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This is the BBC Arena documentary on 2 tone from 1980 by Adrian Thrills.
Bonus Specials TV Appearances at the end.
This is a DVD copied from VHS. Not pristine quality but perfectly watchable. Screen shots attached.
Total playing time 59.39 minutes
THE SKA'S THE LIMIT by Paul Williams - Issue 002 - May 2005
Having witnessed Ska Dance Craze events at first hand, it took me back years to the heyday of 2-Tone. Memories, dance hall smells and other imagery came to mind as I travelled back in time in my mind.
Walls dripping with sweat, crammed venues, stage invasions, tight bouncing music, bouncing crowds, shirtless tattooed skinheads, the occasional drunk (!) and even the odd bearded professor-looking type-these all prevalent at Ska dancecraze gigs. These feelings all help to keep you going with a 'young' outlook on life (even if the body tells you otherwise) and with Ska being the best in good time music, that just adds to the whole package. The Skadancecraze project got me hankering for times past, to a time when life was hard but simpler, to where a country was being driven to rack and ruin by Thatcherism. Something came out of the bleak wilderness that was the late 70s, and set the nation on fire! Boom! 2Tone.
The urge of a return to these times got me searching through my video collection and there I found the much coveted and rare BBC2 'Arena' documentary on the rise of British Ska . Presented by journalist Adrian Thrills (now working at the Daily Mail), it was made to invite the public into the world of Jerry Dammers et al and to catalogue its sudden surge as the soundtrack of the nation and cover its political message of unity.
I still get a buzz from seeing the live and studio footage, of how together the bands were as a musical unit (often better than they were on vinyl) and seeing the huge crowd squashed in like sardines but having the time of their lives. The whole atmosphere of a 2-Tone gig was truly remarkable.
Each band had its own 'feel'. The Specials were always electric, hairs stood up on the back of your neck electric, and always with a slight menacing edge, which made it all the more exciting. With Madness, it was a lot more relaxed (I never saw any racist trouble despite them apparently suffering a fair bit of it with them being the only totally white band in the stable), and you tended to have more conversations with audience members at their gigs. Madness were a great night out. The Selecter audience were of a similar vein to that of The Specials but with Pauline Black being at the helm, her female touch helped to calm things down a lot. The Beat were brilliant . It was a tight crowd, swooning rather than stomping!! This was the same scenario at The Bodysnatchers shows.
All of these images and feelings were brought flying back when I attended Skadancecraze at the Bongo Club in Edinburgh. These events are thoroughly thought out, the 2Tone sound is faithfully recreated by This R 2Tone with attention to detail and a passion to perform as realistically as possible. Younger kids were in attendance and talking to a few of them, the future of Ska here in the UK is in good hands. If you want to go some way to reliving a bit of your youth or revisit the past in the present stylee or just to have a plain good old fashioned cracking night out, then the Skadancecraze project is for you and the more people who get involved, the more this essential club will grow and who knows?
Maybe help put a cherry red Doc Marten boot up the elitist arse of the UK charts and rekindle a national interest on a higher scale...you'll be wondering now...and after those ramblings of a sad old ska man, watch this.
Complete name : C:\output video\BBC Arena documentary.avi
Format : AVI
Format/Info : Audio Video Interleave
Format/Family : RIFF
File size : 700 MiB
PlayTime : 59mn 39s
Bit rate : 1641 Kbps
StreamSize : 5.52 MiB
Writing application : VirtualDubMod 22.214.171.124 (build 2178/release)
Writing library : VirtualDubMod build 2178/release
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