Last night finished reading Hari Kunzru’s brilliant novel, My Revolutions – an intense first person account of a man’s involvement in a British revolutionary group in the late 60’s and early1970’s.
While I recognised elements from things I’d read and seen about the Baader Meinhof Gang and the Weathermen (the scene in which the activists march down a street in crash helmets reminded me of this image from the Chicago Days of Rage) – the unmistakable parallel is with The Angry Brigade.
Britain’s own armed revolutionary cadre are often forgotten about, partly perhaps because as someone once said their name has a ‘Pythonesque’ quality to it (they also became known as the Stoke Newington 8 which still isn’t as sexy as The Red Brigade) – and that they avoided killing people, unlike the headline-grabbing murders of the European groups.
(Both Baader Meinhof and The Red Brigade have been subjects of highly stylised biographical films with good-looking actors – and the Weathermen have featured in an episode of The Simpsons – can’ think of any appearances of the Angry Brigade on screen).
I tentatively pitched the idea of a documentary about The Angry Briage to Channel4 around the time My Revolutions was published but to no avail (I think the lack of a body count was an issue and that the commissioning editor had never heard of them).
Just as well perhaps, because there is already the excellent documentary above.
Here’s a fascinating interview with the Angry Brigade member John Barker