Don't Techno for an Answer


Northern funk and soul originated in the late 60s early 70s when a new generation of young men and women from the north of England went out in search of lost gems of rapid, danceable music to party away a Saturday night. Mods from the north would rally into record shops, requesting ‘old-fashioned’ fast tempo soul records, taking them back up north to put on nights at infamous venues, such as the Wigan Casino and Manchester’s Twisted Wheel. Having spread across the whole of the north of England, York has become one of many cities to welcome Northern Soul back into its regular Saturday night.

It became a place where all ages, genders and races were embraced to come together into the clubs of these towns to dance the night away with the elegant footwork and inch-perfect spins typical of the northern soul style – no dad dancing allowed. Northern Soul went against all others and set itself apart as a subculture. While hip hop and funk arose as a result of the youth feeling disenfranchised with all else that had gone on before, Northern Soul came about with its appeal of misty-eyed nostalgia as the “good old times”. It became a true “don´t make ´em like the used to” outlook. Regarding Northern Soul, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

What ever happened to cheap booze and free live music? What happened to dancing like nobody's watching and letting? Without music, I think we can all agree, student life wouldn’t quite be the same. From a weekend boogie, to an album on repeat to help get those deadlines in. Music is a way to switch off and let go. York is notorious for its pub culture. Its 4 am chips and gravy belting out Sweet Caroline down Coney Street. Why not bring back the “good old times” and seek out the hidden Northern Soul gems around York and see first-hand what it's all about.

York is a hub for vinyl records and classics yet to be discovered within the Shambles and charity shops. Bars and basements are bringing northern soul back and reinforcing its rich history within the City of York. In the immortal words of George Clinton and the band Parliament, ''We need the funk. Gotta have that funk''.

Swap the trebles and the, “omg this is such a tune” tunes from the depths of salvos bottom floor, for a Northern Soul all-nighter in some of the most niche bars around York.

Let’s start “making em ́ like they used to”.


Rhiannon Holt

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