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Trades Club

From Matthew Boyd

Sunday, 3 February 2013

I recently went to the Trades to renew my membership for 2013. When I arrived there I saw a host of young lads at the bar. Now, I'm no prude and I don't get easily offended however I didn't expect to go the Trades to hear homophobic "banter" including "effing lezzers" and "bloody poofs". Each time I go to the Trades these days I see something unsavoury from customers who clearly don't subscribe to the constitution of the club's ideals, socialism and equality. The barman wasn't prepared to say anything, and i dont blame him and I wasn't prepared to stay and listen to it. Has anyone else noticed anything similar at the Trades recently?

On a side note a "chart friendly" jukebox has replaced the old faithful one which seems to be an attempt to attract more custom from small minded youngsters. Quite pathetic really. I will seriously consider not renewing my membership for 2014 if this keeps up. No point being a member of a Wetherspoons is there?

From Andy Grant

Monday, 4 February 2013

I too have detected a distinct change in the atmosphere at the Trades on my last two or three visits. There are now a number of new eighteen-nineteen year-old girls working behind the bar, often unsupervised by more senior and experienced members of staff, and I suspect that they are the main draw for the testosterone-fuelled youths who are now frequenting the place in the hope of becoming their boyfriends - if they are not already. This is a great pity for long-established members who really don't want to put up with this sort of behaviour and, in the long term, it can only be damaging for the club's future prospects. However, I have to say that I quite like the new jukebox as it has some good folk tracks and the sound quality is better than the old one!

From Gary W

Monday, 4 February 2013

Homophobic comments and behaviour are not tolerated at the Trades Club, and any such behaviour should be reported to a member of staff on duty or brought to the attention of the committee (if bar staff fail to act).

It seems ridiculous to blame the 18-19 year old women (not girls) on the bar, and hey, let's not fall into the trap of demonising all young people. 18-20 year olds are quite capable of working unsupervised after full training.

From Mart V

Monday, 4 February 2013

My faith in the 'Trades' has dwindled since no-one had the courtesy or decency to reply to any of my emails, in which i was offering my time etc for volunteering purposes. If this is now obsolete/ outdated then it should be removed from the back of their printed trades leaflet so as not to confuse all of us wishing to support their endeavours.

From Andrew B

Monday, 4 February 2013

Letting people know that their homophobic or racist or whatever other sort of language is not welcome is not the responsibility of bar staff, it's the responsibility of everyone who doesn't like it. It may not always be easy to stand up to it but i'd like to think the Trades has enough like minded people to back you up when you tell them to shut up or go somewhere else.

I learnt this lesson from my dad at a young age when he took on some racist thugs shouting abuse at a black player at a Rotherham match.

If my local Weatherspoons had Thurston Moore and Michael Chapman playing on a Sunday evening I'd seriously consider joining - the Trades is putting on some fantastic music right now. Really world class stuff.

Mind you it was a pretty rude audience last night at the back of the place during Michaels Chapman's set so you might have a point about lowering standards.


From Mal Campbell - Trades Club Ents Manager

Monday, 4 February 2013

If I can just pick up on a couple of point which relate the the live venue aspect of the Trades.

Andy - I hope you agree that we responded to the 'talkers' last night at the Thurston Moore/ Michael Chapman show. One of the things that comes along with being more successful as a venue is crowd control of one kind of another. It's an ongoing process & we're learning as we go - hopefully we can nip this in the bud next time.

Marv - I can assure you that we are very much in need of volunteers & wouldn't ignore an offer of help! I hope this hasn't put you off the idea - please do try again & I will check our junk mail to see if your email is going there.


From Paul Clarke

Monday, 4 February 2013

I should start by declaring an interest as I am a Trustee and a former officer at Trades.

I am also grateful to all the people who have taken the time to add their views as even if I disagree with them as we must listen to what members and others have to say.

I am not so naive to think an increasingly popular club isn't going to attract some bigots but in my experience over few years I have never come across this sort of nonsense. But let me be crystal clear that if anyone does use that sort of disgusting language then they would expect to be barred. I hope Matthew will tell the committee which night it was and when so we can see if we can identify these scumbags and do something about it. So to answer your question is I haven't anything like it recently but if we find out who it was they will be dealt with.

As to Matthew's 'point' about the Trades becoming a Weatherspoons I think if you popped into their outlet in Tod you would see we are about far away from that model as can be.

We are club owned by the members and run by members who are all volunteers. True, we offer cheap food, but it is homemade and run as a micro business. I think we have tried hard to make the venue a nicer experience for everyone but it is not a bland corporate indentikit Weatherspoons. Matthew, there are times when things at the Trades that annoy me but it my club and like you I will say when it isn't right so thanks for that.

Andy, I'm sorry but I really don't get your point. In these hard times we are proud to employ young people and give them a chance. The Trades is hardly Hooters and if a bloke comes in the way you are describing then they are wasting their time and will soon drift off. I was in Sunday and there were two older people behind the bar and two young men . . . we employ a cross section of staff and the only criteria is that they do a good job which they do often with a rammed bar in front of them like last night.

It seems the jukebox is dividing opinion but it was ever thus in the club.

I am not pretending everything is perfect at the club and we will always try to be better. But in the last 18 months we have revamped the band room, introduced cheap but great food, supported various community and political causes and Patti Smith was just one of the great acts we have booked. Plus our values of social justice and serving our community remain unaltered. Not bad but still more to be done as always.

And I can never understand why people pay good money to go to concert and talk all the way through. Aside from being rude it is a bit thick...ah!

From Dave Hannay

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Hi All,

I was one of the two volunteers on the doors on Sunday night and we were there to make sure everyone can enjoy themselves in a safe, friendly and supportive environment Indeed we did discretely ask someone to leave who was perhaps enjoying himself too much and potentially annoying other customers. If someone had come to us to say they were unhappy we would have been able to have a quiet word about sexist language or being noisy at the back of the Gig etc if that was what was needed.

As Paul Clark says it is our club and my view is that rather than complaining afterwards please let us know at the time and also get involved if you can think of improvements - there are plenty of things we could do better!

Volunteers are always needed so I look forward to doing the doors with either or both of the two gentlemen moaning some time in the near future?

Dave Hannay

From Phil M

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

I too am a volunteer at the Trades Club and feel very very happy to have such a place in our town.

Can't add anything further than that which Mal, Paul and Dave have just put apart from to reiterate its our club on so many levels and having a community run and community focussed club with the values we have is a rare thing!!

Volunteers needed on all levels, get involved . . . it's a great thing to be a part of!

I don't like the look of the juke box and wonder if the frontage could be changed but an explore on Sunday afternoon found plenty of Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Zep and other great stuff so scratch below the surface and it isn't just chart friendly.

Oh, and last thing, Moorhouse Premier which is a stunning pint of beer remains at £2.40 a pint, put that together with some of the amazing food we have on offer at £3/£4 a big filling plate and I don't think it can be beat . . . yum!!

From Andy Grant

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Just to clarify my comments, I was in no way criticising the very friendly and efficient young ladies who are now working behind the bar and I fully endorse and support the Trades Club's policies of employing local young people and of total inclusivity for both customers and staff. I was merely making the observation that, in my experience the arrival of the rather boisterous group of young lads seemed to coincide with the appearance behind the bar of the aforesaid young ladies.

I would like to think that any offensively sexist or homophobic comments were rooted in a boisterous, lager-enhanced desire to "impress" those young ladies, rather than in deeply-held homophobic views, but they do say that there is no smoke without fire.

I think that if anyone experiences offensive comments of any description in the club, they should, if they feel able to, take it up with the culprits in the first instance in a calm and measured way; then if that has no effect, the staff should be advised and the necessary action can be taken. After all, on a busy night in the bar it would be very difficult for the bar staff, experienced or otherwise, to hear what was being said around the pool table at the far end of the room.

My wife and I have had the privilege of Trades Club membership for a number of years and have enjoyed numerous excellent gigs and sessions in the bar. We too have shared the frustration of other audience members when a small minority of drunken oafs hanging around the bar have ruined songs and stories by shouting and talking over the performers. How we cheered just over a year ago when the great Dick Gaughan shouted "These people have paid good money to listen to me, not to you, so if you don't like it - f**k off oot o' here!"

From Richard Woodcock

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

I've been member of the Trades Club for many years now, and while my attendance has been up and down over this time I have to say that right now I think it's as good, and probably better, than it's ever been.

The new PA and stage monitoring are a massive improvement to the sound for musicians (I play in the Owter Zeds) and for audiences, and the gig list gets better and better, with world class acts booked alongside local talent (and of course, some of the local talent is world class!)

I haven't come across any homophobic behaviour there myself, and agree that since it is so obviously against the principles and ethos of the Club, that anyone found behaving in such a way should be given one warning and then barred if they do it again.

From Stephen Curry

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

It's great to read how busy and successful the Trades Club is. And a shame that now and then some people have have a bad experience. It seems the majority however have a good time. And clearly there are those who run it working hard to make it a success.

For many years I have had guests in my B&B that have come for specific events at the Trades and I have recommended the venue to guests who were looking for a night out with good music.

I realise that there are some idealists who live by the socialist dogma apparently enshrined in the trades history (if not its constitution?) And personally I don't care if it raises money for the Labour party or trades unions. I do think it would do well to focus on its ability to provide excellent entertainment and let the labour party campaign for things like the removal of Sir Bernard Ingham from the Hebden BridgeTimes, if it wants that.

Whilst the comments of Sir Bernard all those years ago may be distasteful and he would be well advised to retract them, it is also somewhat distasteful to see the operator of the Trades Club Twitter account using it to mount a campaign threatening the Hebden Bridge Times with a boycott if they do not remove Sir Bernard from the paper's column -

"The Trades Club ‏@TheTradesClub
@HebdenBrTimes Are you EVER going to comment on this? The next step is a boycott - you know that, don't you?"

- Was this use of the social marketing tool sanctioned by the committee? Are they behind such a potential boycott? Do you really want to help destroy what is left of our local physical media?

If so, it's a shame. I rather read tweets about what bands are coming and how people enjoyed the gigs etc. And I'm more than happy to retweet and promote the venue for that positive contribution to the town.

From Jason Elliott

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Just to make a clarifying point to Stephen Curry's comment about the Trades Twitter account.

The campaign to pressure the Hebden Bridge Times to drop Bernard Ingham was not instigated by either the Trades Club nor the Labour Party. It was a groundswell of Hebden Bridge residents.

That said, there are currently 463 people supporting this campaign on Facebook, many of whom will have commented about it on Twitter, as one would expect, and some of these may very well be Trades Club staff.

Given that, unlike most venues, the Trades have stated social and political values, I find it entirely reasonable and understandable that they should use their Twitter account to publicise them.

As Jon Stewart said, "If you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values: they're hobbies."

From Mal Campbell

Thursday, 7 February 2013

As Ents Manager I run the Twitter account for the Trades Club, as many people know, and I make no apology for using it to talk about social issues as well as to promote the Trades as a live venue. Over the last few days, followers of the Trades on Twitter will have seen many retweets about Craig Whittaker's and the gay marriage bill, for example.

In case you don't know - he voted against it.

I have already explained to Mr Curry on Twitter that I was not threatening the HB Times with a boycott. Many people are talking about boycotting the HB Times (especially on the Ingham Facebook page) & I have responding by saying that we need to support our local paper. However, the papers frustrating lack of response (up until this morning - but that's another story!) - by ignoring & not printing many letters and giving no comment in the Guardian article - left many people feeling they had no choice but to vote with their feet. That was what was behind the tweet to the HB Times that he quotes. Nuance can be lost in 140 characters, which is why I've explained both my position and that of the Trades Club to him on Twitter.

Mr Curry knows all this - yet he still writes to Hebweb saying we're using Twitter to 'mount a campaign threatening the Hebden Bridge Times with a boycott'. That's simply not true & he knows it.

While I'm here, would anyone else like to comment on Mr Curry's opinion that The Trades should forget the 30 years of politics and activism and focus on just being an entertainment venue?

From Fin Shields

Monday, 11 February 2013

Andy Grant, can I ask to whom you are referring when you mention "a number of new 18-19 year old girls working behind the bar"? We currently only have one young girl in our employ, Rosa, who is fully capable, qualified for the role of duty manager and often supervises her seniors! The only other female bar staff over the previous few months have been Caroline, Anne, Rowan and Mhari, none of whom are inexperienced with bar work and are certainly not in the age range of 18-19.

Regarding homophobia in the club, I and the other bar staff will absolutely not tolerate derogatory comments in the future and if made aware of them will gladly talk to the offending customers and ask them to leave, contacting security when necessary. Please contact a member of staff if you have any issues, I cannot imagine any of our team refusing to help.

The dukebox was not connected to the internet until recently and only had a small selection of preloaded tracks, it now has access to a range of music of all genres, a collection thousands of times larger than the previous outdated installation. The chart-filled splash screen can be misleading, try having a search.

As a bartender my comments do not necessarily represent the views of the club, only my opinion, I just felt it necessary to express my view,



From Andy Grant

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Fin, as I said in my second post on this subject, I have always received first-rate service from the bar staff at the Trades - yourself included. The comments in my first post, which with hindsight could have been worded better in some respects, related to my perception of what occurred on a particular evening at the end of last year when my wife and I were in the club for an hour or so having a couple of drinks. On this occasion there was a group of noisy young lads drinking heavily and attempting to play pool, while making loud, risque and sexist comments mainly about the female bar staff, but also at times about female customers who were in the bar at the time.

We did not witness any homobhobic comments, but judging by some of the other posts on this thread it would seem that other customers have not been so lucky. It is a great pity that some people find it necessary to behave in this way. I am sorry if I have caused any personal offence to any members of the bar staff. I can only say that some of you must look considerably younger than your actual age - I wish I did!

My wife and I shall continue to patronise the Trades on a regular basis for both drinking and entertainment and should we witness any unacceptable behaviour, we shall bring it to the attention of the staff immediately. Cheers!