RUDEBOY: The Story of Trojan Records

I missed any news of this movie on it’s original release in 2018. It’s available on Sky on demand, so if you’ve got that, give it a spin and let me know if you think it’s any good!

Among the cast of legendary artists featured are Lee ‘Scratch’ PerryToots HibbertKen BootheMarcia GriffithsDave BarkerDandy LivingstoneDerrick MorganBunny Lee, Sly & RobbieLloyd CoxsonePauline Black and Neville Staple they’ve certainly got the right people on board.

Here’s the intro from the film’s website.

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RUDEBOY is a film about the origins and ongoing love affair between Jamaican and British Youth culture. A film that explores the power of music to break down cultural barriers and change lives and the eventual birth of a modern multicultural society – all told through the prism of one the most iconic record labels in history, TROJAN RECORDS. Combining archive footage, freshly shot interviews and drama – RUDEBOY tells the story of Trojan Records by placing it at the heart of a cultural revolution that unfolded in the council estates and shanty towns of the late 60’s and 70’s. The film begins in the 1950’s, as Jamaica is slowly transitioning to its eventual independence in 1962. We meet Duke Reid and his legendary Trojan sound system and explore the social and cultural conditions that give rise to the birth of the rude boy, the emergence of sound-system culture and the rise of the distinctive Jamaican sound ska. In Act 2 we land in Britain in the 60’s and look at the Jamaican immigrants’ experience through the eyes of a young Dandy Livingstone. We meet first generation Windrush immigrant Lee Gopthal and witness the birth of Trojan Records while Enoch Powell is giving his Rivers Of Blood speech. There is a growing market for imported ska and new rock steady sounds that Trojan records tap into. Act 3 tells a story of how working-class youth discover the sounds of ska and rock steady and the most the important subculture in modern British history is born, the Trojan Skinhead. A new sound Reggae emerges. Black and white unite on dancefloors as we build up to the landmark for underground skinhead culture and the ‘Spirit of 69’. From 1969 – 1973 Trojan becomes the most important Jamaican label in the world and is at the peak of its powers. The Tighten Up compilation series, spreads the Trojan word to the masses. The label begins releasing almost everything that is sent in as the volume of output becomes incredible. A new gold rush ensues with producers rushing over from Jamaica selling records to Trojan Desmond Dekker emerges as the first star of the underground scene. ‘Double Barrel’ by Dave and Ansel Collins give Trojan their first number 1 hit single. Ken Boothe inspires the lovers rock sound with Trojans second number 1 ‘Everything I Own’. Pop Reggae is born and Black identity and pride builds around these records as a new confident identity is cemented. But the good times can’t last forever as in 1975 the label over extends itself and folds. But the impact of Trojan records lives on, through the 70’s right up to the present day. Jamaican youth culture has flourished and is everywhere you look – it spawned 2Tone, the Notting Hill Carnival, Sound systems, the seeds of the Hip Hop revolution, club culture. The cultural impact of Trojan records has shaped the world we live in.

Grab the soundtrack

If that sparks your interest, you can grab the soundtrack on Amazon, here.

Pop Artist

If I said the name Horace Panter you would probably think of The Specials, at least if you have a decent taste in music and you’re of a certain age! As Sir Horace Gentleman, he was (and still is) the bassist for one of the most iconic bands of the ’80s, spearheading the 2-Tone movement. What you may not know is that Horace and Jerry Dammers met at Art School… where they were both studying  Fine Art.

Today, Horace is very much a painter as well as a musician. He paints in a very Pop Art style… following the mantra of ‘elevating the mundane’, taking a fresh look at the familiar, encouraging the viewer to see ‘everyday’ objects/people with new eyes. I can see influences of British Pop Art’s leading figures, Peter Blake, and also of one of his pupils… Ian Dury (also an accomplished artist) in his work.

Horace’s paintings are often inspired by random events and people. One such painting, ‘The Scooterist’ resulted from a chance meeting with a posse of scooterists outside Coventry’s Transport Museum.The Scooterist © Copyright Horace Panter Art 2014

Horace was asked by local filmmaker, Richard Wood, to participate in promoting a charity event to raise funds for Clare House Hospice in Liverpool. This involved the car, HERBIE (from the eponymous film) being driven from Liverpool to Monte Carlo and Horace joined Lady Godiva (Pru Poretta) on its journey from The Ricoh Arena to the Transport Museum. This short journey was accompanied by a whole raft of vintage VW’s and an honour guard of local scooterists.

It is generally true that scooterists are fans of The Specials so while they were all busy snapping photographs of Horace, he decided to reciprocate and turned his camera on them. Sifting through his photographs later, he turned his attention to the remarkable detail on the scooters and decided to paint one with its rider on board in his typical icongraphic style. He says: ‘There were some amazing scooters … really detailed. All that stuff about pride in appearance, everything just right in terms of both scooter and scooterist, I love it.

Horace didn’t know who the rider was so he put out a call on Facebook and Twitter to ask if anyone could identify the mystery scooterist. Within minutes, responses started to come in and they weren’t all the same! However, half a dozen people pointed to Carl Barlow from the Low Numbers Scooter Club in Leamington Spa. 
It was definitely him, as other photos testified. Horace then contacted Carl by sending him a message on Facebook but by then Carl had had dozens of texts and emails from his friends to tell him that Horace had painted his portrait. Happily, mystery solved. Carl says ‘Over the moon that Horace has chosen to do the pic of me; it’s a real honour! I’m thrilled that he will be letting me have a print. It’s a wonderful painting … not just because I’m in it!’ I’m with Carl on that. There is a real ‘iconic’ feel to the work.

The original painting has been sold. There is a limited edition of 35 prints (40 x 23 cm) available from the galleries listed on Horace’s website: HoracePanterArt, where you can check out his other work, including his series of ‘Cassette’ paintings. You can also check out his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter.

A big thank you to Clare in helping me put this post together.