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Racism at NS venues; did/does it happen

All About the SOUL ady croasdell

 
Guest johnny hart profile photo
Posted

theres a bit of that going on i reckon. 

its got nothing to do with his skin. its playing sweet soul music by arthur conley and wanting adoration for it.

nothing against the tune its actualy one of my childhood favourites.

have you heard him dj live? his persona is way way way overboard. i guess its supposed to make up for his lack of inventiveness with the music.

 

Craig Charles makes some interesting points. As a coloured kid born in liverpool in 1964 , as I was,he would have experienced the racism inherent in society at the time. Firstly in school then employment and socially and musically.  The clubs ,soulor otherwise,Mardi gras ,Peppermint lounge and cavern{which unuasully had limlted NS  niters with Brian Rae and Billy Butler {the radio DJ!}in the 70s, all had segregation policies towards Afro /carribean british scousers! I well remember travelling wth my "sole " coloured mate many miles tobe turned away from every club with the strict instruction; " Your  OK pal but your mates Not On " ! This was 1966 UK ,the same time in the U.S. Sammy Davis was refused entry to the Sands in Las Vegas while performing there! In 70s clubs racism was more subliminal,understated,but in broader society it was entrenched; aswas sexism and homophobia{ we had koons ,pakis,queers puffs and tarts!] Imagine how a solitary black or asian kid would have felt wanderinginto a casino or Mecca when he was 0.00% of the swarming white masses. Culturally some ethnic groups have simply never gravitated to Northern Soul , they just dont "Dig that Crazy Beat". LOL Johnny

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The Northern soul scene / family seems to get these knocks from individuals with very little to back it up with. Its such an easy going scene that we get the odd character come into it to take advantage of the descent trusting people in it .

The number of venues running Northern events each week is vast today , so this Craig C****** comment  is pretty vague and might be in reference to two incidents over 40years and involve people who were not Northern soul fans !! , ( if they ever happened).

in the past ;

I vaguely remember a Northern night near Peterborough where  they were mobbed by skinnheads and got "trashed", late 80ts  i think.     Was anybody there ?

As above , during the scooter rallies in the early to mid 80ts  ,,i remember the NF being present and  trying to recruit and cause unrest in some of the resorts.

At a Great Yarmouth  Rallie  Edwin Star was on stage at Tiffinies ( Allnighter ) in mid song when a Skinnhead walked across the stage infront of him .This caused Edwin to stop singing and approach the Skinhead, saying "hey man nobody walks infront of me on stage while i'm singing" !!!

The skinhead  just screwed his eyes at him and strolled off !!!!  the crowd backed Edwin with cheers and the show was a cracker !!!

That Great Yarmouth Scooter rallie allnighter was a mixed music event, ska ,60ts beat , Soul etc.

 Once i was at the Gaumont in Ipswich watching  the style council , Dee Cee Lee  was on stage singing    when a Skin Head guy shouted some abuse at her !

She finished her act and Mick Talbot got on the mike and said    "Some people ought to get their brain in gear before they open their mouth ! " 

PRICELESS...

The guilty party then left ...

At all of these events the soul fans in attendance backed the injured party " the Black artists"  and  i have never seen a racist incident at an event and i have been to alot !!!

Bad Press..

My brother-in-law was the drummer in a Skin head band called  Vengence, they did a few gigs with Screwdriver another band. They released an album and toured a bit unfortunately the press wrongly associated Vengence with the NF. When he read the false artical in the press he turned around and broke-up the band.....

This kind of false reference can be very damaging.  

Its a shame there isn't some kind of legal body within the Northern soul scene , who could challenge these attacks and protect what is a non racist tolerant scene.

 

regards to all , Frank

 

 

 

 

 

Frank -I remember the Tiffany's nighter only to well got a lift down to Yarmouth by car to see Edwin & managed a lift home on a scooter in the morning always a class of his own shame about some of the clowns it attracts -

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some of my friends do sometime refer to me as tight jock bastard.heehee but seriously I think if anybody did start with any racist attitudes I think we`d be pretty good at self policing it and it being nipped in the bud

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Perhaps its a good thing Craig Charles made the comment in the national press, i'm reminded of the phrase from Abraham Lincoln (a famous US president who fought for the liberation of the slaves) "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt"

Those who those who take exception to the comment email the Guardian Editor and enquire why the feel the need to engage the services of a fool in their articles

Well your latter point would make for a very interesting essay. To be clear, Craig Charles is exactly the type of individual beloved of the 'Guardian', an individual whose worth and value arises from the politics of 'representation' rather than any real talent. Being able to quote the said individual as an authority makes the 'Guardian' (and its readers) feel better about themselves with that warm smugness of empathy that remains largely outside the real world, being largely felt via the comfort of their armchairs and lovely kitchens.

He is on BBC Radio as a DJ largely due to the associative power of his name as an actor - no more and no less. He knows it. The BBC are more than aware. But it all helps to make particular people feel better about their own worldview.

It may not be fair. And it certainly can be irritating to the genuine DJs who are out there doing all the hard work of listening and trying to find music of genuine value and interest, without the benefit of a publicly funded  (something the BBC often wants to forget) music research team. To say nothing of having other people doing your mixes for you......

C'est la vie.

Rob Alias

 

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Is he an accomplished actor though? This is a serious question as I have NFI who he is. It wouldn't be the first time someone from the world of showbiz has turned their hand to radio show presentation with credible results (Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Little Steven etc). They are  musicians though. At the end of the day it's just an opinion. Give 'em enough rope, innit?  Yours, warmly, smugly but in need of a new kitchen, luv Macca. X. 

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Is he an accomplished actor though? This is a serious question as I have NFI who he is. It wouldn't be the first time someone from the world of showbiz has turned their hand to radio show presentation with credible results (Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Little Steven etc). They are  musicians though. At the end of the day it's just an opinion. Give 'em enough rope, innit?  Yours, warmly, smugly but in need of a new kitchen, luv Macca. X. 

As another smug Guardian reader ( working class , left school at 15 , spent a lot of years as a hod carrier so largely unaware of the real world) I'm now hoping that if I take out a subscription that I'll get a free kitchen but I'd settle for a decent armchair.

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As another smug Guardian reader ( working class , left school at 15 , spent a lot of years as a hod carrier so largely unaware of the real world) I'm now hoping that if I take out a subscription that I'll get a free kitchen but I'd settle for a decent armchair.

Classic case of false class consciousness.

 

 

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Classic case of false class consciousness.

 

 

Ha ha yes I should be reading the sun shouldn't I and then I could spout words of wisdom like you

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I reckon a week on the hod back in the day would kill most on here ! One thing the hod taught you is class is irrelevant .The bloke working with you could speak like Prince Charles as long as he done his bit as if he didn't you had to. I once worked with a keyboard player who'd played with Spencer Davis band and many teachers done a bit of cash work in holidays .Also worked with plenty of criminals so to class someone just as they carried a hod is a kop out! 

Good sarcastic post Manu and a typical response from on here! 

 

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I take it you're referring to Craig Charles Macca? He's best known for Red Dwarf and latterly Coronation Street, started life as I recall on the alternative comedy circuit as a poet 'with bite'.

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Well your latter point would make for a very interesting essay. To be clear, Craig Charles is exactly the type of individual beloved of the 'Guardian', an individual whose worth and value arises from the politics of 'representation' rather than any real talent. Being able to quote the said individual as an authority makes the 'Guardian' (and its readers) feel better about themselves with that warm smugness of empathy that remains largely outside the real world, being largely felt via the comfort of their armchairs and lovely kitchens.

He is on BBC Radio as a DJ largely due to the associative power of his name as an actor - no more and no less. He knows it. The BBC are more than aware. But it all helps to make particular people feel better about their own worldview.

It may not be fair. And it certainly can be irritating to the genuine DJs who are out there doing all the hard work of listening and trying to find music of genuine value and interest, without the benefit of a publicly funded  (something the BBC often wants to forget) music research team. To say nothing of having other people doing your mixes for you......

C'est la vie.

Rob Alias

 

So your main gripes are that the Guardian printed the article, and Craig Charles has nicked some DJs spot? He mentions racism on the northern scene, which I think was the point of the original post? Any pearls of wisdom on that? Apologies if you're addressed the actual subject matter in a previous post. 

Edited by Winnie :-)

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I reckon a week on the hod back in the day would kill most on here ! One thing the hod taught you is class is irrelevant .The bloke working with you could speak like Prince Charles as long as he done his bit as if he didn't you had to. I once worked with a keyboard player who'd played with Spencer Davis band and many teachers done a bit of cash work in holidays .Also worked with plenty of criminals so to class someone just as they carried a hod is a kop out! 

Good sarcastic post Manu and a typical response from on here! 

 

Met some very good people during my years on the hod Chiefy and had some great craic but fairly pleased I don't have to get up and go and do that now , it's a hard old station as they say.

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I once asked a Hod Carrier if he had a business card all matter of fact like (This was after a nighter btw).......He looked at me gone out......"Hod carriers do not carry business cards Len!".....(Closely followed by a rye smile) If I remember correctly, he was referred to as Scouser (Nice guy)

Manus - I think we're 'off topic' somewhat :D

All the best,

Len :thumbsup:

Edited by LEN

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Manus - I think we're 'off topic' somewhat :D

All the best,

Len :thumbsup:

Just a wee bit Len :yes:

It's a fair cop.

Cheers

Manus

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Meanwhile back at the office:D Was graft only a few could handle Manus ! Done for my 

back eventually mate.ATB-H .Was you at the Bletsoe do-?

Edited by Chiefy

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Meanwhile back at the office:D Was graft only a few could handle Manus ! Done for my 

back eventually mate.ATB-H .Was you at the Bletsoe do-?

Yes knees and shoulder problems for me, I think the other Manus ( Fallon) goes to Bletsoe he's from that area , all the best 

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That said there are, now, a lot of racist people on the scene, they seem to have grown up, or not, into jingoistic, bigoted daily mail reading haters. And i have often heard comments that I find offensive and hateful, inspired by Britain First type media hate campaigns and a belief that they are being democratic and patriotic in voicing that.

You're wedging me into that last category and I've got nothing against anyone of any race - apart from the ones that hate us and mean to do us harm, the poppy burners and so on, so if that makes me racist then yes I'm racist

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I've only been out and about the last 10 years but caught a whiff a couple of times (one quite recently that took the form of a very nasty comment behind a mates back but overheard by someone else) but at do's I would say had a strong scooterist attendance.

 

Dave

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I think that seems to be cause of a lot of these kind of experiences discussed - the crossover between different scenes that have different histories and baggage (as all scenes do).

Plus there is racism in all walks of life if we're honest. I'd say in general racism at soul events (considering they are mostly white attended affairs) is minimal compared to the kind of shit you hear as par for the course in ordinary pubs and clubs, particularly in areas like i'm from in South London.

I don't think you could ever say any scene is free of this sort of nonsense - and homophobia is still rife across the board btw, no-one seems to give a shit about that - but at the end of the day does the soul scene suffer from ingrained racism so badly that it needs mentioning for no reason whatsoever by a down at heel Corrie actor / populist DJ in a Guardian article about contemporary pop artists? No it doesn't.

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I think that seems to be cause of a lot of these kind of experiences discussed - the crossover between different scenes that have different histories and baggage (as all scenes do).

Plus there is racism in all walks of life if we're honest. I'd say in general racism at soul events (considering they are mostly white attended affairs) is minimal compared to the kind of shit you hear as par for the course in ordinary pubs and clubs, particularly in areas like i'm from in South London.

I don't think you could ever say any scene is free of this sort of nonsense - and homophobia is still rife across the board btw, no-one seems to give a shit about that - but at the end of the day does the soul scene suffer from ingrained racism so badly that it needs mentioning for no reason whatsoever by a down at heel Corrie actor / populist DJ in a Guardian article about contemporary pop artists? No it doesn't.

Well said young Joel!!!

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I like Craig Charles as a DJ/presenter but I think he always aligns himself with funky stuff more than Northern, his DJ sets are certainly of the funky variety, he's even playing at a Northern Soul allnighter on Sat & his set is described as 'funk & soul' not Northern so I don't think he would claim to know about that scene, perhaps he's heard a couple of isolated stories that have tainted his view?

I'm new to the scene compared to everyone on here but I've been chatting to a lot of original fans & big DJ's from the day recently who've told me countless amazing stories and they all said it was a friendly-to-everyone scene back then

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This thread has shown that racism has reared its ugly head over the years. I do feel sorry for those affected, especially on a scene that's 99.9% about BLACK music.
 
I'm from an ethnic minority and did my time (late 80s/early 90s) collecting Northern (and Modern) and attending the 100 Club amongst other venues. Racism was apparent at times - as it is in all areas of society - and perhaps it was one factor (but not exclusively) why I drifted away (never sold my records tho', and still buy the occasional 45 or compilation). 
 
I recall seeing a few black and Asian faces (I distinctly remember seeing an Asian lad on the modern dancefloor at St George's Hall Bradford) but not often. Not that it mattered one way or the other. I was into the music, that was what I was there for.
 
Firstly as a general comment I'd suggest that for anyone trying to get into the scene it can feel a rather daunting environment. I remember thinking at the time that the northern scene was the 'hardest' of all music scenes or subcultures in many ways due to the insularity of many of its hardcore members. 
 
The camaraderie was brilliant, but I think there is a definite all or nothing aspect to soulies and nighters can feel cold places to newcomers or the causal visitor. How do you break into such a specialised scene full of obsessives who are often very protective of their scene and social circles? And despite what people say there IS a definite competitive aspect to some dancers, and a snobbishness from some to 'strangers'/'normals'/anyone who they didn't know. (Did anyone ready Bradley Wiggins comment about the 100 Club a year or two ago in Scootering about feeling the 100 Club nighters were unfriendly?)
 
As to racism specifically, I totally respect the northern scene's collective dedication uncovering those incredible sounds but it has I think blinded some (and I mean 'some') to the the fact that they have created a scene around BLACK music - to them it's 'their' scene and 'their' music. Much like how white rock musicians adopted black music and made it their own (and in the case of some saw no problem in being racist, or more generally in forgetting that it was BLACK music that spawned most rock and dance music, and even subcultures - skinhead and soul scenes being prime examples. In his own small way Paul Weller deserves credit for crediting black folk as I'm sure I've heard Stevie Marriott doing in an interview once.).
 
I remember once chatting to a black lad who was like me into modern and rare groove. I asked if he liked northern or ever went to the 100 Club (as I did). He replied he did but got loads of stares off skinheads - its that sense of not feeling comfortable that a black or Asian person might (and I say 'might') feel at a northern soul event which is at the heart of this issue. When it's there it may not always lead to out and out hostility, verbals or violence, but really, who wants to hang around a venue waiting to see if you are or aren't accepted??
 
I for one did stick around and was young and foolish enough not to care - and wanted to hear 'those' sounds - but it was always in the back of my mind (I was even conscious going into the toilets, especially at the 100 Club back in the day, where the lights were brighter and someone might take note and comment - that's a really weird and unsettling thing to have to worry about and not something I'd ever think about in any other environment. Given someone else's comments on this thread about racist comments in the loos at the 100 Club maybe I wasn't that far off the mark with my self-consciousness...). 
 
Two minor but telling incidents stick out for me. One was at a weekender and getting a look of absolute shock and hatred from a total stranger - nothing about me could have made him feel that way apart from the colour of my skin. If looks could kill... It stuck with me and confirmed my suspicions about some on the scene (I think it stems from the northern scene emanating from tough working-class communities, often which didn't have many minority folk in them. Some have grown up with prejudicial views, and I just hope that changes with the new generations).
 
The second was a comment from a smallish club promoter/DJ from the north west (can't recall his name to be honest and it's not important) who was arranging a record hunting trip to the States. We were talking on the phone when he told me about how on a previous trip he and his mates had almost been robbed whilst in a record shop in a black neighbourhood somewhere. He recounted the story about how 'these N****s' had tried it on. I was shocked and depressed at the use of the language - we are devotees of the sounds of 60s/70s black America....regardless of the attempted robbery or whatever, there is no call for viscous racist language...and to me it again confirmed my fears about some on the scene. Needless to say I didn't get involved any further with this guy.
 
The bottom line is that Northern is predominantly ghetto music made by black folk for black folk back in the day. But it seems that some (I reiterate 'some') on the northern scene don't get that simple truth or maybe don't care. They're a tiny minority (I guess), but seriously...what the actual fuck don't they understand? How can you be racist and listen to black music?? Yes, any racists are a minority, but I wouldn't be surprised if the fact that the scene harbours such folk might be a reason why some feel that it isn't for them (not defending Craig Charles though).
 
Finally who is the Asian guy and his mates in this photo from the 70s (first published in the Sunday Times, Feb 1976) as used by Elaine Constantine in her book? Good on him, hope he kept the faith and didn't have anyone tell him he wasn't welcome. http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02678/nsoul2_2678092b.jpg (from the article www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/non_fictionreviews/10321153/Northern-Soul-An-Illustrated-History-by-Elaine-Constantine-and-Gareth-Sweeney-review.html).

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Sorry I started this thread off and haven't contributed that much, Cleggy and then catching up after Cleggy got in the way. I think Harry Hippie's post is very informative particularly for me as it concerns the 100 Club. There have certainly been all sorts of characters down those steps of all moral and political hues.

 

There are two points that I must pick up on though, nobody said anything about any racist comments in the 100 Club toilets, only a club in Liverpool in the early 70s is mentioned in that respect. A question for Harry, you said you were wary of the 100 Club toilets, if you had gone to a punk dance of mainly white kids would you have been as nervous then? Did anything ever get said to you and if it didn't, didn't you get less nervous when you experienced no reactions?

 

The second point is Bradley Wiggins came down once that I know of and I only noticed him walking about with a small entourage actually talking to someone on his mobile, so I'm not sure that he really got into the spirit of the thing. Also he didn't pick one soul record on his Desert Island Discs-which was a great programme, he's a terrific character- so I'm not sure if the 100 Club nighters are the right place for him.

 

It's good that Harry and others have made us aware of some of the scene's limitations, I feel that all minorities (which could even include Northern Soul fans) are better accepted in current times and I'm sure some of us will take note of it and act more positively if we see a problem.

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THIS THREAD HAS RUN ITS COURSE. OF COURSE THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN ISOLATED RACIAL INCIDENTS WE DONT LIVE IN APERFECT WORLD THERE ARE IGNORANT AND BRAIN DEAD BIGOTS IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE BUT IN THE WORLD OF NORTHERN SOUL IF ANYTHING IT AS NEVER GOT A FOOTHOLD AND LETS HOPE THAT CARRIES ON FOREVER.

PEACE AND TRANQUILITY ML

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This thread has shown that racism has reared its ugly head over the years. I do feel sorry for those affected, especially on a scene that's 99.9% about BLACK music.
 
I'm from an ethnic minority and did my time (late 80s/early 90s) collecting Northern (and Modern) and attending the 100 Club amongst other venues. Racism was apparent at times - as it is in all areas of society - and perhaps it was one factor (but not exclusively) why I drifted away (never sold my records tho', and still buy the occasional 45 or compilation). 
 
I recall seeing a few black and Asian faces (I distinctly remember seeing an Asian lad on the modern dancefloor at St George's Hall Bradford) but not often. Not that it mattered one way or the other. I was into the music, that was what I was there for.
 
Firstly as a general comment I'd suggest that for anyone trying to get into the scene it can feel a rather daunting environment. I remember thinking at the time that the northern scene was the 'hardest' of all music scenes or subcultures in many ways due to the insularity of many of its hardcore members. 
 
The camaraderie was brilliant, but I think there is a definite all or nothing aspect to soulies and nighters can feel cold places to newcomers or the causal visitor. How do you break into such a specialised scene full of obsessives who are often very protective of their scene and social circles? And despite what people say there IS a definite competitive aspect to some dancers, and a snobbishness from some to 'strangers'/'normals'/anyone who they didn't know. (Did anyone ready Bradley Wiggins comment about the 100 Club a year or two ago in Scootering about feeling the 100 Club nighters were unfriendly?)
 
As to racism specifically, I totally respect the northern scene's collective dedication uncovering those incredible sounds but it has I think blinded some (and I mean 'some') to the the fact that they have created a scene around BLACK music - to them it's 'their' scene and 'their' music. Much like how white rock musicians adopted black music and made it their own (and in the case of some saw no problem in being racist, or more generally in forgetting that it was BLACK music that spawned most rock and dance music, and even subcultures - skinhead and soul scenes being prime examples. In his own small way Paul Weller deserves credit for crediting black folk as I'm sure I've heard Stevie Marriott doing in an interview once.).
 
I remember once chatting to a black lad who was like me into modern and rare groove. I asked if he liked northern or ever went to the 100 Club (as I did). He replied he did but got loads of stares off skinheads - its that sense of not feeling comfortable that a black or Asian person might (and I say 'might') feel at a northern soul event which is at the heart of this issue. When it's there it may not always lead to out and out hostility, verbals or violence, but really, who wants to hang around a venue waiting to see if you are or aren't accepted??
 
I for one did stick around and was young and foolish enough not to care - and wanted to hear 'those' sounds - but it was always in the back of my mind (I was even conscious going into the toilets, especially at the 100 Club back in the day, where the lights were brighter and someone might take note and comment - that's a really weird and unsettling thing to have to worry about and not something I'd ever think about in any other environment. Given someone else's comments on this thread about racist comments in the loos at the 100 Club maybe I wasn't that far off the mark with my self-consciousness...). 
 
Two minor but telling incidents stick out for me. One was at a weekender and getting a look of absolute shock and hatred from a total stranger - nothing about me could have made him feel that way apart from the colour of my skin. If looks could kill... It stuck with me and confirmed my suspicions about some on the scene (I think it stems from the northern scene emanating from tough working-class communities, often which didn't have many minority folk in them. Some have grown up with prejudicial views, and I just hope that changes with the new generations).
 
The second was a comment from a smallish club promoter/DJ from the north west (can't recall his name to be honest and it's not important) who was arranging a record hunting trip to the States. We were talking on the phone when he told me about how on a previous trip he and his mates had almost been robbed whilst in a record shop in a black neighbourhood somewhere. He recounted the story about how 'these N****s' had tried it on. I was shocked and depressed at the use of the language - we are devotees of the sounds of 60s/70s black America....regardless of the attempted robbery or whatever, there is no call for viscous racist language...and to me it again confirmed my fears about some on the scene. Needless to say I didn't get involved any further with this guy.
 
The bottom line is that Northern is predominantly ghetto music made by black folk for black folk back in the day. But it seems that some (I reiterate 'some') on the northern scene don't get that simple truth or maybe don't care. They're a tiny minority (I guess), but seriously...what the actual fuck don't they understand? How can you be racist and listen to black music?? Yes, any racists are a minority, but I wouldn't be surprised if the fact that the scene harbours such folk might be a reason why some feel that it isn't for them (not defending Craig Charles though).
 
Finally who is the Asian guy and his mates in this photo from the 70s (first published in the Sunday Times, Feb 1976) as used by Elaine Constantine in her book? Good on him, hope he kept the faith and didn't have anyone tell him he wasn't welcome. http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02678/nsoul2_2678092b.jpg (from the article www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/non_fictionreviews/10321153/Northern-Soul-An-Illustrated-History-by-Elaine-Constantine-and-Gareth-Sweeney-review.html).

Is the lad John Tracey [?].

Think he was from the Midlands.

Actually I can understand your mate feeling "different" if he was a visitor to 100 Club but bit of a reach IMO to put it down to racism.

Alex Jones and I went to a "Dusties" do in Chicago in the 90's. Just me and him and maybe 300 Black people. No one spoke to us and we got stares but I put it down to the fact that we were just not a regular part of that crowd.

Even funnier when we first arrived to pay in. Guys on the door thought we were the police come to arrest someone ! Took us a couple of minutes to explain we weren't cops.

ROD

 

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Alex Jones and I went to a "Dusties" do in Chicago in the 90's. Just me and him and maybe 300 Black people. No one spoke to us and we got stares but I put it down to the fact that we were just not a regular part of that crowd.

Even funnier when we first arrived to pay in. Guys on the door thought we were the police come to arrest someone ! Took us a couple of minutes to explain we weren't cops.

ROD

 

When Jessica and I were in New York a couple of years ago we went on Hector Fernandez's Soul Cruise on the Hudson. There must have been 1,000 people on the boat, and I bet if there were twenty white people that was it. And at a guess, there was only one English white person, me !

The average age though was pretty much like it is over here on the Northern scene, the vast majority of people were over 40, and all dressed up to the nines, so we were probably seen as a curiosity, especially when people heard me speak, more than anything else. There was certainly no antagonism, or hostility, and I wasn't really concious of being stared at.

Once I'd shown them how to dance to Soul music, you know, a few spins, splits, and a couple of back drops...........ok, I admit it, I made that bit up, but I found that people were genuinely curious about what this white English guy was doing there, and I had to explain that I'd been listening to Black American music all my life several times.. 

So there was certainly no feeling of not being welcome, in fact one guy even invited us to a barbecue that he was having the following day. The only thing that stopped us going was the fact that he lived in the South Bronx, and I was a little nervous about going into that neighbourhood at night.

On another occasion we were in Queens, standing in a bus queue at 11,30 at night, I was the only white guy in the queue. Again, it was my English accent that made people look at me, not the fact I was white.

The other side of the coin is that the week we were there, a black guy, who it turned out was mentally ill, killed two people in Central Park (the same day that we were there) just because they were white.   

Not really relevant to the thread, just Rod's post made me remember it. 

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be interesting to hear black members of the current soul scene give their view - i'm particularly interested to hear anything with relevance to London clubs...

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Sorry I started this thread off and haven't contributed that much, Cleggy and then catching up after Cleggy got in the way. I think Harry Hippie's post is very informative particularly for me as it concerns the 100 Club. There have certainly been all sorts of characters down those steps of all moral and political hues.

 

There are two points that I must pick up on though, nobody said anything about any racist comments in the 100 Club toilets, only a club in Liverpool in the early 70s is mentioned in that respect. A question for Harry, you said you were wary of the 100 Club toilets, if you had gone to a punk dance of mainly white kids would you have been as nervous then? Did anything ever get said to you and if it didn't, didn't you get less nervous when you experienced no reactions?

 

The second point is Bradley Wiggins came down once that I know of and I only noticed him walking about with a small entourage actually talking to someone on his mobile, so I'm not sure that he really got into the spirit of the thing. Also he didn't pick one soul record on his Desert Island Discs-which was a great programme, he's a terrific character- so I'm not sure if the 100 Club nighters are the right place for him.

 

It's good that Harry and others have made us aware of some of the scene's limitations, I feel that all minorities (which could even include Northern Soul fans) are better accepted in current times and I'm sure some of us will take note of it and act more positively if we see a problem.

Ade, apologies re getting the toilet story wrong, my mistake. I've only admiration and thanks to offer you, the 100 Club and the scene in general. This music is still the best I've ever heard and yes, I can't get over these (great) memories, and no, it will never be over for me either.

But am sure I read a post (maybe another thread) where the guy was saying he offered out a skinhead who had made ignorant racist comments about one of the black bouncer (who he named) at the 100 Club? Sorry if I'm casting aspersions, I genuinely think I read it somewhere.

As to my own experience (and that of the lad I mentioned who felt uncomfortable), I guess it was partly a sense of fear if we're honest which was down to the wider racism in those days and the prevalence in London and elsewhere of racist skins (as opposed to skinheads, suedeheads, rude boys, hard mods, whatever. Eg I got a right hook off a clockwork orange styled skin once and spat at on another occasion as an under aged mod in my formative years and yes, so did other mods, but it was clear at times I'd been singled out, and those memories no doubt feed into your world view, so by the time I was on the nighter scene I was generally wary - but again, I'm not here to slag anyone off. I can recall a skinheaded scooterist who I never knew before helping me rebuild my Lambretta round my house, some 10 miles from where he lived, after we met at a local scooter shop. And there were some quality rude boys in my neck of the woods as a lad - including two beefy Muslim lads incidentally).

I did get less nervous, for sure. And I met a lot of great people there and elsewhere too - I didn't let things put me off like the lad I mentioned did. Only shame was that none of my (all white) mates got into northern like I did (we all moved on from mod one way or t'other, but northern really is for the chosen few). If they'd come along more I would have probably had even more fun (I ended up going with a mate of a mate who also ended up dropping out).

I didn't have the same concerns in other contexts - went to a lot of indie gigs, rock festivals and pubs in those days without any sense of unease. 

As for Bradley, nuff said! Don't think he chose one Weller track either which again is surprising. 

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Posted (edited)

Sounds to me like most of these encounters and issues were / are stemming from the racist problems inherent in the skinhead scene - which is a terrible burden proper skins have had to carry forever. Of course these kind of berks are then lead into other areas, as we discussed that cross over - mod, northern, etc etc and give everyone a bad name.

I also have never been able to understand the hypocrisy of living your life to the soundtrack of black music and yet spouting racist rhetoric. You have to ask yourself whether people can actually be that dim - but yes - they can.

Having said that it would certainly be a shame to have people think the 100 club (in terms of it's soul nights) is anything other than welcoming really, especially in modern times (cyclist mods excluded :) ). 

Edited by corbett80

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For the benefit of Ady, this is the post on another thread from 2009(!). I was searching the forum for threads about racism:

Liam2005

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Posted 3 Nov 2009

My girlfriend is mixed race and she hates Northern soul, but get this loves motown and funk lol. Strange i know g.gif . The one thing i would say from experience is there is racism in all walks of life and it can be found on the northern Scene and nearly every other scene. I have witnessed many a remark in the toilets of the 100club and various other do's even at our own the capitol soul club. The worse one i came across was a skinhead at the 100club who i offered out for his uneducated remarks re one of the bouncers winston. These things happen unfortunatley but we must stamp it out straight away....run at it not away from it.

 

Greg

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Blimey 6 years ago. It's a shame Winston didn't get to hear about it.

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