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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Martin 'Protag' Neish 1959-2014

Martin ‘Protag’ Neish 1959-2014

Protag working tirelessly behind the scenes

The world has lost another great man: A man who lived by his ideals, with the betterment of the world, and improving the lives of others, often at the forefront of his mind. Cancer is often uncontrollable and inevitable, yet when it hits someone who doesn’t smoke, drinks in moderation, eats organic food, and leads a healthy and active lifestyle – it is often harder to take.

Protag was a stalwart of the Bradford scene. Musically he had been involved with Blyth Power, Alternative TV, and Zounds, as well as a competent and respected sound engineer. Politically he was an integral part of the 1 in 12 claimants union, a backbone volunteer at the 1 in 12 club, an ambassador for alternative energies, an Indymedia volunteer, and he worked alongside many community and activist groups. He was one of those people that put the word active into activist.

I first met Protag at the 1 in 12 Club, when I spent some time volunteering behind the bar, and organising live music events. What resonated with me the most was his passion for the club. He was always doing something for its benefit, and he was always willing to guide and teach those who wanted to learn more. He was almost a moral guide for putting beliefs into practice, and his ways more often than not played on the minds of the more nihilistically minded.

Our working relationship with Protag developed when he agreed to join the Moncada Rocks collective as our sound engineer. The collective successfully raised tens of thousands of pounds for radical left-wing organisations in South America, ranging from rehabilitating families of murdered journalists in Colombia, to providing musical instruments for young people in Cuba. Protag was more of an anarchist, yet what made him unique was his ability not to succumb to divisions and factionalism. He would get involved with many projects that spanned the broad left spectrum, as long as they helped to improve the lot of others who are less fortunate.


When I think of Protag, I think of Boxer from Animal Farm: Someone with a staunch work ethic, who always worked harder when times got tough, and worked so hard for the Rebellion. There are many people that are part of our movement, and part of our society, that put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes, and don’t like to brag or show off their achievements. So it is our responsibility to celebrate it for them.

Shortly before his death, he requested that everyone get together to clean up, decorate and fix up the 1 in12 Club. That was a final request that was Protag through and through; the last thing he’d want is for us to all to be sat around being inactive. There is one final anecdote I’d like to share with you. At one Moncada Rocks event he received the sad news that his mother had passed away, and rather than cancel and leave us in the lurch, he decided to carry on and do the event because he knew that is what his mother would’ve wanted. This is yet another example of him putting the greater need of others, above himself.

Protag, we salute you for everything you have contributed to humanity. You will be sorely missed.

A tribute on the wall of the 1 in 12 Club.

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