Saturday, 26 March 2011

pondering Pete and Joan

Before moving on I want to go over some thoughts re "Youth Clubs".The history of the youth club movement is,in a sense, the history of changing attitudes with the mentality of a conservative England. Youth clubs developed from an idealisation of Edwardian England and the fear of the working classes uniting to over throw an existing class structure. Like the Scout movement, the youth club ideals represented the sense of continuity within the united kingdom and Empire.Youth clubs acted as a buffer between social unrest and social order.It was important to maintain a sense of identity based upon the invented histories of the past.Social distinction existed with the very fabric of the youth club ideology.
This distinction was high lighted by the apartheid attitude towards sex. Girls and boys were to be kept separated by a system of rules club regulations. Sex was a no go field of play.
Post war England began a slow transformation from Empire towards a second tier player in world affairs.If we look at popular culture we begin to notice a shift with the social thinking of the market place.Within music, film and fashion a new market was opening up.But the youth club movement still clung onto pre war notions of class distinctions.
Other developments began to filter into the closed world of a male dominated movement which used masculinity as a by word for preserving the values of a club ethos based upon an unchanged,unblemished code of class distinction. Girls began to appear more and more in the discourse of popular culture.Even within Oval House sexual separation was maintained by insuring activities appropriate to sexual orientation where embedded into the fabric of the club.
Out side the ethos of the youth club other movements were taking hold. Community work/action began to question the ideals of democracy,community engagement, and the very ideas of what is a community. Community democracy under mined the settled notion of a conservative country at ease with it self .
But for me a bigger development took hold.One which affected the course of Oval House and helped formulate the ideals of creativity and the challenge to paternalistic authority.That movement was the Adventure Playground movement....more on this tonite.

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