Sunday, December 9, 2007

Glasgow - Alternative teens banned from public place

Following the recent events in Blackburn, Glasgow is the latest city in which alternative youth is facing harassment from the authorities.

Glasgow's Goth Kids News - Scotland - Goma goths banned - heaven knows they're miserable now

Sun 9 Dec 2007

WITH their black clothes, white faces and mournful expressions they have become an instantly recognisable part of life in Scotland's city centres.

But now Glasgow's goths have a genuine reason to look miserable. City leaders have branded them a threat to economic prosperity and have launched a bid to bar them from their favourite hangout.

For years dozens of outlandishly dressed youngsters have made Glasgow's Royal Exchange Square in the city centre their second home.
But now the council has accused them of intimidating shoppers and being behind a rise in anti-social behaviour.

In a bid to move the youngsters on they have cordoned off steps between Borders bookshop and the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) - a favourite goth gathering point. Security guards have been brought in to supervise the area. A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "Royal Exchange Square is one of the jewels in Glasgow's crown.

"In recent months, however, there has been the risk of the Square, and in particular the steps at the western end, becoming a focus for anti-social behaviour.
In consultation with businesses in the Square it was decided to cordon off the steps.

"This measure will remain in place for as long as is necessary to ensure it remains one of the country's premier locations for shopping and entertainment."

A council insider said: "Royal Exchange Square is a gateway between our premier shopping locations and, as such, is incredibly important to us.

"We need it be a nice, safe area for the people who are walking through it. We have had complaints about teenagers gathering there and there were allegations about drinking, drug-taking and inappropriate behaviour. So far the measures we have taken seem to have helped."

But youngsters who are refusing to leave the area, which is full of exclusive shops and eateries, claim the council's tactics were heavy-handed, discriminatory and unnecessary. One teenage girl said: "There is absolutely no way we are here to cause trouble.

"We are too young to go to the pub and we hang around here for the simple reason that we have nowhere else to go to chat and meet up with our friends.

"It's laughable that Glasgow City Council regards us some sort of threat to society simply because we choose to dress differently."

Her purple-haired friend added: "There are so many real problems with violence in Glasgow yet the city council is spending money sending security guards to intimidate groups of well-behaved teenagers.

"I suppose they see us as an easy target. We are meant to be the friendly, welcoming Commonwealth Games city, but we are clearly not welcome here."

The alternative teenage tribes of Royal Exchange Square, including punks, emo-kids and metal-heads, have become such a part of the city life that in 2003 they were featured in a BBC documentary entitled Glasgow's Goth Kids. Work created by the youngsters has been displayed at the nearby Goma.

Last year a study conducted by Dr Dunja Brill concluded that goths were largely sensitive youngsters who eschewed violence and were more likely to get good grades and go on to higher education.

Isn't enough that alternative people have to face abuse from thugs that they must be targeted by the authorities for simply existing? If individual people are misbehaving then what about the laws which exist to deal with individuals? CCTV covers the square after all. Why target a group as a whole? If you feel strongly about this try complaining to Councillor Steven Purcell.

Leader of Glasgow City Council - Scottish Labour Party

There is a long history of similar issues in relation to the square.

Art chiefs' bid to get rid of Goths

Daily Record Feb 7 2003

ART gallery bosses tried to scare off gangs of Goths with classical
music. But it backfired on them as the youngsters - fans of shock-rockers
such as Marilyn Manson and Slipknot - discovered an unexpected taste for

Even more of them turned up at their meeting place outside Glasgow's
Gallery of Modern Art as the classical tunes blasted from its windows.

Gallery bosses took action because they believed the Goths
congregating in Royal Exchange Square were scaring off art-lovers.

The Goths also got into the building and took over the toilets to do
their distinctive make-up and hairstyles. Graffiti was daubed over the outside of the building and there were violent clashes with rival gangs of "neds".

The gallery set up patrols in the square and removed benches but
hundreds of youngsters still congregated outside.

Assistant curator Clare McLeod said they then resorted to playing
music they thought would annoy their unwelcome visitors.

She said: "We decided to blast Vivaldi at full volume from windows
above their heads to sicken them but they actually seemed to enjoy it in the

"There are several hundred kids around here at the weekend and the
numbers certainly didn't decrease so we had to eventually think of different
ways to solve our problem.

"Our intial reaction was to get rid of the kids or move them along but
in the end we had to rethink."

The gallery has now invited the Goths to workshops and set up an
exhibition entitled Nu, which pays tribute to the Goth culture.

A focus group was also established in the gallery library so the Goths
could offer ideas about what they'd like to see there.

TV producer Tanya Cheadle, who has made a BBC1 documentary on the
Goths which will be shown next week, said: "We found them intimidating and
people wanting to get into the gallery were put off, so the steps they took
were perfectly valid.

"But I think the story ends on a very positive note. The exhibition
shows the children are threatening in appearance but are very much an art
form themselves."

Alterophobia's research has revealed that similar moves have recently occurred in Bristol as well. More on this later.

Links to the events mentioned:

Glasgow Needs Youth! Gallery Of Modern Art Gives Kids A Chance ...

Lion Television . Productions . Glasgow's Goth Kids

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