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Northern Soul and Age in 2017 - Carry On Regardless?

Northern Soul and Age in 2017 - Carry On Regardless? cover

Spring 2017 Points Of View

A new month under way, just seeing the back of winter off, there's a spring both in the air and in the step, so let's have a go at this...

Spring 2017 Points Of View -  a new series set up to get some discussion going on concerning some interesting/relevant 2017 soul related topics.

Start things off...

Northern soul and age in 2017... carry on regardless ? 

Well it could be argued that if you ever need an example of an 'elephant in the room" topic then this one could be it

Here we are in the year 2017 and time is marching on everywhere you look. Soul wise in the uk we have live artists performing in their 80s, some djs not that far off, collectors with money to spare (funded by pensions etc) fueling the never ending chase for rare records, events being tweaked to reflect increasing ages, seaside soul shows taking over the WW2 sing along slots and so on, all under the banner of 'northern soul'

Should this be a concern? Should we all carry on regardless? Should things be more defined?

I can see points for and against for some of the many aspects of any discussion, such as the 'old as you feel' view or the 'dead mans shoes' take for example

But more importantly what do you out there reckon on it all ?

Northern soul and age in 2017... Carry on regardless? 

 

 

 





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In my personal experience, attending venues from the late '70s through to the late '90s, it seemed like you were surrounded by your peers, then suddenly a much older crowd appeared in the '00s, and the last few years has seen a much younger clientele coming onto the scene.  This has led to as much as a 50 year age gap between the youngest and oldest attendees at some venues.

It doesn't seem to be a problem, with everybody on board for the love of the music, so I reckon it's a case of carry on regardless, as long as you're still up to it.

 

 

Edited by Steve S 60

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The internet has ruined the Northern Soul scene!

There used to be big allnighters so if you wanted to keep up/ learn new Northern Soul monster records, that's where you had to go!

Now you can sit in your armchair and learn it all.  No need to travel and support allnighters where the big DJ's would be. 

You can buy all the lookalike records on the internet, be the D.J. and advertise your local soul night on the internet.

Result:- Hundreds of soul nights.  No central progressive allnighter, where everyone needs to go to be part of the Northern Soul Scene!

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I will carry on as long as I possibly can. Its the only way of life that I know . I've been going nighters since 1975 ( age 16 ) and still go them now. ( 58 ) going on 16

Its cost me wives, girlfriends etc. . God knows how much money travelling to venues, not counting how much I've actually spent on records.

In all that time I've probably spent nearly as many weekends without sleep as I have with.(  Wide awake club fully paid up member ).  Wouldn't change it for anything

Steve

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I often wonder what the 17 Year old me would make of todays scene, ie if on my first visit to Station Rd in 1977 I'd have walked through the main doors to be greeted by a dancefloor full of people who were the same age as my Grandparents......

Have to be honest and say I doubt I'd have made the trip the following week. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Zed1 said:

I often wonder what the 17 Year old me would make of todays scene, ie if on my first visit to Station Rd in 1977 I'd have walked through the main doors to be greeted by a dancefloor full of people who were the same age as my Grandparents......

Have to be honest and say I doubt I'd have made the trip the following week. 

 

I"ve got a vision of Mrs Woods on the dance floor, spinning around in a circle skirt.

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I,m   never quite sure about this" passing it on to the next generation " stuff .     Back in the early seventies , the scene was  the most exciting thing there was , there was nothing that could compare with it and we were drawn like moths to a flame ( more than a few getting badly burnt ) . can we honestly say this today ?                                                                                      If i was a teenager today , would i  have the same attraction to todays  set up ?    Not a chance ,    From what i gather there are plenty of things going on up and down that  have a similar raw underground  vibe about them , One thing that does not have this however is todays northern soul scene , its the equivalent of the working mens clubs in the seventies ,  , the very type of thing that we  were not prepared to settle for ,that made the difference of the Northern scene so attractive .                                                                                                                                                        I  am sixty next year and am certainly not interested in the lawless drug fueled weekend extravaganzas of yesteryear , but i find the occasional forays  onto todays scene quite sanitised affairs .    in my own way , i have deepened my appreciation of and passion for the music , but the scene?   come on.       

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I think it's down to  not  a lot of large venues any more, all seem to be being closed by council's, you only have to look in the Manchester and Wigan areas.

A lot of civic halls in most council area's are probably closed now, resulting in smaller venue's at small club's, which I must say some are really good.

 

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Well.....we now have "Walking Football", so maybe we can have soul events where we all stand still on the dancefloor and just move our arms a bit. I think it's a case of enjoy it while you can (and spend the next few days walking around stiffly with a bad back).

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walking northern... like it!

some interesting views so far

Steve refers to a possible 50 years gap at some venues

is the whole 'northern' range just too wide?

 

 

 

 

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Things will have to change or it will die. The music and preferred format is just getting too old as well as the punters. It’s amazing that it’s continued this long. I said the same thing on this site over 10 years ago, mind! The major elements which need adapting are:

 

  • Music policy should evolve to contain more recent releases. Sean Hampsey’s early 80s podcasts go to show how progressive things were then and reminds me how that has not continued.

  • More flexibility over the ovo policy.

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I guess as long as promoters keep getting enough people through the door - long standing members of the scene and newcomers then it will continue. And people should keep attending as long as they want to. 

It's impossible to compare the old days to now - its completely different for many reasons.

Peter

:hatsoff2: 

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If you removed ‘the scene aspects’ from the article e.g events & performances. And was left with the music and collecting side -Would the discussion about age be the same-or even exist?

There’s an inbuilt Northern Soul DNA that’s never really left me (although I did leave it for a quite a while). So age doesn’t come into it for me, as long as I’m healthy and my wife doesn’t tell me I look like a T*** when I’m dancing. I’ll keep going.

As for those behind us- if there are any, then, these things have a way of sorting themselves out.

P.S. oh yes-i'm too embarrassed to tell you my age, so let's just say i was 18yrs old in 1971...it's much better that way.

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Sixty one this year been around since the very early seventies before the term Northern soul was even uttered . So much of the scene I dont like now from the public displays on the comedy carpet at Blackpool , the badly dressed Wigan Casino re-enactment society , the adverts , Juds Northern soul on youtube and a host of other internet related crap . 

I only get out ocasionaly but always happy see old friends , Still get excited when I hear new to my ears sounds , dont realy care if the scene carries on or not when I,m gone .

If my wife was into the scene and my circumstances (job etc ) permitted I would love to still be going to nighters every opportunity allthough would be very choosy about where I would go .

We have lost a few on the way but despite our ages the scene is still fairly healthy albeit a bit stuck in a timewarp but thats down to some DJ,s being complacent  and some punters happy to settle for the lowest common denominator .

As I shuffle into my dotage I would like to see the emphasis on quality just good soul music with a smattering of Funk  played from the heart in good quality venues not a pair of baggys or a handbagger in sight .

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The night after the last 100 Club I awoke in agony with pains in my legs, due I think to back problems. As I sat on the edge of the bed I thought you must be mad to do allnighters and dance, etc. Perhaps it's time to give them up and only attend afternoon sessions. 
The next day I saw the video of the last 5 or so minutes at the 100 Club on Facebook, with loads of my friends dancing, even a glimpse of me at the back, and I knew I couldn't give this up. It is my life, sad individual that I am. Going out to soul nights with my friends after I lost my wife was a lifesaver. If I give up now what would I do? Watch TV every night? And there is something about a nighter and coming home when your neighbours are just waking up. I'm still an 18-year-old inside.
Therefore I intend to carry on as long as I physically can, and of course while I enjoy it. Luckily I enjoy most styles of soul music so there is enough out there to satisfy me for ages to come. I just don't want to embarrass anyone. 

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On 07/03/2017 at 19:52, solidsoul said:

The internet has ruined the Northern Soul scene!

There used to be big allnighters so if you wanted to keep up/ learn new Northern Soul monster records, that's where you had to go!

Now you can sit in your armchair and learn it all.  No need to travel and support allnighters where the big DJ's would be. 

You can buy all the lookalike records on the internet, be the D.J. and advertise your local soul night on the internet.

Result:- Hundreds of soul nights.  No central progressive allnighter, where everyone needs to go to be part of the Northern Soul Scene!

Not sure this is the case. Old age changed the Northern Soul scene. As folk grew up, married, committed to family life, dropped out the scene etc, major Allnighter venues withered. The internet has allowed the Northern scene to flourish but in a different guise, with record collectors able to access vinyl without flying to the States. This has enabled younger record collectors, potential DJ's, venue attenders and dancers to join the old timers at a multitude of small venues. To be part of a scene where there is no age prejudice is a marvellous thing. The Northern scene is as progressive as ever catering to a wide range of music tastes and without any one 'figurehead' determining what is played/booted/compiled/marketed - now every individual can be part of the scene and in a way that suits them. Go where you want, wear what you want, listen to what you want - not a bad lifestyle and a scene that still remains more underground than mainstream.

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Northern soul ! I'd beg to differ that the scene we have now is not a Northern soul scene but a Soul scene. There is nothing that I associate with my original scene that I can compare to 2017 ( as a generalisation) . However that been said the soul scene in all its formats is very healthy for the oldies brigade Blackpool is the Ritz etc and the weekender venues seem to recognise that the scene has evolved so cater for the Oldies in there main rooms but also offer Modern, R&B Club soul, Rare soul etc in smaller rooms, Obiously this is more for commercial reasons ! I would think a lot of ex diehard Northern soulies now are happy to choose venues which offer more luxurious surroundings and even local boarding etc that would never have been on the agenda years ago.Thankfully the comeradery that exists between soulies is still there but even that has become splintered and cliquesh. Musically I personally think that age has brought about diversity and musical acceptance of appreciation to great soul music in all its formats where as again personally I would frisbee things like Jimmy bohorne, Richard Caiton, etc for four beats to the bar in my youth but now they would be prized prossecions. I like the term northern soul is in your DNA it,s a great expression so as far as age goes it has no boundaries it's as much a part of you as breathing :) apologies for spelling mistakes and grammar as age hasn't been so kind to my literate side lol

PS The ethos of the scene for me was always discovering new sounds and travelling to hear them,it,s still that but again I don't think there is a big enough platform or followers for that to exist on a large scale on purely what I'd class as Northern soul but there in abundance on rare soul etc !

atb Charlie

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Cant really add much to what has already been said just grateful that there are dos every weekend if i want with a range to suit all soul music tastes and not feel out of place at my age... with likeminded friendly people. Never thought that would be case 20/30+ years ago. At a do last year there was an 88 year old and a 22 year old on the dance floor at the same time (admittedly they were dancing in slightly different styles..) - that shows the power of this music.

 However in some ways i feel sorry for the youngsters cause it may have been better for them if the scene had died in the 90's say and they could have discovered and re-ignited it for themselves..

I will keep going out as long as the body will allow - there is no alternative that i can think of.

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It's only the same as every other retro scene that started decades ago. Take the Punk scene, my daughter goes to gigs and festys, UK Subs, Three Chords and stuff like that, the first wave of Punks are now well into their sixties in age but they still go to events and still soap their hair and the whole caboodle, it doesn't bother my daughter when she goes to an event and sees her mates' dad who's a postman there with his Spiky green hair, she wouldn't be seen dead I expect at a Soul event with her Mum and I but is happy to go to mixed age events. When I started on the soul scene everybody was older than me I'd say from 25 to 40 at the time and I myself was still a teenager, that's why I was 'Babyboy' back then I was one of the youngest on the soul scene and in those days, the eighties, it was pretty much national in the sense that to go to regular allnighters you did have to travel considerable distances to attend regularly. It didn't put me off but then I was brought up in Workingmens clubs, playing Darts, Snooker and going Fishing with all the old boys, a lot of whom were a lot older than my Dad at the time, in those days you mixed with 'the olds'...

Nowadays though that has all changed, read a recent study the other day about the new generation of kids coming through schools that are so wrapped up in online, computer gaming and social networking that they can't even mix with the other kids in their own class, the kid sitting next to them doesn't even know them, there is no interaction outside of class unless they're friends on social media, the report read like the teachers were predicting the emergence of a real-life 'Stepford wives' sort of kid with no social skills, no capacity for interacting in the non-virtual world, very much like a kind of Drone or Clone, it was very worrying, the teachers reckon this has only come about in the last few years from about 2014, like Bob Dylan said 'The times they are a changin'...

Very worrying stuff for the human race, not only the Soul scene but every facet of human existence, remember Mrs Thatcher saying in the eighties that 'There is no such thing as society' well things have moved mighty far along that road since then...

Northern soul, and Soul will go the same way as the Vera Lynn singalong shows and the Rock n Roll shows that I do with my cabaret outfit, it'll just be a relic that people read about in those university studies that people do nowadays for their Media Studies degree, I've never understood the point of studying an old scene in that way or the value of them. Judging by the study that I read the other day, there won't be any kind of scene of any kind in the future, going out in public is dying out with this new generation that'll be along in ten, twenty years time, we won't be worried about it by then either way.

If you like it go, if you don't don't, some younger folks will some won't, there's only one certainty in life, and we're all getting closer to it, just be thankful we weren't part of what is coming along for our Grandkids, the age of the mindless Drone, George Orwell might've been out a few years with his predictions, but he weren't wrong though!

As for the soul scene, just go out and enjoy yourself while you can, who cares who is there and how old they are? If you enjoy it then win-win, when you're in a care home you'll lament every opportunity for actual life that you didn't take, for us it'll be Newquay Saturday, for me I don't worry about what a scene will be like long after I'm dead and buried, I kinda do worry about the future for mankind but by the same token why should I give a flyer what happens when I'm gone? In fact what was the point of this post? Twenty minutes gone out of my life that was for nothing! The Internet, a kind of worm that gets into your head and keeps you indoors doing basically nothing, I'm suffering from the same problem as those kids I talked about... :wicked:

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23 minutes ago, BabyBoyAndMyLass said:

It's only the same as every other retro scene that started decades ago. Take the Punk scene, my daughter goes to gigs and festys, UK Subs, Three Chords and stuff like that, the first wave of Punks are now well into their sixties in age but they still go to events and still soap their hair and the whole caboodle, it doesn't bother my daughter when she goes to an event and sees her mates' dad who's a postman there with his Spiky green hair, she wouldn't be seen dead I expect at a Soul event with her Mum and I but is happy to go to mixed age events. When I started on the soul scene everybody was older than me I'd say from 25 to 40 at the time and I myself was still a teenager, that's why I was 'Babyboy' back then I was one of the youngest on the soul scene and in those days, the eighties, it was pretty much national in the sense that to go to regular allnighters you did have to travel considerable distances to attend regularly. It didn't put me off but then I was brought up in Workingmens clubs, playing Darts, Snooker and going Fishing with all the old boys, a lot of whom were a lot older than my Dad at the time, in those days you mixed with 'the olds'...

Nowadays though that has all changed, read a recent study the other day about the new generation of kids coming through schools that are so wrapped up in online, computer gaming and social networking that they can't even mix with the other kids in their own class, the kid sitting next to them doesn't even know them, there is no interaction outside of class unless they're friends on social media, the report read like the teachers were predicting the emergence of a real-life 'Stepford wives' sort of kid with no social skills, no capacity for interacting in the non-virtual world, very much like a kind of Drone or Clone, it was very worrying, the teachers reckon this has only come about in the last few years from about 2014, like Bob Dylan said 'The times they are a changin'...

Very worrying stuff for the human race, not only the Soul scene but every facet of human existence, remember Mrs Thatcher saying in the eighties that 'There is no such thing as society' well things have moved mighty far along that road since then...

Northern soul, and Soul will go the same way as the Vera Lynn singalong shows and the Rock n Roll shows that I do with my cabaret outfit, it'll just be a relic that people read about in those university studies that people do nowadays for their Media Studies degree, I've never understood the point of studying an old scene in that way or the value of them. Judging by the study that I read the other day, there won't be any kind of scene of any kind in the future, going out in public is dying out with this new generation that'll be along in ten, twenty years time, we won't be worried about it by then either way.

If you like it go, if you don't don't, some younger folks will some won't, there's only one certainty in life, and we're all getting closer to it, just be thankful we weren't part of what is coming along for our Grandkids, the age of the mindless Drone, George Orwell might've been out a few years with his predictions, but he weren't wrong though!

As for the soul scene, just go out and enjoy yourself while you can, who cares who is there and how old they are? If you enjoy it then win-win, when you're in a care home you'll lament every opportunity for actual life that you didn't take, for us it'll be Newquay Saturday, for me I don't worry about what a scene will be like long after I'm dead and buried, I kinda do worry about the future for mankind but by the same token why should I give a flyer what happens when I'm gone? In fact what was the point of this post? Twenty minutes gone out of my life that was for nothing! The Internet, a kind of worm that gets into your head and keeps you indoors doing basically nothing, I'm suffering from the same problem as those kids I talked about... :wicked:

SIMPLY BRILLIANT POST

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As with my music purchasing, I attend events on the basis of "Catch them while I can". For as long as they are available, I'll set aside time and money to enjoy them, and if their availability should ever dry up, then there is still a lot of this world to explore and experience, and not even so far from my doorstep. I know I would miss the excitement of hearing new sounds, of meeting old friends and making new ones with the same shared interest, of discovering new places just because of the event that I'm attending for the very first time ... but I'll have the memories and the energy that I gained from enjoying all these things and which, I am assuming, will have added on some time to my otherwise finite existence. I hope it all goes on forever, but I would be foolish to assume that it does. And even if it does, it will evolve and therefore be different anyway. Such is life.

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2 hours ago, BabyBoyAndMyLass said:

It's only the same as every other retro scene that started decades ago. Take the Punk scene, my daughter goes to gigs and festys, UK Subs, Three Chords and stuff like that, the first wave of Punks are now well into their sixties in age but they still go to events and still soap their hair and the whole caboodle, it doesn't bother my daughter when she goes to an event and sees her mates' dad who's a postman there with his Spiky green hair, she wouldn't be seen dead I expect at a Soul event with her Mum and I but is happy to go to mixed age events. When I started on the soul scene everybody was older than me I'd say from 25 to 40 at the time and I myself was still a teenager, that's why I was 'Babyboy' back then I was one of the youngest on the soul scene and in those days, the eighties, it was pretty much national in the sense that to go to regular allnighters you did have to travel considerable distances to attend regularly. It didn't put me off but then I was brought up in Workingmens clubs, playing Darts, Snooker and going Fishing with all the old boys, a lot of whom were a lot older than my Dad at the time, in those days you mixed with 'the olds'...

Nowadays though that has all changed, read a recent study the other day about the new generation of kids coming through schools that are so wrapped up in online, computer gaming and social networking that they can't even mix with the other kids in their own class, the kid sitting next to them doesn't even know them, there is no interaction outside of class unless they're friends on social media, the report read like the teachers were predicting the emergence of a real-life 'Stepford wives' sort of kid with no social skills, no capacity for interacting in the non-virtual world, very much like a kind of Drone or Clone, it was very worrying, the teachers reckon this has only come about in the last few years from about 2014, like Bob Dylan said 'The times they are a changin'...

Very worrying stuff for the human race, not only the Soul scene but every facet of human existence, remember Mrs Thatcher saying in the eighties that 'There is no such thing as society' well things have moved mighty far along that road since then...

Northern soul, and Soul will go the same way as the Vera Lynn singalong shows and the Rock n Roll shows that I do with my cabaret outfit, it'll just be a relic that people read about in those university studies that people do nowadays for their Media Studies degree, I've never understood the point of studying an old scene in that way or the value of them. Judging by the study that I read the other day, there won't be any kind of scene of any kind in the future, going out in public is dying out with this new generation that'll be along in ten, twenty years time, we won't be worried about it by then either way.

If you like it go, if you don't don't, some younger folks will some won't, there's only one certainty in life, and we're all getting closer to it, just be thankful we weren't part of what is coming along for our Grandkids, the age of the mindless Drone, George Orwell might've been out a few years with his predictions, but he weren't wrong though!

As for the soul scene, just go out and enjoy yourself while you can, who cares who is there and how old they are? If you enjoy it then win-win, when you're in a care home you'll lament every opportunity for actual life that you didn't take, for us it'll be Newquay Saturday, for me I don't worry about what a scene will be like long after I'm dead and buried, I kinda do worry about the future for mankind but by the same token why should I give a flyer what happens when I'm gone? In fact what was the point of this post? Twenty minutes gone out of my life that was for nothing! The Internet, a kind of worm that gets into your head and keeps you indoors doing basically nothing, I'm suffering from the same problem as those kids I talked about... :wicked:

That last part of the last paragraph is excellent.

Kev

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On my way this weekend to a Soul event. Not bothered about saying my age 62 years young !!! Loved Northern,Motown,Ska ect since i was 14. I will go to events as long as i am able its in my heart and in my soul. Like with most music it is the soundtrack to your life special events special songs. I dont have a problem with any age group that appreciate great tunes. Recently i have found myself having a chat with random strangers when they see the Northern Soul badge on my parka they love to hear about the soul scene. 

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Rockabilly and rock and roll has lived with this problem a lot longer than we have. I remember visiting rock and roll venues back in the late seventies and the age of the fans ranged from teenagers into the Stray Cats to fully suited up teddy boys who had been on the scene since the mid fifties. The youngsters had a lot of respect for the oldies and learned about the history of the scene and the music by talking with them. Unfortunately, I think there is too much snobbery and oneupmanship in Northern Soul, always has been, and I fear youngsters coming onto the scene now would be greeted with a "you weren't there" attitude and put off staying around. Also, no young person can afford to become a northern soul DJ (in fact, I doubt that many of us could start up from scratch nowadays). I think we should not only allow, but encourage, venues to play our music from any source whilst advertising vinyl only events specifically for those who rate the medium over the music itself.

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