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ady croasdell

Racism at NS venues; did/does it happen

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In today's Guardian, there's a discussion on young black Americans producing new vintage-style soul sounds. In it Craig Charles says "The whole Northern Soul scene was white. Some black people who went to those events suffered racism."

I've been going since 1969 and knew Dalbert a black DJ from Wellingborough who was a popular face on our Northants scene and met several other black people over the years. I myself was the only long-haired person among 100+ skinheads at my first nighter, but was welcomed by one girl in particular who said "It's nice to see some weirdos here". It would be nit-picking to argue about the scene being white, as it was overwhelmingly but not exclusively. My experience has always been that people are more than happy to see black people anywhere on the scene and in fact we don't even think in those terms; it's a given.

So where did this quote come from? Was it the Jazzy B TV comment of a few years ago which was just ignorance or have some black people experienced this? It would be ridiculous to think that there had never been racist comments somewhere, some time, but would these have been from people on the scene or attendees who just came along for a beer or some gear? It would be good to have some examples of prejudice or welcoming; particularly from black people or their close friends.

Kelmarsh type soulies.jpg

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never heard of any racism at any all nighters i knew a couple of black lads vernon and smokey and they wouldn't of taken that off anyone. Craig charles must have been on his crack pipe again. the bloke is a joke cant ever remember him at any soul events. its a bit ironic really 100s of people travelling round the country listening and dancing to mostly black american soul music.its total insult to the people how are and have been on the scene some of which have been for 40 years and more.   

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Craig Charles ain't got a clue.

I have never seen/heard any racism on the scene in over 45 years, what about the jazz/funk scene that many "northern" fans also frequented at the same time, would Mr Charles say this was predominantly a white scene too ?.

 

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There's been few times where some "boneheads" came in onto the "scenes" who were obvious fascists and racists. They were there looking for trouble. So I'd believe if you were not from pure "arian" pedigree, you'd be an easy target for such thugs. But that was for a short period, mid to late 8T's I'd say. They were floating around the scooterist scenes, some northern soul events and ska gigs. It's not peculiar to the northern soul as such and the fact that the northern soul scene was mainly a "white folks" scene, is rather natural figuring it happened in the UK. If it was in Johannesburg, I'd wonder like Craig. But not here. I believe that Craig has a rather short, false and pejorative point of view on the scene for what it's worth. Good and bad as it is.

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I for one never came across racism and speaking to my mate Sammy Dee neither did he,when I hear these comments I do wonder of the origin.

its always been a puzzle to me why(for example) people go to black music gigs,buy exclusively black music yet hate black people,it just doesn't make sense.i think a lot of these comments from people that they encountered racism at soul venues was not from regular soul attendees but people from outside seeing what the fuss was all about at all nighters.

Edited by rodders

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after reading it again and his comment " Now black people have moved on from soul to dubstep and hip-hop. I think white and black musical youth are almost a generation apart.” with promoting rave events for years never once have any racist incidents but yet again he was there!!! he is just trying to be controversial as he is using the music scene to supplement his shite acting career  

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Radio One DJ Trevor Nelson hosted a program about Northern Soul where he interviewed amongst others, Keb Darge. I remember seeing Kebby taking Trevor to a ballroom venue and explaining the whole 'nighter experience. My memory's a bit sketchy and sadly I can't remember the 'documentary' right now, but during that interview, Trevor commented on the 'fact' that he was the only black person in the room and I think I'm right in saying, he felt a little uncomfortable about that.

This program would have aired at least 10 years ago....if I can think of the name of the show, I'll come back to the thread.

Edited by Greg Belson

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Radio One DJ Trevor Nelson hosted a program about Northern Soul where he interviewed amongst others, Keb Darge. I remember seeing Kebby taking Trevor to a ballroom venue and explaining the whole 'nighter experience. My memory's a bit sketchy and sadly I can't remember the 'documentary' right now, but during that interview, Trevor commented on the 'fact' that he was the only black person in the room and I think I'm right in saying, he felt a little uncomfortable about that.

This program would have aired at least 10 years ago....if I can think of the name of the show, I'll come back to the thread.

He's a wuss then, I went down a reggae all nighter in the West End on my Jack in 1970 and was the only white face; no trouble, great fun.

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I can honestly say i have never encountered racism of any kind on the NS scene, Craig Charles' name has only been associated with NS in recent years, i don't think he knows anything about the scene and would soon be found out in a conversation in no time.

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He's a wuss then, I went down a reggae all nighter in the West End on my Jack in 1970 and was the only white face; no trouble, great fun.

I used to go to "blues" parties in Bradford all the time and was often the only white face in the place, never had any hassle.

Its all a bit different nowadays though, as there seems to be a constant "war" between, shall we say, various ethnic minorities and I won't go near them these days, don't want to get caught up in a knife or gun fight whilst having a night out.

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Radio One DJ Trevor Nelson hosted a program about Northern Soul where he interviewed amongst others, Keb Darge. I remember seeing Kebby taking Trevor to a ballroom venue and explaining the whole 'nighter experience. My memory's a bit sketchy and sadly I can't remember the 'documentary' right now, but during that interview, Trevor commented on the 'fact' that he was the only black person in the room and I think I'm right in saying, he felt a little uncomfortable about that.

This program would have aired at least 10 years ago....if I can think of the name of the show, I'll come back to the thread.

it was trevor nelsons soul nation one of the better documentaries he said " i knew it was gonna be white but those old northern blokes it was a shock" nothing racist more ageist in my opinion didnt live up to his preconception watch it for yourself www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUMQg-vDItg .

Edited by rhino

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it was trevor nelsons soul nation one of the better documentaries he said " i knew it was gonna be white but those old northern blokes it was a shock" nothing racist more ageist in my opinion didnt live up to his preconception watch it for yourself www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUMQg-vDItg .

chance to demo the 'improved' youtube embedding

click the share link on the youtube page, tick the time box andthen  copy and paste the link and you get straight to the bits you want

 

Edited by mike

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In today's Guardian, there's a discussion on young black Americans producing new vintage-style soul sounds. In it Craig Charles says "The whole Northern Soul scene was white. Some black people who went to those events suffered racism."

I've been going since 1969 and knew Dalbert a black DJ from Wellingborough who was a popular face on our Northants scene and met several other black people over the years. I myself was the only long-haired person among 100+ skinheads at my first nighter, but was welcomed by one girl in particular who said "It's nice to see some weirdos here". It would be nit-picking to argue about the scene being white, as it was overwhelmingly but not exclusively. My experience has always been that people are more than happy to see black people anywhere on the scene and in fact we don't even think in those terms; it's a given.

So where did this quote come from? Was it the Jazzy B TV comment of a few years ago which was just ignorance or have some black people experienced this? It would be ridiculous to think that there had never been racist comments somewhere, some time, but would these have been from people on the scene or attendees who just came along for a beer or some gear? It would be good to have some examples of prejudice or welcoming; particularly from black people or their close friends.

Kelmarsh type soulies.jpg

3 words wrong with that whole sentence - Guardian and Craig Charles.

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Craig Charles jumping the one way racism train.Been to loads of gigs in the past,reggae and hip hop,house parties,were i was in the minority.No trouble,tension maybe, but never racism.The Ad Lib at Nottm,(aka Garage,)was split into indie,dub/reggae rooms....great times.

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We used to go to events (often in small Scottish towns) in the 80s with a big Nigerian guy and the only trouble was with locals who weren't exactly used to Black people. The only time there was fisticuffs, not only did the locals have to face up to a pretty hard Nigerian guy but all of us 'Northern racists' lot too. Oh, dear were they ever sorry...  

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I'd say Elaine would contest that as her film was dedicated to Fran. And I remember Fran saying on camera how welcome she felt on the scene compared to her experience off it.

We all know the reasons why there are few Black people on the scene and it's nowt to do with racism IMO.

And yes Jamie I doubt there's a subject the Guardian could understand when it comes down to the White working class without portraying us as Neanderthals, unless of course it was in the pursuit of votes.

ROD

 

 

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Has anybody ever seen Craig Charles at A northern Soul event ? His hometown of Liverpool wasn't exactly overflowing with NS gigs !!

 

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Has anybody ever seen Craig Charles at A northern Soul event ? His hometown of Liverpool wasn't exactly overflowing with NS gigs !!

 

Craig Charles was great in Red Dwarf but that's where my plaudits end regarding the man. He's an embarrassment to all Scousers on the Northern and R&B scenes and doesn't know what the fcuk he's talking about.

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You can see why some of us are so frustrated with the way NS has been portrayed - Craig Charles is the latest in a long line of celebrity talking heads to get it wrong. You can bet his wrong comments will now become part of the mainstream media's official NS story, regurgitated with every mention. Playing the race card very poor Mr Charles. That said there were a few nutty skinheads around East Anglia in the early 80s. Not sure they were ever racist at events, but I wouldn't like to look too closely at their tattoos LOL and besides they were here today gone tomorrow types that turned up briefly. 

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If Craig Charles considers himself a spokesman for the northern soul scene he's deluded.As for the racism issue, i think its a myth.I never saw any of this during 1972-78 while active on the scene.About 5 years ago i was to attend a local Frank Beverley show in Philly, many people warned me against it..citing racial issues. The cab driver dropped me off 2 miles from the venue as he was scared.I walked the remaining 2 miles, buying t shirts along the way. It was a sports stadium, rammed, approx 40,000.I was the only white face, no funny looks..or trouble..the only surprise was that a 'white guy was into FB'...

Edited by SHEFFSOUL

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I don't even know why that highly suspect Craig Charles quote on the Northern scene was shoe-horned into an article looking at vocalists who are singing in a retro Southern Soul style. It's completely irrelevant.

All the artists mentioned are sub-standard in my opinion. Classic soul was a moment in time and the only people who can still do it are veterans—Otis Clay, Bettye Lavette, Charles Bradley, Lee Fields. The singers who are under forty have no first hand link to the Gospel giants who define the style. This neo-soul is diluted so much it has no integrity whatsoever. It's a grafting on of highly specific, hackneyed stylistic flourishes to pop music with no more authenticity than that of Amy Winehouse. Probably far less in fact.

Criag Charles and the Guardian journalists should thank their lucky stars that the Rare Soul scenes in the UK, Europe and Japan kept any interest in real soul music alive for forty years. For us it was far more than a fashion. It was a way of life—the stuff of life itself—but they'll never, never understand that.

Some of the comments under the article made my blood boil. 

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Craig Charles ain't got a clue.

I have never seen/heard any racism on the scene in over 45 years, what about the jazz/funk scene that many "northern" fans also frequented at the same time, would Mr Charles say this was predominantly a white scene too ?.

 

The jazz funk scene had a lot more black faces but it was still predominantly white, with no racism there either.

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I think Craig Charles shows the calibre of his intelligence in the quote. 

"The whole northern scene was white. Some black people who went................."

Hmmm, wasn't all white then was it you dummy ?

I was once discriminated against on the northern scene, and it was someone from Blackpool that did it. They said I was from Yorkshire on a flier. Yorkshire ! Bloody Yorkshire!

im a Lancastrian born and bred !!!

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I don't even know why that highly suspect Craig Charles quote on the Northern scene was shoe-horned into an article looking at vocalists who are singing in a retro Southern Soul style. It's completely irrelevant.

Agreed, but is it an old quote or one for this article?

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First got into Northern with Al Horseford from Huddersfield who's Dad used to run the Reggae Club in Huddersfield (and was the venue for Taurus - a Northern Soul night). My then flatmate was a black guy guy called Kelly who loved the dance moves and relentlessly practised them at home until he caved in the ceiling of the flat below with his backdrops. :) Used to buy records regularly from Mopsy from Sheffield, who never altered his look or attitude for the Northern scene but still managed to dig up serious records. Went out with Del from Huddersfield who was probably the most elegant and best-dressed black woman on the scene back then and we'd regularly go to Blackpool, Wigan and Cleethorpes along with Steve Caesar from Leeds, who was a formidable dancer himself. I can't remember any out and out racism but really the best people to comment would be the black people who attended back in the day. It's worth bearing in mind that attitudes were far less tolerant in the early to mid 70s and racism generally was much more rampart and the National Front were very active at that time. If anything, the Northern Soul scene was a refuge away from everyday racism.

Ian D :D

Edited by Ian Dewhirst

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Ian—that echoes pretty much everything I've ever heard first hand on the subject.

Ady—I don't know if that Craig Charles quote was specifically for this article or whether it's been plucked from another source.

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Sounds like an off the cuff - chip on your shoulder comment and should be ignored. Sure the very early NS scene was white as they made up about 99+% of the population. In London where I lived most if not all blacks were into Reggae and Asians didn't really participate in pop culture. I never ever heard of a racist incident or remark ever that I can think of, everybody was welcome, even us Londoners. :thumbsup:

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You always email the editor of the Guardian and point out the error of their ways and no one can remember seeing Craig Charles at venues. 

If they get enough flack they may ask Charles which venues and when did he experience racism, his response could then be put to those promoting the events; it might be an easy way to address the lies of a self publicising self abuser. 

Atb 

Stu

 

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On a wider note the demographic make up (such as there has ever specifically been one) of the Northern Soul scene has never defined it. I think people got into it because they liked the music and the social aspects of the scene. Any sense of identity or belonging stemmed from those factors alone.

Fellow soul fans were your peers because of the love of the music and the scene, not because they looked or sounded like you.

 

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He's a wuss then, I went down a reggae all nighter in the West End on my Jack in 1970 and was the only white face; no trouble, great fun.

went to a basement do in Hanway St about the same time.was on my Jack also  & was probably my 1st experience of a disco as i lived in the wilds of the cambridge fens.Went as Rufus Thomas was on but never got to see him as in my naivity it was an all night do & i had to get the last bus back to north London.It was a West Indian night with soul & reggae  played.I was not the only white face but was in a distinct minority.No trouble but at all.Yes  i agree CC is talking out of his backside.

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Is this the same Craig Charles who has been......nowhere on this scene? I've never seen him anywhere, never at a nighter nor a soul night other than using his celebrity status to get a gig at a lee fields concert?

Anyway in answer to the question I've never witnessed any racist behaviour. I would imagine derogatory words and what is considered racist speak has been used in conversation probably as a product of the era in which whichever person was brought up, no excuse I know. But I've never witnessed nothing with any malicious, derogatory racist intent to another because of their skin colour. 

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went to a basement do in Hanway St about the same time.was on my Jack also  & was probably my 1st experience of a disco as i lived in the wilds of the cambridge fens.Went as Rufus Thomas was on but never got to see him as in my naivity it was an all night do & i had to get the last bus back to north London.It was a West Indian night with soul & reggae  played.I was not the only white face but was in a distinct minority.No trouble but at all.Yes  i agree CC is talking out of his backside.

The Night Angel, actually Hanway Place, next door. I took a posh girl to Colombo's down Carnaby St which was virtually all black but cool too.

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I went to a blues dance in Handsworth, Birmingham in 1984 when I was only 16 (I looked about 30 lol).  A black mate at college was going with his older brother and I asked to tag along.  I was the only white person there and although I got a few looks, no trouble and people were impressed that I loved reggae.  Not seen any racism on the Northern scene myself, although it is predominantly white attended.

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Like many only trouble witnessed at venues was created by local yokels, would like to think anyone being a dick bout race would have been pulled up by their peers 

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All these articles like to home in on the negatives instead of the positives .

The reality is thousands of white people fell in love with black American soul music and so in their own little way helped break down the barriers of racial prejudice .

Of course the scene was predominately white - the north of England was predominately white in the 1970's .

Don't forget this was an era when the National Front had grown to become the 3rd biggest political party in England , there was a lot of racism around yet you have thousands of kids dancing to black music - two fingers up to the racists even if they didn't even realize it at the time .

Somehow this message has been lost along the way more so in our scene than some others and that's a shame .

Maybe Craig Charles should interview some of the black artists who traveled here to perform and seek their views ? He might get a different picture .

   

 

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CRAIG CHARLES  STATEMENT DOSEN,T DESERVE THE ATTENTION ITS BEEN GIVEN.MOST PEOPLE ON HERE ARE BETTER THAN THAT AND KNOW BETTER THAN THAT.IT DOSEN,T EVEN MERIT THE COMMENTS.WHY TRY TO EXPLAIN SOMETHING THAT NEVER HAPPEND OR IF IT DID IT DIDNT EVEN MAKE A RIPPLE IF IT HAD HAVE DONE BELEIVE ME IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DISCUSSED ALONG TIME BEFORE CRAIG CHARLES,STATEMENT.

PEACE AND TRANQUILITY ML

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CRAIG CHARLES  STATEMENT DOSEN,T DESERVE THE ATTENTION ITS BEEN GIVEN.MOST PEOPLE ON HERE ARE BETTER THAN THAT AND KNOW BETTER THAN THAT.IT DOSEN,T EVEN MERIT THE COMMENTS.WHY TRY TO EXPLAIN SOMETHING THAT NEVER HAPPEND OR IF IT DID IT DIDNT EVEN MAKE A RIPPLE IF IT HAD HAVE DONE BELEIVE ME IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DISCUSSED ALONG TIME BEFORE CRAIG CHARLES,STATEMENT.

PEACE AND TRANQUILITY ML

? I think it does

 

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Never experienced racism or saw it at the venues I went to between 69 and 76. And that included going with a group that included an Asian lad and a black lad. Ill informed comments from people who have never really been part of the scene seem to come to the fore every now and then and in the public eye it could give the wrong impression but I'd like to believe that there is little credence given to opinions and comments from somebody like Craig Charles. I would have expected better of the Guardian to at least check the reality of the situation without resorting to accepting it at face value which they appear to have done.

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? I think it does

 

WELL IF YOU THINK WHAT CRAIG CHARLES SAID PETE IS IMPORTANT SO BE IT AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED HE,S JUST ANOTHER BOFFIN OF BALYHOO IF YOU SEEM HIM ON YOUR TRAVELS TELL HIM I SAID. THERE,S NO PLACE IN MUSIC FOR ALL THAT RACIAL NONSENSE.SOMETIMES THINGS ARE BETTER LEFT UNSAID.

PEACE AND WAR ITS ALL THE SAME TO ME ML

TOO MUCH POWDERING OF THE NOSE CAN MAKE SEMI FAMOUS PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THEY REALLY ARE I KNOW I MADE A LIVING OUT OF KEEPING PRETENDERS QUIET FOR OVER THE LAST 40 YEARS SO PEOPLE WERE SAFE.

GOD BLESS MICK L

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WELL IF YOU THINK WHAT CRAIG CHARLES SAID PETE IS IMPORTANT SO BE IT AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED HE,S JUST ANOTHER BOFFIN OF BALYHOO IF YOU SEEM HIM ON YOUR TRAVELS TELL HIM I SAID. THERE,S NO PLACE IN MUSIC FOR ALL THAT RACIAL NONSENSE.SOMETIMES THINGS ARE BETTER LEFT UNSAID.

PEACE AND WAR ITS ALL THE SAME TO ME ML

TOO MUCH POWDERING OF THE NOSE CAN MAKE SEMI FAMOUS PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THEY REALLY ARE I KNOW I MADE A LIVING OUT OF KEEPING PRETENDERS QUIET FOR OVER THE LAST 40 YEARS SO PEOPLE WERE SAFE.

GOD BLESS MICK L

HERE HERE  well put mick

Edited by rhino

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? I think it does

 

one minute you say craig charles is talking out of his arse then you say his points of view matters make your mind up :excl::excl::excl::g::shhh:

Edited by rhino

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