Myth or Fiction! The Bhangra Daytimer (Part 1)


Times are very different these days, if you fancy going out for a night out, whether that is for food or a night on the tiles, nothing really is made of it.

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During the mid 80’s and early 90’s though, 2nd generation Punjabi’s were living in a different world. The only time people really went out was, for lads, a one off trip to the pub with Dad to play pool & eat crisps & for the ladies, well going out was going to visit relatives & the odd stopover.

Nothing wrong with that, it was a unique period, as families lived close to each other & gatherings were a regular thing, social media was the Des Pardes & watching network east.

But, like so many Punjabi’s we wanted more & we wanted to taste the apple that had dropped from the tree. Bhangra Music was huge, I mean massive & the only time (as a teenager) you got to see your UK Bhangra heroes was at weddings, we wanted more & we wanted it now, but how!

Gigs were happening up & down the land & those second generation Asians who were at Uni now were going in huge numbers to these events, the parents were blissfully unaware that little Papu was rocking dance floors across the UK as there was no way of knowing.

But younger brothers & sisters were jealous, they were stuck at home doing the same thing over and over  again it whilst their elders were out at gigs with DCS, Malkit, Heera & Alaap to name a few.

The thirst for music & not the thirst for alcohol created a market for the “Day-timer” why should just those elders enjoy the big bands & nights out, I mean if we were on the girls side at a wedding, we couldn’t dance to any songs anyway, we were too busy forming Seva lines to feed the grooms side.

Punjabi’s being Punjabi’s sensed a gap in the market, young Punjabi’s who wanted to enjoy a good dance. Another couple of benefits to this, clubs are closed in the daytime so they were extra cheap to hire! & bands who were not gigging in the week, boom they were cheaper to hire too.

So if it’s cost effective, let’s go!

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The daytimers were huge I’m talking three thousand kids in a venue at the same time, schools registers were getting more X’s than a pools coupon! These blew up!

London, Birmingham & Leeds these were massive & the beauty of them, your parents were non the wiser & remember clubs were not permitted to sell alcohol at these venues during the day, but damn they sold out of soft drinks quicker than most Bhangra artists careers.

Rav, DJ and radio broadcaster with music collective Punjabi Hit Squad, attended and later performed at daytimers in London. “You’d tell your parents you were staying late at school,” he says. “Then you’d walk out with your uniform on, jump on a bus, pay £10, have a rave, and be home for 6pm.”

& that was the thing, these were escapism it was a generation rebelling, but in secret, like I said no social media, so who knew you was there? Any letters from the school about not being present were usually opened by yourself anyway as the postman’s rounds were done by 8am (yes 8am).

New street station at 4pm after a day-timer was unreal, you would see Punjabi boys & girls flooding into the toilets dressed as Michael Jackson & coming out dressed as Adrian Mole! Home by 5pm to have your roti with a P.E bag full of clubbing clothes.

I always remember a Chinese whisper that would do the rounds, yet did anyone actually see it?

“Yo, Tari’s mama found out he was at the daytimer, yo he turned up & pulled him off the dance floor, & kicked the shit out of him,&  took him home”

Did anyone actually witness this event? 😂

The thing with daytimers they were fun for so many, Equinox in Leicester Square was the most memorable for us over 2500 people, no trouble just pure escapism, many of today’s Bhangra dancers & musicians were inspired by daytimers.

For approx 12 year’s day timers were massive events, the late 80’s & up until the mid 90’s saw the events peak, the line up at the events were bigger than those at night time gigs, so why would you not go!

Good days, & we loved every moment of them, & like we mentioned they inspired a new generation of dancers & musicians …. Read Part 2 here “Daytimer Culture & The New Breed”


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