On Thursday June 11th at 9pm Police Spies Out of Lives held its first live Twitter listening party. You can listen again by downloading Spotify and our playlist.

1. Watching The Detectives by Elvis Costello – Opening Tune

Welcome to our very first Spycops listening party. Inspired by Tim Burgess and his twitter listening parties, we’ve created our own playlist of songs chosen by the women in our group who explain their choices here.

2.  Lunatics by The Specials chosen by Lindsey

This song brings to mind a powerful group of individuals whose skewed world view of surveillance, control and power politics is how we are ‘governed’. Abuses of the general population are excused in the service of ‘national security’ and terminology such as ‘domestic extremism’ is employed to convince the population that surveillance and human rights abuses are proper and necessary. It is a particular kind of unhinged world view that can dehumanise people in the way that many of the powerful in society can. Psychopathy and sociopathy are terms that are legitimate to describe this behaviour. These undercover units, sanctioned by government, are a classic example.

3. Hey ya by Outkast, chosen by Lisa

This was Mark Kennedy’s ring tone on his phone for many years. Music played a big part in Lisa’s life with Mark.

4. Alison by Elvis Costello, chosen by Alison

I never chose my pseudonym ‘Alison’. It was used to disguise my identity by a comrade writing about Mark Jenner spying on our political group in the late 1990s. Other journalists writing about my story used the same name to refer to me to avoid confusion for readers. It’s not a name I particularly like and not one I’d chose for myself. It makes me think of this Elvis Costello song – a song about love and loss. I don’t believe Mark ever loved me but it gives me some satisfaction imagining him as the voice of some the lyrics. These men were highly skilled at blending truth with lies. I hear Mark’s voice through these lyrics continuing to do this. I’d like it played at the inquiry when he takes the witness stand at the public inquiry .

5. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley, chosen by Monica

Monica remembers this song played in Jim Boyling’s flat in Dulwich, as Jim smokes a spliff and shuffles his feet along. “Don’t worry about a thing”. Undercover political policing, subverting the heart of activism since 1968.

6. Would I Lie To You Baby? by Charles and Eddie chosen by Jenny

Bobby Lewis’ cover story? He was a left-wing DJ. Which is how he got to emcee several London Anti-Nazi League fundraisers in the early 1990s. There he’d be, at every gig, spinning disks, working the room; watching the room. Except when he played this. Every time he played this, he’d nail his eyes to his decks. I should have known. We all should have fucking known.

7. Dry Your Eyes by The Streets chosen by Donna

This song reminds me of moving house, being driven through London with my belongings packed into the back of Carlo’s estate car. (He had two different estate cars in the two years I lived with him.) It was allegedly one of his favourite songs and he cried his eyes out as we drove through Camberwell to my new place. Carlo had already moved out of our shared flat, to live with a prominent trade union activist, citing his mental health crisis as the reason.

8. Ouvrez les Frontieres by Tiken Jah Fakoly chosen by Rosa

This was the favourite song of my daughter who was born out of the spying operations on me. I have a memory of her dancing her socks off to this, nailing her identity clearly to the post without knowing about it all. I used to worry that once she was old enough for me to explain what’d happened, where we belonged, that the chance had come to escape to our real world, that it would be me she would find alien, her mum she’d reject. I needn’t have worried. In the strange world I had found myself in, Tiken Jah sang out about beliefs I shared and what a relief it was find an honourable person even if through videos. I’ve never been one for idols, but I drew a strength from his music nonetheless. His songs were proof that we were not alone and gave hope to a determination that we would win through, one day.

9. Oh No it’s the Pigs by P.A.I.N. chosen by Jane

When I was a social and environmental activist in a movement infiltrated by Mark Kennedy, my friendship group was large and tight. As well as trying to make the world a better place, we used to party together. This song always made everyone dance a lot, not least Mark Kennedy, which now makes me wonder what on earth was going on in his head when it was on.

10. Distance by Emily King chosen by Maya

This was the first song Rob sent to me 7 years after his disappearance, to announce his return like a ghost come to life. The desire for reunification was another deception. Music was one treasured way for our communication, sending each other mixtapes or playlists.

After Rob’s second disappearance, hearing songs we shared would trigger me so I avoided them consciously which is a shame. I would walk out of pubs and stores if I heard particular songs. I’m sure artists would not want their creations to be remembered and experienced that way. The song itself
is beautiful.  It angers me to think that Rob continues to listen to songs without the fear of mental distress. Playing this song after all these years, instead of fearing it, is a step to reclaim good things that were taken, good things that became corrupted.

11. Lost On You by LP chosen by Sara

This song helped me whack out my anger for a few weeks not long after I found out. I can remember driving along one day when yet another memory popped into my head and I was hit in the stomach once again by something he had said, and the raw naked truth of it all being a lie. It took my breath away at times, thoughts like these and the horror at what those guys had done.  I kicked this song up in the car and drove singing it at the top of my voice – very cathartic.  I sang it A LOT and very loud and it really helped me vent my feelings.

12. We’ve Got A File On You by Blur – Closing Tune

This track is self-explanatory – the trick is not to worry, but RESIST!

Spycops Listening Party – Playlist & Explanation