Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tiger Bay Teddy Boys

This Empire News story from 1957 demonstrates that moral panics over drugs and youth culture are nothing new. In this case we have an exotic cocktail of Tiger Bay Teddy Boys and reefers:

Jivers Get Hep on Hemp

Reports that dockland Teddy Boys are selling "reefers" to teenage rock'n'rollers at a Cardiff dance hall are being investigated by city detectives.

The marijuana (Indian hemp) cigarettes change hands in Saturday night crowds, I was told. Price? £1 for ten or £1 for eight - according to strength.

Said one teenager, "They help to get you in the groove - get the rhythm. The man told us they were not full-strength reefers. But all the same they make you feel happy and raring to go."

Another boy - in drainpipe trousers and luminous green socks said: "I haven't smoked any reefers but know some of the others do - though not many. I don't see what the fuss is about. They don't do any harm. People are too stuffy these days."

I was told that the drug traffickers come to the hall "fairly often" but not every week. Only two men did the selling....but not always the same two.

Dance hall proprietor Mr George Sullivan told me: "I'm appalled to hear this - and very surprised. But, of course, it is impossible for me and my staff to see everything. It is terrible that people should try to spread this horrible habit among youngsters.

"We get a crowd of about 200 on a Saturday night. I have four men on the door and a few more inside. From now on they will be watching every move closely.

"Heaven help anyone we catch selling reefers..."