Published work

Trevor Locke

§ means that I have a copy in my possession.

Books

New Approaches to Crime in the 1990s: Planning responses to crime. 1990. Longman Group (UK) Ltd. 292 pages. ISBN 0-582-05124-X Now out of print

Organised Responses to Urban Drug Problems. Masters Dissertation. November 1990. Leicester Polytechnic Business School. 91 pages.

Local Area Profiles of Crime: neighbourhood crime patterns in context (with Norman Davidson, University of Hull), Chapter 3 in: Crime, Policing and Place: Essays in environmental criminology. Edited by David J Evans et al. 1992. Routledge.

Participation, inclusion, exclusion and netactivism: how the Internet invents new forms of democratic activity, Chapter 13 in Digital Democracy, Discourse and Decision Making in the Information Age, Edited by Barry N. Hague and Brian D. Loader, Routledge, 1999. (Based on a talk that I gave at the Electronic Democracy Conference, Teeside University, 17th to 18th September 1997.)

The Heroes... in golden times. The Story of a band. By Trevor Locke.
The Heroes… in golden times. The Story of a band. By Trevor Locke.

The Heroes… in golden times – the story of a band. July 2015. ArtsIn Publications, Leicester (Copies available by post)

Papers

A Bibliography of intermediate treatment 1968 to 1976, with Jim Thomas, 1977, National Youth Bureau. §

One Night a Week? Aspects of Group Work in Intermediate Treatment, 1981, National Youth Bureau, Leicester. §

The involvement of the voluntary sector in intermediate treatment in Doncaster (Intermediate Treatment Field Reports). 1981. National Youth Bureau §

The involvement of the voluntary sector in intermediate treatment in Southwark. (Intermediate Treatment Field Reports). 1981. National Youth Bureau §

The involvement of the voluntary sector in intermediate treatment in Cambridge  (Intermediate Treatment Field Reports). 1981. National Youth Bureau §

Planning: strategic and practical options in work with young people in trouble, 1981, ITRC Ideas Exchange. §

Strategies for action. 1983. Scottish IT Training Group. §

Report on the design of a monitoring scheme. Presented to the monitoring group of the Durham County Youth Trust, 23rd July 1984. §

Policy and planning in juvenile justice, 1987, NACRO Juvenile Crime Section, London

An analysis of the juvenile justice policies of Durham Social Services Department and Durham Probation Service, April 1987, NACRO, Juvenile Crime Section, London.

Policy and information in juvenile justice systems, with Britton, Hope and Wainman, 1988, Save The Children Fund and NACRO, London.

Juvenile Justice in the 1990s: a strategic approach, 1988, NACRO Juvenile Crime Section, London

Policy development and its implications for practice, 1988, NACRO Juvenile Crime Section, London

Young adult offenders (series of statistical analyses, papers I to V), 1988 to 1989, NACRO Young Offenders Team, London.

Beer and ideas: report on a visit to the Bass brewery at Burton on Trent by the East Midlands Group of the Strategic Planning Society, 1988. NACRO, Juvenile Crime Section. §

Crime in the inner city, report of a one day conference at the University of Birmingham, 1988. NACRO Juveile Crime Section. §

Successful strategy making in public and non-profit making organisations, conference report, 1988. §

Leicester Case Study: the economic impact of crime on a local area, 1989, Leicester Polytechnic Business School (extended student essay)

Strategic planning of responses to crime, alcohol and other drugs, 1989, occasional paper.

Policy developments in juvenile crime and justice, 1990, NACRO Young Adult Offenders Project, London

Planning and co-ordination of responses to drugs, 1990, Occasional paper.

Customer orientation in local government services, 1990, Coventry City Council.

Responding to comments, compliments and complaints (guidelines manual), 1992, Coventry City Council.

Public access to the city council (a report on customer care), 1993, Coventry City Council.

What do you want? Interim report to the Lancashire Probation Service on the needs for specialist resources and partnership development, 1994, Divert Trust, London.

What you can get. Final report to the Lancashire Probation Service on the voluntary sector in Lancashire, 1994, Divert Trust, London.

Final report to the Bedford Pilgrim Housing Association (development of an anti-poverty strategy and report on an area audit) with Ian Chappell, 1995, Divert Trust, London

Teleworking and new technology: current trends and future prospects. Talk given to the British Computer Society, 1995. §

Beyond Joy Riding: the future of car related youth work in Milton Keynes. Final report to the Wheelwright Project from the Centre for Social Action, De Montfort University. 1996. Centre for Social Action and Buckinghamshire County County Council. 34 pages.

Teleworking today and tomorrow, 1998, notes for a talk.

Articles

Policy, management and practice must relate, with Chris Batty, Social Work Today, 31/8/87.

History of Music in Leicester Series

Music and the rise of the Internet – 1990 to 2005 part 2. Arts in Leicester magazine, August 2015.

Music and the rise of the Internet – 1990 to 2005 part1. Arts in Leicester magazine, August 2015

Music of Today – 2005 to 2014. Arts in Leicester magazine, August 2015

Music and technology, Arts in Leicester Magazine, August 2015

Where is live music now? Arts in Leicester magazine, 2014

Self publications

Working with databases: practical information and monitoring schemes, 1995, The Events Service, Leicester §

Policy and information in local crime prevention and justice systems, 1995, The Events Service, Leicester. §

Routes into work: the use of teleworking for rural young people, 1997, Event and Project Services, Leicester. §

Telecentres and teleworking: workshop on telecentres and community networks in action, presented to LEDIS conference The Knowledge Economy, Nottingham, 1997. §

Teleworking

Why Teleworking? A Study and Resource Pack, circa 1996

There are two editions of this loose leaf pack: a general one and a special edition for those in local government. The pack contains a variety of briefing papers, study notes and OHP slides on working at home with computers.

E&PS published a range of Briefing Papers on Teleworking. Paper versions of these papers were available individually or as part of the larger resource pack called Why Teleworking? which was only available by post.

Briefing Paper 5 A place to live: a place to work. Teleworking from home: the implications for planning and house design. 4 pages. 2122 words.

Briefing Paper 6 Teleworking and local government: opportunities and strategies. 4 pages. 1957 words.

Briefing Paper 7 How to develop telecottages and teleworking in rural areas. 6 pages. 2851 words

Briefing Paper 8 Teleworking, telematics and the environment: policies and practices. 4 pages. 1409 words.

Briefing Paper 9 Teleworking and the Probation Service. 4 pages. 1962 words.

Briefing Paper 11 Flexible working practices for business. 4 pages. 1514 words.

Briefing Paper 22 Introduction to teleworking and telecottages. 4 pages. 1802 words

Briefing Paper 23 Teleworking and new technology: current trends and future prospects. 7 pages. 2748 words.

Briefing Paper 24 Teleworking and the Internet.3 pages. 705 words.

Blog articles

Teleworking and the growth of community networks, 2015, on Writer Trevor Locke (on this blog)

See also articles published in this blog.

§ means that I have a copy in my possession.

City Festival 2015

Archive page

The City Festival 2015

This page forms part of our archives

GIANT street art, live music, dance, theatre and delicious food will fill Leicester’s streets  as part of the annual City Festival. A spectacular programme of events is set to take place over the next 11 days, including the annual Belgrave Mela, Journeys Festival and Cosmopolitan Carnival. New to this year’s festival is the Tangle art project from Australia, which will result in a massive public art display in Jubilee Square on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug 24 to 26), between 11am and 4pm each day. Tangle will enable children to create a gigantic woven play space using coloured elastic.  The event, which will also include live music, will result in an amazing piece of art in which children can play, explore and bounce.

Firm favourites, Belgrave Mela, Cosmopolitan Carnival and Journeys Festival, will help provide a packed Bank Holiday weekend of entertainment. The Cosmopolitan Carnival will take over Jubilee Square, High Street and Cathedral Gardens on Saturday (Aug 29), from 2pm until 9pm. The event will showcase the vibrant, cultural mix within Leicester through every imaginable art form. Jubilee Square will host some of the best local bands, including nationally-renowned The Paradimes. And High Street will come alive with a carnival procession featuring a lion dance, samba and belly dancers.

Band playing at the Cosmopolitan event, 2014
Band playing at the Cosmopolitan event, 2014

During the two-day festival – from 11am until 4pm on Sunday 30 August and Bank Holiday Monday – Orton Square will be transformed into a global village. There will be an eclectic mix of music from across continents, some of the latest short films about freedom and democracy, kite crafting and flying and 3D street art.

Humberstone Gate, Gallowtree Gate, East Gates, the Clock Tower and Leicester Market will welcome a glittering mix of live music, dance, food, fashion, entertainment and Indian culture during Belgrave Mela.

Taking place on Bank Holiday Monday (31st Aug), from 11am until 6pm, the Mela will include South Asian arts and culture as well as plenty of live entertainment. There will be local bands, artists creating incredible art pieces, free cultural workshops, large-scale film projection performance, multicultural dance performances and a dazzling carnival procession.

The packed programme of events gets under way on Friday 21 August and continues until the Bank Holiday (Monday 31 August).

See also

What’s on in Leicester

The Cosmopolitan Carnival

Part 2 1990 to 2005

The History of Music in Leicester

Chapter 2 – Music and the rise of the Internet – 1990 to 2005

by Trevor Locke

This page was edited by Trevor Locke. Read more about Leicester on his blog.

See part 1 of this article

The 1990s

We start by looking at some of the key characteristics of Leicester’s music scene in the 1990s. In this section, reference back to earlier years is made in order to set the context for certain points. More detail will be provided in my next chapter which looks at the era of the radio and record player, starting in 1940 and ending with the start of the 1990s.

The 1990s on the Internet

It was during the decade of the 1990s that mass use of the Internet got going in the UK and Leicester and people went on-line in increasing numbers.

My first experience of going on the Internet, was when I worked for DeMontfort University in 1995 at the Scraptoft campus. The first pages I ever saw, from the Internet, were in monochrome (green text on a black background) and there were no graphics. That was probably because the only access the campus had at that time was through the specialised Universities system called ‘Superjanet’, which was mainly concerned with bibliographic references and research papers.

It was not until 1997 that I got my own Internet connection at home; in those days we had to use a modem connected to the telephone line which dialled up the ISP and frequently dropped out.

Some international websites appeared in this period. The Internet Underground Music Archive Collection (IUMA) was started in 1993 by three students at the University of California at Santa Cruz. They worked together to create an online music archive that would help musicians and bands who weren’t signed by a major label. The site allowed these unsigned artists to upload files and send them to fans; it also gave artists the opportunity to talk with their fans. At first,  The IUMA was part of the Usenet newsgroups. In 1998, Emusic bought the Internet Underground Music Archive and changed the look and feel. Unsigned artists would sign up with the service and receive a website and URL devoted to their name [IUMA website]

In 1994, a number of key developments changed what the ‘Web could offer to the music industry. Music tracks started to be made available to fans on a global basis and technologies that allowed streaming were becoming increasingly powerful. One important consequence of this was that the record labels lost their strangle-hold on music; underground or alternative music could now be made available by the bands themselves. By 2001 the big five labels had begun to realise the importance of the Internet and to colonise and cash in the market for digital tracks. [Spellman, 2002]

America Online (AOL) began in 1983 but it was not until 1993 that it began to offer an all-purpose Internet service. AOL was, at one time, the UK’s largest Internet access provider. Not everyone liked it but it seemed that everyone was on it. As a multi-media platform, it catered for the musical interests of its users. I worked for AOL from around 1997 onwards, and I remember someone asking me (in a chat room) if I had ever heard of a band called Kasabian. I think this must have been the first I had ever heard of them. I continued working for AOL into the noughties. I remember chat rooms being provided, in which famous music celebrities held real-time, interactive conferences with subscribers from around the world.

Logo of America On Line
Logo of America On Line

In 1999 AOL cut its rates for Internet access; much of the company’s success was due to the way it distributed CDs that gave access and installed its interface client on to personal computers. People used these CDs as coasters and beer mats and some even used them to make art installations and sculptures. They were even given away free as inserts in magazines. In the early noughties and late 90s, AOL was competing with providers like Freeserve and Virgin and distribution of these installation CDs was a core part of their strategy.  Love them or loathe them, it is true that AOL gave many millions of people their first access to music over the Internet. The millions of CDs distributed by AOL led some to claim it was an environmental hazard because they were not biodegradable.

Bands too started to register domain names to provide them with tailor-made web addresses. The domain dead.net was registered on January 20, 1995 for the American rock band formed in 1965 – The Grateful Dead.  A British rock band –  Marillion –  formed in 1979, registered Marillion.com on December 19th, 1996, but this was not the first.

A band formed in 1990, appeared in an article about technology published on the BBC website. The article claims that an image of the band is thought to be one of the first ever upload to the World Wide Web.

An all-female doo-wop band whose image is believed to have been the first photo uploaded to the fledgling world wide web is to play its final gig. Les Horribles Cernettes take their swansong at the Hardronic Festival at the Cern laboratory in Geneva – the birthplace of the web. A picture of the women was uploaded to the web on 18 July, 1992, by web creator – and fan – Tim Berners-Lee. He wanted it to test out the version of the web he was working on at Cern. [BBC website]

The English rock band Muse is thought to be one of the first bands, in this country, to have a website. Queen, the English rock band formed in 1970,  registered its domain name queenonline.com in June 1999. In November 1998,  thebeatles.com was registered and is till online today. One of the very earliest domain names to be registered was music.com in 1993 and you can still view this today.

I myself started to register domain names for the websites I worked on; one of the first was blaby.net which I registered in 1997. It was not until the early noughties that Leicester bands began to make their own websites.

Bear in mind that it was not until 1993 that the first web browser appeared. Inventor of the WWW, Tim Berners-Lee, started work at CERN in 1980 and began to develop software that would display the HTML pages he had invented. It was not until 1995 that web browsers became commercially available when Microsoft released Internet Explorer in 1995.  Netscape produced its own browser, Navigator, and by 1996 had won 86% of the market. Earlier people used Mosaic, a browser was that was developed from late 1992.  Web browsers continued to become more and more sophisticated and gradually developed the capacity to display complex images and multimedia components such as video and music.

The 1990s – venues

In Leicester, as in many other cities and towns, live music venues allowed bands and artists to put on their own gigs. This fuelled the growth in bands; it became unnecessary to be signed to a record label to achieve anything meaningful and, for thousands of young men and women in Leicester, producing music for their fans became a realistic possibility. In the 80s and 90s, Leicester saw the rise of permanent music venues that supplemented the well-established supply of opportunities provided by pubs and bars.

These small venues provided ‘amateur’ bands with an outlet for their music; they were amateur in the sense that they played music in their spare time, as opposed to being professional musicians. These venues were small – ranging between 50 to 200 in audience capacity. The venues were important to the development of music, both in Leicester and at a national level. As one report put it

These venues have played a crucial role in the development of British music over the last 40 years, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills. [The Music Venue Trust, 2015]

The rise of the small venues greatly increased the total volume of live music being performed in Leicester and provided music fans with a wider range of musical choice than was available in the pubs and bars. Venue managers were willing to book bands that played the kind of music not generally found on the commercial scene. These small venues provide Leicester with much of its musical heritage. Whilst larger theatres, mainly the DeMontfort Hall and the Granby Halls, and some of the big nightclubs, provided national touring acts, it was the little venues that were the lifeblood of the music scene. The advent of the Internet and the small venues gave ‘amateur’ music a huge boost.

The Granby Halls
The Granby Halls

In a recent article, Rhian Jones comments that

The biggest bands today started their careers playing to modest audiences in pubs and clubs; if the places available to do that diminish, where will the future festival headliners learn their performance skills? If there’s a dearth of fresh live talent, you get festivals that just book the same bands to headline again and again, without giving newcomers a chance. [Jones, 2015]

The age of the DIY music artists had begun. Hundreds of bedrooms became recording studios. Shops began to sell recording equipment; in Leicester, retail outlets like Maplins did a roaring trade in microphones, amps and mixing devices. As laptops became increasingly affordable, musicians could download software and begin to mix and master their own work in a way that was impossible before. All kinds of electrical equipment, for the recording of music, could be purchased on the Internet. This trend ended the reliance of musicians on third party publishers of music, such as the record labels.

Small music venues were (and still are) the lifeblood of local music; acts that performed in them were selected for festivals and many of the nation’s emerging super bands toured the  small venues in order to build up their fan bases. The Charlotte began in 1989, when it was known as The Princess Charlotte. It closed in 2009, although a couple of attempts were subsequently made to re-open it.

The Shed opened in 1994 and is still open today; this makes it the longest running venue in Leicester. On the other side of the city, The Donkey has been a venue for live music since 2005.  The year 2000 saw the start of The Musician. Many people still fondly remember The Attik which ran from 1985 to 2006. The De Montfort Hall also put on live music acts and was the destination for a large number of nationally famous bands and singers. Prior to its demolition in 2001, the Granby Halls served as a venue for music concerts, alongside its use as a sports centre. Several music shows were held there.

What singles out Leicester, as a music city, was that it never got chosen as a place where national companies wanted to open branches.  Chains such as Barfly, never came here.  It was not until much later that big name companies like The Academy Music Group (with its chain of O2 Academies) and Sub91 in 2010.

Alongside the live music venues were the night clubs. Mosh, at the top of the High Street, opened in 2003. From 1971 to 1981, Baileys, near to the clock tower, provided live music and some big named bands played there. Helsinki club opened in 1983 and many of the city’s top DJs played there including the now internationally renown Lisa Lashes. In the High Street The Bear Cage opened in 1987. The old Palais de Dance, in Humberstone Gate, had been a venue for dancing and music since the 1930s and provided the venue for Ritz’s Club in 1987. The club was substantially enlarged in 1971. The Palais played an important role in the social life of Leicester for many years. The property had a chequered history and its ownership and management changed many times. It was recently called Sosho which launched in 2012. It is now closed. So, the 1980s was the golden age of night clubs;  today (2015) almost half of the nation’s discos and clubs have closed. Club Republic, in Sandacre Street, opposite St. Margaret’s bus station, had a number of names over the years, including Zanzibar. Close by, another of Leicester’s long-running and popular clubs which is now called Liquid and Envy. In 2012 it was called Krystals.  In Wellington Street, The Basement bar served as a bar, nightclub and live music took place there over a number of years. Quebec was, in its time a large and popular nightclub in Belgrave Gate; it opened as a gay club and was once a very popular venue providing DJs and very occasionally live acts.  Not far from there was Streetlife, which also started as a gay club. Both of these venues were taking over as general nightclubs. Although not open for very long, Harveys, a small bar in Belgrave Gate, had an iconic reputation. In the cultural quarter a club called Soho stood on the site now occupied by an Indian restaurant and in its day was popular with people who liked underground and alternative sounds.

If we look at 2009, we see a number of venues in operation, according to information annotated at the time by Alan Freeman [Freeman, 2009]. In his article he mentions the Criterion pub in Millstone Lane, the Firebug previously known as The Firefly (also in Millstone Lane) and the Y Theatre in East Street as being places where music was performed. He also mentions De Montfort University (previously known as Leicester Polytechnic) and we know that live music would have been performed there in the student’s union. It is said that Bob Marley performed at one of its shows in the 1990s. Leicester University’s Queens Hall would also have seen a programme of important bands visiting the room that is now in use as O2 Academy 2). I was involved in putting on gigs at The Pavilion, the cafe that sits on the London Road side of Victoria Park. I also ran gigs at the Sun Bar, in Church Gate.

In fact it is not difficult to identify a large number of buildings that were used to mount live music events during this period. Outside of Leicester, in the county, music was largely confined to pubs. The Three Nuns, in Loughborough, for example, put on bands at the weekend. The rise of local festivals has already been covered in Chapter 1.

The 1990s – Types of music

Ska and reggae are two musical genres that have been important in the musical life of Leicester, just as they still are today. In fact a film about Black Music in Leicester has documented the important contribution made by local artists and musicians to the national music scene. The Spectrum project tracked the city’s history of soul, disco, reggae, R&B, gospel, drum ‘n’ bass, hip hop and ‘urban’ music over the last 40 years. It covered singers, bands, DJs, sound systems, dancers, musicians and record labels, across music of Black origin. [Arts in Leicester, 2014]

The 1990s – Bands

1991 saw the formation of the band Cornershop, formed by Tjinder Singh, his brother Avtar, (both of whom lived in Leicester at the time), David Chambers and Ben Ayres. Their music was a fusion of Indian music, Britpop and electronic dance music. Cornershop was  an Anglo-Asian agit pop band, that became famous for the 1998 Number 1 single Brimful of Asha Perfume and Delicatessen both also rose to critical acclaim.

Wikipedia states that ‘The band Prolapse, was formed by a group of Leicester University and Polytechnic students in 1992. The band rose in popularity, and quickly gained a record deal with Cherry Red Records, recorded a number of John Peel sessions for Radio 1, and toured with Sonic Youth, Stereolab and Pulp.  Leicester is home of the influential Rave – Drum & Bass Formation Records label and associated 5HQ Record Shop, which was reopened in 2012 as an active recording studio.’ [Wikipedia] Prolapse has recently reformed.

Gaye Bikers on Acid band
Gaye Bikers on Acid band

Gaye Bykers on Acid  was formed in late 1984 by Ian Reynolds (Robber) and Ian Hoxley (Mary). They were later joined by guitarist and art student Tony Horsfall and drummer Kevin Hyde. Their first gig was at the Princess Charlotte in Leicester in mid-1985.[Wikipedia]

The formation of Kasabian (previously known as Saracuse) happened in 1997. The band, as Saracuse, played their first gig at The Shed in 1999. The original band members were from the Leicestershire villages of Blaby and Countesthorpe. Kasabian have won eight major music awards and have been nominated 27 times for major awards .They are one of the biggest indie bands ever to have originated in Leicestershire. Kasabian went on to become a world-class band, the biggest music act to have come out of Leicester since Englebert Humperdinck.

The Young Knives formed in 1998 in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in North West Leicestershire. The band was known for its energetic live performances and trendy tweed outfits. They broke into the music industry in 2002.

Ska band Kingsize formed in 1999 and is still going strong. The band played its first gig at the Royal Mail pub in the city centre.
Several Leicester bands from the 1990s are mentioned by Alan Freeman on his web page [Freeman, 2009]

I plan to cover Leicester bands of the 90s in more detail when I write the chapter on this period in my forthcoming book.

The 1990s – Rehearsal rooms, recording studios and record labels

Pink Box Records opened in 1994. Pink Box was set up as a hobby business by record collecting fans Sue and Chris Garland in 1994, not as a record label but to sell rock and indie records at record fairs around Central England. The name Pink Box came from the record storage boxes they used. Frustrated by the lack of national coverage to bands from the East Midlands they decided to release a record on their own label – Pink Box Records.

Stayfree (founded in 1992) opened in Conduit Street in 1995. Before that they were housed in Friday Street.  The Conduit Street premises offered rehearsal rooms and a variety of other services. Stayfree Music still exists today (2015) at its present location on Frog Island but started in 1992 in Friday Street, moving to Lillie House in Conduit Street in 1995 before moving to its current location in Frog Island in June 2009. Stayfree is known for proving rehearsal rooms but a number of other activities and projects have taken place in its premises over the years. There were rehearsal facilities dotted around the city and the suburbs.

1990s – Broadcast media

1996 saw the start of Takeover Radio. This radio station was set up to provide children and young people with opportunities to learn radio broadcasting. It provided an outlet for local music and many new bands and artists received airplay from the station.
Mention was made in my last article to BBC Radio Leicester, Demon FM, Radio 2Funky and other stations. These are played a role in broadcasting tracks by local artists, along side other music. Leicester Sound was one of the commercial stations that played music, sometimes broadcasting tracks by local bands and artists; it was once based in a building opposite Victoria park.

1990s – Festivals

Small venues were often places where local bands were discovered and invited to play at the increasing number of music festivals that were starting up in Leicestershire.

The Abbey Park Show was axed in 1995, nearly 50 years after its inception. The annual Abbey Park Festival event provided a key launch pad for many new bands. It’s importance to live music in the 90s cannot be understated.

Moving back

This chapter has sketched a period in the development of Leicester’s music to provide a very partial picture of what it was like between 1990 and 2005. As with all of these chapters, a more substantial account is envisaged for the book when it comes out.

In my next chapter I will move on to consider the era of radio and records –  from 1940 to 1990.

Trevor Locke

References

Reference to all these articles are given on a separate page

See also:

Introduction to the series History of Music in Leicester

Chapter 1 – Music in modern times

Related article: Music and technology

 

1990to2005part1

Chapter 2 – Music and the rise of the Internet – 1990 to 2005 – part 1

by Trevor Locke

This article forms part of a series called The History of Music in Leicester.

Chapter 1 of this series Music Today has already been published and covered the period from 2014 back to 2005.

This is part 1 of Chapter  2.

Part 2 looks at the 1990s.

In this chapter we look at the period from the early noughties (2000 to 2005) to the 1990s (taken to be the start of the Internet, roughly speaking.) As was noted in Chapter 1, all music of a particular period had its roots in the past;  the music of an era cannot be understood without looking back at the roots that nurtured it at that time. Hence, our journey back through history to see how music has changed and how people’s musical tastes have been shaped and formed by what was happening to them and the people before them. The outstanding feature of the period 1990 to 2014 was the growth of the Internet.

The Rise of the Internet

All kinds music has depended for its growth, development and distribution on the technologies available; music in pre-technological society was exclusively live and its distribution was dependent on the printing of sheet music. Before that, it was all about oral traditions being handed down from one generation to another. All this changed with the invention of the gramophone player, the radio, television, the CD player and then the Internet. Technological development changed the way people listened to music but it also changed the musical tastes of the majority of people by giving a broader access to music. This is covered in more detail in our article Music and Technology.  Peoples’ access to the Internet had two parts of it: email and the World Wide Web. In the early days of the Internet these were the two services that most people used.

The noughties and the ‘web – 1990 to 2005

The growth of the Internet, particularly from the late 90s onwards, brought huge changes to the way that music was distributed.  It also allowed bands to reach a wider audience, through the medium of the world wide web. This period saw a growth in music festivals and live music venues. The advent of personalised music-playing devices, from the Walkman in the 1970s through to the iPhone’s launch in 2007, allowed listening to become a personalised experience. By contrast, the rise of the big festivals, raves and the construction of high-capacity arenas, brought back a social element to the experience of music, one not seen since the demise of the music halls in the early years of the twentieth century.

One other thing, that the rise of mass Internet usage brought about, was the ability of bands, musicians and singers to publish their own music, challenging the industrial supremacy of the record labels.

Mass broadband and the popularity of first MySpace and then Facebook, enabled the rise of the DIY artists – those who could record music in their bedrooms and reach a large market, usually very cheaply. This revolutionised the means of musical production, compared to the days when the production of gramophone records was prohibitively expensive for the unsigned group or individual. YouTube, Reverbnation and Soundcloud further aided the rise of self-production of music.

In 2005, Arts in Leicestershire was founded. The domain name was registered on 22nd February; this was soon followed by the publication of the early version of the Arts in Leicestershire website, which later became a magazine. The site published content on all forms of art but half its content was about music. By its hey day, over 600 pages existed on the site (covering all genres of music) and, at the height of its popularity,  it had over 28,000 readers per month. The first gig reviews were published on it in 2007. This was made possible by the availability of inexpensive hosting services.  In 2013 the music content was transferred to a new site called Music in Leicester.  When the music content of the old Arts in Leicester website was removed from the Internet, I began making plans to re-publish the gig reviews as a book. Fortunately, I archived the whole of the Arts website to disk and then extracted all the gig reviews, hundreds of them, to a separate file and arranged them into chronological order. The resulting ‘book’ was given the working title A compendium of Leicester gig reviews; it contains a year by year account of many of the music events that took place in Leicester from 2007 through to 2013 when Music in Leicester started. The only other publication to comprehensively record live music over a period of time was The Monograph. Live music is an ephemeral phenomenon and evidence of what happened quickly disappeared. Anyone wishing to research music will find it difficult to extract material from verifiable sources.

At Leicester University, the Oral History Archive has recorded over a thousand interviews with local people and in some of them,  they talk about music, gigs and the shows they went to. Music journalism often misses an important side of life – what people remember about their experience of music events. Today, music fans post their thoughts and experiences on social media every day but this rapidly disappears and there is no easy way to gather and store it for use by the researchers of the future.

Apart from social media platforms, independent websites were set up that provided information about the Leicester music scene. In 2009 Alan Freeman published a list of Leicester rock bands on his website. Arts in Leicester maintained a listing of local rock bands for many years; this captured the names of bands that were playing and sometimes where they came from and style of music they played. Analysing this data enabled Arts in Leicester to claim that ‘Leicester had more bands per head of population than most other cities of comparable size.’

It was in the mid-noughties that Facebook began to challenge MySpace as the ‘must have’ presence on the ‘web for bands, singers, rappers and music artists, alongside countless thousands of music fans who followed them.  There were some early adopters, from Leicester,  such as the singer and songwriter Kevin Hewick who opened an account on it in 2005. Trevor Locke also joined Facebook in the same year. Val McCoy, who was the promoter of the OBS, joined Facebook in 2007. Twitter was launched in 2006 and as its presence grew in the UK, bands started to open accounts to tweet about their activities.

Bands too began to register domain names and to use them for their own websites. Kasabian was one of the earliest UK bands to register its own domain name, in 2002, as we noted in chapter 1; Leicester bands like ICTUS, Autohype and The Screening were early adopters of free-standing websites with their own tailor-made web addresses (i.e. domain names.) Maybeshewill band registered its own domain name in March 2004.

Logo of Stayfree
Logo of Stayfree

Stayfree music, then based on offices in Conduit Street, was home to a web hosting service that its own servers in the same building.  Many local bands used this service at that time.

Whilst there were a few content management platforms, a lot of websites, in those days, had to be hand-crafted using HTML code. Software, such as Dreamweaver, made the task of designing websites easier. Having been created in 1997, Dreamweaver was taken over by the Adobe corporation in 2005. Its killer function was its ability to write code whilst presenting the page in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get format. Also at that time, Microsoft provided its own proprietary software called Frontpage. There were plenty of people around who could make websites for bands and artists but some musicians were savvy enough with the Internet and computers to do it themselves. The Internet provided people with a means to communicate on a mass basis, something which, in previous periods,  was limited to the printed page and newspapers, along with the broadcast media.

Music in the noughties (2000 to 2005)

This section looks at the period we call ‘the noughties’ before moving on to the 1990s (in part 2)

The period 2000 to 2005 saw much activity on the Leicester music scene as bands formed, gigs and events took place on a regular basis and there was a high level of activity across all areas of the city’s music industry. The growth of the Internet, from 2002 onwards,  brought significant changes to the way that music was publicised and distributed; it also allowed bands to reach wider audiences, through the world wide web. This period saw a considerable growth in music festivals and live music venues. One other thing that the rise of mass Internet usage brought about was the ability of bands, musicians and singers to publish their own music, challenging the industrial supremacy of the record labels. The mass use of broadband and the popularity of first MySpace and then Facebook, enabled the rise of the  DIY artist – those who could record in their bedrooms and reach a market very cheaply via the Internet.

Leicester developed a vibrant live music economy as venues, bands and festivals began to grow. The number of live music venues increased, adding to pubs and clubs as places where live music could be performed or listened to. The small venues allowed bands and promoters to put on their own gigs, hiring the venues and selecting their own line-ups of acts. Gig promoters were usually individuals who had a passion for live music and would hire bands to play in a variety of local venues. Some of them also secured bookings for bands to play outside of Leicester.

Apart from the weekly round of gigs, several large-scale events took place in Leicester, including One Big Sunday, which was organised by the BBC’s Radio 1 and took place on Victoria Park on 20th July 2003. It attracted an audience of over 100,000 people.

One Big Sunday on Victoria Park
One Big Sunday on Victoria Park

In February 2000, a big show was held at the DeMontfort Hall ‘featuring the very best bands from Leicester’ and ran from 2 pm to 11pm.  On the advertised line-up were Saracuse (later to become Kasabian), Pendulum,  Last Man Standing, The 13twelve, Marvel, Slider, Fusion, The Incurables and several others. The first Original Bands showcase was held in 2004. The band that won that year was The Dirty Backbeats. The OBS is till going today (2015). In 2006 we saw the beginnings of the Fringe Festival with its mammoth Fringe Thursday, an event that had it’s beginnings as the Summer Sundae Warm Up party. On Fringe Thursday, buses transported music fans around all the live music venues in the city.

It can be argued that such series of shows supported the local music scene and encouraged people to see bands, who might not otherwise have bothered. The value of serial events, such as the OBS, is unclear, in a long-term perspective, but each year they have created live music opportunities for large numbers of acts and the fans who went to see them. Taking part in something like the OBS is enough reward in itself, it could be said. Leicester has not developed any kind of awards recognition institution to celebrate the best of its local music; in fact, as far as amateur local music is concerned, only a handful of cities in the UK have established annual awards ceremonies. Awarding music band and singers is something that was done at national level. This might seem odd given the large number of TV programmes devoted to singing and entertainment competitions that enjoyed massively big audiences. Perhaps local recognition is not so valued as that conferred at national level. Things like Battles of the Bands have occurred regularly in Leicester throughout the noughties and 90s. As a way of organising live music, such series of gigs attracted considerable controversy from bands and fans alike. Leicester bands participated in the national competition Surface Unsigned, often with considerable success.

Alastair, Alex and Rooster of The Heroes at Surface Unsigned in Birmingham in 2009
Alastair, Alex and Rooster of The Heroes at Surface Unsigned in Birmingham in 2009

Compact disks and vinyl records were popular in the noughties and Leicester supported a range of retail outlets for them.  Ainsleys record store, once a popular retail outlet, closed in 2004. It was situated opposite the Clock Tower. Wayne Allen was the manager of the store between 1983 and 2001.  He is credited with bringing some of the biggest names in music to the Leicester store, including Englebert Humperdinck, Radiohead, Del Amitri, St Etienne, Stereophonics, Shed Seven and Bananarama. He died in 2012.

Ainleys music shop
Ainleys music shop

We looked at record shops and stores in Chapter 1. With the growth in digital media, sales of plastic sources of media declined but many fans still value the ability to own CDs and vinyl records and bands continue to provide them for their fans.

Leicester has never been noted for its music industry agencies but in Horus Music, established in Birmingham in 2006, later moved to Leicester which is where it is now. I ran Get Your Band On from June 2005 to November 2009; it acted as an agency for rock bands, providing training, bookings, management and bookings. GYBO worked with a number of bands from Leicester as well as supporting bands and artists from all over the UK. During this period, several people became promoters, putting on gigs and events; in most cases they were individuals. Alongside those who worked with rock bands, there were several entertainment agencies that provided a range of artists for music-related clients. What Leicester lacked in modern times was band management; people or agencies specialising in providing management, bookings and publicity services have been few and far between, given the very large number of bands and artists that have existed in the city. The majority of bands and artists had to do all these things themselves.

Venues in the noughties

The year 2000 saw Darren Nockles take over the Bakers Arms in Wharf Street South, a public that had been active since the 1970s, turning it into the venue we know today as The Musician. The old Musician closed it’s doors on 31st December 2004 only to re-opened in 2005. The Donkey, a pub in Welford Road, became a music venue in 2005. In the following year Gaz Birtles began work there as a promoter. Many will have fond memories of the small venue in the city centre called The Attik. It ran from 1989 to 2006. Andy Wright, who ran The Charlotte remembers that on “16th January 2009, the police shut the doors to stop anymore people getting in and shut the bar down .. was fun that night.” Concerts were held at the University of Leicester, mainly in the Queens Hall and the DeMontfort Hall continued to put on performances by rock bands and orchestras playing classical music. Several large music events were held at The Granby Halls (demolished in 2001 to make way for a car park serving the nearby Tigers Rugby Club.) The Who played there on the opening night of their 1981 tour on 25th January 1981. Churches, including the Cathedral, also provided music-lovers with concerts of music; they kept alive Leicester’s choral tradition which started in the middle ages. It was not just venues that grew over this period. Nightclubs were also popular for those who wanted to hear DJs playing recorded tracks. MOSH nightclub opened in 2003. ‘Red Leicester’ was The University of Leicester Students’ Union Wednesday official night out from 2004 – 2014.

Festivals in the noughties

The first Summer Sundae festival was held in Leicester in 2001. It became one of the most important events both for national bands and artists as well as for the many local acts that played. It attracted an audience from all parts of the country.  A festival was held in Abbey Park in 2002. The Abbey park music festivals played an seminal role in the development of Leicester’s music, from1981 until their demise about twenty years later.  In 2009, Leicester band Autohype played to a crowd of over 20,000 at Abbey park’s bonfire night. A similar-sized crowd was present in 2014 when rising pop stars The Vamps were the headline act, supported by local artists Jonezy and Curtis Clacey. Glastonbudget festival started in 2005 (as mentioned in the previous chapter) and has continued to run every year up to the present day. Strawberry Fields festival started in 2010. Quite a few small local festivals were organised, sometimes on a one-off basis. In 2009 and 2008 Arts in Leicester reported on Summer Sundae, the Big Session festival held on Victoria Park, Glastonbudget, Fristock, and regular events that included music in their programme, such as Gay Pride, Diwali, Caribbean Carnival and the Belgrave Mela. Just over the Leicestershire border, Download attracted large numbers of people from our local area and Arts in Leicester listed the bands that played there. Batfest took place on 21st August, 2010 near Ibstock and was organised by Elliot O’Brart. Batfest was an annual event held for charity in the tiny but pretty village of Battram. The festival was primarily a music festival with a couple of stalls selling home made cakes and a raffle stall [Arts in Leicester magazine] This was typical of a large number of local music events that took place in the city and county during the noughties. Other examples included Cosby Big Love, the Braunstone Carnival (which usually featured a music stage), Glastonblaby, and the Oxjam festivals.

Bands of the noughties

I cannot speak from personal experience about Leicester’s live music scene much before 2005.  My very first reporter’s notebook goes back to 2006. I did not start writing about local music much before 2001; in that year I started a website called Travel to Leicester which had a section about the entertainment which visitors to Leicester could find and which mentioned gigs, bands and venues. During the 1990s I wasn’t living in Leicester; my home was outside the city in Blaby district and in those days we didn’t come into the city at night – unless we had to. It was not until November 2002 that I went to The Shed for the first time. Hence, I missed out on music, as far as Leicester was concerned, in the ’90s. I did, however, attend One Big Sunday, on Victoria Park in July 2003.

It was in 2005 that I started Arts in Leicestershire, a website that took over the content about the arts, including music from the Travel to Leicester website. I have written about the history of this Arts website, now called a magazine [Arts in Leicester] and have covered its history [Arts in Leicester]

Skam playing at The Shed in 2005
Skam playing at The Shed in 2005

From 2005, I really got to know the local bands. Under a heading ‘2007’ I noted many of the bands that were popular at the time. In May 2007, an extensive listing of gigs was well under way. This page showed some of the promoters that were active at the time, such as 101 Promotions which was run by Paul Matts (who previously managed the Attik live music venue.) As far as I know I wrote my first gig review in 2006, the same year that I joined Facebook; in just ten years the Internet had gone from being a fairly limited system to one that offered an array of services, many of them multimedia, and new platforms were coming on stream on a regular basis. I started to write gig reviews for Arts in Leicester magazine, together with collaborators such as Kevin Gaughan; at one time there were as many as 600 amateur bands based in the city and the county. ‘Leicester is home to over 400 working bands, playing all styles of music. Here we give a guide to our pages that are about bands in 2012’ [Arts in Leicester magazine, 2012]

The magazine also featured local bands in its Band of the Month, pages and listed of all known bands in the East Midlands from 2011 to 2013. Here is the list of bands that were given featured (band of the month) status:

The Manhattan Project, Backline, Messini Assault, Beat Club, The Utopians, Breek, Subdude, Full Circle, Forty More Autumns, Razmataz, Smoking the Profit, The Heroes, The Truth, The Chairmen (Oct 08), Kids in Cars (Nov 08), Formal Warning (Dec 08), The Steptoos (January 09), The Pennyhangers (February 09), Project Notion (March 09), Skam# (April 09), Shortwave Fade (May 09), The Waits (June 09), Kill The Batman (July 09), The Fazed (August 09), Autohype (Sept 09), Weekend Schemers (Oct 09), AstroManiacs (Nov 09), Azidify (Dec 2009), Kicking Habits (Jan 2010), Drive By Disco (early Feb 2010), The Stiggz (late Feb 2010), Iziggy (Mar 2010), Third Time Lucky (May 2010), Neon Sarcastic (June 2010), Silent Resistance (Jul 2010), Ashdowne (Aug 2010), Go Primitive (Sep 2010), The Black Tears (Oct 2010), Us Wolves (Nov 2010), Maybeshewill (Dec 2010), Skam# (Feb 2011), Glassfoot (Mar 2011), Aphtershock (April 2011), The Boobytraps (May 2011), SuperEvolver (June 2011), Rassoodocks (July 2011), The Chairmen (August 2011), Midnight Wire (September 2011), Muleta Smiles (October 2011), By The Rivers (November 2011), Arms of Atlas (January 2012), Raptusound (February 2012), Resin (March 2012) No band of the month in April, May and June 2012. Vengeance (July 2012). Smokin’ The Profit (August 2012), Axis Mundi (September 2012)

Skam playing at The Firefly in 2005
Skam playing at The Firefly in 2005

The very early Band Of The Month entries have been lost but were very limited (just a highlighted mention and not much more). Covers and commercial bands were listed separately. The magazine also published pages about new bands that had started and young bands. The news sections reported on local bands, venues and music events. Two sections specialised in coverage of African and Asian music (the latter being edited by the late Harjinder Ohbi.) There was also a page about underground and alternative music. The old website – Travel to Leicester – included details of where karaoke evenings took place. In those days these frequently featured high quality singers who attended them and sang for fun; some of them were professional artists and others were simply very good vocalists. Rock was not the only type of music to be covered; the website also had a page about jazz in Leicester and this content was carried across to the new Arts in Leicester web site when it was created in 2005. Bands mentioned in 2007 included The Eaves, Tommy’s heroes, My Amour, Taste The Chase, Ictus, Quaternary Limit, The Iconics, The Jack of Hearts band, The Beat Club, M48, Drumlins, Screwloose, The Chairmen, NG26 (from Nottingham), Proud to have met you, Manhattan Project, The Utopians, 1000 Scars, Killquicks, Sub-Rosa, Firstwave, Kid Vicious, The Codes, Ailse 13, The Elite, Backline, Silent Devices, September Flaw, Messini Assault, Half of Nothing, Rise as one, Black River Project, Internal Conflict, The Authentics, Pink Strip, Blue Light District, Breek and many more. Most of these were local bands, a few were out of town bands that regularly came to play in the city.

Capture The Flag at The Shed in 2009
Capture The Flag at The Shed in 2009

In September 2004, Kasabian released their debut album.  Having started life as Saracuse, they played one of their first gigs at The Shed, in 2009. The name Kasabian became associated with Leicester,  in much the same way as Arctic Monkeys was associated with Sheffield and Oasis was associated with Manchester. Engelbert Humperdinck said ‘It’s so wonderful to know that we have another up and coming big name on the horizon from Leicester.  I am proud to be from  Leicester.’ [Shooman, 2008] Five musicians, most of them from Blaby and Countesthorpe, formed a band called Saracuse which made an early appearance at The Shed in September 1997. The band also played at the Three Nuns pub in Loughborough and later performed at the town’s University. They also played at the Princess Charlotte in Leicester, in 1999, the same year went back to play again at The Shed. In 2005 the band performed at Glastonbury festival on the ‘other stage.’ It was Kasabian’s third single Club Foot that brought them chart success in 2004. The band won the best live act award at the 2007 NME ceremony. The band became signed to Sony Music. [Shooman, 2008]

Dan White the singer in 2009
Dan White the singer in 2009

Leicester band Roxum formed in 2005 and went on to become a very popular act on the local scene. The year 2008 saw the formation of a clutch of local bands including Neon Sarcastic, Little Night Terrors, The Chairmen, Axis Mundi, The Boobytraps, and many others. In 2009 we saw the emergence of Formal Warning, The Furies, Arms of Atlas, The Weekend Schemers – all of these bands went on to become popular on the local scene and had active careers in music.  Because Arts in Leicester was an arts magazine, it could cover a much wider scope of music than rock and pop; concerts of classical music, opera, ballet and musicals were also reviewed and it made some attempt to report on music from ethnic communities, such as the Indian community. Several local bands achieved national notoriety and success. Among these we would include By The Rivers, The Displacements, Midnight Wire and These Furrows. Many other acts achieved notable successes. For example, The Heroes played at the Glastonbury festival in 2009. Other Leicester bands to play at the coveted Glastonbury festival included By The Rivers.

In July 2008, The Heroes won a competition to be opening band on the main stage at the Summer Sundae festival. ‘Thousands of you voted and the results are in… The winners are… Leicester band The Heroes are to open The Weekender in Leicester.’ Guitarist Alex Van Roose went on to form Midnight Wire and lead vocalist Alex Totman went on to form Selby Court band. [Locke, 2015]

Rehearsal rooms and recording studios in the noughties

Several recording studios have come and gone and some are still open today. Deadline Studios, in Aylestone Road, started in 2001; others include Quad Studios, in Friday Street, Yellow Bean Studios (from 2010), in Western Road, (another studio Western Studios, operated in the same premises in around the year 2006). HQ in Charles Street opened in 2012, providing a small recording room. Some Leicester bands went to Nottingham to record their music and some even to London and places further afield. In 2011 Flat Five Records was set up by the Potts brothers, in honour of their father the legendary jazz trumpeter Mick Potts. They published the work of many important bands of this period, such as Kenworthy.

Trevor Locke

References

References are given on a separate page.

See also

Introduction to the series History of Music in Leicester

Chapter 1 – Music in modern times

Music and technology

 

References

References

to the articles of the History of Music in Leicester series

Introduction

Chapter 1 : Music of Today

Chapter 2 –

Chapter 2 Part 2 – The 1990s

Chapter 2 Part 1 – 1990 to 2005

These references are referred to in the articles of  The History of Music in Leicester

Berners-Lee, Tim, 1999, Weaving the web, The past, present and future of the world wide web by its inventor, Texere.

Jones, Rhian, 2015, Small venues are under threat, but what does it mean for the music industry?, iMusician web site.

Locke, Trevor, 2015, The Heroes… in golden times. The story of a band. Book. ArtsIn Publishing, Leicester.

Miller, Colin, 2012, A degree of swing – lessons in the facts of life; Leicester 1958-64, Derby Books.

The Music Venue Trust, March 2015, Understanding Small Music Venues, a report published by the MVT, London.

Shooman, Joe, 2008, Kasabian: sound, movement & Empire, Independent Music Press.

Spellman, Peter, 2002, The Musician’s Internet: on-line strategies for success in the music industry, Berkless Press.

Recommended background reading

Freeman, Alan, 2009, Local Band and Artists, blog article.

Harris, John, February 2013, Can the UK’s ‘toilet circuit’ of small venues survive?, The Guardian.

Music and Technology, 2015, Arts in Leicester magazine

 

History Music in Leicester

The History of music in Leicester

a series of articles by Trevor Locke

See below for links to the articles in this series.

Introduction

This series of articles traces the music that was heard and played in Leicester from contemporary times backwards. These articles are to be published in the magazine Arts in Leicester. The articles are concerned mainly with popular music; although classical music is not ignored, the focus is on the music of the people.

The Splitters at the Charlotte, October 2003. Photo: Harjinder Ohbi
The Splitters at the Charlotte, October 2003.
Photo: Harjinder Ohbi

All music is a reflection of the time in which it was made; it is part of the community; it is a cultural manifestation of the values, preoccupations and tastes of the people in whose time is was performed. Hence, we have to described the life and times of a period to fully understand its music.

The Delis Mix at The Exchange in 2012
The Delis Mix at The Exchange in 2012

The articles therefore annotate the life and times of the city of Leicester through the lense of its musical activities. It is both a contribution to local history and a timeline of the development of music.

Quaternery Limit at The shed in 2007
Quaternery Limit at The shed in 2007

My plan is to work backwards from the starting point of 2014. How far backwards? Well, in my original plan I go back to the time of the Romans; that being pretty much the start of written history. Anything before that period would require the results of archaeology because we would then be talking about pre-history, about which not a lot is known.

Kasabian in Leicester, August 2004 Photography by Harjinder Ohbi
Kasabian in Leicester, August 2004
Photography by Harjinder Ohbi

Articles already published

The music of today (2005 to 2014)

1990 to 2005

Part 1 – the noughties (2000 to 2005)

Part 2 – the 1990s music and the rise of the Internet (1990 to 2005)

Articles in preparation

The era of radio and records (1940 to 1990)

At some point in the future, my plan is to published a book about the history of music in Leicester. This will include a much fuller and more details account that the brief annotations in these articles.
My hope is that, by publishing the brief articles, people will offer details and contributions to the final book.

See also:

Chapter 1 – Music in modern times

Chapter 2 – part 1 – The 2000s

Chapter 2 – part 2 – The 1990s

Music and technology

References (referred to in the articles)

Teleworking and the Growth of Community Networks

Teleworking and the Growth of Community Networks.

Paper given the second international conference on Telework held in Amsterdam from 2nd September to 5th September 1997.

Trevor Locke

Let me first of all offer some clarifications of terminology. By ‘telecentre’ I mean a building or location offering facilities which support teleworking. By ‘teleworking’ I mean economic activity that involves the use of ICTs as a core business function. By ‘community networks’ I mean ICT mediated connections among a group of users. ICT means Information and Communications Technologies.

Delegates at the conference reception in 1997
Delegates at the conference reception in 1997

1. Telecentres

If we look at what we might call a ‘classical’ model of a telecentre, we would see a building, probably in a rural area, in which we would find computers, printers, software, most likely a photocopier. IT might also have a scanner and a rack of leaflets and brochures about local business support services, what the council does, where to get advice about tax and so on. In the UK and in some parts of Europe, telecentres are sometimes called ‘telecottages’. In the UK well over half of all the units listed by the Telework and Telecottage Association as being telecentres have names that include neither the word ‘telecentre’ or the work ‘telecottage’ but which are called by some business or community name, for example Adur Resource Centre, BOON Ltd, Colne Valley Trust Business Services. All the TCA listed units have had to pass selection criteria in order to be listed in its directory and hence they can be referred to as telecentres, even if they are not called that.

Telecentres emerged in the mid 80s as a response to the demand for access to IT but at a time when PCs were not as affordable as they are today. The first telecottage to open in the UK was the Moorlands Telecottage near Buxton and it is still there today. The first telecottages in Europe started a few years earlier in Sweden but as a concept they were born in the United States where a range of projects and initiatives began to make computing facilities available to people in local communities.

Now [1997] there are about 160 telecentres in the UK in membership of the Telecottages and Teleworkers Association (the TCA). There are some chains of telecentres such as those being developed in Devon – the RATIO project – designed to put some 40 local centres into place across the county. In Norfolk there are half a dozen telecentres established by partnerships and funded by Europe and similarly Powys has a network of local centres. In general however telecentres in the UK tend to be individual units and the majority of them are supported by public funding to some extent, primarily in their first few years before they make the transition to sustainable business. Many are purely business units but most perform dual business and community roles.
The majority are one off projects created locally by people or groups. Very many of them now offer access to the Internet. They are not Cybercafes – there is also a UK network of independently run Cybercafes that offer access to the Internet. The primary function of the telecentre is to provide a physically accessible location for access to Information Technology and its supporting functions of training, consultancy and maintenance.

A map showing the location of the telecentres across the UK indicates that they range from the Islands of Scotland down to the South West peninsula with a concentration in Wales and perhaps something of a scarcity in the Midlands. Despite its population concentration and its large rural counties, the Midlands is not well served by telecentres.

2. Teleworking

Teleworking is a very varied phenomena. It is a form of economic activity that has very open and permeable boundaries. I would argue however that there are some characteristics of teleworking that are essential to its being a definable activity.

There are three defining characteristics of teleworking: the first is working with Information Technology. Teleworking is largely about knowledge or information based activities. It would be difficult to regard someone who does not use a computer as a teleworker. It is often confused with home working. Many teleworkers do work at home but not all and it is not an essential characteristic. There are many home workers who do not use computers as a prime business function; there are home workers who happen to use computers as do many self-employed people or small businesses and there are home workers who have no computers at all and would never need one. A person who receives work in the post from a remote client, processes it without the use of IT and delivers it back by post could claim to be a teleworker and would indeed fit some of the criteria. Hence my argument that the definition is open and not watertight but I don’t think this what most people would regard as teleworking.

Secondly, teleworking, in essence, involves working over distance, involving some form of telecommunications medium such as e-mail, FTP, ISDN and so on. It is possible to telework with a telephone and a fax machine but this would be a very marginal form of teleworking. The mainstream of telework is computer based and in fact ICT oriented. The ability to send files along telephone lines has always been seen to be an important aspect of teleworking and has been possible for over fifteen years now. Some teleworkers have sent their products by computer disk rather than by file transfer. Some are multi-tasking with a portfolio of clients and their output and mode of delivery might vary from one job to another.

Thirdly, it involves the delivery of work to a remote employer to customer or client. This involves a contractual or management relationship different to that normally associated with face to face work in offices. Teleworkers can be employees, self employed or members of a small business, collective or virtual team. There is no point in talking about getting a job as a teleworker: it is a mistake people make who misunderstand the terminology. I often say to them: would you look for a job as an employee? No, of course not. So no one works as a teleworker. People do teleworking as part of their job or business. Some teleworkers have just one customer (possibly an employer) and others have many customers. The key characteristic is that they are far enough away from each other that the cost of traveling to face to face encounters is more than the cost of telecommuting. Another feature is that the telework owns his own means of production and maintains his own workplace but that on its own is not a sufficient characteristic.

3. Telework and Patterns of Work.

Patterns of work are changing and this has fuelled the recent growth of and interest in teleworking together with other forms of flexible patterns of work. The job for life has disappeared and the full time, permanent job is becoming increasingly rare. Jobs as being replaced by contracts, self employment and piece work. Corporations have downsized and shed tiers of specialists and middle managers as they have adopted flatter management structures and have sub-contracted specialist functions. Increasing investment in technology has reduced the need for technical posts. This has in some areas flooded the market with people who need to replace the full time permanent job with some form of self employment.

Telecentres do support teleworkers but alongside other species of self-employed worker and micro business. They also support volunteers from local communities and provide resources for the employed teleworker. They often perform both business incubation and community support functions.
The number of teleworking employees has grown steadily as large companies have realised the economic benefits to be gained from offer teleworking is one of a number of flexible working practices. This grow has been supported by the market for ICT: costs have reduced comparatively but at the same time the productivity of the technology has increased. Teleworking still remains however a marginal mode of working even within ‘white collar’ and professional occupations. No UK government has yet adopted taxation policies designed to offer incentives to employers to developing teleworking. The increasing costs of transport (especially commuter transport) has also pushed teleworking and as urban traffic congestion increases and the cost per mile of commuting increases, so the pressure towards teleworking will grow.

4. Community Networks (C-Nets)

The 1970s and 80s saw the rise of the low cost personal computer. The last 80s and the 90s have witnesses the mass ownership of PCs. The 90s have seen the phenomenal growth of the Internet. These trends in the IT market have resulted in the development and spread of community networks – C-nets – as ICTs have become more accessible and affordable. Underlying these trends in IT have been fundamental changes in the power and sophistication of telephone networks. There has been a convergence of telephone and computer technologies.

Terrestrial telephone networks have increased in power and sophistication. Teleworking products have been developed for the small office and home office markets. ISDN is becoming less expensive, mobile phone or satellite telephone networks have grown enormously and the traditional copper wire has been replaced by fibre optic and satellite connections over many of the principle trunk routes.

In response to these trends in the technology, C-nets have arisen, driven by economic, education and social agendas. Often these came into being (in the USA) by colleges or libraries reaching out into the community to bring in people who were otherwise unable or unwilling to access the resources they had to offer. The features that distinguish C-Nets from other activities on the Internet are (a) the offer a diverse range of information, (b) they serve all sectors of the community and (c) they offer and encourage levels of interaction from email to synchronous conferencing. But above all they are people-focused and place-oriented. This definition can be found on the web site of UK Communities On-Line, the organisation that acts as the focus for C-Nets in the UK. David Miller of Sheffield University has written a paper discussing types of electronic information networks [commities.org.uk]
David focuses on geographical networks rather than those which function as a community of interest. He argues that C-Nets should be free at the point of access and owned and controlled by the communities served. A comprehensive list of local community networks in the UK can be found communities.org.uk [no longer on this website].

The significance of C-Nets for teleworking is that they perform functions that are similar to telecentres in supporting individual teleworkers. Local C-Nets can act as distributed telecentres, providing teleworkers with many of the functions previously available only at telecentres. C-Nets can support both geographical communities and communities of interest. The Telework Forum at America on Line is a community of interest, being a network mediated group of teleworkers, mainly from the UK but with some from North America and Europe, receiving support and interacting with each other via the Internet.

A street in Amsterdam, 1997
A street in Amsterdam, 1997

5. The World Wide Growth in C-Nets

Freenets came into being in the USA and Canada and then found a foothold in Europe. They have now arrived in the UK having become a world wide phenomenon. The first Freenet was established in Cleveland, Ohio in 1986 and is now said to be the “largest community network in the world”.
Freenet Finland is an Internet based network for Finnish elementary, secondary and high schools that provides free access to the Internet. It enables the whole community to gain access to learning. It is financed by the National Board for Education and its costs about 95,000 per year and has some 70,000 subscribers.

To take another example, the Seattle Community Network is a free, public computer network run by volunteers. It is committed to running equal access to information for all users. User registration is free and includes an e-mail account. Visitors can read Usenet newsgroups, participate in forums and join some face to face activities including regular general meetings of the users. Many neighbourhoods, environmental groups, arts groups, political parties, schools, health care and social advocates, outdoor clubs and others discuss their activities on this network. The SCN is a non-profit organisation [www.scn.org].

Cheap internet access in the US has in some areas resulted in about half the population being on line on a regular basis. An article in the Washington Post (May 1997) reports that more than 50% of the 37,000 residents of Blacksburg, VA, regularly use the Internet. E-mail is the most popular activity followed by personal web pages and reading on-line news. A recent survey discovered that people often spend as much as an hour a day dealing with e-mail. Some voluntary organisations have reported increased attendance at face to face meetings as a result of publishing notices about them on the Internet.
Community networks offer much more than just information or communications. They offer multiple functions: (a) Information through web pages, e-mailing lists, on-line newsletters, newsgroups (b) Communications through e-mail and chat rooms (c) Training either on line or face to face, formal courses and skills exchange programmes and (d) Access to IT and software through the provisional of kiosks, terminals and resource centres.
Where connectivity is concerned, C-nets can network through the Internet, through cable intranets or through wireless. A full community network is more than just hardware and connectivity: it involves agendas that are about community support and change. They can provide a platform for business incubation, learning, entertainment, debate, net-activism, democracy or youth work. They are infrastructures for the delivery of community development or social action and for the support and maintenance of various forms of economic activity.

C-nets have many features and functions available to them and have the capacity to become information rich. Hence one of the most important features is content. Web sites are becoming ubiquitous and information is becoming available through web browsers as a standard medium for navigation and display. Some of the information systems set up using Teletext are now converting to Internet compatible web browsers. Other information systems rely on touch screen technology which has become very sophisticated in recent years.

The characteristics of community networks therefore include (a) organised providers and users of information, (b) provision of an information rich system generating organised and navigable content, (c) open public access or registered users, (d) connectivity through telephone dialup, cable or wireless, (e) social and community agendas including civic engagement, democracy, citizen empowerment, business support, incubation and regeneration, social and cultural enrichment, a medium for community communication.

These networks grow out of pre-existing communities, providing a medium that will to be some extent replace paper with electronics. The first generation of C-nets were very text based using bulletin board techniques. HTML’s growth allowed more graphical content to develop and content to become livelier and more colourful. Improvements in the technology and software permitted interactive techniques, such as chat to enrich communications.
Local governments are beginning to see the potential for using ICTs to gather feedback from service users. There has always been and no less so now a considerable use of ICTs in the field of education. The voluntary sector is gradually taking up Internet functions but is one of the slowest sectors to move in this direction.

6. Telecenters versus community networks

Telecentres have played their part in providing access to IT but that role is now being challenged as PCs become cheaper, modems become cheaper and more and more computers are being brought on-line. This enables C-nets to provide remote access to facilities such as printers, high spec peripherals and software banks. What I envisage is that telecentres will become smaller and will cease to provide much in the way of access to PCs but will concentrate on providing high specification and high value facilities that can be accessed remotely. They might take on the role of resource and training centres for local communities of self employed people, teleworkers and those running offices at home. They will need to base their business plans not on casual users but on contract users who contribute to subscriptions and sub-contract packages on an annual basis. There will be insufficient demand for access to PCs and mass consumption software to sustain these as viable business units on that function alone.

There will still be demand for access but through existing community channels such as schools, colleges, libraries and community centres rather than through specialist units such as telecentres. Telecentres need to be compared with networks in terms of the access facilities that they provide.
The future pattern of service provision envisaged here is of small resource hubs comprising servers supporting a small amount of direct hands on utilisation but with a much large amount of remote utilisation. High value, high capacity printers will be accessed by remote users and the output couriered or posted back, depending on quality and distance. Some out put might be manually channelled into the postal services. Some units might offer call centre and paper handling services for contract clients. Training, consultancy and maintenance services as part of the service agreements will enhance business viability and sustainability.

Connectivity will be in the form of subscription intranets based on ISDN or fibre optic cabling. These intranets, offering a higher level of content and systems management than the public Internet, will incorporate an array of digital conferencing functions, including white boarding techniques, video conferencing, increasing utilisation of audio platforms and much more sophisticated e-mail. They will enable use of applications similar to Lotus Notes.

All telecentres need staffing of some kind: the majority of telecentres have paid staff to run then though I suspect many depend heavily on volunteers. This imposes costly overheads. In addition the buildings themselves are costly overheads with a range of running expenses. By comparison networks are capital rather than labour intensive. The overheads of C-nets can be spread amongst a much larger number of users; even the largest telecentres probably will not have more than 20 or 30 people using their facilities at peak times. C-Nets can support hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous users. The comparisons pose a number of problems of course. In C-nets the working capital involves the users owning their own equipment; in Telecentres, users come in and rent equipment and software. C-net users do not of course use their computers solely for the purpose of accessing the network.

Unit costs of telecentres are likely to be higher than those for C-Nets because overhead costs can be spread amongst a much higher population of users. The producers in telecentres are comparatively few: often only the staff working in them. But in C-Nets all users are potentially producers. Any users who contributes a comment, piece of information or message to the system become one of a multitude of content producers. C-Nets are more likely than are telecentres to have a multiplicity of people and groups involved in information provision, content management, training and advice provision and development functions.

7. The impact of C-Nets on Teleworking

The needs of teleworkers for training and support services will probably not change very much during the growth of C-Nets but the means for meeting these needs will. Teleworkers will access support functions on-line rather than by a visit to a local telecentre. The connectivity of both the local C-Net and the global Internet will generate more and more scope for collaborative working. Teleworkers will have increased potential for working together in teams, exchanging skills, information and knowledge, forming virtual businesses and securing contracts collectively that would be denied to them as individuals.

As markets become increasingly global, so too will producers. C-Nets are both geographical and interest-oriented. It is quite possible for there to be a C-Net for teleworkers at European level and indeed the ETO (European Telework On-Line) is just about there in the range of functions it delivers.

Local C-Nets can and do support teleworkers by meeting those informational, communications and training needs are a best provided on a local basis. C-Nets can help to develop teleworking locally and provide forums and packages for teleworkers. Companies might be more willing to allow employees to telework if they knew that there was a local C-Net which would provide support. The cost of deploying teleworkers would decrease a little if some support services were to be provided by the C-Net rather than the company. Some local governments in the UK are providing teleworking employees with support services through telecentres and neighbourhood offices but there is scope to also provide these services on-line. Both national and local governments should encourage the growth and development of C-Nets as infrastructures for business, education and community needs. There should be a synergy between local C-Nets and the Internet.

8. Conclusions

The growth of ICTs is likely to present a serious challenge to the continuation of telecentres in their present form. There is no reason to conclude that telecentres will become extinct but their role and function is likely to change considerably as C-nets become more and more common. Instead of producing access to computers, C-Nets are likely to radically curtail this service or cease it altogether. If they continue to provide access to software it will be through file transfer, allowing down loading of software files or through client-server use – allowing the user access to software packages on-line. Telecentres in C-net areas are likely to become very much smaller and to operate mainly as part of the C-Net. Their main function will be to provide access to peripherals – high specification and high cost equipment that most users could not afford to own individually and who would use such machines relatively infrequently.

Telecentres as part of C-Nets are likely to offer high specification colour printing, a variety of presentation and graphical technologies, on-line software libraries and a variety of multi-media support facilities. In a nutshell the telecentre will be an on-line facility concentrating on providing access to equipment or software which is either too expensive or too low-use for the individual user to maintain.

C-Nets will lead to much more collaborative working of people within business communities. In fact, the availability of the technology will incubate virtual businesses. This has already begun to happen, with teams and virtual companies already being a familiar aspect of cyberspace. What we are likely to see is the development of knowledge managers, such as professionals with higher degree qualifications being supported by the system, a range of technicians with skills and competencies in various niches of the emergent work market and clerical and administrative support workers covering a range of functions.

Hence what we will see is the replacement of the electronic village hall by the electronic business centre. Facilities previously concentrated in buildings will be invested in networks and distributed over a wider geographical community. Telecentres are likely to experience a transition from being free-standing, independent units to being adjuncts to other community operations. It will become less and less necessary to have dedicated employees running such centres. The new breed of C-Net telesupport hubs are likely to merge with the servers for the C-Nets . Some telecentres might well grasp the nettle and start up C-Nets themselves and replace on-site with on-line users.

The creation and development of C-Nets will have far reaching impacts on work markets (previously called labour markets or job markets). In our vision the word job will become an anachronism. Economic activity will become more varied than in the past, including a wider variety of modes of income creation.

Urban areas will no longer need to provide the main location for economic activity. In the knowledge economy, networking will allow people to live in rural and suburban areas. Transportation will become more diffuse with commuter rush hours diminishing. One area where change is required is education. We need to find ways of stemming the increasing tide of women driving children to school at set times. Schools need to become resource centres.

At present there are intentions of providing schools with internet connections as though this was something experimental with perhaps one computer having a dialup internet account. We think this piecemeal approach should be avoided in favour of a much more strategic approach to community networking.

In order to make C-nets work effectively, there needs to be a coherent and comprehensive telematics strategy at local authority or regional level. This can be achieved through joint public and private investments.

Trevor Locke at 'The Admiral Restaurant', Herengracht
Trevor Locke at ‘The Admiral Restaurant’, Herengracht

Trevor Locke was the Proprietor of Event and Project Services.

Writings

10th October 2016

Homelessness

Today I published my essay about homelessness in the UK. It focuses on what it means to have a home and why this is important.

Read my article about Homelessness.

4th December 2015

Housing policy

My book on housing policy in the UK, taking into account some of the changes that took place earlier this year in the autumn statement and new policies emerging as a result of the political changes, particularly in the Labour party.

This book has been published on this blog.

Novel – Holiday

My novel Holiday (working title) is now in its final draft. I plan to seek a publisher for it early next year. Or a literary agent.

The novel tells the story of a group of English teenagers who go on a package holiday to Italy in 1966.  Holiday mixes moments of humour with poignancy, light-hearted frivolity with catharsis, and silliness with seriousness, into a heady cocktail of anecdotes, images and stories. It unravels the complexities of youth, the struggles of adolescence and the clash of cultures with the adventure of discovery in a foreign land. It deals with sexual awakening and the start of the transition from childhood to adulthood. The novel is now ready for publication.

18th August 2015

I am writing about …

I write about a lot of different things.  During August and September  I am doing the following work:

House Bricks:  I am revising and updating the series of four articles I wrote for Arts in Leicestershire magazine on the history of house building and current housing policy issues. The new version is being completely revised and updated.  When finished, I hope to have this published as  book by a publisher. Read my introduction to the original series. (now completed)

The Trench is my second novel. Its story is about a live music venue, in the 1980s, the bands that play there and the people who go to it.  It is a work of fiction but melts together a range of experiences that I have had in venues across Europe. When it is finished I will offer it to literary agents for publication. (awaiting publication)

Holiday: is my first novel. Set in the 1960s, it tells the story of a group of teenagers who go on a packaged holiday in Italy. It dwells on various themes: adolescence, the clash of cultures, European art and religion, the age-gap, and the experience of growing up, sexual awakening and adventure. When it is finished I will offer it for publication. (awaiting publication)

The History of Music in Leicester: is intended eventually to be a book, this is currently being published in chapters on Arts in Leicester magazine. The first chapter is already available online. This was followed by chapter two which deals with the period from 1990 to 2005. I am now working on the third part of the series, which looks at music between the end of the second world world and the beginning of the 1990s. I hope to publish this in October. (preview installments have been published by Music in Leicester magazine.)

The History of Leicester,  my magnum opus,  covers the history of Leicester from the present day back to Roman times. Its perspective is the built environment and it looks at two thousand years of habitation through the buildings that people constructed and the houses in which they lived. This will eventually become a book; before then a variety of articles will be published to supplement those already on Arts in Leicestershire magazine. {a long-term work in progress)

The History of Food: is an article intended for publication in Arts in Leicester magazine. It traces the development of food, farming, distribution and the economics of food production and how cooking is a vital part of the local history of a community. It is part of the History of Leicester series. (various articles published on this blog.

The Economics of live music:  having already written on this subject before [Locke, 2010] I am preparing a follow-up article which delves more deeply into the economics of the local music business. In this article I look at how live music venues are struggling to survive in an age of digital music consumption. See my article on the economics of live music, from 2010. (various articles published on this blog and on Music in Leicester magazine.)

See a list of previously published works of Trevor Locke

MyServices

16th August 2015

Consultancy and services

This page forms part of our archives

I used to provide a range of services, including consultancy.  This is not now my primary focus. I do however run training workshops, from time to time; these are usually concerned with the music business.

My focus now is on writing and I am completing two novels that I plan to offer for publication.

I also write on a variety of subjects (that interest me) as this blog will testify.

I have provided copy-writing services relating to publicity and marketing.

I also run a small Internet business that provides website hosting and web site design. This is called B2B Web Consultants has has been in existence since the year 2000 [it closed in 2016]

This is my new blog

17th November 2017

As you can see, my blog now has its own domain name.

The purpose of this blog is to published my work – my books, essays and articles.

It is my outlet for new material and an archive of things I have written over many, many years.

16th August 2015

This new blog includes the articles that I had on my previous blogs: ‘Trevor’s Music Blog’ and ‘Leicesterprise’

About Trevor’s Music Blog

About Leicesterprise