The EDL are coming to town but, before you get your pulses quickening and your placards ready to stand against them, calm down. Because in this instance, EDL stands for English Disco Lovers, who will be cutting the rug like it's 1999 this week at The Roadhouse.
We caught up with them to find out what's what with the new EDL.
Where did the idea of the English Disco Lovers come from?
'The English Disco Lovers (EDL) began as a joke between friends about reclaiming the EDL acronym and making it stand for something positive. The disco genre is fundamental to our EDL's message, not only because of its positive sound, but due to the history of disco as a musical genre that brought together people of every colour and sexuality, but also a word. In Latin, disco could translate as 'I learn', 'I learn to know', 'I become acquainted with'. In an attempt to measure our reclamation of EDL as our own, we set up a Facebook page to try and accumulate more 'likes' than the other EDL and later set up a Twitter account (@EngDiscoLovers) with the same purpose. However, one of our favourite measures of our success is when we Googlebombed the search term EDL in September 2013. In other words, our website was temporarily the top result when EDL was Googled, not theirs.'
So, what response have you had?
'Public support for the idea has been overwhelming! After Dorian Lynskey wrote about the movement in The Guardian's G2 we were receiving floods of supportive messages and tweets. That then led to people attending counter English Defence League demonstrations dressed in flares, wigs and sequinned tops! Seeing 20-plus people singing Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive' to baffled EDL members has been the absolute highlight of this two-year experience. There was never really an audience that we were aiming at. We never knew the idea would prove to be so popular, so just went with the flow as it developed. I suppose that in retrospect our audience is exactly who is was destined to be. People who love more than they hate, that need something positive in their lives to outweigh the negative and who just love disco! Or not: non-disco lovers are also welcome.'
Do you know what other EDL think of you?
'They're certainly aware of us. We've had our fair share of hate mail, including the eloquent, "Fucking die you bunch of shits." When the idea first received high levels of media and public attention, I remember seeing tweets from the official account saying that we'd never manage to Googlebomb them. How very wrong they were! Apart from that interactions have been minimal and generally conducted over a few lines of police. It's hard not to notice your opposition when they're dancing around, blasting some Chic and waving placards that proclaim, "Don't Hate! Gyrate!" or "Racism = Hate, Disco = Great". I've had a few personal conversations with members of the EDL, over social media. One of which led to me meeting the guy, introducing him to some of my Muslim friends and eventually visiting a mosque with him. I feel that, ultimately, a lot of EDL members are taken in by generalisations and hyperbole. Their anger is misdirected and aimed at communities rather than individuals and we all know that can never end well.'
English Disco Lovers, The Roadhouse, Fri Nov 21, £4 in advance