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The Triumph Of Mediocrity

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Was talking to a young colleague recently and he said that he couldn't understand the crap that I liked. He had come along with me to certain soul night and obviuosly had been subjected to the so-called big sounds.

When I started going to niters the tempo was fast and furious, uplfting, exciting and vital.

As soon as Stafford emerged the tempo changed but the music was still a joyous, mostly soulful, fullfilling experience.

Today, the emphasis seems to be on ultra-rarity and rejects from the past being re-activated. Rita & the Tiaras being a case in point - today hailed as a "classic" but back back in the day rejected as so-so. "Gone with the wind" does sound like a classic compared to the puacity of good sounds being pushed today. The duds from the past should be left there but the worst aspect of the scene is the abundance of out and out rock&roll tracks being played and, absurdly, being sought after.

I argued 25 years ago that soul music would be dead if the scene refused to accept "newie" 70's sounds. Now that it is dead (due to the triumph of mediocrity and R&R records being played) I can fully understand my young friends stance.

As the scene goes through its death throes, I wish the jocks would play some of the better stuff that never got played much. huh.gif

Tin hat on huh.gif

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Wrong example; Rita & The Tiaras was a massive record in 1979. In fact it even got a UK release. It was great then, it's great now.

But I do agree with your general point. I'm really bored with NS now after 31 years of buying it.

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I am toying with a small re-activation of my interests in NS - don't get me wrong, I still have bought over the years but my general support of nighters wained in the early 90's - I simply got bored of the politics and one-upmanships involved in this most aggressive scene.

I have always loved Black American music, (thanks to our kid and his Motown fixation in the late 60's) and luckily have found something to please my ear in each era to the present day, not good for the pocket and a collection that forever will be a jack of all trades and master of none but I have music that I love to dig about in, re-discover and enjoy.

I started a night myself about 3 years ago, which I still run, as I knew people from very different back-grounds and musical stand-points that all really loved the same thing - Black America - there were people who were into Northern/70's, 70's & 80's soul lads, some that liked the more commercial 70s Soul & Disco/Jazz-Funk angle and kids that had been brought up on US house, all seemed to be quite accepting of other forms of US output.

I thought (insanely) that I could get rid of the politics and start a fresh night with people that give a shit at heart about the Black American sound, no matter what era the particular sound came from.

I've since learned that you never can get away from all the daft tricks that are played on so many different levels on any scene and still feel a little disheartened about the pages that are given over to dissing a particular era/sound, rather than accepting and bigging up stuff that you like.

I have found with age I have mellowed into a place that I quite like to be - it's a place where £8 records still sound great and overplayed stuff from 20 years back puts the hairs up on the back of my neck.

I'll stop going on with myself now and ask the question...

Is it still as much hard work as it was?

Edited by Hottwaxx

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I argued 25 years ago that soul music would be dead if the scene refused to accept "newie" 70's sounds. Now that it is dead (due to the triumph of mediocrity and R&R records being played) I can fully understand my young friends stance.

As the scene goes through its death throes, I wish the jocks would play some of the better stuff that never got played much. :yes:

Tin hat on  :wicked:

link

Right on with this mate. It's a strange "soul" scene that wants to push brilliant 70s tracks into separate rooms and search backwards to the 50s for more sounds to play to the extent that a lot of what is played that has little or nothing to do with soul, or even Northern come to that.

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Right on with this mate. It's a strange "soul" scene that wants to push brilliant 70s tracks into separate rooms and search backwards to the 50s for more sounds to play to the extent that a lot of what is played that has little or nothing to do with soul, or even Northern come to that.

link

The 50's tracks have a lot more to do with Northern Soul than the 70's tracks. Having been exposed to more R&B than I've ever heard before, I'd say it's the way forward. At least these records are played on real instruments and actually have some 'soul'

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I am toying with a small re-activation of my interests in NS - don't get me wrong, I still have bought over the years but my general support of nighters wained in the early 90's - I simply got bored of the politics and one-upmanships involved in this most aggressive scene.

I have always loved Black American music, (thanks to our kid and his Motown fixation in the late 60's) and luckily have found something to please my ear in each era to the present day, not good for the pocket and a collection that forever will be a jack of all trades and master of none but I have music that I love to dig about in, re-discover and enjoy.

I started a night myself about 3 years ago, which I still run, as I knew people from very different back-grounds and musical stand-points that all really loved the same thing - Black America - there were people who were into Northern/70's, 70's & 80's soul lads, some that liked the more commercial 70s Soul & Disco/Jazz-Funk angle and kids that had been brought up on US house, all seemed to be quite accepting of other forms of US output.

I thought (insanely) that I could get rid of the politics and start a fresh night with people that give a shit at heart about the Black American sound, no matter what era the particular sound came from.

I've since learned that you never can get away from all the daft tricks that are played on so many different levels on any scene and still feel a little disheartened about the pages that are given over to dissing a particular era/sound, rather than accepting and bigging up stuff that you like.

I have found with age I have mellowed into a place that I quite like to be - it's a place where £8 records still sound great and overplayed stuff from 20 years back puts the hairs up on the back of my neck.

I'll stop going on with myself now and ask the question...

Is it still as much hard work as it was?

link

I like you am re-juvinating my interests and after getting rid of my collection in about 1983 and was very wary of starting all over again, but against maybe my better judgement I have (and I'm loving it), but also like you I live in a world where you can still buy a sound you like for £8. and I don't care whether its as sound that's "IN" or just a sound I like or brings back my youth.

I took my 24 year old son to Prestatyn who has a healthy all round love of music (like myself) and he really enjoyed it, and was interested in the roots of the different types of "NS" (if you still call it that) he especially spotted the link to the old blues and cajun of the deep south in some of the very early stuff, he want's to come again next year, but last night he was off to see the"Flogging Mollies" and will probably back at Prestatyn for the "Tidy Weekender" on friday.

As much as I love NS it's good to listen to other stuff or it all becomes a little "an*l"

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The point being that there is no definition of Northern Soul, its in the ear of the beholder.

Ed

link

"I second that emotion"

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Right on with this mate. It's a strange "soul" scene that wants to push brilliant 70s tracks into separate rooms and search backwards to the 50s for more sounds to play to the extent that a lot of what is played that has little or nothing to do with soul, or even Northern come to that.

link

Hear Hear

Why can't 60s & 70s be mixed together like they used to be ( & topped up with a few earlier or latter sounds if they're good enough)?

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"Now that it is dead" "As the scene goes through its death throes"

Death throes??? Not sure about that mate. Come to the 100 Club on Saturday night, it's the longest running NS allnighter ever and last month's nighter was the best I've ever been to.

It'll never be over for me.

KTF.

Simsy.

Edited by Ian Sims

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From what I'm reading i take it that as a rule of thumb there is a definate 60s and 70s divide at most venues now?

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From what I'm reading i take it that as a rule of thumb there is a definate 60s and 70s divide at most venues now?

link

At some venues, not most. The best of them, such as Lifeline, embrace it all in the same room.

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The 50's tracks have a lot more to do with Northern Soul than the 70's tracks.  Having been exposed to more R&B than I've ever heard before, I'd say it's the way forward.  At least these records are played on real instruments and actually have some 'soul'

link

Must say I'd have to side with the 70/80s crew here. Could site many a latter day belter which contains more heart-wrenching soul than any doo-wop/r+r track could ever possibly. After all, wasn't Soul the natural progression forward from that previous sound?

Frankie Saunders' 'Take Another Look' and Rance Allen's 'Peace of Mind' come immediately to mind - and there's not a drum machine in sight, well maybe an occassional handclap sample. :wicked:

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From what I'm reading i take it that as a rule of thumb there is a definate 60s and 70s divide at most venues now?

link

I tend to like the rawer sound of the 60s stuff but I accept that it is my own personal pref, and if something was made this year and I liked it, I'd buy.

Its good that Prestatyn has soemthing for everyone otherwise is would just fade and die and would not have enough support from just one genre, it's the mix that keeps it going.

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I tend to like the rawer sound of the 60s stuff but I accept that it is my own personal pref, and if something was made this year and I liked it, I'd buy. 

Its good that Prestatyn has soemthing for everyone otherwise is would just fade and die and would not have enough support from just one genre, it's the mix that keeps it going.

link

PS

Who gives a T*ss as long as we all enjoooooooooooooy.

My legs ache, my heads still buzzing with sounds, my purse is empty and all I can say is ROLL ON NEXT MARCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Hear Hear

Why can't 60s & 70s be mixed together like they used to be ( & topped up with a few earlier or latter sounds if they're good enough)?

link

Because 70's is shit basically. I keept telling you. :wicked:

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Was talking to a young colleague recently and he said that he couldn't understand the crap that I liked.

link

Thats one person though! Plenty of my mates dont like the music, but they like chart shite.

Went round to my friends house last night, sat in with a few beers and one of the lads put floorshakers on. What are the chances of that happening, a young lad banging a northern cd on. Turns out he has two are three northern albums.

My point is that just because some saddo in the office who probably drives home listening to whitney houston doesn't like northern soul doesn't mean that others out there dont either. (thats not aimed at your pal )

Took said lads too New Century last month and they had the time of their lives. Danced all night and couldn't believe they'd never been before.

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The 50's tracks have a lot more to do with Northern Soul than the 70's tracks.  Having been exposed to more R&B than I've ever heard before, I'd say it's the way forward.  At least these records are played on real instruments and actually have some 'soul'

link

:wicked: What a nice man :yes:

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Seriously tho.......I think there is room for all types of sounds on our scene...I just feel that multi rooms are the way forward. You cant please all the people...But you can give em a room of their own !!!

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If you had been at Prestatyn, and poked your head in the R&B room, you would have noticed that the average age in there was 15 years younger than the main room and probably ten years younger than the Modern room.

If younger people are going to come onto the Northern Soul scene, it will ultimately be via the Mod scene, which is closely linked to R&B.

The biggest thing putting youngsters off isn't anything to do with the music, its fat old men with taches wearing vests and clown pants.

To be popular with younger crowds it's got to have a fashion attached to it.... unfortunately the Northen Soul scene has become a sartorial laughing stock.

WOOF!

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The biggest thing putting youngsters off isn't anything to do with the music, its fat old men with taches wearing vests and clown pants.

link

Who are you calling fat!

:wicked::yes::yes:

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From what I'm reading i take it that as a rule of thumb there is a definate 60s and 70s divide at most venues now?

link

not at some of the nights i attend

the orwell plys mainly 70's with 60's

the greatstone plays 60's 70's the odd 80's and r&b

i know a few of the midlands nights play 60's and 70's.

it is just a case of finding somehwere that plays what you want to hear, it tends to be the smaller nights for me to hear stuff that i still enjoy.

mark

Edited by mark.b

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The 50's tracks have a lot more to do with Northern Soul than the 70's tracks.  Having been exposed to more R&B than I've ever heard before, I'd say it's the way forward.  At least these records are played on real instruments and actually have some 'soul'

link

:wicked: ......but I still like the 70s stuff.......but I do find I'm buying more RnB and I don't give a toss about the skin colour of the artist......it just has to make me feel good and want me to move my feet.

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A friend of mine and I play once a month in a local wine bar.

We play mostly Soul & funk (with some latin, disco & R& cool.gif - Its a growing crowd that range from 18 to 80 - without exception whenever people come past the decks (They need to to get to the toilets) they say how fantastic it sounds - One of the guys whos 18 (a scratch DJ) keeps asking for Gino -Paper Moon and one of the Old boys askes for Funkier than a Mosquita's tweeter by Ike & Tina Turner!!!! although what he asks for is the dirty old man record :wicked:

Its not the music thats the problem,its the DJing at a lot of venus - buying records does not make you a DJ. I think that all DJs should be required to dance for one hour prior to putting the needle to vinyl :yes:

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:wicked: ......but I still like the 70s stuff.......but I do find I'm buying more RnB and I don't give a toss about the skin colour of the artist......it just has to make me feel good and want me to move my feet.

link

i've always thought it's gonna be the r'n'b that got younger people in because whilst the slower stuff is more passionate it doesn't have the energy that the uptempo stuff has and thats what most of you lot got into ....the energy

Davie

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As ever, it's about different opinions and tastes.

I love the RnB, RnR stuff (sorry Winnie! :yes: ).

I think the best thing about 70s being played in the same room as everything else, is that it gives you an opportunity to rest your weary feet. :wicked::yes:

Another good thing about having so many different styles to choose from is that this provides an absolutely huge amount of choice for DJs.... so why then do we tend to hear similar themes or sets at a lot of different venues? It smacks of DJs following trends (keeping up with the Jones' or creatures of habit?). :ohmy:

Boogaloo last Saturday was an RnB night ..... not to everyone's taste, but obviously you only go along if you like RnB (and the place was packed out .... on Prestatyn weekend too) It was so refreshing to hear some old stuff (eg Hector Rivera - Use It Before You Lose It) and some different stuff (of an RnR persuasion - don't ask me what - Warren?? ).

If every venue played only safe/common or rare stuff, I would agree it was in it's death throes.

IMHO, the onus is on the DJs to keep it fresh and full of old and new alike without killing it, and on the punters to get the message across on what they want to hear.

I'm off to make up my eleventy foot long request list... :yes:

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If you had been at Prestatyn, and poked your head in the R&B room, you would have noticed that the average age in there was 15 years younger than the main room and probably ten years younger than the Modern room.

If younger people are going to come onto the Northern Soul scene, it will ultimately be via the Mod scene, which is closely linked to R&B.

The biggest thing putting youngsters off isn't anything to do with the music, its fat old men with taches wearing vests and clown pants.

To be popular with younger crowds it's got to have a fashion attached to it.... unfortunately the Northen Soul scene has become a sartorial laughing stock.

WOOF!

link

I think you have got a point here - I've been trying to pin down why I enjoyed the R&B sessions so much at the weekend when I'm not a big R&B fan! It was generally a younger crowd.. which seems a bit odd when it was some of the oldest music being played there :yes: I guess the R&B scene doesn't have the same reminiscence factor attached to it, nobody yelling 'lets bring back some memories' down the mic :wicked:

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Because 70's is shit basically.  I keept telling you.  :yes:

link

Strangely enough when presented as set after set after set,I can sympathise :yes: Not shit but can get tedious.

But, when mixed with the best of the sixties stuff & a sprinkling of good 80s stuff we would be back to the scene we used to love in the heyday of Wigan,Cleethorpes,St Ives,Yate etc...........Except we're all fatter & at least one of us is possibly more argumentative & pig headed :wicked::ohmy:

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There are venues that play a bit of everything. I played Little Johnny Taylor "Zig Zag Lightning" and Johnnie Taylor "What About My Love" in the same room last Friday. Both went down great. In between we had "Worth Every Tear I Cry" Dee Dee Warwick, "Love Love Love" Bobby Hebb, "Take Some Time Out For Love" Isley Brothers, "A L'il Lovin' Sometimes" Alexander Patten, "I'm Gonna Build California" Phillip Mitchell, "Keep on Running Away" Bits & Pieces, "Compared To What" Mr. Floods Party, "Crazy World" Kenny Thomas, "The Living End" Curtis Smith, "Look On The Good Side" Invitations, a few Motown and handbag guaranteed floorfillers and as requested "The Snake" and "No One There". A bit of everything really.

Mainly an oldies set but one of the other DJ's played a mainly 70's/80's set and that went down great as well. Included "Something For My Head" Bobby Womack, "You're Something Kind of Mellow" Johnny Williams, "I Don't Do This" SJQ and some new stuff I didn't really know.

I think mixed rooms allow people to get to hear a bit of evrything and it can broaden their minds. I don't like a lot of R&B but the odd one thrown in is fine by me, and I've grown to like some of them: if I had to listen to it all night I'd probably leave early. If the bar was shut.

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spent most of my time in the Vic listening to the good stuff, (the music of kings) :yes: Carl played a fantastic set as usual, the Hideaway guys where superb as was Joe well done guys,

seemed to be a lot of Comedians poking there heads around the door with there fingers placed in thier years :graywanker: nearly pissed myself laughing, not (will have to ask the Midnight Hour Crew to put a comedy room in for next year) i've said it before if you don't like it why go there, I personaly don't like Brass Band music so thats why I don't watch Ground Force and the reason I never supported my family during the miners strike :wicked:

I even travelled home in my very own RnB room (my car) :yes:

...............Andrew

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When I returned to the scene after the usual marriage, kids thing I wanted to hear the music of my long lost youth which of course was oldies.

Then bored of the same old tracks, listened to oldies that had been discovered in my wilderness years, which initally sounded fresh.

Again after a while it all became samey and as we all know how many times can you hear the top 100 oldies.

Now I like a good mixture of 70`s, RnB, 6o`s, some modern and the lesser played oldies.

If you close your mind to one particular type of music you will hasten the end and before long there will be nothing to moan about.

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If you had been at Prestatyn, and poked your head in the R&B room, you would have noticed that the average age in there was 15 years younger than the main room and probably ten years younger than the Modern room.

If younger people are going to come onto the Northern Soul scene, it will ultimately be via the Mod scene, which is closely linked to R&B.

The biggest thing putting youngsters off isn't anything to do with the music, its fat old men with taches wearing vests and clown pants.

To be popular with younger crowds it's got to have a fashion attached to it.... unfortunately the Northen Soul scene has become a sartorial laughing stock.

WOOF!

link

A very good point Joe, I have noticed that the younger element of the scene do tend to enjoy R&B. Maybe the Northern stuff is now just for old fa*rts taking a trip down memory lane....... :thumbsup:

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Was talking to a young colleague recently and he said that he couldn't understand the crap that I liked. He had come along with me to certain soul night and obviuosly had been subjected to the so-called big sounds.

When I started going to niters the tempo was fast and furious, uplfting, exciting and vital.

As soon as Stafford emerged the tempo changed but  the music was still a joyous, mostly soulful, fullfilling experience.

Today, the emphasis seems to be on ultra-rarity and rejects from the past being re-activated. Rita & the Tiaras being a case in point - today hailed as a "classic" but back back in the day rejected as so-so. "Gone with the wind" does sound like a classic compared to the puacity of good sounds being pushed today. The duds from the past should be left there but the worst aspect of the scene is the abundance of out and out rock&roll tracks being played and, absurdly, being sought after.

I argued 25 years ago that soul music would be dead if the scene refused to accept "newie" 70's sounds. Now that it is dead (due to the triumph of mediocrity and R&R records being played) I can fully understand my young friends stance.

As the scene goes through its death throes, I wish the jocks would play some of the better stuff that never got played much. sad.gif

Tin hat on  :)

link

Well I better get my hat too then as I agree with you about playing better stuff that never got played much too!! Dont worry we can go to Coventry together then! :thumbsup::shades:

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If you had been at Prestatyn, and poked your head in the R&B room, you would have noticed that the average age in there was 15 years younger than the main room and probably ten years younger than the Modern room.

If younger people are going to come onto the Northern Soul scene, it will ultimately be via the Mod scene, which is closely linked to R&B.

The biggest thing putting youngsters off isn't anything to do with the music, its fat old men with taches wearing vests and clown pants.

To be popular with younger crowds it's got to have a fashion attached to it.... unfortunately the Northen Soul scene has become a sartorial laughing stock.

WOOF!

link

I think you are right about the 'dress sense' as think it must be strange for 'youngsters' to see people 'dressed differently' Each to their own I say, Ive had comments on the past that I dont dress like a 'Northern Soulie', coz I dont wear the 'round circle skirts, etc.' but I actually like that we all dress how we want to, and that no one is bothered, cant imagine dancing to uptempo in a short mini skirt and handbag in the middle, I know Ive done some mad things in my time, but think be barred for indecency!! :thumbsup: Age also comes into it, think its a shame about both the above 'putting off' youngsters, if only they could just listen to the records played - real 'music', watch the dancing and how everyone is friendly and enjoying themselves, but you get stereotyping in everything!

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. . .  my vest and tache were missing.  :thumbsup:

link

Bet yours are with mine then Mike! :shades:

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I met Pikey's dog and Pete-S in the record bar. They seemed to be planning some dastardly deeds.

Woke up Sunday morning, and my vest and tache were missing.  :thumbsup:

link

I was waiting to have a word with you mate but the lady talking in my left ear wouldn't shut up! :shades:

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I was waiting to have a word with you mate but the lady talking in my left ear wouldn't shut up!  :thumbsup:

link

Its ok, it wasn't me!!!

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It's obvious to me that northern soul in any of it's genres will never attract a younger crowd now.

Why?

All else aside, the recordings are so lacking in potency compared to modern day house or r n b. They just don't have the bottom end punch that modern sound systms are built to deliver. The songs are also way too too short and unmixable.

Second, the drugs are different. Try an E and you'll get the picture.

Third, the lyrical content in soul is more often than not blues based; I lost my baby, I can't hold back the tears, Everythings wrong etc. Young clubbers high on E don't want that kind of message. Dance lyrics today (if you can call them that) are almost always postive, present tense active and uplifting. Designed to make you feel good.

Just my two cents.

Colin

Edited by Dayo

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But it doesn't, Billy, so she's wrong.

My 22-year-old brother is into it in a small way but it's different now. Agree with whoever said fat old gits dressed in odd clothes and dancing in bizarre ways is a major off-putter for kids.

But I also think it's because there's so much else around for kids now.

Can't speak for the first wave of northern fans but when I was 15 in 1981/2 round our way there were mods (and scooterboys) and there were rockers, and if you were into music you were basically in one of those groups (OK there was a bit of new romance knocking around). If you were a mod, chances are you would find northern and that's what happened to a lot of us.

Now there's no 'feeder' system for northern.

Additionally, kids are less into youth cults now, and the youth cults they are into are far more short-lived than they were (like I only stopped insisting on button-down shirts when I was about 34).

Add in computer games, loads more pubs and clubs, the generally better chart music, better and more sport on the telly, multiplex cinemas everywhere, houses full of DVDs and CDs, women who are apparently much happier to shag you silly at a younger age and so on...the world is much more sophisticated and interesting place for today's 15-year-old than it was 20-odd years ago and against all that music just assumes less importance.

Not saying it's not iomportant or that some kids aren't just as mad keen about music as we were but they are fewer and further between...and they've also got another 20 years'-worth of music to explore if they want to get a bit retro.

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I only stopped insisting on button-down shirts when I was about 34  !!!

Are there other kinds of shirt out there !!!

link

That's true as is most of the above. I was 16 in 1982 and witnessed much of the same. But I do know slim blokes who dance that are of the non moustached type! :D

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I think you have got a point here - I've been trying to pin down why I enjoyed the R&B sessions so much at the weekend when I'm not a big R&B fan! It was generally a younger crowd.. which seems a bit odd when it was some of the oldest music being played there  :D I guess the R&B scene doesn't have the same reminiscence factor attached to it, nobody yelling 'lets bring back some memories' down the mic  :ohmy:

link

-

Give it 20 years, Rach :ohmy::lol: Del xx :ohmy:

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I only stopped insisting on button-down shirts when I was about 34  !!!

Are there other kinds of shirt out there !!!

link

Im 39 next month

And i still always insist on a button down shirt

Ive got away from the ben sherman button down to be obsessed by the lacoste button down shirt(checked of course)

So i suppose im moving in the right direction

sort of

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Was talking to a young colleague recently and he said that he couldn't understand the crap that I liked. He had come along with me to certain soul night and obviuosly had been subjected to the so-called big sounds.

When I started going to niters the tempo was fast and furious, uplfting, exciting and vital.

As soon as Stafford emerged the tempo changed but  the music was still a joyous, mostly soulful, fullfilling experience.

Today, the emphasis seems to be on ultra-rarity and rejects from the past being re-activated. Rita & the Tiaras being a case in point - today hailed as a "classic" but back back in the day rejected as so-so. "Gone with the wind" does sound like a classic compared to the puacity of good sounds being pushed today. The duds from the past should be left there but the worst aspect of the scene is the abundance of out and out rock&roll tracks being played and, absurdly, being sought after.

I argued 25 years ago that soul music would be dead if the scene refused to accept "newie" 70's sounds. Now that it is dead (due to the triumph of mediocrity and R&R records being played) I can fully understand my young friends stance.

As the scene goes through its death throes, I wish the jocks would play some of the better stuff that never got played much. :thumbsup:

Tin hat on  :rolleyes:

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Why don't you become a d.j yourself if you are so worried :ohmy:

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