Ska's Pauline set to tell her story

Pauline Black

Pauline Black

First published in News

THE QUEEN of Ska will be returning to her Essex roots next month when she talks about her autobiography.

Pauline Black, frontwoman of the legendary The Selecter, will be reminiscing about touring with musical giants Madness and The Specials when she comes to Grays Library on March 6 as part of Essex Book Festival.

The book speaks about her early life, growing up in Romford with her foster parents. It was these experiences, as a young mixed race woman growing up in a predominantly white area, that influenced her music career.

She said: “In my book, I say that one of my earliest memories was finding out I was adopted and all that entailed.

“I was a mixed race child in Romford, there were very few black people around at that time.

“It wasn’t that was the most terrible thing in the world. This was the fifties and it was a very different time to it is now. There was a lot of casual ignorant racism around.

“What I’ve always wanted to do is talk about the position of what it means to be mixed race. I very much embrace that black side of me but still wanted to explore all the other side of me and 2-Tone was the best way to do that.”

It was the mid-1970s when Pauline picked up a guitar and in her own words “had a go”. She played gigs in Coventry in the back rooms of pubs and it was there The Selecter was born.

From there, they were catapulted to success. Hits like Three Minute Hero and On My Radio became the soundtrack for a generation. Within six months they toured with Madness and The Specials, playing sold-out venues.

Pauline said: “We were aware things were moving fairly quick. It was like you are running along behind trying to catch up.

“You don’t really have time to enjoy what is going on at the time it is happening.”

Black by Design: A 2-Tone Memoir is available now, priced £8.99.

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