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KEEPING THE FAITH IN THE PHILIPPINES

I am originally from the UK but I have been living abroad since 1990. Firstly in Saudi Arabia for 3 years, where I met a character by the name of Mick Howard, who was originally from the Preston area. Together  we did a couple of 60's Soul & Motown nights. Then I moved to Manila, Philippines in '93 and have lived here ever since then.
I've been into Northern Soul since around 78/79, but I didn't start going to all nighters and really getting into the scene until '83. The first venue I ever attended was Morecambe Central Pier, but for me my favourite was Parr Hall Warrington. That place had everything: atmosphere, great sounds and great people. I made friends with a lot of people, but sadly I've lost touch with most of them. Having said that Parr Hall was my favourite, probably Stafford Top of the World was the most influential as I feel the quality of records there was unequalled.
Her in Manila things are very sparse in terms of soul music, there is only one oldies radio station that plays the odd Motown track once in a while. I found the social life a bit boring in terms of the music scene and I always longed to get something going in Manila. With the development of the CD market and all the re-releases on CD it has enabled me to get something started here. I do use CD's as I do view my stay here temporary and wouldn't want to risk anything happening to my record collection (which is only small anyway).
We began in Jan' '96 with an experimental night just to test the waters ( I say 'we' as another guy does mainly reggae & ska) and we were really pleased with the 50+ attendance, mainly ex-pats but also some Filipino's. We didn't have another one again until Oct' '97 when again the turn out was pretty good. We carried on with another 4 in 5 weeks which was a bit of overkill, especially since the venue was a bit of a pain to get to. We now settled down to one a month at a venue called the 'Best in Town'.
Since Jan' this year we have started playing sounds in a second venue called 'Heckle & Jeckle'. This venue is different in that it's a pub with no dancefloor! and a different crowd, but the music goes down well and although I have to play Ska & Reggae as well I get in about three solid hours of Northern Soul a night and increase it each time I DJ. Obviously I would love to get more than 75+ regularly, but Rome wasn't built in a day. We will keep going one step at a time. There is a bit of a Ska scene here and some of the Filipino skinhead crowd ( I know how that sounds, but you have to see it!) have turned up and seem to appreciate the Northern. 'What' - Judy Street seems to be well liked by them.
I've managed to keep up to date with what's going on in the UK as I have six weeks holiday in the summer. During this time I buy as many CD's as I can carry. As I mentioned before I wouldn't bring back my records just in case!
The sounds I spin are mainly 60's & 70's. although we do throw in a couple of modern tunes for good measure, but definitely no house or garage or anything of that ilk. Besides if the crowd wants to listen to that sort of stuff they can go down to the nearest disco.
Top 10 tunes heard at the 'Best in Town' and 'Heckle & Jeckle', Manila, Philippines are:
1. No one could love you more - Gladys Knight
2. Sweeter as the days go by - Valentinos
3. You're good girl's gonna turn bad - Cookie Jackson
4. Hot potato - Dee Clark
5. I've gotta have your love - Mill Evans
6. Seven day fool - Etta James
7. Key to my happiness - Charades
8. Share my love - The Monitors
9. (Put my heart) under lock & key - Sharon Scott
10. It hurts to much to cry - HB Barnum


Yours Sincerely, Shane Cosgrove.

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Copyright M Fitzpatrick
mickfitz@koan.de