Communists and Crabs


I remember the very first time I heard this song, “Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution” by the wonderful Tracy Chapman. It went on to become the theme tune for my summer of 1988…I was in a very “bohemian”… well, all right, “grotty” pub in a particularly student-populated area of the city where I live.

I was attending my first-ever meeting of the Socialist Workers Communist Party. I did Russian history at school and I developed an interest in the principles of Communism. Also, I’d left school, my friends were scattered across the country and it was one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time…

I struck up conversation with a group of people around my age, who were sitting nearby, and Ms. Chapman’s song started to play on the jukebox… we belived whole-heartedly in the party ethics; but typically for students, we did an awful lot of talking. About how the world should be, and how we would change it if we only had the time..The one time we did go on a protest march in London, my best friend was chased by a gang of skinheads and I was arrested (sorry Dad..) but I did get to hold one pole support of our party banner.

The summer drew to a close. Our fearless leader had to return to his parents’ villa in Tuscany while we all went our separate ways to college, university, jobs. Our leader did give me an introduction to the leader of the party in Manchester, where I was headed to University, I believe her parents had the villa next door…

But reality bites and the summer of ‘88 was over, apart from a few last…um…hurrahs. My birthday, for example… we always frequented a vodka bar (of course) that sold bizarrely flavoured alcohol, such as jelly bean. The standard bet was to drink your way from one end of the bar to the other, sampling all the flavours… Having duly completed this, my friends loaded me into a shopping trolley and pushed me down the steps in the Market Square…


Both myself and my son were born in July, meaning our starsign is Cancer the Crab. Supposedly, we are moody, pessimistic and clingy, suspicious and manipulative. And that’s just our good points… no, really… I am over-emotional. I know that. And my son can be moody… Luckily though, these periods of the dark side of the Moon that is our personality rarely coincide and on the whole we are imaginative, loyal, creative and sympathetic.

As a Cancer, then, I stopped eating crabs (as seafood, not randomly) about eight years ago, feeling vaguely cannibalistic about consuming the symbol of my horoscope heritage. Also, my son showed me a video that brought tears to my eyes too… a little crab, eating a cherry, delicately tweezering tiny bites of the treat into its mouth with evident enjoyment and appreciation. It always seems a little harsh, to me, that our starsign name is used for a disease that is a merciless killer.


And yet I have an enduring fascination with the television programme, “The Deadliest Catch”, a reality series that details the battles of a group of crab fishermen and their trawlers in the Bering Sea. Their bravery in terrifying circumstances is amazing… my inability to eat other types of seafood manifested itself as a horror of the lobster my mother lovingly prepared at Christmas. It crouched on the serving dish all… red….and…leggy like a giant bug. As you can imagine, my mother was disappointed…


Having recently resumed contact with my best friend from that summer, I’ve discovered what happened to our little gang. Our party leader went to work in his father’s legal practice. One girl is an associate in Psychology at a university. Sadly, one boy who was diagnosed with AIDS – this was in the ‘80’s don’t forget, before it was considered treatable – committed suicide after receiving this news. Someone else now runs a successful business between here and France and my best friend from the time works in the teaching hospital here. Another boy lived the dream and went to fight in Tibet. No-one has heard from him for some years now.

All those dreams and ideas, all those hopes and ideals, they all went their very different ways when the talking was over and real life got in the way.

So. We may not have been very good Communists, but we were amazing Social… -isers!


* with love and thanks to Ella, a Libra and a student, for the idea. Go and visit-she’s lovely!*

39 thoughts on “Communists and Crabs

  1. Oh to be young and idealistic again! Love this post. But you realise now your phone will probably be tapped, right? Did you watch Citizen Smith or was that before your time? “Come the revolution…”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha ha!! Oh yes…total tapping…*winking mysteriously..or at least I would if I could*
      “Citizen Smith” was my first exposure to an alternative political view, I think I was about 6…my dad was also ultra conservative so of course rebellion was in order! I also still know all the words to The Red Flag…🎌🎌
      Have a good weekend 🐱🍻x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There were some truly strange flavours…vanilla and things like that were OK, but things like the jelly bean were a bit…odd!
      And yes, I completely agree with what you say re: new ideas – I say that almost word for word to my son! 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing memories! I love the little twist on your fearless leader going back to his parents’ villa in Tuscany, LOL. I never met anyone with an interest in Marxism until graduate school, and his parents were also very rich. Where I went to college, in the southern state of Georgia, confessing an interest in communism was about as popular as admitting to pedophilia. I have never heard of jelly-bean vodka, gods be thanked!
    I was touched by your description of the crab eating a cherry. As Mr. Darwin teaches, all creatures on earth are our cousins, even the invertebrates.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha wasn’t until I was a bit older that I was fully able to appreciate the irony of that…of all politics really.
      Hmm, if you ever come across jelly bean vodka I’d like to say try it…but I won’t! The chilli vodka was very authentic, I remember…and look! My son found the link for the little crab if you’d like to see it, it brought tears to my eyes – thank you for your lovely comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post! I flirted with the Socialist Workers Party in the U.S. during freshman year at college when I was able to vote in my first Presidential election. I felt the Democrats were not liberal enough for me. Now, seeing what happened in our last fiasco of an election, when young idealistic Bernie supporters did not rally behind Hillary…Well, wish I could have taken them aside and told them to swallow their medicine and do what’s necessary to prevent what actually happened from happening!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…I know what you mean. And now we’re having another general election in June…my sister annoyed me actually, she said she wasn’t going to bother and I shouted at her..I mean, women died so we could have the vote! Thank you for your interesting comment and I’m pleased you enjoyed the read 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I must admit I thought the principle sounded good but once you’ve seen it in action … you wouldn’t even joke about it. Party members get everything while the masses live in overcrowded poverty.

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  4. What a lovely story (again). Made me think about my student years and dreams-to change the world, of course. I was a founding member of a political organisation then-and got kicked off after a few months for being too bossy. Never recovered 😉
    My mum was born in July, too-I didn’t know she was a cancer (I’m quite ignorant, I admit). Well, as she’s recently been diagnosed with the disease, I don’t think I’ll mention it to her.
    And I definitely agree: crabs are far too cute to be eaten. Even if they are not feeding on cherries 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obviously the organisation lost their only opportunity of gaining any power then, by kicking you off…
      Birth signs run till the 21st of each month, so if your mother was born after the 21st of July, she’s probably a Leo. How is she? Thinking of you both, obviously xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, so she might be a Leo then as she was born on the 22nd. I have an alarming lack of control over what my brain processes as valid information, I know I have read something about horoscopes/astrology but whatever it was it’s gone now.
        Thank you for your good words, cancer (the disease) is feared for a reason. I guess I have a personal issue with it as I have never met anyone who’s survived (I know people do, I have just not met them). But I really hope my Mum will. x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So do I, totally, but techniques and treatments are advancing all the time xo
        I don’t really hold much store by horoscopes although it does amuse me to see how accurate the character traits are…mine seems to be the most negative in the whole!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think the predictions about the future are mainly for amusement (I don’t think many people truly believe them). I kind of like the idea of astrology -and reading your fate from the stars and planets. Sadly, me being me-I don’t believe that either…but it doesn’t stop me from appreciating the magical beauty of it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. On the other hand, you can get totally random predictions that hit the nail on the head…which is annoying….I like the beauty of all the antique astrological instruments too, which ties in with what you say 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

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