Soul Boy, Soul Girl: Reflections on Gender and Northern Soul
Katie Milestone [+]
Manchester Metropolitan University
This chapter focuses on women’s experience of the early years of Soul based clubbing in England. The chapter draws on data from interviews with four British women who were teenagers or in their early twenties from the mid 1960s through to the mid 1970s. Each of these women were regular attenders of Soul events at night clubs in Manchester and the North West and Midlands of England. All four women attended a range of venues dedicated to Soul music during this period. However their recollections are dominated by discussion of trips to Manchester’s Twisted Wheel club. We explore the freedom from traditional gender constraints that participation in Soul fandom offered these young women and the impact these experience had on their identities and personal trajectories. The chapter aims, in a modest way, to redress the disregard of women’s contribution and experiences in accounts of the rare and northern soul scenes.