Tag Archives: Sophie Lancaster

Echoes of Sophie Lancaster

Back in the day, whenever I would read reports of teenage rock fans being singled out in public for their mode of attire or long hair,  I confess that I used to roll my eyes and picture archetypal middle-class teens merely finding impediments to social inclusion and adopting tribal tropes which they would grow out of in good time.

Yep, still from that episode of "Skins". Cheers, E4...

Then, of course, I read about the case of Sophie Lancaster and I began to get very pissed off indeed.

It would appear that whilst reports of metalheads, goths and alternative kids being beaten up by gangs of teen peers purely on the basis of their dress/music preference are thankfully rare, they are by no means a thing of the past.

Take this story, brought to my attention by the splendid Femetalism blog – Teenage Metal fan beaten up by gang of 15 youths.  There’s no justification for that kind of thuggery, and I find it hard to believe that one teenage metalhead could present that much of a threat to a gang of similarly aged kids.  

Did I miss some act of Parliament or obscure by-law whereby it’s now perfectly acceptable to beat the crap out of people based on some spurious hatred of the music that they listen to?  It occurs to me that whenever I walk through my city centre on a Saturday afternoon and see black-clad, colourfully attired, metal/goth/alternative kids hanging together in groups, what I might once have seen as youthful camaraderie and conventional teenage social behaviour might have not a little to do with the idea of safety in numbers.

This wasn’t the case in my youth – you might get a cat-call or two of “Mosher!” or “Sweaty!” from the Ben Sherman/Ralph Lauren-shirted hive-mind who despoiled the Scarborough town centre of my teen years but there was never any sense of being attacked or facing physical assault from a gang.  Glibly, I’d attribute that to my being six foot two and wearing an Anthrax “Among the Living” shirt, but appearances deceive, of course – if somebody wanted to attack me, I’d be so nonplussed that the first punches would have landed before I was able to work up the gumption to run.

Let’s summarise this, shall we?  Metal is pretty harmless, in the grand scheme of things.  Dressing in band shirts, black boots and jeans or cyber-goth wear presents no threat to anybody other than self-appointed fashionistas (who can, frankly, get a real job).  

Thuggery is unacceptable, no matter how much mainstream pop culture might glamourize it.

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Delain – new album chat online…

Delain. Dutch as a very Dutch thing. Which is high praise in my book.

Dutch symphonic metallurgists Delain have a new album – “We Are The Others” – waiting in the wings for release later this year and have a UK tour lined up in the spring, with a Sheffield date pencilled in to boot.

It’s almost as if they want me to go, isn’t it?

Delain’s front woman Charlotte Wessels has chatted with Metal Hammer’s website about the album and about the part that the late Sophie Lancaster played in inspiring the record’s subject matter.

Sophie Lancaster, killed because she dressed differently.

If you’re not familiar with Sophie’s name, you should probably check out the Sophie Lancaster Foundation’s website and get a sense of why her name and the tragic events which took her life are such an emotional subject for fans of metal, alternative and rock music.  I’m not sure that the anti-chav sentiment which enters any conversation about the late Ms Lancaster helps much, but I can appreciate why people feel that way.

Back to Delain, then – surprisingly, there’s no evidence whatsoever that this cheery band of Dutch symphonic melodicists have added a Blackened Metal aspect to their sound, nor are there any Dubstep-inspired bass drops to be heard anywhere –  funny, that.

From the snippets heard in the video, the chunky riffs are still there, everything’s reassuringly unfashionable and European and that’s more than good enough for me.

 

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