Paul Robertson talks about the youth culture and gang rivalries between Stevenage and its surrounding towns.

" I remember in the foyer of the Mecca there was a great big I mean literally must have been about a metre and a half high of leather belts, a whole stack of them just put there yeah, I don’t know if they ever got them back but yeah they had to take them off"

Stevenage Museum

 

 

Transcript:

Paul: We had some awkward nights there too over the years, some fights and that sort of thing over the years, some rival gangs

Interviewer: Because I know there was quite a lot of youth culture in Stevenage…

Paul: It was, it was the skin head era in the early 70s the skinheads and that type of thing and everyone wore bovver boots and braces and Levi Sta-Prest trousers and Brutus shirts. I mean everybody dressed to impress. They really were spectacularly dressed you know. You know razor sharp creases in your trousers. I mean we all looked smart but there was rivalries between different towns, in actual fact I live just outside Luton now and I was in a club, the golf club the other night and I talked with a few guys my age, yeah we used to go to Stevenage Mecca, and they were saying ah yeah we used to go there for the fights. And it was Luton and Hitchin, Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage and each town had its own conglomerate groups, well thugs, now we call them thugs but then they were just bunches of lads and it was all rivalry between women. You know the women always riled up the fights, never the lads like, you know what I mean. And of course the lads were just drinking pints of bitter, not lager in those days, just bitter

Interviewer: They were just waiting for an excuse

Paul: Yeah and then the fighting started. Either it was Desmond Decker and the Aces or Johnnie Johnson and the Bandwagon, I forget what group was on stage this particular night and I wasn’t the DJ that night I was in the Nocturne nightclub. . And I came out on to the balcony and I remember all of the barmaids were all cowered up at one end of the bar. And there was girls behind the bar handing out glasses, from underneath the counter and bottles and the boys were throwing them over the balcony on to the dance floor. All it was the Police came, they had loads and loads of trainee policemen there with all their blue band around their helmets so that you knew who they were, trainees. They all turned up, a couple of police dogs got badly injured. There was cuts, that sort of thing on their feet yeah. It was such a big crowd they had the main ballroom open and the patio suite and there was they were on big slidey doors, concertina doors so you opened it up into one room and I remember everyone cowering into the patio suite. You can get them in to and out of the building that way. Yeah people just left in droves you know like ants disappearing into you know, yeah it was terrible. It was a horrible night it finished in a very bad taste that night. And I think they squashed it after that quite a lot of things they restricted this and we had one night there, I forget what the name of the group was now but they were a heavy rock band. And they stopped all the rockers coming in they had to take their rings off all their big rings all their belts and belt buckles and I remember in the foyer of the Mecca there was a great big I mean literally must have been about a metre and a half high of leather belts, a whole stack of them just put there yeah, I don’t know if they ever got them back but yeah they had to take them off and their leather jackets with all the studs in them, weren’t allowed to wear them. Yes, fun days, fun days.

Robertson 2016

This page was added on 16/03/2016.

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