Jazzie B's 1980s: From Dole to Soul


Jazzie B's 1980s: From Dole to Soul

The Soul II Soul frontman tells his tale of the 1980s, an against-the-odds story of a young black British musician and entrepreneur in a time of radical social change.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language.

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Their album, Soul Classics Volume One,

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is at number four. Congratulations.

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Soul II Soul and Caron Wheeler, number one with Back To Life.

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# Back to life, back to reality

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# Back to life, back to reality... #

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'So that's me in Soul II Soul.

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'June 1989.'

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# Back to the here and now... #

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'Number one around the world.'

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# Show me how... #

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The 1980s were a wild time.

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A decade of confrontation, innovation and revolution.

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# However do you want me... #

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It was a real sense that something was happening.

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There was a movement.

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It was a big deal to be politicised and have something to say.

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And with political upheaval came economic transformation.

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Loads of money!

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But while some sipped champagne and flaunted mobile phones,

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we pioneered another scene.

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OUR scene.

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And what an extraordinary moment for the new Princess of Wales.

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Just a few miles from Buckingham Palace and the West End,

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we were partying illegally in amazing spaces to rare groove soul.

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There was an uprising of black talent.

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We were more brash, more confident.

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We were rocking our own fashion, our own identity.

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The '80s were not a shy decade.

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You had to walk down the street and someone would be able to go,

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"I know exactly what sort of music you like from the way you look."

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By the end of this decade of division and change,

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our underground scene was being embraced by the mainstream.

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There was this promise of multiculturalism,

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this promise of a vibe of us all being in the same boat.

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The '80s. The shift.

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# However do you need me

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# However do you want me

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# However do you need me

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# However do you want me

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# However do you need me... #

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Well, I guess the story starts here!

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MUSIC: Food For Thought by UB40

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Here we are, Hornsey Rise.

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It's where I grew up.

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Hornsey Rise - N19, to be precise.

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This is my humble beginnings.

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This is where I grew up.

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Right there, this wonderful cul-de-sac.

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And the cries ring out, "We want the Queen."

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Here's what they've been waiting for.

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The Queen and Prince Philip.

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The year was 1977.

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It was the Queen's Silver Jubilee,

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so as you can imagine, there was a lot of things going on.

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Pandemonium, as we would call it back in those days.

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About eight people out there trying to move trestle tables!

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It all came down this cul-de-sac here.

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So from number one all the way through to number 12,

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we had a street party.

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I would have been about, I don't know, 13. 12, 13.

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And in those early days I was itching to get onto the map,

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as it were, so right here, outside of my front door...

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..I engaged in what was to become my biggest event ever.

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The Queen's Silver Jubilee, and I was the DJ!

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DUB REGGAE MUSIC

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I was super excited.

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I practised and practised.

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And as I can recall, I think I got paid about 12 quid.

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And this is exactly where I stood.

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It was really one of the happiest days of my life.

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I can remember playing records like Bob Marley

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and a lot of Augustus Pablo.

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Some of the neighbours brought a record or two.

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I might even have spun an ABBA. Come on!

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# Waterloo, I was defeated, you won the war... #

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Our community was a real mishmash of different nationalities.

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# I promise to love you for ever more... #

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A large Irish community, a large Greek community.

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A lot of young people,

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a lot of different people from all around the world,

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which made it even more interesting.

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And I think, during that period,

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that was part and parcel of what made Britain great.

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# Finally facing my Waterloo. #

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Feeling a little emotional here.

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It's been a while since I've been back, actually.

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Our immediate family would have been, like, nine, ten of us.

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Although it might sound all squashed up, it was fantastic days.

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Very happy, happy, happy days.

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But the sacrifice from my parents would have been immense.

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They sold everything to come to Britain from Antigua.

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Well, in the earlies, when the West Indians first came here,

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they obviously had to rent rooms and stuff and there was

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a lot of ignorance going on at the time.

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We're talking about in the '50s, you know.

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In order for any of the West Indians to get anywhere

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they had to buy their own place, cos the renting was out of the question.

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'There's enough colour prejudice to make it difficult for a

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'West Indian to find a place in the ordinary home life of the city.'

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'Sorry, no room. Full up.'

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'Sorry, the last room is gone. No more rooms.

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'Have to try somewhere else.'

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'Sorry, we don't take niggers here.'

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Looking back, I can really see how hard, um,

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my parents and many other West Indian parents worked.

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And now I'm really so proud of them,

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to understand that they would have saved so hard,

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in such difficult times, but owned their own house.

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Which I could get emotional and that and all, but I won't.

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Promise I wouldn't!

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HE SNIFFS

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'Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new administration.

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'And I have accepted.

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'It is, of course, the greatest honour

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'that can come to any citizen in a democracy.'

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'The Tories were a very polarising force in Britain.

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'After Margaret Thatcher came in,'

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you either won or you lost.

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What do we want? 20%. 20%!

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'In the early '80s,

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'it was like a war against the old working classes.'

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Bastards! Scabby bastards!

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'Fighting the unions, fighting the miners.

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'Closing down factories.'

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# I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord... #

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Margaret was Maggie Thatcher the milk snatcher.

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She had that nickname, didn't she?

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She took away our school milk and it was

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a really weird sensation to see her as the person that might be

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leading the country for the next God knows how long.

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Funnily enough, I was too young and too blind

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to see the changes that were happening then.

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I was too busy doing my own thing.

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MUSIC: Pop Muzik by M

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After the Silver Jubilee, I got the bug for spinning records.

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# Pop, pop muzik... #

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But not just wanting to be a DJ - I wanted more than that.

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I really wanted to have my OWN sound system.

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# Pop, pop muzik... #

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The idea of a sound system - you could almost look at it as,

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say, a mobile DJ Derek from the pub round the corner on steroids.

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A DJ on a massive PA system that you would have built all yourself.

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DUB REGGAE MUSIC

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Reggae sound systems came here from Jamaica.

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And with the sound system, everybody has a role.

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You would have the box boys, who were very important,

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cos if they dropped your speakers, they're fucked!

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Then you move to your selector,

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and that would be the person who selected the music.

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The DJ - now, let's not get this twisted with the MC and the DJ,

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cos the DJ is the one that controls the preamp and puts the records on

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and then you'd have your MC, or your mic man.

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HE TALKS IN PATOIS

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They'd be the people getting the party together.

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See, what else is important about a sound system, as big as it is,

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it feeds the whole community.

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Jah Rico was our youth sound from when we was in school.

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As a young man, with my sound system,

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you could imagine me getting around was really difficult.

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My mode of transport - shopping trolley, number 14 bus.

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HE WHISTLES

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We're out there!

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HE GROANS

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Aah!

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And that'll be here when I get back, trust me!

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BELL RINGS

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Back in the old days as a kid growing up,

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obviously we couldn't drive, so we had to be slightly resourceful.

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The number 14 bus was used as our means of transport,

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like our van, as it were.

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It would take us from Hornsey all the way to the Green Man in

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Roehampton, via Putney Bridge,

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Fulham, Kensington, Knightsbridge...

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I think the journey took almost about two hours altogether.

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I'm watching all the oldies look at the bus and almost go,

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"Is that the 14?"

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HE CHUCKLES

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With Jah Rico, we were really trying to cut our teeth here as

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a young sound system, growing up.

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Being the second generation born and raised in Britain,

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for us, it was all about British music and our British identity,

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and what went hand-in-hand with that was this genre of

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British reggae we called lovers' rock.

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Here's some of my faves.

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And as you can see, they are all lovers' rock,

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and there's somebody in this picture, actually,

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two members of this band in my left hand sleeve, that you may recognise.

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One is Caron Wheeler and the other is Kofi.

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And both of these young ladies ended up singing with Soul II Soul,

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and that's how much of a fan I was as a kid growing up,

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it was so important to me.

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# Black is the colour of my skin... #

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# Black is the life that I live

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# And I'm so proud to be

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# The colour that God made me

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# And I just have to know

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# That black is my colour, yeah... #

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This is music that you ate to, you slept with,

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it was part of your everyday life.

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Cos I loved it, it felt like our own music,

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finally we were making our own mark.

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Welcome to the sound of the '80s.

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It's a new year and a new chart,

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and as young as ever, it's Top Of The Pops!

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Top Of The Pops was great, because it seemed like

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a democratic version of what was in the charts that week.

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# A new royal family, a wild nobility, we are the family! #

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There weren't many other programmes that said, look,

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here's a smorgasbord of what's in the charts this week,

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dip your bread in that and have a good time.

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So, you'd get a country or a middle-of-the-road singer

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that the mums and dads were buying...

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# One day at a time, sweet Jesus... #

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You'd have crooners, you'd have rock, you'd have electronica...

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# Run away, I've got to

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# Get away... #

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There was still heavy metal,

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there was still disco on Top Of The Pops...

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# Dance yourself dizzy

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# When they boogaloo... #

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You'd have funk, you'd have comedy records...

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MUSIC: The Can-Can by Bad Manners

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But then there were all the new things -

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there was New Wave, there was New Pop,

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there were New Romantics...

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# And to cut a long story short... #

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And there were all these different genres coexisting,

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and it felt like a time when everything was up for grabs.

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# Standing in the dark, oh, I was waiting... #

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Although there was this whole New Romantic scene going on,

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it didn't actually dominate the whole top 40.

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It was completely diverse.

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# To be taken by someone... #

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People wanted to find something to be excited about, and also,

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as a band or a musical movement, you could package yourself

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and become that next big thing quite easily.

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Early '80s, things changed.

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We weren't just playing reggae, we were playing soul.

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We changed the name from Jah Rico to Soul To Soul,

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I guess because we grew up.

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The whole culture of sound system was going through a bit of

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a change then, because the soul music kind of creeping in and

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I guess, to certain factions, that was almost, like, sacrilegious,

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playing soul music on a sound system.

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Brit soul was a huge thing, like, a massive thing at the time,

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and here's a band that some of you might be familiar with.

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Here's one from Hi Tension.

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MUSIC: Hi Tension by Hi Tension

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As I grew up, my tastes changed from reggae to soul music.

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I'd grown up amongst the reggae blues dances.

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It was quite an aggressive attitude, you know,

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you step on someone's shoes, it was a problem.

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# Hi tension

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# That's what we got... #

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But then when you went to those different soul clubs,

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it was more inclusive, there's different races and colours,

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everyone was there and it just felt better.

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# That's what we got, superstar... #

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Soul boys notoriously mixed more.

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Reggae boys would keep it to their own culture, soul boys were like...

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But what Brit funk was was a second generation of people saying,

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look, this is our identity.

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We identify with Jamaican music, of course we do,

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we identify with American music...

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# Hi tension... #

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Brit funk was our interpretation of what we were feeling,

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filtered through our environment.

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# Hi tension... #

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I can remember Beggar and Co, Light of the World and Junior,

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we owe them so much.

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They came through, they were actual pioneers.

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# Said a small boy once asked, when will I grow up?

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# When will I see what grown-ups do see? #

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But all of that generation of musicians really suffered,

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because the record companies didn't know how to market them.

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They dressed them up in clothes that they simply didn't wear.

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# And Mama used to say

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# Take your time, young man... #

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I can remember looking at Junior

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in the early days, thinking, "That's not Junior."

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# And Mama used to say... #

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They were being told what to wear, how to perform,

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in order to fit a very strict template in how to sell them

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to what the record companies perceived then was, you know,

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a huge mass white market.

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# As a boy my family thought that I'd be their ruin

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# But when I was back, my mum knew what I was doing... #

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There was a feeling for a moment like,

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this was our music and we were presenting our music

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to the world, then suddenly,

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our music was actually being copied and duplicated...

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# Intuition... #

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Either you could have Linx or you could have Modern Romance,

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and it was, "Oh, we'll have Modern Romance."

0:18:040:18:07

You could have Light of the World, or you could have Spandau -

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"Oh, we'll have Spandau, please."

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# I don't need this pressure on

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# I don't need this pressure on... #

0:18:130:18:15

Chant No 1 was specifically written, I think,

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as a white soul funk record.

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In complete contrast to a few months earlier,

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where we really were a synth band.

0:18:240:18:26

# Oh, I should question, not ignore

0:18:280:18:31

# Oh, I should question, not ignore... #

0:18:310:18:33

We were clearly New Romantics, we were in the frilly gear,

0:18:330:18:36

and then all of a sudden

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we'd reinvented ourselves as this Brit funk band.

0:18:370:18:40

# Songs are always buried deep... #

0:18:400:18:44

We worked with the horn section of Beggar and Co,

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who were a Brit funk band.

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# There is motion in my arm

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# Oh, I should question, not ignore... #

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Yeah, we were a bunch of white guys working with

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a bunch of black guys on the horns and stuff...

0:18:580:19:00

There's always been a record company attitude that

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a black singer doing black music would only have a limited appeal,

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whereas a white singer doing the same music,

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because they came from a larger demographic of the population,

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would have a greater appeal.

0:19:190:19:21

We managed to go on and do incredible things around the world.

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But unfortunately,

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a lot of the sort of Brit funk bands didn't really quite make it.

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And so, once again, the party was going on with our music,

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but we were sort of standing at the door again,

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trying to get back into the room.

0:19:440:19:46

In a moment, our thriller, One Deadly Owner,

0:19:460:19:48

but first, a little later than advertised, Shaw Taylor asks

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for your help in the fight against crime in Police 5.

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High Street, Waltham Cross, Friday, 5th February.

0:19:550:19:58

Wage carrier abducted, reward on offer.

0:19:580:20:02

Good evening.

0:20:020:20:03

# Police and thieves in the street... #

0:20:030:20:08

-MARGARET THATCHER:

-We were elected to strengthen the forces

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of law and order, and thanks to Willie Whitelaw

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there are now more policemen, better paid,

0:20:140:20:16

better equipped than ever before, and more of them back on the beat.

0:20:160:20:21

I think in the 1980s

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you kind of grew up with an understanding or an acknowledgement,

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certainly from your own community, that you were different,

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you were going to be treated as different,

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and it was entirely down to the colour of your skin.

0:20:340:20:37

Places like Brixton and others, there was an awful lot of crime.

0:20:390:20:43

It became almost inevitable that if the police were to pursue

0:20:430:20:48

some of those street crimes,

0:20:480:20:50

the places they would pursue them would not be the nice middle-class

0:20:500:20:55

districts, but it would be in the black working-class districts.

0:20:550:21:00

Inevitably, a young black man was far more likely to be stopped

0:21:000:21:04

and searched by the police than a young white man.

0:21:040:21:08

A lot of us were getting stopped by the police on this thing called Sus.

0:21:090:21:14

Sus, short for suspicion,

0:21:140:21:16

is an offence under an act passed 156 years ago,

0:21:160:21:20

which says that anybody loitering with intent to commit

0:21:200:21:23

an offence be deemed a rogue and a vagabond and can be convicted

0:21:230:21:27

on the evidence of one or more credible witnesses.

0:21:270:21:30

MUSIC: A Forest by The Cure

0:21:300:21:33

The Sus laws were scary laws.

0:21:330:21:36

Basically, they could just stop and search you for no reason at all,

0:21:360:21:39

and they were abused and it's a fact.

0:21:390:21:41

'Of the 3,000 or so cases tried each year, more than half are in London.

0:21:410:21:45

'Sus has become a symbol of the fraught relationship between

0:21:450:21:48

'young blacks and the police.'

0:21:480:21:50

On one occasion I was standing at a bus stop, panda car pulls up,

0:21:500:21:56

the blond-haired, blue-eyed cop wound down the window,

0:21:560:21:59

and he was going, "Come here, you effing N-word."

0:21:590:22:04

Couldn't believe what I was hearing.

0:22:040:22:06

So I naturally kept back.

0:22:060:22:09

I had done nothing, I'm standing waiting for a bus.

0:22:090:22:12

"Come here!" He gets out, grabs me, puts me in a headlock,

0:22:120:22:17

sticks me in the back of the car

0:22:170:22:19

and drives towards the local police station.

0:22:190:22:23

I used to get stopped all the time.

0:22:230:22:26

I would get stopped if I was walking down the road with a bag,

0:22:260:22:28

a holdall, after a certain time of night.

0:22:280:22:31

They would try to wind you up, to get a reaction,

0:22:310:22:34

and, you know, I'm not one of these anti-police people, I'm not about

0:22:340:22:39

that, it's a job, someone's got to do it, it's a very difficult job.

0:22:390:22:43

But in those days, they literally took the piss.

0:22:430:22:46

They really did, they took the piss out of us.

0:22:460:22:49

Don't you recognise that they have a job to do?

0:22:490:22:51

Yes, we know that, we know that.

0:22:510:22:53

If you break the law, we expect to be prosecuted and everything.

0:22:530:22:56

-But...

-How long can you suppress the feeling inside you?

0:22:560:22:59

How long can you suppress a feeling?

0:22:590:23:02

How long can you suppress a feeling, man? How long?

0:23:020:23:05

It got to a point where certain people

0:23:050:23:07

weren't accepting it any more.

0:23:070:23:09

'The looting came first -

0:23:100:23:12

'scores of shops were attacked and their stock stolen or destroyed.

0:23:120:23:16

'Cars were overturned and used to barricade the streets into

0:23:160:23:19

'an early no-go area.

0:23:190:23:21

'Part of Brixton was being drawn into battle lines.

0:23:210:23:25

'Then in late evening, the rioting entered a deadlier phase.

0:23:250:23:29

'The police scattered as the first petrol bombs were thrown.'

0:23:290:23:32

Come on, then!

0:23:320:23:34

# When justice is gone

0:23:340:23:37

# There's always force... #

0:23:370:23:40

During the era of the riots and the Sus laws, some of us took to

0:23:450:23:49

bricks and bottles, some of us just got on with our own lives.

0:23:490:23:54

The media painted us all with the same brush,

0:23:580:24:01

but we were all different strands of that brush.

0:24:010:24:04

Not everybody in South London and Brixton enjoyed West Indian food,

0:24:050:24:10

no, we didn't.

0:24:100:24:12

We were sick of chicken and rice and dumpling and all

0:24:120:24:14

the hard food and stuff, cos that's what we were raised on.

0:24:140:24:18

We aspired to the Wimpy bar.

0:24:180:24:21

We wanted to eat chips!

0:24:210:24:23

You know, I was born and raised in England,

0:24:230:24:27

I wanted to be like my mate at school.

0:24:270:24:29

I wanted to go fishing down on the River Lee, you know?

0:24:290:24:34

I wanted to play Subbuteo, you know?

0:24:340:24:38

I wanted to roller-skate.

0:24:380:24:39

I wanted to have those kind of experiences.

0:24:390:24:42

I played ice hockey, for Christ's sake!

0:24:420:24:45

-CRICKET COMMENTARY ON RADIO:

-'Up comes Roberts.

0:24:450:24:47

'That's well outside the off stump, and he's caught!

0:24:470:24:49

'Caught by Murray, down low in front of first slip.

0:24:490:24:52

'He didn't even wait for an appeal.

0:24:520:24:54

'Emburey turns round, England are all out for 150...'

0:24:540:24:57

Back in the day when I was growing up, I mean,

0:24:570:24:59

every time someone black came on the telly,

0:24:590:25:01

you literally ran outside -

0:25:010:25:03

"There's a black person on the telly!"

0:25:030:25:06

and everybody would go in and have a look.

0:25:060:25:09

'At start of play at the Oval, even the glorious sunshine seemed more

0:25:090:25:13

'Caribbean than British,

0:25:130:25:15

'but the West Indian fans were taking no risks.

0:25:150:25:17

'They wanted their heroes to feel right at home.'

0:25:170:25:21

All the way, all the way!

0:25:210:25:22

WHISTLES AND HORNS BLOWING

0:25:220:25:26

The West Indian cricket team

0:25:260:25:28

was a massive part of all of us growing up.

0:25:280:25:31

For people like my mum and dad,

0:25:310:25:34

they could walk around and be so proud of, and maybe not even

0:25:340:25:38

say anything other than, "Did you see the cricket?"

0:25:380:25:42

The West Indies were fortunate enough to have the best

0:25:420:25:44

fast bowlers in the world,

0:25:440:25:46

arguably some of the best batsmen in the world.

0:25:460:25:49

They were unbeatable.

0:25:490:25:51

It was beach cricket -

0:25:510:25:52

hitting the ball with a lot of flair, bowling bouncers

0:25:520:25:55

as fast as you can. It was all the extremities of cricket.

0:25:550:25:59

'West Indies have won by 172 runs,

0:25:590:26:02

'and for the first time in this country,

0:26:020:26:04

'England have lost the series 5-0.'

0:26:040:26:07

To lose every single Test at home was not a good look for England.

0:26:080:26:12

It was a low point of English cricket.

0:26:120:26:15

And that famous guy holding that banner up, I'll never forget,

0:26:150:26:17

with "black wash" on it, was a little embarrassing for everybody!

0:26:170:26:22

It was at freefall, it was amazing.

0:26:220:26:25

At the time, that was the one bit of sort of black pride that we

0:26:250:26:29

really, really witnessed.

0:26:290:26:31

'He bowls, Richards drives

0:26:310:26:33

'a beautiful off-drive through mid-off.

0:26:330:26:35

'So, Richards is now 4, and the West Indies 9-1.'

0:26:350:26:39

If you did well in that part of the world,

0:26:390:26:42

those folks, for a year or two,

0:26:420:26:43

they are going to have some bragging rights, you know?

0:26:430:26:46

And that's what it's all about,

0:26:460:26:48

there is something that...

0:26:480:26:51

that's, um, pretty proud about them

0:26:510:26:53

at that particular time,

0:26:530:26:55

and they are going to show it.

0:26:550:26:57

You guys were truly our heroes because you were coming from

0:26:570:27:00

our mother country. It was such a huge thing for us.

0:27:000:27:04

To be fair, I guess the supporters did a good job,

0:27:040:27:07

in terms of the vibrancy that we brought, the energy

0:27:070:27:10

that we brought, the passion, you know, believing,

0:27:100:27:13

the same way you get those folks who support their soccer teams

0:27:130:27:16

in England, that same sort of stuff, you know?

0:27:160:27:19

And through the '80s,

0:27:210:27:23

we did start to see a few more black British faces on TV.

0:27:230:27:27

# When I was young, I didn't like my face

0:27:320:27:34

# So they moved my nose to a different place... #

0:27:340:27:36

# I once was black

0:27:380:27:39

# But now I'm white

0:27:390:27:41

# Can't sing too loud

0:27:410:27:43

# Cos my mouth's too tight... #

0:27:430:27:45

'There were no black people with their own show, at all.'

0:27:450:27:49

I wanted to give my perspective of what it was like to be

0:27:500:27:53

a young person in Britain and a young person of colour in Britain.

0:27:530:27:56

# In my nursery

0:27:560:27:58

# When I'm at home... #

0:27:580:28:00

'Cos I felt it was important,

0:28:000:28:01

'and you never saw anybody else doing that.'

0:28:010:28:03

# In my Wendy house or my oxygen tent... #

0:28:030:28:07

When I got my show, I had a really long run, I just thought,

0:28:070:28:10

"My God, how come I'm still the only guy with my own TV series?

0:28:100:28:13

"There's got to be more than one black person doing this."

0:28:130:28:16

# I'm mad... #

0:28:160:28:18

But it did trigger a lot of things.

0:28:200:28:22

So I'm proud of that.

0:28:240:28:26

# I'm mad, I'm mad

0:28:280:28:30

# Got no slates on my roof... #

0:28:300:28:33

But while comedy moved on a bit in the '80s...

0:28:330:28:36

..there was one thing that just got worse.

0:28:380:28:40

Gissa job.

0:28:420:28:43

Go on, giss it. Go 'ead.

0:28:430:28:45

Tonight, 3,070,621 people are out of work.

0:28:450:28:49

The number of people without jobs has risen to the worst figure ever,

0:28:490:28:53

just short of 3.25 million.

0:28:530:28:55

And in Brixton, it's estimated that more than half the number of

0:28:550:28:59

young blacks are without work.

0:28:590:29:01

In the early '80s there was mass unemployment,

0:29:010:29:04

benefits were being cut, life was quite difficult for the young.

0:29:040:29:07

But you never felt that you were going to shine particularly,

0:29:070:29:11

you never felt you were going to go and stroll into

0:29:110:29:14

a fantastic job that would be better than the job your parents had.

0:29:140:29:17

# Money's too tight to mention

0:29:170:29:20

# I can't get an unemployment extension... #

0:29:200:29:24

The unemployment was difficult for everybody.

0:29:240:29:27

Being working-class and black,

0:29:270:29:30

it was...interesting.

0:29:300:29:33

Coming from a background of "life is what you make it",

0:29:330:29:37

I looked for opportunities that would work for me.

0:29:370:29:41

90% of the sound systems were all a hobby.

0:29:410:29:44

My idea was to be the biggest sound system in the world,

0:29:440:29:48

almost by any means necessary.

0:29:480:29:51

'Norman Tebbit is Mrs Thatcher's new Secretary of State for Employment.

0:29:520:29:56

'No minister in the Cabinet evokes stronger emotions

0:29:560:29:59

'than the former airline pilot with the abrasive tongue

0:29:590:30:02

'and the saturnine looks of a stage villain.'

0:30:020:30:06

I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father.

0:30:060:30:10

He didn't riot.

0:30:100:30:11

He got on his bike and looked for work,

0:30:110:30:13

and he kept looking till he found it.

0:30:130:30:15

APPLAUSE

0:30:150:30:17

When I became Secretary of State for Employment,

0:30:170:30:20

unemployment was soaring -

0:30:200:30:22

particularly amongst the very young people.

0:30:220:30:25

We conceived of the Enterprise Allowance,

0:30:250:30:28

which allowed people to continue to draw unemployment benefit -

0:30:280:30:32

about £40 a week - for a year

0:30:320:30:35

whilst they got stuck into building themselves into self-employment.

0:30:350:30:41

The enterprise allowance scheme was just another opportunity

0:30:410:30:44

that the government were handing out,

0:30:440:30:47

and we saw fit to take advantage of that.

0:30:470:30:50

I had this opportunity, a space had become available

0:30:540:30:57

in the biggest market in North London - Camden.

0:30:570:31:00

MUSIC: Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag by Pigbag

0:31:000:31:03

-And then you had a stall, selling stuff.

-Yeah.

0:31:080:31:10

Music, a bit of clothing - I'd never seen anything like that,

0:31:100:31:13

you know what I mean, to be honest.

0:31:130:31:15

I didn't think sound systems expanded that way,

0:31:150:31:17

and it was a bit new to me. I liked it.

0:31:170:31:19

That was all part and parcel, but everybody else did it part-time.

0:31:190:31:23

-Yeah.

-So I had to find a way of subsidising myself regularly,

0:31:230:31:27

and then I decided that the only way to really make this work

0:31:270:31:31

is to do it professionally.

0:31:310:31:33

Everybody was a wideboy in those days.

0:31:340:31:37

MUSIC: It Ain't What You by Bananarama

0:31:370:31:39

I'm knocking these out at three quid a bottle. Is that about right?

0:31:390:31:43

We sold everything from T-shirts to bric-a-brac

0:31:430:31:45

to whatever we could punt.

0:31:450:31:47

There weren't no other black sellers in Camden.

0:31:470:31:51

There was a lot of young people, and it was ten times more vibrant.

0:31:510:31:56

There was an energy about Camden.

0:31:560:31:58

# It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it

0:31:580:32:01

# And that's what gets results. #

0:32:010:32:03

Camden market was a hotbed of creativity.

0:32:030:32:07

It was one of the places where young designers set up

0:32:070:32:10

because, in the '80s, there was just a huge proliferation

0:32:100:32:14

of young design businesses

0:32:140:32:16

where they would sell from market stalls.

0:32:160:32:19

It was all about personal identity.

0:32:210:32:24

It was all about saying something about yourself,

0:32:240:32:27

and an attitude of innovations.

0:32:270:32:31

When I came here, it was the first time I really felt...

0:32:320:32:36

-That this is it.

-..a sort of United Nations - music bonded us,

0:32:360:32:39

and fashion bonded us, you know? And it opened my eyes a lot.

0:32:390:32:42

It didn't matter whether you were rich or poor,

0:32:420:32:44

which has always been cool about this area -

0:32:440:32:46

it's more about being innovative and creative,

0:32:460:32:48

so I felt that we just really fitted in here.

0:32:480:32:51

I loved it, mate, and that was the thing about it. I loved it.

0:32:510:32:53

MUSIC: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) By Eurythmics

0:32:530:32:56

# Sweet dreams are made of this

0:32:560:32:59

# Who am I to disagree?

0:32:590:33:03

# I travel the world and the seven seas

0:33:030:33:07

# Everybody's looking for something

0:33:070:33:11

# Some of them... #

0:33:110:33:12

I think that the '80s, it's the last decade where,

0:33:120:33:15

really, music and fashion were completely linked.

0:33:150:33:19

# Some of them want to abuse you... #

0:33:190:33:21

You had people like Bowie sort of changing image

0:33:210:33:25

so fast by then,

0:33:250:33:26

and you had figures like Annie Lennox looking like a boy,

0:33:260:33:30

Boy George looking like a girl,

0:33:300:33:32

who really stuck out in what was a very kind of grey, uniform time.

0:33:320:33:36

You had to walk down the street, and someone would be able to go,

0:33:380:33:40

"I know exactly what sort of music you like from the way you look."

0:33:400:33:44

There were still mods, there were still skinheads,

0:33:440:33:47

there were soul boys, there were New Romantics...

0:33:470:33:50

# Everybody's looking for something... #

0:33:500:33:53

..but hair was the key, hair was the key thing to your identity -

0:33:530:33:57

hair was massive.

0:33:570:33:58

New Romantics were, like, just hairspray everything, you know?

0:33:590:34:03

With black hair there weren't that many things you could do,

0:34:040:34:07

if you were a bloke.

0:34:070:34:08

A lot of black soul boys went through the James Brown look -

0:34:080:34:11

a sort of quiff.

0:34:110:34:12

The reggae boys were always natural or locks.

0:34:130:34:17

There was a Jheri curl era, as well. That was disgusting.

0:34:170:34:20

Everybody wanted to be noticed.

0:34:200:34:22

And, you know, Jazzie...

0:34:230:34:25

HE CLICKS

0:34:250:34:27

..set London alight.

0:34:270:34:28

The Funki Dred haircut was shaved round the side and our locks

0:34:310:34:35

was up at the top, and the reason why we have that style

0:34:350:34:39

was because my mum would not deal with a Rasta living in the house.

0:34:390:34:44

My mum was a Christian.

0:34:440:34:45

Being a Rasta in the black community was very scorned upon.

0:34:470:34:51

In order for me to keep my place in the house,

0:34:520:34:56

I couldn't show that I had locks, so I used to wear, like, a fez type hat

0:34:560:35:00

so that they couldn't see it.

0:35:000:35:02

Job done.

0:35:020:35:04

Looking at the Funki Dred,

0:35:050:35:06

it had elements of the Rastafarians

0:35:060:35:09

and it had elements of the smart, acceptable British chap

0:35:090:35:14

who is black.

0:35:140:35:16

And, looking at it now, it still has that kind of bang to it,

0:35:160:35:19

when you look at it now.

0:35:190:35:22

You used to tell me, I'm sure you used to tell me,

0:35:220:35:23

that some dreads would come up to you and give you a hard time.

0:35:230:35:26

-Like, proper dreads.

-Yeah.

0:35:260:35:28

A dread actually held me at knife-point

0:35:280:35:31

and had me in a headlock and said if I couldn't make up my mind

0:35:310:35:35

whether I was a dread or a ballhead, he'd do it for me.

0:35:350:35:38

And you know what, Trev?

0:35:390:35:41

From that day...

0:35:410:35:43

This is going to sound a bit weird, but from that day,

0:35:430:35:46

I knew I'd made a difference.

0:35:460:35:48

We all had a look, which was the Funki Dred.

0:35:480:35:53

People were taking pictures of us.

0:35:530:35:56

The name, or the brand of the sound, now, was now moving.

0:35:560:36:01

We were playing in places like Bristol, Leeds,

0:36:040:36:08

and we travelled as a set, like, as a posse, like, as a tribe,

0:36:080:36:13

and we all started to look the same,

0:36:130:36:16

and then people would see us as a tribe

0:36:160:36:18

and want to emulate us.

0:36:180:36:20

The fact that Soul II Soul had a look

0:36:220:36:24

and could create a whole identity for themselves

0:36:240:36:28

was incredibly important,

0:36:280:36:30

in the same way as when the Beatles brushed their hair forward,

0:36:300:36:34

it's created something that made people talk about it.

0:36:340:36:37

MUSIC: Black Water Gold by African Music Machine

0:36:370:36:40

I first met Jazzie when he ran a party in my flats,

0:36:460:36:50

and we just got introduced, you know?

0:36:500:36:53

And he frightened the life out of me.

0:36:530:36:56

I was introduced to him as a kid who could draw,

0:36:560:36:59

and they needed some T-shirts designed.

0:36:590:37:03

"We need something that we can put on T-shirts

0:37:030:37:06

"that we can sell at Carnival."

0:37:060:37:08

Because if you sell T-shirts at Carnival,

0:37:080:37:10

people put the T-shirts on -

0:37:100:37:11

you know, it was about establishing a visual presence.

0:37:110:37:15

MUSIC: Striving To Be Free by Radio Rebels

0:37:150:37:18

So, good evening, each and every one,

0:37:190:37:21

and once again welcome to the sound of DBC.

0:37:210:37:23

Dread Broadcasting Company, who were a reggae pirate radio station

0:37:250:37:28

at that time, had a T-shirt that was very much Bob Marley in profile,

0:37:280:37:34

spliff in the mouth, dread...

0:37:340:37:37

Jazzie showed me that and said,

0:37:370:37:39

"Look, we want that, but we want something that is maybe less...

0:37:390:37:44

"you know, culturally specific."

0:37:440:37:47

I went away and really just thought about the people

0:37:490:37:52

that were at the events that I'd been to already,

0:37:520:37:56

and the fact that Soul II Soul

0:37:560:37:57

had started to get a sort of trendy white audience,

0:37:570:38:00

which was a sort of short back and sides flat-top hairstyle,

0:38:000:38:05

steampunk little round glasses,

0:38:050:38:09

white T-shirt, MA-1 flying jacket, rolled up Levi 501s.

0:38:090:38:12

Then there was Jazzie and his friends,

0:38:120:38:15

with the short, picky dreadlocks on the top of their head,

0:38:150:38:19

goatee beard. There was these two looks going on at the same time,

0:38:190:38:23

existing in the same space, and I think, in a really naive way,

0:38:230:38:25

I just put them on top of one another.

0:38:250:38:27

This was such a strong image,

0:38:290:38:32

and it was an image that you hadn't seen before.

0:38:320:38:35

It was more than an image, it was an identity.

0:38:350:38:39

Before Soul II Soul, all the black British culture references,

0:38:390:38:42

the way people dressed, were totally American-dominated.

0:38:420:38:45

Soul II Soul created the first definably black British look ever.

0:38:450:38:50

It broke the black stereotype. "Blacks are just muggers.

0:38:510:38:55

"We've just got locks. We just smoke dope all day."

0:38:550:38:58

No, well, actually, we don't.

0:38:580:39:00

We're sculptors, we're artists, we're fashion designers,

0:39:010:39:05

we're music makers.

0:39:050:39:06

We're cultural icons. We're all of these things -

0:39:070:39:11

and Soul II Soul embodied that for us.

0:39:110:39:14

Having established that look, and putting it on a T-shirt,

0:39:160:39:21

you know, people just instantly recognised it.

0:39:210:39:24

On the day that we printed the T-shirt and took them to Carnival,

0:39:250:39:29

they sold out the same day.

0:39:290:39:32

And all of a sudden you started to see people around London wearing it.

0:39:320:39:36

People wanted to have these.

0:39:360:39:38

There was demand for it.

0:39:380:39:40

-There was people bootlegging the design to have it, you know?

-Mm.

0:39:400:39:44

And to profit from it, as well.

0:39:440:39:46

MUSIC: Opportunities by Pet Shop Boys

0:39:470:39:50

# I've got the brains, you've got the looks... #

0:39:520:39:56

In the mid-'80s, Thatcher deregulating the city

0:39:560:40:00

and employment laws led to a real boom time.

0:40:000:40:05

# Let's make lots of

0:40:050:40:08

# Oh, there's a lot of opportunities

0:40:080:40:13

# If you know when to take them... #

0:40:130:40:15

You'd do gigs and there'd be a lot of geezers smoking cigars,

0:40:150:40:19

giving it the big I am in Savile Row suits with...

0:40:190:40:22

there were a lot of red braces around, and a lot of money talk.

0:40:220:40:26

10,000 new businesses are starting every month.

0:40:260:40:31

From them all comes so much of the new and lasting employment

0:40:310:40:35

of the future.

0:40:350:40:36

Some may even suggest that it helped to legitimise

0:40:360:40:39

exactly what we were doing,

0:40:390:40:41

cos we were living in the time when it was like...

0:40:410:40:45

you were getting more support to be an individual,

0:40:450:40:49

to become an entrepreneur.

0:40:490:40:51

Camden was being developed at that point,

0:40:540:40:57

and there were big buildings

0:40:570:40:59

that was sort of in between being developed.

0:40:590:41:02

Soul II Soul got a really amazing premises

0:41:020:41:04

where they could keep their sound and they could have offices.

0:41:040:41:08

And it also had a shop front,

0:41:080:41:09

and I remember getting a call from Jazzie saying,

0:41:090:41:12

"Can you paint your logo on glass?"

0:41:120:41:15

So, Trev, let me refresh your memory.

0:41:180:41:21

Wowsers.

0:41:210:41:23

We had the face on the shop, painted on the front of the shop.

0:41:230:41:27

That was the entrance, and that was the first shop.

0:41:270:41:30

It just looked like it had landed from another planet.

0:41:300:41:32

-There was no black...

-No.

-No shop projecting that sort of blackness.

0:41:320:41:37

What a lot of people don't realise

0:41:370:41:39

was that was the heart of Soul II Soul.

0:41:390:41:42

MUSIC: Cross The Track by Maceo And The Macks

0:41:420:41:45

Looking back, they were kind of a Thatcherist creation,

0:41:480:41:52

but they did it without any compromise.

0:41:520:41:54

They did it by being themselves.

0:41:540:41:56

Soul II Soul were a collective in the face of rampant individualism.

0:41:570:42:02

There was a place for everybody,

0:42:030:42:05

from the manager to the person sort of serving people,

0:42:050:42:08

to people sort of sourcing the records and bringing stuff in.

0:42:080:42:12

It was unusual, but it was what we wanted to do.

0:42:140:42:19

We are capable of setting up, managing,

0:42:190:42:22

running our own businesses.

0:42:220:42:24

And you went there for your one-stop cultural shop.

0:42:280:42:32

Listen to a tune there, pick up a flyer,

0:42:320:42:34

go through and buy a shirt to go out in that night,

0:42:340:42:36

then get your hair cut.

0:42:360:42:38

It was all you needed.

0:42:380:42:40

When you look back now, Soul II Soul where an all-round brand -

0:42:400:42:45

but they were a brand before the word was invented,

0:42:450:42:48

an absolute textbook example of brand creation,

0:42:480:42:53

brand identity and brand marketing.

0:42:530:42:56

# You know the rules and so do I... #

0:42:570:43:00

Putting the pop back into pop

0:43:000:43:03

is what Stock, Aitken and Waterman believe they've achieved in 1987.

0:43:030:43:07

Their hit machine in South London

0:43:070:43:09

has taken Rick Astley, Bananarama, Mel & Kim, Sinitta and Samantha Fox

0:43:090:43:14

to the top ten in the last 12 months.

0:43:140:43:17

# Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down

0:43:170:43:21

# Never gonna run around and desert you... #

0:43:210:43:25

Most of the music on commercial radio in the '80s

0:43:250:43:27

was just one unending track of dross, as far as I was concerned.

0:43:270:43:33

Good afternoon, how are you?

0:43:330:43:35

This is Steve Wright inside your radio set.

0:43:350:43:38

You switched on the radio, you switched on the TV,

0:43:380:43:42

and you saw Stock, Aitken and Waterman manufactured pop music.

0:43:420:43:47

I looked at that and thought, "This has nothing to do with me.

0:43:470:43:50

"None of this stuff has anything to do with me."

0:43:500:43:52

# And you'll never stop me from loving you... #

0:43:520:43:57

We never paid any attention to the charts.

0:43:570:44:00

It wasn't our bag.

0:44:000:44:02

What we were listening to, we didn't want in the charts.

0:44:020:44:06

And the other thing was, during the '80s,

0:44:100:44:13

I personally experienced a lot of racism at mainstream clubs,

0:44:130:44:18

just getting inside of them.

0:44:180:44:20

It's very easy to forget now that clubs in the West End

0:44:230:44:27

were difficult to get into.

0:44:270:44:29

You had to really, really look the part,

0:44:290:44:32

and if you were black, on the whole you didn't look the part,

0:44:320:44:35

no matter how great you were dressed.

0:44:350:44:37

To test these disturbing allegations,

0:44:370:44:39

we followed two groups of white and black club-goers

0:44:390:44:43

on a typical Saturday night out.

0:44:430:44:45

At a club called Ugly's we were told no membership was required,

0:44:450:44:50

but when the blacks tried to follow the white club-goers in,

0:44:500:44:54

they were turned away.

0:44:540:44:56

"You can come in, but your friend can't, I'm afraid.

0:44:570:45:00

"He's got the wrong shoes on," or, "He's got the wrong shirt on" -

0:45:000:45:02

there's some reason that is nothing to do with his colour,

0:45:020:45:05

but everybody knows that it's to do with his colour.

0:45:050:45:08

So, what sprang up were warehouse parties

0:45:090:45:12

where people would take over a derelict building,

0:45:120:45:15

often sound systems involved,

0:45:150:45:17

because they had the great big speakers.

0:45:170:45:20

They had to be unconventional venues.

0:45:200:45:22

That was part and parcel of the rave.

0:45:220:45:24

MUSIC: Everybody Loves The Sunshine by Roy Ayers

0:45:240:45:27

You found out by hanging out in Soho, getting a flyer.

0:45:290:45:33

You'd go to this address - you'd be in a derelict area,

0:45:330:45:37

there'd be one light with maybe a doorman

0:45:370:45:39

and a few people clustered outside and you'd be like, "That's the one!"

0:45:390:45:41

Run down the road, get in, and you could dance until dawn.

0:45:410:45:46

# Everybody loves the sunshine... #

0:45:480:45:50

One of the biggest events we did

0:45:500:45:52

was in some railway arches underneath St Pancras station.

0:45:520:45:56

They were absolutely vast.

0:45:560:45:58

# Everybody loves the sunshine

0:46:010:46:03

# Sunshine... #

0:46:070:46:09

Just trying to actually work out the location.

0:46:090:46:11

I think it would've been somewhere around here.

0:46:110:46:14

MUSIC: I Believe In Miracles by the Jackson Sisters

0:46:140:46:16

The arches would have stretched from one side of the station

0:46:160:46:20

right the way through to the other.

0:46:200:46:21

We had ice cream vans in there, there were vehicles in there,

0:46:240:46:28

we had, like, a moving bar...

0:46:280:46:31

# I believe in miracles, baby

0:46:320:46:37

# I believe in you... #

0:46:370:46:39

Imagine a H, and the two arches of the tunnel going through

0:46:390:46:43

the two things, and you had Soul II Soul sound system in one

0:46:430:46:47

and you had Family Functions in the other, and the queue of people,

0:46:470:46:52

all the way down the street, right the way to the main room.

0:46:520:46:56

Looking at the size of the place, you know,

0:46:580:47:01

we must have had at least 5,000 people partying

0:47:010:47:04

for, like, 12, 13 hours here.

0:47:040:47:07

The records we were playing just had a certain vibe.

0:47:080:47:11

# Yeah, yeah... #

0:47:110:47:16

It was soul...

0:47:160:47:17

# Yeah, yeah... #

0:47:170:47:20

..mixed up with the old school hip-hop of the time.

0:47:200:47:23

# Oh, la, oh, la, eh

0:47:230:47:26

# Oh, la, oh, la, eh

0:47:260:47:28

# Rollin' rollin' rollin'... #

0:47:280:47:30

What I'd do is I'd go out to the US, I'd find obscure records

0:47:300:47:34

that were kind of previously undiscovered,

0:47:340:47:36

or had just not done very well in the year that they were put out,

0:47:360:47:40

which was frequently in the kind of early '80s, the late '70s,

0:47:400:47:43

but, in the context of big sound systems

0:47:430:47:45

and the events we were putting on,

0:47:450:47:47

suddenly they had a new lease of life.

0:47:470:47:49

# Oh, la, oh, la, eh... #

0:47:490:47:51

It had to be obscure

0:47:510:47:53

so that we weren't just doing what those commercial clubs

0:47:530:47:55

were doing down the road,

0:47:550:47:57

but it had to have that big, fat bang

0:47:570:47:58

that worked on the sound system.

0:47:580:48:00

# Feelin' funky now, now, now, now, now... #

0:48:000:48:02

This would have been an illegal party.

0:48:020:48:06

A very illegal party. How did we get in there?

0:48:060:48:09

Not sure I can share that information with you.

0:48:100:48:13

Basically, the way we got the keys is something, as a solicitor,

0:48:130:48:16

I can't talk about, unfortunately, sorry.

0:48:160:48:18

LAUGHTER

0:48:180:48:19

There's too much illegality that... Yeah.

0:48:190:48:22

During the time of those parties,

0:48:220:48:23

we would have had Judge Jules on the door because he was studying law.

0:48:230:48:27

I'd kind of say,

0:48:270:48:28

"This is a party for me and my law student friends, officer."

0:48:280:48:31

That's how got the name, Judge Jules.

0:48:310:48:34

We used squatters legislation to be in buildings,

0:48:340:48:38

and the police were more than happy for me to demonstrate it

0:48:380:48:41

as being a more middle-class thing than it actually was.

0:48:410:48:44

Nice one, Jules.

0:48:440:48:45

So, what you had was kids who'd been following

0:48:480:48:51

these mainly black sound systems like Soul II Soul

0:48:510:48:53

mixing suddenly with all the West End kids

0:48:530:48:56

who wanted to dance all night

0:48:560:48:58

and the suburban kids who'd never gone into the West End

0:48:580:49:00

because they didn't think they were cool enough to get in,

0:49:000:49:03

but suddenly there was this great mishmash of different cultures.

0:49:030:49:06

A whole host of young black kids, a whole host of young white kids,

0:49:060:49:11

and it wouldn't have been in anybody's psyche

0:49:110:49:13

to put that together at that time, so the timing was really important.

0:49:130:49:17

The timing was very important.

0:49:170:49:19

After the big fall,

0:49:210:49:22

a confusing, sometimes chaotic day on the stock markets.

0:49:220:49:26

In London, another slump in share prices was followed by a rally,

0:49:260:49:30

then another slide.

0:49:300:49:32

I think there was this sense

0:49:320:49:34

that this boom was going to carry on forever...

0:49:340:49:36

..but by the end of 1987 the cracks were starting to show

0:49:370:49:41

with the big first dip in the stock market,

0:49:410:49:43

and it was clear that deregulation had had a cost.

0:49:430:49:46

The morning after the crash was a grey one across the city,

0:49:470:49:50

and, all morning, dealers' worst fears were realised.

0:49:500:49:54

They arrived shellshocked by the carnage of yesterday,

0:49:540:49:56

and the Wall Street collapse that followed it.

0:49:560:49:58

I think one of the things that happened towards the end of the '80s

0:50:000:50:02

was people wanted escapism,

0:50:020:50:04

and people really started to party on a grand scale.

0:50:040:50:07

New secret acid clubs are springing up in Britain's major cities,

0:50:070:50:11

and here, in the dirty, smoke-filled buildings,

0:50:110:50:14

the kids have their acid nights.

0:50:140:50:16

The whole scene that had started with the warehouse parties,

0:50:160:50:19

with Rare Groove and with people like Soul II Soul,

0:50:190:50:22

sort of exploded into this huge movement by the end of the '80s,

0:50:220:50:26

which became acid house.

0:50:260:50:28

Drugs are being sold quite openly.

0:50:280:50:31

Ecstasy was taken in full view of everyone.

0:50:310:50:34

# Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode

0:50:340:50:37

# He's Ebeneezer Goode

0:50:370:50:39

# Eezer Goode... #

0:50:390:50:40

As acid house went mainstream in middle England,

0:50:400:50:43

we set up in Central London in a space that we could call our own.

0:50:430:50:48

Africa Centre was very important

0:50:490:50:51

because it came at the height of the rave scene.

0:50:510:50:55

We decided on a Sunday night

0:50:560:50:58

because we were sick of all the pillheads and stuff like that.

0:50:580:51:01

We didn't want anything to do with that.

0:51:010:51:04

We were into our music, our style and our fashion.

0:51:040:51:07

We were into our way of life,

0:51:070:51:09

and we didn't want to get caught up with those clowns.

0:51:090:51:12

So we wanted to do something that was very unique.

0:51:120:51:15

The Africa Centre was an old Georgian building

0:51:170:51:20

just off the piazza in Covent Garden.

0:51:200:51:23

I hardly ever missed a Sunday at Africa Centre.

0:51:250:51:28

It was almost like a... even though I'm not religious,

0:51:280:51:31

like a Sunday night church.

0:51:310:51:32

It was like church. It was a very broad church.

0:51:320:51:35

It knew no race, it knew no creed.

0:51:360:51:38

You could be as weird and wonderful as you liked.

0:51:380:51:41

And it was always interesting people,

0:51:420:51:44

it was always, always a mix of people.

0:51:440:51:47

You had tribes of people - they were black, they were white,

0:51:490:51:52

gay, straight, loads of Greeks, lots of Asians -

0:51:520:51:54

people were joining together.

0:51:540:51:56

It was a total, you know, social network,

0:51:580:52:01

because this was all people from different walks of life

0:52:010:52:05

in one space, and no-one standing on anyone's toes.

0:52:050:52:09

It's almost like this guy seemed to keep finding the perfect place

0:52:110:52:15

that suited the brand of Soul II Soul.

0:52:150:52:17

If you don't know anything about Soul II Soul

0:52:170:52:19

and you're looking at the image,

0:52:190:52:21

and then you're wondering, "Where do they DJ?

0:52:210:52:23

"A place called Africa Centre - look how they look."

0:52:230:52:25

It's just too much!

0:52:250:52:26

MUSIC: New Life by Depeche Mode

0:52:260:52:29

Perhaps the most familiar basic computer is Sinclair's ZX Spectrum.

0:52:290:52:34

This one sells for about £180.

0:52:340:52:37

At the other end of the price scale, you could treat yourself

0:52:370:52:40

to an Apple Macintosh,

0:52:400:52:41

with a massive one megabyte of computer memory.

0:52:410:52:45

The other big thing you've got to remember about the '80s

0:52:460:52:49

is the revolution of technology.

0:52:490:52:51

In case you've never seen one of these before, this is a videotape.

0:52:530:52:57

# Complicating, circulating

0:52:570:52:59

# New life, new life... #

0:52:590:53:02

We suddenly had personal computers and computer games.

0:53:020:53:06

Youngsters all over Britain

0:53:060:53:08

are busily programming their fantasies turning them into cash.

0:53:080:53:12

We got our hands on CDs and mobile phones...

0:53:120:53:16

I'm in the centre of London at the moment.

0:53:160:53:18

Yes, I am on my Vodafone.

0:53:180:53:20

..and technology in the '80s allowed us to make music.

0:53:200:53:24

You can put into it an amount of sound of any source.

0:53:240:53:28

HE PLAYS SAMPLED NOTES

0:53:280:53:30

I remember clearly being round Jazzie's office,

0:53:330:53:36

and Jazzie made this declaration, "I'm going to make music."

0:53:360:53:39

"You make music?

0:53:410:53:43

"I've never seen you play guitar."

0:53:430:53:45

# Mm-hm! #

0:53:450:53:46

I've never heard Jazzie sing!

0:53:460:53:48

What's he talking about?

0:53:480:53:50

# Wouldn't that be fair?

0:53:500:53:52

# Wouldn't that be fair? #

0:53:550:53:56

Fairplay is the groundbreaker.

0:53:560:53:59

Fairplay is the game changer.

0:53:590:54:02

You're a sound system man, aren't you?

0:54:020:54:05

No-one had done it before,

0:54:050:54:07

unless they were straight-up musician.

0:54:070:54:09

# Baby, baby

0:54:090:54:11

# Baby, baby... #

0:54:150:54:17

So, Fairplay came out. It was a great sound system tune,

0:54:170:54:22

and we played it to death. Everyone played it.

0:54:220:54:24

# Soul II Soul is the place where you should be

0:54:240:54:28

# On Sunday nights with Aitch and Q and Jazzie B

0:54:280:54:34

# Cos it's all about expression

0:54:340:54:36

# Cos it's all about expression... #

0:54:380:54:41

They had a fantastic forum in which to do it.

0:54:410:54:45

Africa Centre, every Sunday night,

0:54:450:54:47

you could road test your rudimentary demos to ready-made audience...

0:54:470:54:53

# Cos it's all about expression... #

0:54:530:54:55

..and then go back and tweak and re-tweak

0:54:550:54:58

until the sound was perfected, honed and ready.

0:54:580:55:03

# Baby, I think you should come down

0:55:030:55:10

# And try to express yourself... #

0:55:100:55:13

It was great but it was never, ever going to be a top ten record.

0:55:130:55:18

It was too clubby, it was too "us".

0:55:180:55:20

# Want you to be fair... #

0:55:200:55:22

Fast forward a year or so,

0:55:220:55:25

and he played me something that blew my mind.

0:55:250:55:28

It is when the rest of England's working-class kids

0:55:300:55:33

discovered partying, with a few chemical assistants.

0:55:330:55:36

The other music of the day was house music.

0:55:390:55:42

Everything was kind of bang, bang, bang.

0:55:420:55:44

It stopped everything that was going house...

0:55:440:55:47

SHE MIMICS SCREECHING BRAKES

0:55:470:55:49

..you know what I mean? To being...

0:55:490:55:51

"Whoa, this slow shit's really good.

0:55:510:55:53

"I'm feeling it."

0:55:530:55:55

So, we have a brand-new number one.

0:55:550:55:57

There is no stopping this band.

0:55:570:55:58

Their album, Soul Classics Volume One,

0:55:580:56:00

is number four in the album chart.

0:56:000:56:01

And congratulations all round -

0:56:010:56:03

Soul II Soul and Caron Wheeler, number one with Back To Life.

0:56:030:56:06

CROWD CHEERS

0:56:060:56:07

# Back to life, back to reality... #

0:56:070:56:09

There was a moment when everything that we'd been trying to achieve

0:56:090:56:12

in the early '80s crystallised.

0:56:120:56:15

# Back to life... #

0:56:150:56:18

Where British funk found its unique voice.

0:56:180:56:22

It was the first time the whole sound system ethos

0:56:240:56:27

had gone into the mainstream.

0:56:270:56:29

# Tell me maybe I could be there for you... #

0:56:290:56:34

The pop industry loved it, but it still had kind of its own identity.

0:56:340:56:38

# However do you need me... #

0:56:380:56:40

It didn't seem to have a sell-out vibe.

0:56:400:56:43

# However do you need me... #

0:56:430:56:45

They were musically influential,

0:56:450:56:47

and I honestly think they were socially influential.

0:56:470:56:50

# However do you want me

0:56:500:56:52

# However do you need me... #

0:56:520:56:54

It was the start of multicultural Britain,

0:56:540:56:56

and I think Soul II Soul were the poster boys and girls

0:56:560:57:00

of multicultural Britain in that way.

0:57:000:57:02

# Back to life, back to the present time... #

0:57:030:57:07

It was a real sense that something was happening, there was a movement.

0:57:070:57:11

Watching that video of Back To Life on Top Of The Pops,

0:57:130:57:17

when I was so delighted that I kind of rang people.

0:57:170:57:19

"Have you watched Top Of The Pops?

0:57:190:57:20

"You've got to watch Top Of The Pops now!"

0:57:200:57:22

-# Yeah

-However do you want me

0:57:220:57:26

# However do you need me... #

0:57:260:57:27

I felt like young black Britons had taken their place

0:57:270:57:31

in British society, and they were saying, "Here we are.

0:57:310:57:34

"This is club culture, this is what we look like -

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"and look, it's diverse. Look, it's inclusive.

0:57:360:57:39

"We're all here, and we're all dancing to tunes like this."

0:57:390:57:42

And it said to us, "Oh, yeah, we're this now.

0:57:440:57:47

"We belong here." And it worked.

0:57:470:57:50

# However do you need me... #

0:57:500:57:52

Those changes that happened in the '80s

0:57:520:57:54

were so important for Soul II Soul, and are so important

0:57:540:57:58

for me and my generation, opening up the doors of the '90s

0:57:580:58:02

and letting us realise that there's a whole world that exists out there.

0:58:020:58:09

That's how important the '80s was for me.

0:58:090:58:12

# Need a change, a positive change

0:58:120:58:16

# Look, look it's me writing on the wall

0:58:160:58:19

-# However do you want me, yes

-However do you want me

0:58:190:58:24

# However do you need me

0:58:240:58:27

# However do you want me

0:58:270:58:30

# However do you need me

0:58:300:58:32

# However do you want me

0:58:320:58:35

# However do you need me

0:58:350:58:37

# However do you want me

0:58:370:58:39

# However do you need me

0:58:390:58:41

# Tell me how do you want me to be? #

0:58:410:58:45

The Soul II Soul frontman tells his Back to Life tale of the decade, an against-the-odds story of a young black British musician and entrepreneur in a time of mass unemployment and radical social change.

The decade saw him progress from a teen targeted by the law, with his own reggae sound system he took round London on a bus, to international superstar, as Soul II Soul topped the charts in the UK and in America, with a fashion line that sold from Camden Town to the world.

In the decade defined by image, Jazzie created his own unique style, the Funki Dred, the first black British street style, and a Soul II Soul fashion brand 'before we knew what branding was'. He achieved this with the aid of the Tories' Enterprise Allowance Scheme, whilst running his business and sound system as a collective at a time of rampant individualism. They helped forge a British multicultural identity as a generation of Thatcher's unwanted kids turned their music and art, through warehouse parties and pirate radio, into a positive statement of unity and style. Their album Club Classics Vol One and singles topped the charts worldwide by the end of the decade.

With Lenny Henry, Ian Wright, Viv Richards, Tony Hadley, Lord Tebbit, DJs Trevor Nelson, Judge Jules and Norman Jay, Caron Wheeler (singer, Soul II Soul), Caryn Franklin (founder, i-D Magazine) and Sheryl Garratt (editor, The Face).


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