History & Culture

The 'Fuck Racism' T-shirt

Light Years ahead of the Curve...

We always made T-shirts for the Trent House & people would take them on holiday with them & photo them at crazy landmarks, just for a laugh. We've knocked out a load of different cool, multiracially themed designs over the years & people have lapped them up.

Bit like this.

But for a Bar to be under total Black control in Newcastle back then, was still a thorn in a lot of stupid people's sides. We had our own Bar, held sway & we were fly with it. So you would hear the same basic waffle regularly...

'It's not fair, that bilddy darkie just seems to do what he likes' etc., etc., etc. You can just imagine the deal.

Keep it Simple

Over 30 years ago, around 1990, we produced the 'Fuck Racism' shirt. It was a really simple idea, aiming to be really provocative & very clearly spell out our Trent stance. It just had the two words on the front & the little Trent two hands shaking logo over in the corner.

As cool as..?

We shifted a tonne of these, they really hit the spot & everyone was talking about them. This was a great way to push / raise the Bar & to show what side of the line we were on as well.

The cops & the council at the time, weren’t quite so happy about it, hauled us in for a telling & a very ‘interesting’ discussion took place... 

They were crying about the terrible outrage that the word fuck might cause, if people saw it & seemingly unable to grasp the bigger picture, they totally missed the actual point.

The Thought Police

They questioned why a Bar would want to get involved in political stuff like that & just 100% didn’t get it.

It was a comical, faux-lecture of a job.

The Full Monty audition is next door mate.

We were far more offended by the concept of racism than any daft word & that was why we rocked it like that in the first place. It had levels & it made people think.

The crux of the shirt & why it was so successful was, which word offended people most? But the cops kept trying to lecture us with their opinion & wanted us to stop selling them...

Less talking, more listening gentlemen.

Naturally we immediately obeyed our Massa's...

We quickly whipped out a little old fiddle & did a spot of old time tap-dancing to entertain them, as we guzzled some ripe watermelon - before inviting them to castrate us... Just for a laugh.

What they were having

Stop distributing our anti-racist T-shirt..?  Yeah, right... Ha!

& that's all they're having.

Keep on keeping on

Naturally, we sold tonnes more of the shirts. When we were making it, we didn’t really put that much thought into it - that just came naturally too.

All of it.... x

We just wanted cool, hardcore shirts to wear in the Bar & Clubs, as when you're at war with racists, it's nice to have a suitable uniform. In 1990 we needed that & it was cool to do something that caused such a massive stir & was so smack on target. As a promotional tool, for both the Bar & what we stood for / against / this was the bomb.

Tommy, with Dawnie & Clive, still flashing a FR Shirt, after hours on the last night of the original Marlborough Crescent WHQ building, way back in 2003.

You never know where T-shirts get to, from having loads of them at one point, we’ve now only got one single Fuck Racism shirt left. It’s a garment we treasure & a thing we are still 100% down with & proud of having done.

As you can see, this garment & it's direct sentiment, are still just as relevant (& cool) today, as they were 33 years ago when it was made.

A shirt for special occasions

The remaining shirt always makes an appearance in WHQ when Tommy plays on New Year's Eve, Halloween, all the biggies.

New Year's Eve 2005, back when the walls were still their original blue, before we changed them to green in 2006 - top trivia.

Time for a re-run..?

Maybe we will re-run it for WHQ sometime soon & see what the reaction is like today, over 33 years later..? With things being as racially charged as they have become globally recently, a cheeky re-run is actually probably well overdue.

We shall of course, have to check it's all ok with plod first...

Ha! As if..!

When you know what's right, even if every single other person around you at the time disagrees & tries to stop you - You just keep on keeping on.

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