Northern Soul: An influential British musical moment in electronic music culture

“The northern soul scene, to me, was like an eighth wonder of the world. You’re looking at the depressed north of England, where there wasn’t a great deal there apart from steelworks and coalmines. You had people doing this boring repetitive work during the week; and hard work, too. And when they went out on a weekend, they really wanted to go out. Going out until 11 o’clock to the local pub just wasn’t going to be good enough. When the whole rave thing went ballistic it felt like northern soul twenty years on. Lots of people getting off their heads, dancing to fast music and this love attitude. House is this generation’s version of northern soul…” – Ian Dewhirst, northern soul DJ ~1999 [From Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The … Read More

“The Family” from 1974 was Britain’s first reality TV show. No, really…

The BBC’s documentaries are generally top notch–the polar opposite of current US “edutainment” shows that have distilled down formulas to get the highest eyeballs. It’s little wonder that The Family (above–full) from 1974 would be the precursor to reality TV shows–but that theirs would be more “fly on the wall” and genuinely curious about and relatively impartial towards their subject. An American Family from 1971 is its precursor, but I haven’t checked it out yet. Compare this style to a parody of what masquerades as reality TV in the states, one that’s blatantly geared towards a perceived audience who apparently incapable of paying attention unless there are gongs or trombones to highlight emotional moments, and chopped up, heavily edited dialog that literally spells out the dialog needed to … Read More