Growing up in the ‘70s I didn’t actually know any who ended their life – it was only strange faraway people who yer mam vaguely knew.
Fast forward 45 years and there’s a biblical plague forstered upon us.
I often read the ‘post this to show someone’s listening’ posts and feel that, while they are wholly worthy that they are a cry in the dark from those of us who are blighted and unable to respond to forces beyond our control.
My own view is that this plague has roots in things that we can help to heal if not cure.
The plague is overwhelmingly male, though not exclusively.
In my view it comes from alienation, pressure to conform and disassociation from modern life.
Some of it comes from the fact that we have stolen the futures of our young – where is the social housing? Why are they bankrupt on leaving University? Why are there no lifelong apprenticeships? Why has the state seemingly/abandoned this generation while it panders to the old with ideas like Brexit?
Some of it also comes from the portrayal of totally unreal ‘perfect’ lives and the pressure to conform to them on social media ? Irony alert, you say?
Some of it also comes from the alienation people feel. As we become more digitally ‘connected’ we are more socially separated in reality.
I don’t have answers here, only questions – we need to change but people keep voting for a continuance of the same thing – manipulated by the old media influences.
Maybe the ultimate irony is that they will die and we’ll all be saved by the new.
Opening in late 1989, Tin Pan was the first club in Glasgow to play the new sounds coming from Belgium and Detroit at the time. Split across three floors, the club was hidden away on Mitchell Lane and was Year Zero for techno in Glasgow. It launched the careers of Slam and established classic nights like UFO and The Orb. Negotiating all those stairs was a bit of a whitey though.
I was taken there by a good friend Frank Paterson in the late eighties I was an out-of-towner.
This was the first time I’d mainly heard beats only in a Club for the majority of the night. This wasn’t rave or house as such, more like electronic beats. This was also before any ecstasy scene had kicked off. It would be a Football Terrace clubbing crossover. A three floor dance club with a connecting staircase, you’d always meet a good section of clubbers
The crowd were cool, Glasgow always had the unique style of matching up between casual or tailored threads and of course a few permanent sun-tans. This was a place where you just wanted to dance, no chemicals apart from a Red Stripe or maybe a shlitz.
It was here I first heard dance tracks like White Horse – Laid Back, although the track was old I’d never heard it before especially in a club. Also Electrical Salsa by Off.
I was also introduced to some good pubs in the City which seemed to be the crowd that would later be at Tin Pan. Carnegie’s was a great little joint and again a good crowd, always on a good vibe. It was here I noticed remixes of Ten City also Joey Negro – Promised Land.
Tin Pan was a club that was hidden away in Mitchell Lane. Theres not many tributes or photos that justify it’s excistence, but it was certainly a catalyst to a lot of major clubs and DJ’s that came about in the 90s.
Holywell Street would like to pay tribute to Glasgow and it’s Night Clubs and of course Frank the legend.
Holywell Street would like to welcome Ste Carter in again for another contribution to the blog.
By Ste Carter 26th October 2019
Following on from the last article, ‘There is more that unites us than divides us’ I can only echo, in some small way, the thoughts and feelings expressed there by expanding slightly on some of the themes.
It’s really tough to love modern professional football. It’s tough to love your club, even when that’s all you know, and that’s all that you can do. But it’s really tough to love a club in the English Premiership League. This is a league that has aped so perfectly the global capitalised model of neo-liberalism that I totally despise. As an Evertonian growing up in the sixties, it was oh, so, different. I still remember (with fondness) our beloved winger, and working class legend, Johnny Morrissey, getting pinched for storing stolen ciggies, in what was an absolute world away from the multi-millionaire mercenaries that dominate my club today, and who live in constructed bubbles that see them with almost no social or emotional connection to the club they ‘play’ for. Now I know this blog is read by a mainly Celtic support so I’ll (by way of ingratiating myself) mention the great Lisbon Lions. No matter what side you see out on the park these days, it can’t, and never will, hold the place in the pantheon of greatness, that the 11 local lads who buried themselves for the shirt, immortalised themselves in the club’s history, and who lived the very dreams of the working class people who loved them, merit. These were your people and they did for you something that we all know can’t happen today.
So what’s my point?
As an Evertonian, I utterly despise Liverpool FC. Yet as a proud working class socialist there’s has never been a second when I have not been 100% behind the #jft96 campaign. Why? Because this is what unites us, not divides us. Hillsborough was nothing but an unprincipled establishment attack by Thatcherism, with its disgraceful attempt to cover up working class deaths at the hands of state sponsored tools, and as such, is much, much bigger, than any petty football rivalries. That’s why I applaud all attempts by fans united in their desires to reduce ticket prices; untied in their desires to promote community work to include young people in the future of our clubs; united in cross partisan attempts to stand up against all forms of terrace fascism- all of these actions are also valid attempts try to cling on to the working class coattails of our wonderful game, which is increasingly distant from its roots, which are our roots. My final point is work with working class Hibbies; work with working class Dons; work even with working class fans of clubs you despise if their motives are class based and always anti–fascist. As we’ve already been told correctly, there’s more unites us than divides us, and if we the working class fans are to have a future with and for our clubs, it’s now more important than ever.
The grudge was regional, Bradley was Hibs, we were Celtic; he was younger but you couldn’t help but look up to him. Celtic played Hibs six times during the 1985/86 season, four in the league and once each in the cups, which probably built up this feud between two mobs in the football casual era during the eighties.
I remember at the start of that season thinking a smaller club such as Hibs can’t be up to much on the streets. This was a big mistake. Looking back now you have to say they were Scotland’s best firm; a very organised unit who had a baby crew the same. Brad stood out from the rest and although aged only around 14 he was knocking lads out who were five years older than him. I was on the receiving end a few times myself, most notably during the League Cup match at Easter Road. He was nightmare!
I recall a famous Celtic lad trying to deck him which backfired spectacularly. The police grabbed us and told us to ‘pick on someone your own size’ while my mate stood with a broken nose. You could see Bradley was a trained boxer and he had these eyes you could never forget. He would stand on the other side of the terrace from us like a golden eagle sizing up his prey. While lads were shouting in conflict over the fence, Brad would just watch, scanning the away end. He’d be wearing the most expensive and sometimes unique clothing and had a habit of analysing what anyone else wore. Bradley would become one of Hibs’ main faces when the CCS and BBC amalgamated into one.
By around 1989/1990 a lot of us, Brad included, had moved on from this scene. It was around this time I got to know him and I’ve loved him since, but he spent some time away and was a very private guy for many years.
I recall hearing him talk for the first time. Brad zoomed up to me on a mountain bike in Edinburgh having previously only known each other through our football rivalry. At the time he was running some decent club nights and I had been staying down south. ‘Alright ar kid?’ he asked, which was a pass as well as a greeting, then at 100 mph he would move onto the next subject before I had absorbed what he had just said. Which I thought was funny seeing as he always looked a man of few words as well as thinking that he may bare a football grudge or even look down on me, but this was never the case. He invited me to one of his club nights and I arranged to meet him in the City Café. A few old faces I recognised from Hibs were also there which was slightly daunting, but it was all cool; I was Brad’s guest and through him I got to know guys that I still call mates to this day. It’s what he did, he brought people together.
I remember him still coming over as a leader with charm and charisma. He had all this philosophy and it sounded as if he’d swallowed a dictionary. I drank beer, he drank bottles of water with his ‘fit mind, fit body’ attitude. He liked to point out that ‘we were all just laddies from different cities and it was all cowboys and Indians ehh.’ He would always ask about other Celtic lads and how they were doing, especially ‘those McCann twins‘ who, like him, were trained boxers he respected.
I wouldn’t see Bradley again until 1995 when he and a few lads came to London for the weekend to see a famous boxing match and I arranged to meet him at a pub in Knightsbridge so he could visit Harvey Nichols. When I got there I noticed him and a couple of others standing on the centre island of the road leaning against the railings – golden eagle eyes was back! Old habits die hard and he’s just checking out who’s walking by. He tells me Chelsea sometimes move around that area but to be honest he was just posturing, he had moved on. He was still oozing confidence and again he wasn’t a drinker – his tipple was water. We moved along to the Armani store after we’d been to Harvey Nic’s, Armani was the label for him and in true working class spirit he’d size up how to get his label as cheap as possible – and of course he did. We spent the day with him and his wee crowd from Edinburgh in a few pubs; I could have listened to his old stories and intense spirit all day. I left later and they went on to the boxing.
Working Class Hero
It is something to be a working-class hero as John Lennon said. In later years I had the privilege of working with Brad on a few projects which should really be named solidarity; these were mainly joint ventures between the Celtic and Hibs fans. His leadership skills came to the fore in a massive way and a couple of his many quotes being ‘it’s easier to be a good gadgie than c*nt’ and ‘there is more that unites than divides us.’
He approached us here at HWS asking how receptive it would be for a joint food-bank collection at Easter Road in an up and coming Hibs v Celtic match. I thought it was a cracking idea and the Celtic fans took to it right away. So through Helping Hands – which was his solidarity idea – we set the wheels in motion. With ex-casuals from Celtic and Hibs helping to put it in place , the idea was for the Celtic fans to bring the usual food-bank supplies when they approached the away end at Easter Road and there would be tables to collect it. We also received cash donations from fans who didn’t manage to bring any food bags. Wee Jay Beattie and his dad came up with bags and wee Jay stood and helped us for a spell which again was outstanding, although he demanded a Helping Hands vest to wear. The guys that Brad and Jim had in place knew the score, it was like a military operation, vans were already there to move the bags as soon as kick-off came. It was relatively easy for this to happen and it mainly came down to connections and Brad’s spirit, energy and respect which was vital in making it a massive success. The Celtic fans were outstanding in coming to help the disadvantaged people of Edinburgh.
I visited Holyrood Boxing Gym only the once. It was a week day and I’d just popped in to see my friend. I regret not getting there for him to put me through my paces on a Sunday morning, but I believe Jake is stepping in and carrying on the tradition so I will be visiting for that very reason. It has been hard for us here at HWS to write this article as his loss is still raw and hurts even as I type, but we shall do our best. The gym was Brad’s place and I witnessed his ethos again, a leader who gave massive encouragement. You saw that everyone who walked through the door of the gym was an equal, there was no heroes. Or maybe they were all heroes. Certainly by the time they left they felt that way, he built you up, he gave that confidence you needed, including weight loss and just as importantly gave mental health issues a proper outlet; his actual presence worked in tandem with it. He could give a couple of words encouragement that would lift anyone. He made me a better person and I know he did this for hundreds of others, he would go that extra mile to help a mate for nothing in return. But does this guy ever sleep? It appeared hardly ever, after he completed a Guinness world record doing pad work for 24 hours. If you’ve not seen this; check the documentary: ‘Bradley Welsh Tough Times’.
There was a football page online that Brad used to post on; basically ex-casuals who just chatted about old times. He was instrumental in keeping guys together on there and with his motto ‘more unites us than divides us’ he fostered a good spirit and it’s this spirit that lives on, with the page even bringing out a t-shirt in his memory.
When Leigh Griffiths went through a bad patch last year it was Brad who stepped in to help and put a few people straight. Brad knew Leigh as he was one of the many footballers who came down to help out with the kids through, once more, Helping Hands. He got in touch with me and I couldn’t get him to calm down on the phone. Brad was reading stuff online from people mocking Leigh and mental health – two things you just didn’t do. ‘Leigh’s a guy from the streets with magic at his feet who’s just going through a bad patch, he’s just a laddie from the scheme’. He was rightly calling people out on Leigh’s behalf to explain their comments, LG, I believe, phoned Brad to thank him. Then it was onto business. Brad said that we needed to support him and wanted us to come together again and I totally agreed, as he said, ‘he’s one of our own mate’. Ironically there was another Hibs v Celtic match coming up at Easter Road and we put the message out. https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/holywellst.com/193
I would be on the phone to Brad most days; he was taking on a lot but never stopped helping where needed and was always thinking of what we could do next through his connections and mine. The next joint venture was with the Green Brigade at Celtic. We had arranged to meet them and work on a solidarity banner in support of the working class and bringing attention to disingenuous charities. We had arranged for member of the GB to get free boxing sessions at the club at the next Hibs v Celtic game which in the end unfortunately didn’t happen.
The McCann twins were Celtic and mutual friends of ours who knew Brad all the way through from football, boxing tournaments and later, visits to see each other. Francie McCann – after being involved in a bad accident – was fighting for his life and in true spirit Brad wanted to help. Bradley had wrote, ‘FRANCIE was me, just born in a different city and followed a different team’. Francie was starting to make a miracle recovery and was recognising people and voices. One person’s voice was of course a stand-out and that was Brad’s. The McCann family held the phone up to Francie and the coach was doing his bit again. ‘Keep fighting Francie, we’re cut from the same cloth just different cities, you can do this … I’ll be there to see you Saturday’.
Later that night was when we got the news that Brad, sadly, was no longer with us.
Everyone has their own story to tell about Bradley Welsh and it seems it’s usually along the same lines as friend, inspiration, coach, life changer, charming, gifted and loyal. I think it was Irvine Welsh who said that you would only meet a few guys like Brad in your lifetime, which is probably true, but I’m still waiting to meet the second one.
Ironically just after his passing the next game at Easter Road was against Celtic. We had been told that the Hibs fans were having a minutes applause on the 48th minute and in his spirit I felt it was only right HWS should do one last thing for a friend. It was quite easy and everyone agreed … https://wordpress.com/post/holywellst.com/336 Both sets of fans were immense and on the 48th minute we did the joint applause for Bradley Welsh. Once again the Celtic faithful rose to respect this working class hero.
In among his parting words should he ever be taken at a young age was …
‘Ye see, Now try to be me. Me … me … me. Go and never forget.’
We can only try to be him. If you get halfway there you’ll be doing more than alright.
A lifelong sufferer of Depression has had their life turned around after being advised to ‘cheer up’.
As yesterday was Mental Health Awareness day. There was a ground breaking moment.
“It was my new line manager,” confirmed Archie C Young
“He’d spent a week mucking about with a spreadsheet and had run out of things to do so he called me into his office to ‘get to the bottom of this depression thing’.”
Mr Richard Head (Dickie) joined him and received his revolutionary treatment within minutes.
“Yeah, I told him about my condition, and he just leant back in his chair, folded his hands behind his head and went ‘you want to just cheer up a bit’.
“It’s changed my life. I mean, I’ve had nearly twenty years of CBT, anti-depressants and psychotherapy. If only someone had told me to cheer up all those years ago.
“He also mentioned that I should ‘snap out of it’.”
Richard Dickie Head, the line-manager, went on to explain the theory behind his treatment.
“Well, it’s just common sense isn’t it?” He told us.
“I mean, it’s fair enough to be depressed if, you know, your wife’s left you or you’ve lost your job or something, but if you’re just depressed for no good reason, then you just need to cheer up.”
He also mentioned that people with anxiety disorders should probably just chill out.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has seized on the new developments in depression treatment, cancelling all finance for current treatments of Depression and issuing guidelines for Doctors to just tell sufferers to ‘just try and cheer up a bit’.
First they hijacked the Skins then they came for “terrace dressers”. Two subcultures with origins in mixed race and the working class. Much like the Mods – working class lad or lass dresses up. Black and white unity if you like. A subculture. A movement. A trend.
It’s 1983 and I’m walking through the Barrowlands in Glasgow on the London Road side. Me and a mate are dressed in post Two-Tone attire with wedge haircuts and baggy jeans.
“I’ve heard it said and I agree,‘Where’s the next scene?’ Nobody sees it coming, ah its over there.” – (Casuals DVD)
A Celtic fan walks towards us, “Cannae get moving for Aberdeen casuals lads eh?” We have no idea what he’s talking about. Then I see them – hundreds of lads walking past us dressed in sportswear and like us, they’re heading towards Celtic Park.
I didn’t know what I thought regarding the way they looked, it seemed almost mystical. It reminded me of rugby attire or perhaps skiing holidaymakers taking the wrong route. Although they looked like boy-next-door, you could see it had an edge which became apparent when they started having verbals with Celtic fans. History tells us the original idea to this look was anti-suss; not really intended to be stylish, it was more a disguise, replacing the bovver boy hooligan. This was a welcome change from stiff-arm boneheads.
To cut a long story short, within months I was hooked. Hooked on the clothes, the fights and everything that came with it for many years. You started to see this new-found look at Celtic after a wee while, but it was more an individual look rather than a collective response until the 1984/85 season when Celtic first had its own crew of this new subculture. We wanted to know more about this new thing. With the clothes evolving every few weeks we wanted to be clued-up and a step ahead.
But where was the music attached to this? We were looking to London and the rest of England for its origins, initially we’re lead to believe it was born in Aberdeen, but how could it be? Aberdeen is remote and hardly trendsetting.
Casuals had NO right-wing origins. Right-wing cranks would have you believe it’s mutually exclusive for a modern day hooligan to be a one dimensional patriotic Stone Island geez who will have zero creativity. They will jump around to bands like The Specials; sing along to their lyrics as with The Farm, The Housemartins, The Clash, Paul Weller and The Beautiful South; ignoring or unprepared to check what their message is.
Before Waxy Lemon et al. you had the NF and BNP on a recruitment drive with football firms around the country. So we end up with the obligatory stiff arm salutes trying to hijack another subculture by the end of the 80s and into the 90s. So where does it start and finish?
Fascism is anti-working class; it attempts to control and split them. Fascism is not compatible with original 80s football lads and lassies. We were rebelling against Thatcher’s Britain; it wasn’t even political to be a football casual, it was born out of football and there was no music or music bands originally attached to its origins, you had to look for music that fitted.
This started in the North West, particularly Liverpool, a working class city going through major hardship at the time. When Liverpool regularly played in Europe during the late 70s and into the 80s, their fans brought back with them these obscure sportswear labels. “A crocodile? What’s this all about?”
With a bit of robbing on the way, it was working class lads on the take looking for their own one-upmanship. The trainers the Liverpool lads found were also obscure and were easy pickings given the fact they were normally on display outside shops.
They then went on their own personal trips to bring back this new trend, usually sportswear such as trainers and tracksuits not really seen in the UK. When the lads kicked this off it started being worn at the football. Was this supposed to be stylish? No – it was anti-suss.
“By the time London has its own version of this, it’s Arsenal that lead the way, there certainly wasn’t much right-wing within their unit especially with the amount of black lads within their ranks and leading them.” – (P. Hooton; TAL Fanzine)
The London Casual was born from modern soul boys and dub music then onto the football terraces and had a lot of Afro-Caribbean chaps leading the way.
“Casual style in London grew out of the late seventies soul boy scene this was inherently racially mixed – the idiots who wanted to be racists became boneheads. Our fanzine Boys Own was very left wing (mainly because of comrade Steve Mayes, who also went to Chelsea with me) and we deliberately set out to stir shit up”. – (T. Farley; Skiddle 3rd March 2016)
Casuals as a concept finished around 1989. The anti-suss part had been sussed and it went mainstream. After this you just had trendy hooligans, although you may ask “what’s the difference?”
“I am a member of Football Lads and Lasses Against Fascism (FLAF) and believe that we as football fans have a duty to reject the hateful message of the ultra right. They are the tools of the ruling class and always blame the wrong people when the going gets tough. We can all support our own teams and even countries – although I’m not a patriot myself – but we also need to protect our own communities and those less fortunate than ourselves. As The Who said: we won’t get fooled again!”– (P. Thornton; FLAF article 27/8/19)