Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Author. Poet. Speaker. Tutor. RMT ex-Exec. Workers' Liberty. Autie. Bi. PUFC fan.

1980s Ranting Poetry: The Big J

Janine performed poetry in the 1980s as The Big J. This section contains poems, articles and other bits & bobs from this historic era.

You can read more on The Big J page on the Stand Up and Spit blog.

Holiday in Sellafield

Submitted by Janine on 21 March 2016 at 16:53

One from my 1980s days as The Big J. Windscale nuclear power station had been renamed Sellafield in 1981, as the government sought to rebrand it after a series of safety concerns ...

Forget the Costa Brava, don’t go to Benidorm
They’re full of germs and foreigners, and our camp is just as warm
The air is really bracing, and hidden costs concealed
It really is all good clean fun on holiday in Sellafield.

The Housewife's Trial

Submitted by Janine on 03 September 2014 at 14:26

An oldie from the 1980s, a decade of Thatcher, Reagan, crap haircuts and appallingly sexist washing powder adverts. They are not exactly bastions of feminism now, but in the 1980s we were subjected to images of women descending into hysterical panic because 'The dirt says hot but the label says not' (Ariel), their whites had failed the 'window test' (Daz) or were not 'bluey-white'.

The Truth

Submitted by Janine on 20 November 2015 at 11:34

A poem written in 1985, back in my days as The Big J. I might choose different wording these days, but the point remains - depressingly - relevant. The illustration is from Wake Up! fanzine when it published this poem and the Housewife's Trial iin 1985.

'Stand Up And Spit' at the Poetry Library, South Bank Centre, London

Submitted by Janine on 26 August 2015 at 20:46
Event Date

It's Tim Wells, it's Emily Harrison, it's me - and it's free!

At the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, London SE1

More here.


Ranting verse sprang from punk and reggae in the early 1980s.

This grassroots poetry was angry, political, sweary, boozy and funny – a predecessor of the vibrant spoken word of today.