Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Humanities Society - Teesside Poly 1980 - 83

Humanities Society - Teesside Poly 1980 - 83

The Humanities Society was pre-existing Poly society for those on the BA Humanities course at Teesside Poly, co-ordinated at the time by Pauline Thompson and supported by some of the staff. It's relevance here is that it was the first organisation through which literary activist Trev Teasdel organised his first event on Teesside and which sparked a development that would continue outwards into the wider community.

Pauline assigned Trevor as a first year representative in 1980 when he arrived on Teesside as an undergraduate and later as Secretary. The Humanities organised educational trips for students for example the 1980 residential trip to Stratford to see a series of Shakespeare plays and social events and lectures / discussions.

Relevant here are several mixed media and spoken word events Trevor organised for the Humanities society. Trevor had previously run a music fanzine Hobo in Coventry and the Hobo Workshop in the mid
Aqua Velvas formed out of  Partners in Crime - Russ Teasdale right
70's at the Holyhead Youth Centre. These mixed media gigs, with bands, singer songwriters and poets were aimed at musicians and poets who were just starting off, finding it hard to get gigs etc. In 1980 when Trevor arrived on Teesside many of the musicians that had started off or had early gigs at the Hobo Workshop were beginning to make it and some were in charts after Two Tone had broken through. The importance of providing first step venues and encouraging new musical and literary talent was becoming evident therefore.

On Tuesday 24th March 1981 upstairs at the Empire pub (now the Tavern) on Linthorpe Rd. Middlesbrough

Trev launched the Humpoesic Happening. Named after a word he put together for a competition to find a word that described what The Scaffold did -ie Humour Music and Poetry. The idea was never sent but he used it for various mixed media events. 

The event involved a mix of local or student performance poetry and music. The main event was the local band Partners In Crime - fronted by fellow student Russ Teasdale whose other band Moulin Rouge had won the Battle of the Bands that year with EMF (a Coventry Ska band Trev knew and had written for) coming second. Russ is pictured above with the Aqua Velvas, a band that formed out of Partners in Crime c 1983.

Trev had invited another fellow student - Dave Wood (a link to Dave website and songs)- a singer songwriter who, along with Trev, was on the Student Union Ents committee and were involved with the Poly Folk club at the Lord Welling pub in Middlesbrough. After Dave had played, Trev told him of the idea he had for developing this into a regular event and running creative workshops towards the performances. They decided to progress the idea through the Student Union, forming a Multi Media Society and this was launched in autumn 1981. The Multi Media Society is discussed further in a separate post.

Meanwhile Trev continued to be involved with the Humanities Society and ran an annual mixed media event
for them in addition to the regular Multi Media ones. In March 1982 he organised the second event for the Humanities Society. This time it had a folk emphasis with Alistair Russell - the Scottish folk singer associated with the Ossian and the Battlefield Bands as well as being a fine solo artists. Alistair was living in Middlesbrough at the time. The event was supported by poets and musicians from the Multi Media Society including Dave Wood who played a solo spot and backed Trev on an extended poem. Other singers included Kay Castle,Paul O'Neill, Colin Scarf and Mike Campbell. The gig was advertised on Radio Cleveland's Folk Programme presented by Stuart McFarland (the audio will be attached here soon).

In 1983 the Humanities event included some street theatre from the Multi Media Society and a playlet written by Dave Wood and a performance by the Multi Media Band.

This is an audio clip from Stuart McFarland's Folk programme on BBC Radio Cleveland 1982, advertising the Humanities Gig with Alistair Russell. Listen here

Alistair russell with the Battlefield Band.

Alistair Russell with the Battlefield Band

Some other bits and pieces from Teesside Poly Humanities Society and or The Entertainment Committee work.

A poster I did for the Poly Folk Club

The Ents Committee put Mr Clarke on in the Main Hall

Another of my posters for the Humanities Society.

Jeff Lawson - Social Secretary Teesside Poly 1980 / 81 Jeff was also a singer songwriter from Peterlee.

After the poly folk at the Lord Wellington in Middlesbrough folded a new one opened at the Albert in Albert Road. I did an ad for Voice of the North. Run by Ged and Billy.

Trev Teasdel c 1982

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