Letters Page. Talk Of The North.
It becomes increasingly apparent that the "Northern Soul Scene", as it exists at the present time, is in deperate need of immediate injections of impetus.
It seems all too clear from its present situation that there is more to be got and enjoyed from the past than from what can only be called improvement. This must surely be called a case of prejudice. It is evident (for those who wish to see it) that there is a form of status to be had from constant support and please for "oldies". Any other foreign or alien records are dismissed, without justifiable reason, as being utter rubbish, without even having the courage to listen to them a little closer for fear of actually enjoying them!
It will be assumed, no doubt, that the aim of this letter is to underrate the worth of older records. It is emphatically not. When we are presented however, with a situation in which oldies are slipped onto the turntables time and time again, at almost every venue, one can understand that these records are themselves being killed off and furthermore, without any new replacements - and so it continues . . . .
The next point for attention is the complaints of many that the scene is dying; dying of what? Boredom no doubt! Are not these people the very ones who are managing to satisfy their own complaints by requesting the same records for what runs into weeks, months, years, and then unwittingly ask "What is it all coming to?".
The scene is most definately not dying, in fact to my mind, and with ever increasing rapidity drawing more people into it's web. Indeed if it were not, there would be little success at such a wide range of venues. It is, however, I believe, in need of another kind of expansion, a need for more encouragement of the present, an expansion musically, with more open-minded and less blinkered attitude from those who claim to be it's supporters.
I do not ask that all attentions should be on the constant and rapid renewal of records before they can be appreciated but that a balance and unity of old and "new" be attained and for that matter, maintained.
It should be also recognised here that the up and coming soul fans of tomorrow have little stimulus and encouragement from what we already have. How we can expect that they should have a wider and more informed interest in their music, if we do not, is beyond my comprehension. They are nurtured on well won records as much as possible with little reference to the newer sounds and are conditioned into thinking "past over-rules present". A rather negative attitude wouldn't you agree?
When I mention the newer records, I refer to those which have, up to present, been unknown of, yet have all the characteristics, appeal and charisma of many of the rare widely known ones, and also have a chance of succeeding in states. They have little chance of doing so, however, without the encouragement and support of the majority.
What we desperately need is new drive and enthusiasm to counteract the apparent feelings of sadness and resentment at the loss of the "old" scene.
But what was the "old" scene? (as it is now remembered). The so-called "old" scene was innovation, and an important one at that. What is needed now is the kind of innovation which can renew the past and make it comparable to what has gone before.
Miss Lynne Richardson