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.
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
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.
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
Boogie with your baby (it was a newie then).
Cause Your Mine
Gonna be a Big Thing
Keep on keeping on
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.