This clip goes so far beyond so-bad-it’s-good territory it enters new dimensions of kitsch that are beyond human comprehension.
This is a terrific short documentary with great archival footage about the British soul scene from the 60s to the 80s, part of a series of films about British youth culture directed by Don Letts for Fred Perry.
The differences between the scenes in the North (thumping beats, practical clothes) and the South (slick Jazz-Funk, fashionable gear) seem like cultural cliches of Hard Northerners vs Soft Southern Pooftahs but are actually mostly true in this instance.
The soul scene in the South hasn’t been written about nearly as much as the one oop North — a reversal of the usual media prejudice — but it was just as vital and more modern in outlook so it’s nice to see it given some proper respect in this movie. My earliest clubbing experiences were at the Lyceum in London in the late 70s with soul-scene legends Steve Walsh and Greg Edwards DJ-ing. The place was packed with Soul Boys (and girls) wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the name of their local posses like Streatham Funk Patrol and blowing the whistles that hung around their necks. While the clothes were important — this was the era of Pringle jumpers and Lois jeans — there was no posing going on, everyone was too busy dancing.
Here’s a Brit-Funk classic from those days featuring the amazing bass-slapping fingers of Mr. Mark King.
Download: Love Games – Level 42 (mp3)
There’s a fine line between looking like a folk singer and looking like a crazy homeless person, and I think one or two of the Lindisfarne boys may have crossed it here. Or it could just be that they’re Geordies.
There’s an exhibition on at the Tate Liverpool at the moment called Glam! The Performance of Style which looks interesting. Part of the show is a 1977 documentary called Roxette about young Roxy Music fans in Manchester getting dressed up to go see the band live. The whole movie is 30 minutes long and looks utterly fab judging by this short clip which makes me really want to see the entire thing (wish they’d used a different song though, don’t they know I posted “Beauty Queen” just last week!) I’d love to make it to Liverpool to see the show too but doubt if that’s on the cards.
Some pics from the exhibition here.
We soft Southern pooftahs liked to joke that Woodbines were only smoked by gruff blokes from oop North who wore flat caps, raced pigeons, and liked to proudly declare their narrow-minded prejudices by saying “I know what I like and I like what I know” — especially when it came to things they considered fancy, modern, or foreign.
Well, I used to think it was a joke but, according this ad, it was true!
Download: Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape – Be Bop Deluxe (mp3)
The Watersons are another act that piqued my interest while reading Electric Eden. They might be a little too Real Ale for my tastes but there’s something very elemental about this sound, listening to them you can almost feel the Northern soil under your fingernails and the coal dust in your lungs.
This great poster is from a huge online collection of old Leeds theatre playbills that’s well worth having a nose through. Featuring lots more saucy ladies, cockney comics, scintilating singers, and things I can’t quite figure out..
This must be what Yorkshiremen did for amusement in between walking their whippets and going to the pub.
Download: Burlesque – Family (mp3)