If you're a speed-sporting, buzz-cutting, high-kicking, dancefloor-burning vinyl junkie then there's a scene for you and it's called Northern Soul. All you've got to do TS it. Words: Rory Weller Memorabilia: Yogi Haughton

DEEP UNDERGROUND, FAR BELOW Glasgow‘s rain-battered streets. in one of these sweaty basements that seem

purpose—built for the kind of ‘happenings' that years later

thousands of people will claim to have attended. a short-haired. bug—eyed boy is sweating and flailing to the devil's own tune. The BPMs are going through the roof and Mr Dilated Pupils is in danger of burning a hole in the floor. Strangely. this is a scene that has its roots 30 years ago in England's grim North.

‘Northern Soul is the most underground scene that l have come across in my life.‘ says Yogi Haughton dramatically. ‘lt would probably be easier to get into a paedophile ring than find out about a Northern Soul all-nighter now.‘

Haughton. originally from Manchester but now living in

Edinburgh. is a veteran of a phenomenon that began three decades



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ago. Mods and skins were alienated by the pop and rock sounds which dominated the London dancehalls and found their own music in Berry Gordy‘s Motown sound, then played at legendary clubs like Twisted Wheel. the Blackpool Mecca and the Wigan Casino.

Each weekend thousands of dance- crazy. amphetamine-fuelled young- sters loyally queued with their insignia covered sports bags (containing towel, talcum powder and spare top). to practise spins. back- drops and splits to the latest imports and finds. The scene was immense: the Wigan Casino alone had 100,000 members and people would travel from all over the country to go to the nights.

‘lt was the emergence of a cool youth culture.’ says Haughton. who is still invited to play at Northern Soul nights round Britain. ‘lt was the first time people danced on their own,

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‘It was the emergence of a cool youth culture. It was the first time people danced on their own, going out for music rather than to get pissed up and have a fight.’ Yogi Haughton


going out for music rather than to get pissed up and have a light. Basically it broke all the rules.‘

The music was fast (occasionally around l4()BPM. faster than many rave records). soulful rather than funky. and it had to come from the late ()0s black soul legacy. DJs were secretive about the records they played, ‘covering up‘ new discoveries with other labels to make sure they were the only one in the know. While Motown was the driving force. it was the lesser known labels that were the real finds.

Although. with the natural evolution of fashion. the scene faded, a hard core of aficionados continued to search for the rarities and put on events in obscure venues round the country. publicised in magazines like [Sc/mes and Manifesto and by word of mouth.

People who were there in those days have gone away. had kids. made money and have now come back to the scene and are buying the records, sending the prices skywards. One Edinburgh buyer recently paid £15.00() for one record. an unreleased Motown single. There is also a ‘new' generation of Northern Soul fan coming through. with people who

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