Socialist Worker

Werq—Ballroom at the Barbican

Issue No. 2564

An example of voguing

An example of voguing (Pic: D'relle)

Voguing comes to London in August.

The LGBT+ subculture began in the New York gay ballroom scene of the 1960s, particularly in the black and Latin American communities of Harlem.

Since then it has evolved and spread to cities across the US and worldwide.

Modern voguing, or Modern Fem, evolved from catwalking and incorporates moves from breakdancing and other forms of dancing to create a distinctive style.

More than just a dance style, it’s a cultural movement. People come together in “houses” to organise events and community support.

Come to the event to get a closer look at the scene.

For a deeper look at the modern voguing scene in New York, watch Kiki at

Kiki takes inspiration from the film Paris is Burning, a 1990 documentary about the New York drag scene

Werq—Ballroom at the Barbican

Hosted by D’relle

5 August, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

£15. For tickets and information go to

The footballer who fought against racism and bigotry

Laurie Cunningham was born in Archway, north London and grew up in nearby Finsbury Park. He was a talented artist, dancer and athlete as a teenager.

Rejected by Arsenal at 16, he thrilled the supporters of Leyton Orient for three years before joining West Bromwich Albion in 1977.

Laurie Cunningham

Laurie Cunningham

That year he became the first black professional footballer to play for England at Under 21 level. He won a full England cap two years later. In 1979 he was bought by Real Madrid for just under £1 million.

He starred in their side’s 1980 home and away victories over rivals Barcelona. The Nou Camp crowd applauded him off the pitch.

The racism he coped with in England was increased at the Francoist Spanish club.


After one successful season he was severely injured, misdiagnosed and wrongly operated on over three seasons, and was financially ripped off.

His teen partner and dancing soulmate hated the rigid atmosphere so much that she returned to London without him.

Sadly his career went downhill after that. He died aged just 33 in 1989.

Dermot Kavanagh has done an excellent job of telling Laurie’s heartrending story through the eyes of his family, friends, mentors and lovers.

Most contemporary and subsequent black footballers credit him with breaking down many racist barriers for them.

Without dogmatism Kavanagh sets it all in the politics of Laurie’s time. Enoch Powell, the National Front, Margaret Thatcher, the Notting Hill Carnival police riots, SUS laws, and the self-defence organisation of black youth all feature.

Enjoy this book and remember Laurie’s life.

Nick Grant

Different Class: fashion, football & funk—The Story of Laurie Cunningham by Dermot Kavanagh

£20 hardback, £10 digital

Go to

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Article information

Tue 25 Jul 2017, 11:37 BST
Issue No. 2564
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