Single #4: Portabello Terrace

by Gareth Howells

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      £2 GBP  or more



I recorded this Tom Robinson cover to be offered as a contribution to a fund raising album for a socialist bookshop that had got burned down. Sadly I was too late to get it used for that, but I liked the recording, and I had Tom Robinson's blessing for the track, thanks to Twitter.
So I can't think of a better use of such a great song, or my recording of it, than to try and get some more funds for Gail and the Something Else Crew.

Since 2009, when Bemis were given the chance to play on the main stage at Bearded Theory, and we discovered the beauty and the friendship within the Something Else Tea Tent, Gail's hard work and her support of Bemis have been extremely important to us.
Whether it was Bearded Theory, Watchet Festival, Ensorse it in Dorset, Cosmic Puffin or the various Something Else festivals that we have played at, Gail has been a key part of our experience in festivals.
...and like in 2009, when we first discovered the Tea Tent, if we weren't playing there and were playing on another stage, we still spent most of our time around the Tea Tent, as we had created many lasting friendships there.

Many many bands can say how grateful and indebted they are of Gail's help. She has created a unique platform for speaking out against the nonsense we're facing every day in the UK, as well as the cosy, non-judgemental atmosphere that just breeds laughter and relaxation.

Please buy this track, and the others on this site, and share the information on social media. There can never be enough good people doing good things.

Gareth Howells


Portobello Terrace standing empty
Battened, with corrugated iron
Broken bottles in the basement
Even the stinging nettles die
Unfit for human habitation
Daylight showing through the roofs
Waiting for council renovation
Years since tenants were removed.

Can't rent a room for love nor money
Council waiting list was 7 years
Rather than cardboard on a pavement
One dark night we broke in here
A week of work was all it needed
To fit in doors and fill the frames
We patched the damp and fixed the windows
Settled in to stake our claim.

We woke up one Sunday morning
Bailiffs breaking down the doors
Council clerks, police and news men
Watching the squatters face the law
They threw our bedding out the windows
Hurled our clothes across the floor
The place was gutted top to bottom
And barricaded up once more.

Portobello Terrace standing empty
Battened with corrugated iron
Broken bottles in the basement
Mattresses and chicken wire alight
Unfit for human habitation
Only one house has a roof
Waiting for council demolition
Years since squatters were removed.


released November 29, 2016
Originally written by Tom Robinson



all rights reserved