It's been a while since I have – the last time I spoke to them was when we woke up one Sunday morning a couple of years ago to find the back gate and shed door mysteriously open. Nothing had been nicked; the shed was in such a state at the time that the cobwebs made it impenetrable, and even the most intrepid of burglars would have found their courage and perseverance rewarded with no more than a rusty spade and a half-empty tin of Sadolin. But we told the police anyway just in case there was a spate of it in the area. They sent round a couple of bobbies - I have to call them 'bobbies' in this instance because they were old-fashioned and smiley with local accents, the type who ride bicycles slowly and wave at old people – these were not cops or pigs or old bill. They kindly suggested we could hang a little bell on the gate to deter any potential intruders. It kind of sums up where we live now.
That's not to say I haven't been on the receiving end of crime before; in another life and town my flat, my car and my handbag have all been broken into and I actually couldn't fault the responses of the police in each instance. But was that because I'd been the 'victim'?
I mean, it felt very different when I was in the transit van that was stopped by some cops on one occasion (of several) coming back from a gig in the early '80s. I was with Mr SDS' band, along with the other girlfriends and the mate who did the driving, when we were pulled over by a police car as we drove through a spookily quiet London in the early hours. We were young, scruffy, punky types. They were young, bolshy, smart-arse types. It was clear that they were desperate to catch us out on something and drugs would be the most likely haul, so we were interrogated, patronised, physically searched and separated and it felt shit, and actually quite scary. When they eventually couldn't find anything they didn't apologise - they did give us a sticker for the van, though. It said, 'Mets Are Magic'. Pah. There was only one place we wanted to stick it....
It seems so long ago now.... and so does this. What actually started me on this train of thought about the police was watching Britpop At The BBC on Friday night and seeing this clip. I just can't get enough of it. Isn't it the most compelling performance of an absolutely perfect song?
And then I thought about how many great songs there are about the police. Like this one from an old Pink Fairy....
...and this one which I saw performed live so many times in my youth
And then there's the Equals, Junior Murvin/Clash, Crisis etc etc.... there's always something to say about the police. Where would we be without them, eh?