arguing socialism with the university anarchist society (now there was a contradiction in terms).
As time went on and Scott-Heron began to issue his work on records with titles such as Home Is Where The Hatred Is, he spoke a lot of sense to me about nuclear proliferation, apartheid, the links between race-poverty-big business, and the machinations of Nixon, Ford, Goldwater and Carter. The man was uncompromising, enraged and, above all, articulate.
As he said:
The revolution will not be right back after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will not be televised.
In other words, Gil Scott-Heron was one of the formative forces on my personal political development.
So it came as a little bit of a shock when the article I was reading ended:
" Godfather of Rap in the 1990s, Gil Scott-Heron is now probably best known as the voice in the Tango Ads when he says - You know when you've been tangoed."
I have nothing to say and I'm going to say it.