Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
A brief mention for the exhibition opposite the one about the Que Club. Both take you to a time that feels close, just a mobile phone away from now. Even the youth fashions.
Blacklash… I didn’t get a chance to examine close enough - there’s a whole load of history which I was sort of aware of but now strikes me as significant instead of prosaically obvious (of course Asian kids learnt self-defence skills in the heyday of the BNP and NF). Why the fuck did the fascists get such a hold amongst some working class communities? To the extent that brown skinned people had to plan their lives around safe routes and access to phone boxes to call home and assure anxious parents they were still alive or, at least, not in hospital?
With posters of the time glued on corrugated iron, this is an excellent dip into the past, only the smell of fear and Brut and the crunch of broken glass is missing.
In The Que: Celebrating the Que Club - mainly based around a reminiscing film and flyers and posters featuring endless lists of DJs - they weren’t pretty and can be overwhelming unless you’re one of the DJs mentioned, I suppose.
The ‘2nd Summer of Love’ was, for many, an eye-opening period in their lives, full of the blue skied promise of youth enhanced by quality MDMA. Where Manchester had the Factory, London had Shoom! and Glasgow had the Sub, Birmingham’s own palace of four to the floor in the glorious environs of a Methodist Hall gave a certain portion of a generation a few hours a week in sweaty, ecstatic communion with programmed beats and, on one memorable occasion, David Bowie in his brief DnB phase.
I was never there. Maybe you were, in which case you should go to see if your name’s on a flyer.
Tim London is a musician, music producer and writer. Originally from a New Town in Essex he is at home amidst concrete and grand plans for the working class. Tim's latest thriller, Smith, is available now. Find out more at timothylondon.com
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