Season 3: Kenny Rose

Kenny watched my Contact Theatre interview and wrote this in response. As good as any interview. Thanks Kenny.

Hi Linda

Sorry I am late with a response and a long one at that!

I lived all over the UK as a kid. There were some issues in my family and my parents moved us around constantly mainly to avoid social services taking us into care because of shit that was happening. I will let you read between the lines on that one. I was born on Harpenden Street in the old Moss Side right where they built Gooch Close I lived behind the Woolworths and used to bin surf and shoplift we were so poor. Anyway moved out of town and back to Manchester about 4 times. I went to school with Kevin and Colin Saide left Manchester when I was going into 4th year moved to London and then to Bristol and came back to Manchester again I think around 81-82 I used to go Reno around those times up to about 84 - 85 before all that bullshit started I knew all of them and grew up with them all. Lost so many friends, acquaintances and people who I liked makes me sick to even think about the shit that happened and I experienced.

I was always on the sidelines and talking to people I was very political and read a lot about slavery and the politics of the slave trade. I went to University got a degree but at the same time I was on the street and found it hard to leave people behind but for my sanity I had to break out of the cycle but could not leave because I I had two boys and I was determined they were not going to go through what I experienced. I am not proud of some of the things I did but I had love for people and mostly managed to make the right choices so I did not hurt people.

So I stayed in Manchester with their mum. I did a good job with them they are both working.I moved to London a few years ago I work for a housing association developing property and setting up economic development programmes. I live in central London.

I love Manchester its my home and the Reno and all the people in Moss Side shaped me as a person and obviously the Gang shit too. I remember the weekend it all started and knew people on all sides but I stayed neutral it made sick to my stomach I hated everything that was happening but I remember great times with people I loved.

I have watched a few of the videos and the one with Sobers made me laugh. I am going to watch them all. People like Sobers were a lot older than me and Fonzo I did not even realise he moved with Colin and Kevin Saide I don't think I lived in Manchester then. I know Ozzie though and lots more John Williams, Jason Culpepper, Melvin Adi I looked up to all them but I was never part of that circle. I remember them from the Reno and remember coming back to Manchester and the way it was that everyone mixed together black, white, half caste. I loved it in there but I used to party a lot in London on the rave scene mainly because I had to get out of Manchester just to be free from the mental pressure and stress of everything that was going on and my lifestyle.

I always came back to the Reno though and probably spent a couple of years in there at one time nearly every night. There were some characters in there. I was stood outside one night misbehaving? and a White Rolls Royce pulled up at the Lights. I ran over to it looked inside and it was the 3 degrees! they started smiling and laughing and I shouted to them come to the Reno! lol. I am not sure if they ended up there later but like Fonzo said loads of famous people used to end up there before it was on the radar. I remember my firm bringing Alexander O'Neil there one night though. And Shaka Khan too it was crazy in those time when I hit the street about 15 used to see Bob Marley in the area. I remember him going to the 12 tribes dance in Longsight and I am sure he must have went Reno or the Nile. I stood next to him at the dance in Longsight he was just chillin. It was surreal because when I lived in Bristol I was into Jazz Funk he played at a club in St Pauls which is a black area and I was always in
the City Centre. I left a club one night to go and see him play at a small club and could not get in.

I remember crying and I was so pissed off. I did not see him. I knew the lyrics of every song. And remember buzzing because no one in the black community even acknowledged he was half caste at that time so for me it was like this man understands my pain and humanities. I would make a point of telling people constantly he was half caste. And there was a kind of unspoken separation between half caste and black at those times. but it was weird because we were also together and some people had issues with half caste and others did not. But I felt it and experienced it but most of my friends were good with it because were all just trying to survive. But it was mind fucking some of the shit that used to happen.

When I move to Harpenden Street in Moss Side in the middle of the night with my parents. I got up in the morning ran downstairs and looked through the letter box I was about 6 or 7 all I could see were black kids playing in the street. I ran into the Kitchen shouting " Mum there are black people outside" She looked at me and smiled and said son I need to tell you something at that point I realised my Dad was Black even though he lived with us it never registered with me he was black! And it did not register I was half-caste! The second day I went out with my mum and 2 sisters they were both in the pram and some black woman started calling us breeds and slagging my mum. My mum smacked her in the face and pulled her hair and the womans wig came off in my mams hand. Lol she started running down the street screaming it was mad but funny at the same time.

They are some of the things that shaped me in the end I just thought fuck them black and white I am breed who don't like it can fuck off my friends are my friends half caste, black or white if your my friend fuck the colour shit that's how I survived it and by learning about slavery and colonialism and educating myself so I could understand the poverty and deprivation, racism and all the other shit so no one could talk shit to me about anything because I had the facts and the knowledge and I was born in the gutter and I am proud of that fact and all the " Artists" I knew could have done anything they wanted in this world if they were given the opportunity but in those times we did not have a choice we did what we knew to survive and many did not and that's the pain and hurt that remains with you and shapes you. But I fought it in my way and continue to do that in my way to this day. We are still in chains it just those chains are transparent we know they are there but the game gets played in a different way now so you have to know how to navigate the unseen shit and the fake smiles and fake inclusivity so what you are doing is important in that sense a digital record of our joy and suffering and the love we shared half-caste, black, white its ours we have to keep fighting and record the stories so our history is not lost or stolen like it is now our contribution to this country is immense from fashion to art, academia across all genres our " cool " has been stolen and remodelled to be popular culture its foundation comes from our culture the one we created out of the need to survive and to live.

I could go on forever but really when I watched your video and saw you cry it shook me to my core because I have experienced those same issues in work environments and I felt your pain in my soul and it put me in a dark place because everything we experienced as children and young people was fucked up the system created that pain but we have to live in the system and continually fight to change it. What you are doing contributes to that process its not comfortable to acknowledge some of the things we did were wrong on so many levels but in our world we had no choice but really we did have a choice we just were not educated enough to see the hard choice as just a passage of evolution as a human being the hard part has to be done before we get to the easy part but on the other side where there is a semblance of peace and wisdom, acknowledgement, shame, joy and love for the people and experiences that shaped us and moulded us into strong, resilient, individuals capable and able to create great "Art" that lifts people up not tear them down.

Be good and brave and share everything you have give it all because the peace you will find is priceless and the legacy you will create too.

My very best to you.

Kenny

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