• Hero

    One Love Books: Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems. Photo by Mauro Sindici

Publication

Fantastic new book explores the history of reggae sound systems in Huddersfield

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Remember that amazing book about people in Jamaica wearing Clarks shoes? Well the makers of that spectacular publication are back with another subculture study, this time looking at the sound systems created in Huddersfield by the migrant Jamaicans who had recently arrived after World War Two. “The market town of Huddersfield, nestled within the Pennine Hills of West Yorkshire, has made a remarkable contribution to UK sound system culture,” the press release states. “From Armagideon to Zion InnaVision, the Arawak club to Venn Street, Matamp to Valv-a-tron, this unlikely location has been a stronghold of the British scene, yet has remained largely overlooked.”

Intriguing, no? We caught up with Al Newman who designed and edited the book to find out a little more about this recently unearthed, rich history. “My involvement started when Mandeep Samra, a historian and sound system enthusiast based in Huddersfield, approached me to design a book she was producing as part of a heritage project documenting the history of Huddersfield’s sound systems, from the initial migration of Jamaicans to the UK after World War Two to the pioneers who established the town as the reggae sound system capital of northern England in the 1970s and 80s,” Al tells us. “I loved the subject and ended up getting much more involved, ultimately publishing the book under my imprint, One Love Books.”

Any sound or tech nerds out there are going to have a field day with this book. As well as being chock-full of old photographs of questionable but fabulous 1970s style that I melt over, it goes into admirable detail about the ins-and-outs of the technology behind the sound systems. “The main text was written by local sound man Paul Huxtable, who operates Axis sound system out of Huddersfield, and hand-makes valve amplifiers under the name Valv-a-tron. Huxtable custom-built a sound system for the project, named Heritage HiFi and consisting entirely of locally manufactured equipment: Vintage Fane 18” bass speakers, 15” mids, compression driver and bullet tweeters, as well as vintage Matamp amplifiers and mixer, all made in west Yorkshire.”

Whatever you’re into, be it design, music, heritage or subculture, this informative and well-designed book is a truly joyous study of days gone by and a slice of history that is at once inspiring and truly, truly weird.

  • 1

    One Love Books: Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems

  • 2

    One Love Books: Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems

  • 3

    One Love Books: Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems

  • 4

    One Love Books: Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems

  • 5

    One Love Books: Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems

  • 6

    One Love Books: Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems

  • 7

    One Love Books: Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems

Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Publication View Archive

  1. Thamnesandhudson-cover-list-int

    For a young boy who grew up in the suburban Midlands, the west coast of the USA is really the America of my imagination, far more so than the refined cities of the Eastern seaboard, the vast expanses of the rural states or any of the other myriad landscapes to be found between sea and shining sea.

  2. Victionary-kanji-int-list

    It’s fair to say I’ve got a bit of a penchant for design that utilises Chinese characters. I stumbled into a show of Japanese posters in Berlin about a decade ago and since then I’ve been hooked. So I’m pant-wettingly (sorry, terrible visual image) excited about viction:ary’s new tome, Hanzi, Kanji, Hanja, which offers a pretty comprehensive look at the use of Asian logograms in the world of branding and graphic design.

  3. Marygaudin-list-int

    Architectural photography can often feel elitist at best and stuffy at worst, so imagine our delight to come across this new book Down the Long Driveway, You’ll See It, by New Zealand-born, Montpellier-based photographer Mary Gaudin.

  4. Flume

    Harvard Design Magazine has relaunched with a design overhaul by With Projects, and editorial changes led by Jennifer Sigler. The magazine started life in 1997, and packed with scholarly articles on urban design, landscape architecture and sustainability, it acted as a kind of update for design school alumni. The new look intends to “overcome the insularity of design discourse,” framing each issue with themes like “Wet Matter” and “Do You Read Me?” Jennifer Sigler and associate editor Leah Whitman-Salkin have established a visually exciting and poetic space for “dialogue, speculation and surprise.” They’ve been kind enough to indulge our questions and tell all about their plans, processes and probing approach.

  5. Martin-falck-dik-fagazine-int-1

    Being easily entertained, especially by anything hinting at the phallic, it was Dik Fagazine that first really attracted us to the work of Martin Falck. On further investigation, however, it was clear that our attraction was not misguided: Martin’s design work for the publication is superb, and the story behind it fascinating . The publication is billed as the first and the only artistic magazine from Central and Eastern Europe concentrated on homosexuality and masculinity, making it something of an anomaly in an area where homophobia is still rife.

  6. Stephenshames-bronx_boys-list

    If the photographs in Stephen Shames’ series Bronx Boys don’t seem to sit comfortably alongside the funny, shareable, imagined-one-day-and-shot-the next photographic projects which we are so accustomed to seeing on the internet, then that’s because they don’t. Rather, Bronx Boys is the product of 23 years spent photographing a group of people living in the Bronx, New York City, and the photographs were taken not to garner likes or shares, but to publicise the plight of one of the poorest areas in NYC.

  7. List

    Andy Sewell’s new book Something Like a Nest is an archetypal portrayal of middle class Britishness, and it’s a picturesque, sentimental and charming one at that. To our delight, he steers clear of stereotypes and tired clichés – there are no weather-worn farmers nor Wellington boots in here, no sir – and instead creates a clear and honest portrait of country life. Placing perfectly centred shots of kitchen sinks and surrounding phenomena (plants, hand-soap, Fairy Liquid) alongside images of the English countryside coated in frost and glittering in the sun and frogspawn in Kilner jars, it’s enough to make even the most steely-hearted of expats teary-eyed.

  8. Hg1_copy

    Hardworking Goodlooking, as well as being the opening line to successful CVs everywhere, is the name for the publishing arm of Philippines-based platform The Office of Culture and Design. The publications it makes are nice and lo-fi, often produced at local Risograph studios and bound in low-cost ways with a balance of skill and immediacy. Referencing vernacular typography, imagery and materials, Hardworking Goodlooking’s books work hard and look really good.

  9. List

    If I’d had the good fortune to live in Mexico City in the 1980s I’d like to think I’d have gone to every disco night going, and wallpapered my bedroom with the flyers from the nights of debauchery I spent knocking back mescal with the locals and getting down to the Bee Gees. Alas, I didn’t grow up there – I wasn’t even alive then – but fortunately for us, Jose Luis Lugo Hernández, the owner of Panther Publishing in Mexico City, has been diligently collecting the flyers for disco nights since the birth of the scene there more than 30 years ago. So we can live vicariously through him.

  10. Mainjb

    Their home is Comme Des Garcons’ London superstore, Dover Street Market, and their trade is buying and selling some of the rarest, most desirable cult books in history. Who are they? IDEA Books. IDEA are Angela, David and Sandra, who spend their lives trawling the world (online and real) for rare, sometimes dog-eared publications that hoarders like me totally drool over; be it books on French style full of photos of a young Jane Birkin, old American high school films, rare catalogues from the screenings of films such as The Virgin Suicides or Over The Edge (two of my personal favourites) or even just image-heavy magazines and tomes that suggest a more bohemian way to live your life. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been presented with an online shop that has made me feel nervous with competition at the prospect of someone else owning the products rather than me.

  11. List

    Giulia Garbin is carving out a very particular niche for herself, as a creator of great-looking tributes to the graphic design days of old. Her graduation project from the Royal College of Art was a stunning book celebrating the last printers in London’s Fleet Street and her new offering is a visual homage to the typographers of Turin.

  12. List

    Of all the subcultures that have shaken Britain to its stuffy, reserved core, skinhead culture is perhaps both the most influential and the most misunderstood. Marked by an instantly recognisable aesthetic comprising fashion, music and print media, it has seen so many markedly different variants, from rudeboy culture to neo-Nazism, that it’s little surprise it’s so often misinterpreted.

  13. List

    Swedish illustrator Kilian Eng is the natural heir to the Moebius throne of staggering sci-fi artwork. In his relatively short career he’s imagined bewilderingly complex intergalactic landscapes, the architecture of numerous hypothetical civilisations, reinvigorated countless movie franchises with his reimagining of their theatre posters and worked on any number of extraordinary commercial projects too.