I started going to the Blackie in the 1970’s, with Peter Bonneti, Will Mo, Collo and the late Keith Normah. We were all into Radio Doom, The Blackie Disco. They were magic and played the best tunes in Liverpool along with Stanley House in Upper Parliament Street. Most of the girls went to the Sunday night disco, we never missed it.
We use to borrow the DJ equipment from Radio Doom. You never really borrowed from the Blackie without an educational element. In this case we would be tutored by the disco masters, Kevin McBride and Dave Kay. We gained even more knowledge in the use of the P.A. and running our own successful disco in the Social Services building in Grove Street, Liverpool 8.
One day during the 1970s the National Front marched in Liverpool. They planned to arrive at the Pierhead. We were just young kids from Toxteth, but the Blackie gave us a video camera to record the event. There was a stand-off at the Pierhead, until a sudden rush by the police saw the camera hit the ground. We managed to fix it before anyone knew. The Blackie gave us young kids, both black and white, a place to develop.
At this time I was in my early twenties and the Blackie made me grow up real quick. I slowly started getting into the city centre music scene, where there used to be a load of clubs who played soul tunes. Then I became a father in 1977 and it changed my focus to looking for work and taking care of my first son.
The birth of my son Robbie was a very proud day in my life because I had reached the age of 50 and my mum was still alive. She had witnessed her youngest son of 7 reaching such a milestone. I am now a proud father and a bar-tender and many people still recall their days at the Blackie and we recall the characters and the activities.
To be honest many of my most memorable moments have been when there was a sense of unity amongst Black people in Liverpool 8. I am saddened to see the decline in such unity. Violence has escalated and guns have brought havoc and pain to many in our community. As far as I’m concerned it is as an achievement to still be around.