OI for england
BY Trevor Griffiths
"Energetic and Fascinating Revival"
After speaking with the Director about his ideas for the play, Trevor Griffiths personally approved the rights to the company some 24 years after it's last outing.
Ammunition, a band of four working-class skinheads, rehearses in a basement in Moss Side, Manchester. As a race riot begins outisde, they are offered the chance to perform at a fascist rally. The four lads find their loyalties tested.
Written in response to the riots of the early 1980s, and to a worrying rise in neo-Nazism in the same period, Trevor Griffiths' Oi For England (ITV, tx. 17/4/1982) is arguably as relevant today as it was in 1982.
The 1980s riots, in Bristol, Liverpool, Brixton and elsewhere, had disparate triggers, but all were fuelled by seething anger at mass youth unemployment, poverty, hopelessness, oppressive policing and racism, all of which were blamed on Thatcherite economics.
Set in Moss Side, Manchester - scene of its own riots in July 1981 -Griffiths' play gives voice to this tinderbox of disenfranchised youth in the form of four skinhead would-be musicians, who gather in a dusty basement to vent their frustration in violent, angry songs played on ripped-off instruments. The lads soon get pushed to face some tough questions; money, morality or mates?