The full Northern Voices interview 'SUBLIME SOPHIE, PRIDE OF OUR ALLEY' with Sylvia Lancaster, Sophie's mum, is now available in the printed version of NORTHERN VOICES 13, which may be obtained as follows:
Postal subscription: £5 for two issues (post included)
Cheques payable to 'Northern Voices' at
c/o 52, Todmorden Road,
Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.
Tel.: 0161 793 5122.
LAST Friday, the Manchester Evening News reported an attack on teenage heavy metal fan Ben Moores behind the Co-op Supermarket in Waterfoot only two miles from Stubbylee Park in Bacup,Lancs, where in August 2007 Sophie Lancaster was murdered and her boyfriend Robert Maltby was left with life threatening injuries. Sophie was beaten to death because she was dressed in the style of a traditional Goth, and Ben was battered as he was reportably abused in the same way as a 'Mosher!' and a 'Freak!' Catherine Smyth, in her book 'Weirdo, Mosher, Freak: the murder of sophie lancaster' (2010) (available at Touchstones Musuem Bookshop, Rochdale) wrote: 'If only they'd stopped at name calling'.
The current printed issue of Northern Voices No.13, also on sale at Touchstones, has an interview with Sophie's mother Sylvia Lancaster. Sylvia told Northern Voices last October: 'For Sophie being a Goth was like being a "Traditional Goth" or "Punk Goth".' It was really about being different or sensitive with a love for the surface of the earth and all its creatures.
An editorial in last Friday's Manchester Evening News, detailing the similarities of the recent case of Ben Moores and the attack on Sophie in 2007, laments that 'if this teenager (Ben Moores) has been put through such an ordeal (as Sophie) at least in part because of the way he looks, then it would be a sad reflection on how little the world has been changed by Sophie's needless and so widely reported death.' It seems that the police are not treating Ben Moores case as a hate crime, and we must await more evidence before jumping to conclusions.
Ben's mum, Gale Moores has said: 'It was awful ... he had blood pouring from his ears and face and bald patches ... it scares me because of what happened to Sophie Lancaster.' Sylvia Lancaster, who as Sophie's mum has tirelessly campaigned for these kind of assaults to be classed as 'hate crimes', told the media that Ben's ordeal implied that the lessons of her daughter's death in Stubbylee Park had not been learned.
Northern Voices strongly believes that the cultural lessons about tolerance of differences of life style and dress have to be learned in our society, but that that will take much more than a change in the law however well meaning. Even some of the parents of the assailants of Sophie seemed to condone the actions of their kids; that suggests that there is a problem that runs deep in modern society. It needs uprooting, and there can't be any quick fix to such a crisis in nature of the human condition.