A LOOK BACK AT CLEETHORPES by Wal Aylott

I don’t know where to start but I did enjoy your site and now I own a picture of the Vibrations. I can give you the odd story about Northern Soul. It all started for me when at the youth club and listening to Motown. The Youth Club leader asked me if I wanted a part time job at a 13 – 17 disco, I said yes as it was better paid than a paper round. They were playing a lot of sounds that I had not heard, I was the one taking the coats and selling Cola. This is were I met the Scunthorpe Road Rats  Scooter Club and on one particular night some kids turned up and they looked exactly the same as the kids who had appeared on Top of the Pops who had been dancing to Footsie by Wigan Chosen Few. The usual thing for 1976 in the world of Northern Soul was wrist bands, v neck t shirts and flares with a lot of pockets or bags with a lot of buttons and pockets. A lot of soul kids wore Keep the Faith badges plus Wigan and Torch badges but I believe some of the badges were copies.

 Anyway out came the talcum powder and off they went and that is when I knew that is what I wanted to do and it is hard to ask another guy what was this all about. I liked to dance to Motown and was quiet good at it. The fact was in 1976 no blokes danced, everyone would point and laugh as most did not understand, I guess this is what makes it special.The kids for the disco said they were putting a bus on to go to Leeds to an All-nighter at a night club called Cats Whiskers. I went and this is where I met all of the Scunthorpe crowd. Rik Scott aged 26 had a teenage soul club near the bus station on a Friday night and Rik and his girlfriend Linda Lewis (not the singer) invited me down so I gave it a go I believe at Soul Scene on this Friday and at Cats Whiskers I only knew 2 records but I was fascinated by it all. You have to remember that the top single in the charts of that year was Save all your kisses for me by Brother Hood of Man. I often tell people that this would convert most of the western world to Northern Soul as Brother Hood of Man where really “poney and Crap”.   

I hope this is not to long. Anyway Rik and Linda used to put a mini bus on every two week to go to the All-nighters at Cleethorpes known as “The Talk of the North” this open after the Cleethorpes Pier, I wish I was a bit older as they say to hear people stomp on a seaside pier was a wonderful noise. At Talk of the North they used to turn the sound down part way through a northern sound i.e.: Champion and all you would hear was the shoes stomping, it was great. After about 6 beats they would then re introduce the record and it still makes me smile.Some lads that went who lived in Lincoln had ¾ of their eyebrows pluck with a short haircut like in the army and the rest of their eyebrow was drawn in. You have to remember that everyone who was normal ????? was still wearing platform shoes, flares and they all still had long hair and middle partings. So someone with short hair 30 inch bottom bags with lots of pleats, school ties and cardigans, flat caps, and brown brogue shoes that were flat soles, we was an odd looking bunch. I was once down the bus station meeting a kid called Chris Jones and he was a bit late and we were going to Cleethorpes, so it would be about 11pm on a Saturday night and I had me brown brogues and granddad shirt on, with a green tartan kit bad with the odd should badge on. I heard a shout from the other end of the bus station and a guy came across and said Kirton barracks mate you want to be up hear, the lorry will be picking us up at 11.30pm. I said I don’t know what you mean, he said well your in the army aren’t you. I said no, and he said come on man nobody chooses them shoes and has short unless they are in the army. It took me a while to convince him then Chris turn up and off we went to another Cleethorpes all-nighter. One of my best memories is the nearer you got to Cleethorpes front the only people you would see down the front was soulies, they wore long black leather coats and kit bags, all the girls wore long skirts and short hair, one girl I remember we would call pepper pot as when she spun her skirt spun out and she looked like the shape of a pepper pot. 

One night out side of the all-nighter some older kids i.e.: 27 years of age, were going up to the younger ones and saying DS empty your bag. Like go people they did as they were told and the DS (drug squad) took all of there gear (drugs) off them. Strangely enough the DS and his girlfriend were dancing really fast at the front of the stage and it was all just a scam to get free drugs and with them being older non of the 17 years olds dare say out to them. 

Cleethorpes Winter Gardens was a seaside show bar and they had everything on there to this day it is still there doing Record Fairs, Bags Ball on Wednesday, Brass Bands and even Scooter gatherings. All good soul clubs were dumps but they were transformed when the right people and the right music turned up.

Another thing that happened to me was I wanted so bad to own a pair of 30 inch bags in RAF blue with channel seems, sewn in creases, 3 pleats either side and a patch pocket on the back by this time the extra buttons was out out out.A mate of mine said go see Selwin on the Market he sold cloths but own a tailors in Leeds and would make them up at a price. I was earning £18 per week as an apprentice printer and I handed over my design and on all examples I put in caps PARALLEL. I did this as I did not want any form of flares I wanted to be at the forefront of fashion and be the only kid in town with these pants. When I say 30 inch bottoms they measured 15 inch from the front crease to the back. Anyway a friend of mine worked for Selwin and he told me my trousers were done and I could pick them up on Saturday. He was called Kev and he was into Status Quo and worn nothing but denim, he told me that my pants looked great as he had seen them arrive. So I tried them on and I swear that they were tight to the knee and then flared out to 30 inch from the knee and I had paid  £18 for them. I looked like some kind of flamenco dancer. So I pulled the curtain back and shouted another one of Selwins employees. I asked him had he still got my design that I had scribble onto the piece of paper, I pointed out how it had said PARALLEL he agreed to make them again and the following week there they was and they were perfect also my flamenco flares were on the cheap rail at £5, some chance of selling them eh.

  I once went to an all-nighter on my scooter and the morning trip back of 30 miles was a killer it was hard keeping your eyes open as we usually fell asleep in the mini bus.Just remembered I went to watch Edwin Starr 3 times and at 2 of the alldayers he did not turn up so I guess that was a money making scheme by some promoter.

My typing may be all over the place as it is 26 years ago, I hope this is what you had in mind. As for DJs all I remember was Rik Scott, Bub and Soul Sam. I was not a Northern anorak I really went there as it made me happy. I do remember that most single could be bought for anything from £1 - £5. Obviously there was singles that were going for £500 but we had never seen that kind of money.

As for dancing I never did get the hang of spinning really fast but to me that was very Northern Soul. The back drop thing I thought was a bit Teddy Boy although I did do the drop kick to some sounds.

 

My favs then and now are: 

Boogie with your baby (it was a newie then).

Love Factory

Cause Your Mine

Gonna be a Big Thing

Too Late

Keep on keeping on

Moody Woman

24 hours a day

I never knew

Tainted Love by Gloria Jones about 5 years before Marc Almond Car Wash was big at Blackpool Mecca 8 months before it hit the British Charts.

By the way have you seen the Kentucky Fried Chicken adverts (Soul Food) 

I wont write anymore as this might not be what you had in mind but typing it brought a lot of good memories back and at 43 that cool ok or whatever people say now.

 

All the best from Wal.

 

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