Photos of a new exhibition celebrating the youth culture of 1970 and 1980s Bradford are being shared online throughout December. The exhibition draws on the experiences of six residents who grew up in the district during the vibrant music scenes of the era.
It celebrates the rich heritage of youth in the city and displays a range of personal collection items relating to punk, Bradford bands, sound system DJs, scooters and northern soul.
The exhibition is a partnership between Bradford Council’s Museums and Galleries service and ‘Being Bradford’ – a diverse group of working-class mavericks that have organised themselves into a sort of artistic trade union and whose primary aim to see their authentic story told in their own voices and featuring in Bradford district’s cultural narrative.
The restrictions due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic closing museums means that social media will be used share content from the show including photos, video clips and blog posts and to invite Bradford residents to post about their own experiences of being a teenager in the district, starting with those growing up in the 1970s and 80s.
The contributors have each written their own blog post as well as compiling an individual soundtrack to their youth with the songs of the era that mean the most to them.
Anyone who grew up or spent their youth in the Bradford district during the 1970s and 80s can contribute their own memories to the project.
Aki recalls the arrival of Punk and how his family house erupted like a volcano. His once liberally conservative Muslim/Pakistani upbringing was being challenged by his brother (and then him). They both swapped their acceptable clothing for ripped tight jeans, safety pins and dyed hair. Their soft, community-respected father stomped around the house in complete turmoil and anger. As Aki deepened his faith in Punk, he created bands starting with The Southern Death Cult. There were no Asian punk musicians at the time on the scene and his band broke Bradford out into the Punk scene and within months we were the hottest property in the music business and toured with big bands. They hit the TV screens and front pages of the media and as a direct consequence the large following, from all over the country, started to arrive in Bradford.
Abby was one of the first Asian Scooter Boys/Mods. Bored and looking for something different Abby knew a guy who introduced him to scooters and he got the buzz. It went from a weekend thing to a way of life. He was accepted everywhere he went as someone who belonged. They were his brothers and sisters. It was so diverse; where people from different cultures and backgrounds came together and enjoyed many years of fun, fate, and fame.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “This is a fascinating exhibition taking us on the journey of the lives of a diverse bunch of people who grew up in the Bradford district during the 1970s and 1980s. It shows how the powerful music scenes of the time shaped their lives and influenced them.
“Due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic we’ve again had to close our museums, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t share this exhibition online with people from across the district and beyond through the photographs.
“It would be great if others who were teenagers growing up in Bradford during the 1970s and 1980s come forward and share their stories and experiences.”