The HOBO Music and Arts Workshop 1974 / 75 was community based venture that was the culmination of a number
of threads and a desire to develop more support and facilities for local bands, artists and poets in Coventry and resources for young people with problems such as homelessness, drug or alcohol dependencies, unemployment and so forth. It was both a culmination of previous work and (with hindsight) a defining moment leading to new developments on the Coventry music and arts scene. Also it was a kind of bridge between the fading hippy music scene and the developing punk scene (although one would not know that punk was about to happen, there was a sea-change in the air with a Bowie and Lou Reed sensibility).
There were two main threads to to it -
- A crying need for more facilities for bands, artists and poets in the city - rehearsal space, equipment, venues to get started at, venues to experiment with new material, cross-art forms, musician cooperation etc.
- Advice and Support for young people with problems. (Photo by kind permision of Pete Chambers - from his book The 2 -Tone Trail see books in the side bar for more details)
The Hobo Workshop, based at the Holyhead Youth Centre and later upstairs at the Golden Cross
The first thread was for band facilities etc. came from -
- My involvement with the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club from 1970 onwards. The Umbrella provided a venue and rehearsal space but was limited by space. On advice from the Umbrella Executive I had called on the local authority for help with providing rehearsal space and venues to no avail. When the Umbrella Club in Queen Victoria Rd. was condemned, the Umbrella found itself homeless or drifting from temporary base to temporary base before being given space at the Charterhouse in 1974. It was clear the band scene was not going to be part of the new Umbrella. This left a huge support gap for upcoming and existing musicians. The Hobo Workshop took up the mantle.
- In 1970 Broadgate Gnome and the Diggers movement did much inspirational ground work for local musicians and artists, with reviews of gigs, articles on local bands, concerts and the digger's 'hole' - an artists collective in the bomb hole (outside the Golden Cross.). Although I wasn't involved with it, the Gnome published an article (re-published on this blog) about the Tribal Rock Music Co-operative. It seemed to be a national underground musician network which had synergies with the later Music Collective ethos. The initiative was lost in Coventry (at least) when the Gnome folded in 1971 but the idea of it stayed with me in the creation of the Hobo Workshop. Both Neol Davies and Arole had been involved both with the Tribal Rock gig and the Umbrella and both got involved in some way with the Hobo Workshop.
- Hobo magazine itself had started off by campaigning for wider facilities in its pages and in it's press releases.
- In terms of format was influenced by the experimental Humpoesic Happenings I organised at the Coventry Arts Umbrella and the Birmingham Streetpress gigs already blogged about here.
The second thread was for Youth advisory support which came out of -
- The petition against the RU 18 squad busting underage drinkers without the local authority looking at the issue of a modernised youth provision for young people who were disatisfied with the traditional youth provision, who were intersted in bands and creative pursuits which were only available in City Centre pubs. Collection of signatures for the petition which also called for more facilities for bands, poets and artists led to the creation of Hobo.
- Bo (John Bargeant) who became the first co-editor of Hobo and it's co-founder had worked for Release in London and took up the advisory thread by creating Central Point as a second thread to Hobo Magazine. It was advertised in the first edition of Hobo and in the Coventry Evening Telegraph Article. We had practically secured the use of a room in Bardsley House for Bo's Central Point when Bo left Hobo to be Road Manager on Khyyam's European tour.
HOW THE HOBO WORKSHOP CAME ABOUT
The Broadgate Gnome and the Diggers had taken a more confrontational stance to secure facilities given that the Local Authority didn't see the needs (as often they still don't) to facilitiate youth and creative initiatives coming up from the grass roots. Young people had long hair and an ethos that challanged blatant commericalism. A few like Ron Morgan, the Labour Councillor, had the vision to see the positive side and help facilitate but campaigning for facilities was going mostly against the grain.
Hobo was mostly me and a few changing co-editors and supporters. We weren't back up or supported by a national organisation like the Diggers movement. Confrontation is much harder for individuals. I figured if we could get somethings up and running ourselves (albeit with limited resources) and show the value, demonstrate the need, then maybe the powers that be may just be impressed enough to help a little with facilities and support. Probably not but I thought it worth a try and nothing much else was happening. Most of Coventry's top bands had split up and the new emerging bands were becoming demoralised by lack of decent venues to get started at and rehearsal space.
The first step toward the Hobo Workshop came in 1973 when I approached the Coventry Arts Umbrella for help
with printing Hobo. Unlike Alternative Sounds later on who managed to persuade the Lanch Poly to print their magazine free, we had no free printing facilities available to us. The reason it came out irregularly was because of the cost of printing. I hated the duplicated affair, prefered it to be Offset Litho'd but beggars can''t be choosers so rather than nothing coming out, some issues were duplicated at the loss of quality. Ideally I wanted a production like Streetpoems (exampled on this blog somewhere).
With the loss of the Umbrella's premises, the Excutive meetings were held at the Coventry Voluntary Service Council HQ in Lower Holyhead Rd. It's Chairman Henry West was also on the Umbrella executive. He was aware of my involvement with the Umbrella band nights and had followed the development of Hobo Magazine, Bo's idea for Central Point, and that the magazine was (to an extent) the voice of young people in the city centre area interested in creative pursuits and that we had identified some important needs. Henry was aware that the situation had worsened with the loss of the Umbrella. He told me he had just employed a Detached Youth Worker for the Voluntary Service Council to be an informal advisor facilitator for young people in the city centre area. He felt that we could help each other. Bob Rhodes, the youth Worker needed to be able to reach and interact with young people in order to do the job and Hobo had direct contact and involvement and we needed facilities - printing, office space, a venue, PA, rehearsal space and a grant! He suggested we meet
Although the Hobo Editorial were annoyingly treated (in documentation) as receipients of 'help' in order to justify the worker's time and involvent in the project, we at least were able to get use of the Holyhead Youth Centre every Monday night to put on bands / mixed media gigs and network. Bob would attend to operate his informal advice service. A type writer and desk was offered at CCVS for the production of Hobo and Bob also gave me a reference that got me onto a Social Studies Course at Henly College and a temporary job as a Play Leader on an Adventure playgound. I was thus able to get the Social Work Placement element of the course to be with CCVS shadowing Bob Rhodes as an informal advisor at the Hobo Workshop!
Although the object of the Hobo Workshop was not to make 'stars' many of the struggling young bands we fostered encouraged, became recording artists.More on that in the Hobo Workshop Bands Section.
WHO WAS INVOLVED AND WHAT WAS THEIR ROLE
We formed a Committee consisting of - (although it wasn't strictly adhered to with comings and going) -
Trev Teasdel and Bob Rhodes co-ordinaters (and administered the informal detached Youth work elelment.)
Liz Scott (music fan) - Chairwomen - Typing
Trev Teasdel, Paul Samson (musician in Trigon - ex Mick Green Blues Band and later Reluctant
Stereotypes), Gordon, and Digger Arol (Ex co-founder of Broadgate Gnome - Bands
Gary Kirton (Musician in Trigon (Ex Whistler) - Transport
Joe (music fan) - Decorating and Door
Mick (music fan) - Advertisments
Finn - Door
Julian Adams (Umbrella Club Executive memeber) - Electronics
Bo (John Bargeant) (Hobo co-founder and promoter / DJ)- Publicity / Disco
Julie Clark (from CCVS) and Liz Scott to run coffee bar
Paul Sampson (musician) to organise Talent Comp
Bo to organise poster competition.
Neol Davies (Lead Guitarist Mead- later Two Tone co-founder) - Jam Sessions
Colin Cripps - (musicians and editors of Willenhall Free Press - Later The Mountain Ash Band) musical and publicity support
Phil Knapper (Stu Knapper of Riot Act's older brother) - support and musical accompaniment for poetry and music session.
Colin Armstrong (Singer Song Writer - Ex Music Box with Rob Armstrong) - Musical and publicity and oraganisational support
Arthur Brown (not the famous one
this time!) Singer songwriter and Hobo co-editor.
Andy Cairns (Lead guitarist in Breaker with Horace Panter) - musician and technical support
Kevin Buckley - Researcher with CCVS
The advice element led to the creation of a Drop in House for Young People called S.H.A.C.K. in 1975.
From Bob Rhodes CCVS report June/July 1974
"The most notable feature of this period has been the development of my involvement with the Hobo group.....
on the activities side, which is the focal point for this group, they have produced their first magazine since February,
using my office for typing facilities and my contacts for obtaining cheap duplicating paper. Also I have been able to obtain use of the Holyhead Rd. Youth Centre, with its theatre facilities, for them to use as an Arts Workshop - the first evening, when a local rock band played for expenses, was attended by 60 young people and this appraoch is proving very successful in extending my network of contacts. I hope to obtain L.A. grant aid for this project as two obvious necessities are a PA system and a van for transport of people and plant."
Although we never managed to get an LA grant or an Urban Aid grant, CCVS did pay for a second hand 50 watt PA for the workshop.
FROM HOBO NO 5 unpublished November 1974
THE HOBO WORKSHOP - Let's Get it On!
Where is it?
The Hobo Workshop, which started in June 1974 at the Holyhead Youth Centre, has moved recently to upstairs at the GOLDEN CROSS in Hay Lane. The workshop operates every Monday night and is free to get in, althugh we pass the hat around to cover the petrol expenses of the bands.
What is it?
It is a creative workshop, as opposed to straight concert, where not only bands (newly started or more established) can come and play their brand of music but anyone came along and 'Do their thing' , be it music, poetry, street-theatre, fire eating or whatever! If you'd like to do something; if you have any ideas about things you'd like to see happen at the workshop; if you'd like to organise a Jam session or anything else - give us a call. Our aim is to provide a place where you can do these things, or get together whatever you want (within reason of course!).
We've Made our Effort - It's Up To You Now.
So come along and take advantage of it or come along and enjoy it. Come in fancy dress if you like, use your imagination and help us break down the 'them and us' scene that seems to exist around here. We provide a basic co-ordination to avoid total chaos but it is loosly applied to accomodate whatever anyone wants to do.
So come along and and put away your 'do it yourself concert critic set' Kick out your Jams and come and helps us get a creative and friendly scene going.
Anyone wishing to know more write to HOBO or come up to the Golden Cross on a Monday night and ask for Trev Teasdel, Liz Scott or John Bo.
We'd like to thank Midnight Circus, Fisson, Trigon, Analog, Khayym and all the other bands that have played for us so far and Colin Armstrong, Dave Bennett, Moonraker Disco, Andy Cairns, Julian Adams, John Rushton, Ann Barton, Tony Unwin Bob Rhodes and Oh - too many to name.