Black music on Merseyside
January 24, 2011 5:36 PM   Subscribe

The oldest black and Chinese communities in the UK are located in Liverpool. The area where those communities settled, Liverpool 8, played host to scores of small, black-owned nightclubs. L8: A Timepiece takes a look at the significance of those clubs to that community and the bands that worked those clubs. Last year, Tate Liverpool hosted From Freetown to Motown, an erudite discussion of the history of Liverpool's black music scene between legendary electro-funk DJ Greg Wilson (previously), and one of the legendary DJs to come out of the L8 club scene, Les Spaine
posted by PeterMcDermott (9 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Not just black and Chinese but also Black/Chinese. L8 is a truly extraordinary place. I only lived there for six months but it was mindboggling.
posted by unSane at 5:43 PM on January 24, 2011

Oh that looks interesting ta very much. I recently came across a blog with more Liverpool black music but from a few years later that might be worth looking at.
posted by djstig at 5:43 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I lived in L8 for many years, unSane. Whereabouts did you live? (Lark Lane doesn't count!) I was everywhere from Falkner Street to Ullet Road to Mill Street. I don't know that I'd go back there, but from the early 70's to the early 80's clubs like the Somali, the Nigerian, the Yoruba, the Ibo, the Embassy and Dutch Eddie's were my old stamping grounds.

I was also a regular at both of Les Spaine's venues, The Pun and The Timepiece, so these movies were very much a blast from my past.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:10 PM on January 24, 2011

Heh, no very much NOT lark lane although I had lunch there a few times in whatever that hippy cafe was there. We were on Gwendoline Street. I was making a pair of films about mental illness. We started out in the Adelphi but couldn't take it any longer so rented a place in L8. Our neighbours were TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME, just the nicest people I'd ever met, and not a penny to rub together between them. I remember throwing a party and everyone from the street turned up with a gift, most of which had been stolen from the docks. It was a truly wonderful evening. The downside was that anything you didn't tie down was stolen immediately, and the young kids would shoot you with ball bearings from their catapults. for fun. Also, the poverty was indescribable.

I have incredibly fond memories of Liverpool -- not just L8. In some ways the toughest place on earth, in other ways, the easiest place to fit in, whoever you were.
posted by unSane at 8:00 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

(the gifts included a black garbage bag full of instant coffee)
posted by unSane at 8:01 PM on January 24, 2011

Very nice post, thanks very much!
posted by MrMerlot at 2:49 AM on January 25, 2011

Thanks for this Peter. I'm living in L8 myself at the moment, and will definitely be devouring these links to get a bit of history. It's still a bit rough around the edges, but the place has clearly come a long way.
posted by Acey at 5:08 AM on January 25, 2011

I'm from Liverpool (L13, since migrated to South London) and was just having a chat with my dad about cultural communities in the city last weekend when I was visiting. Will have to send him these links. Thanks!
posted by corvine at 5:44 AM on January 25, 2011

Great post. I'm always interested in when people started referring to the whole of L8 as Toxteth. My perception is that it was after the term was used in national coverage of the riots and that prior to that "Toxteth" referred just to the area around Granby Street. Following the increased notoriety attached to the name its use spread to areas of l8 (like park road or "the Georgian quarter") that would never previosly have been called that.

Any thoughts on this or any interest in an L8 meetup? Peter kavanaughs?
posted by jimbaud at 8:03 AM on January 25, 2011

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