The newly formed Kensington and Harold colliery band has been slammed as ‘patronising’ by the National Union of Miners.
The musicians have no connection with mining, the nearest pit is 135 miles to the north. But that didn’t stop the group reaching the semi-final of this year’s Scargill Testimonial Band Play-off.
With most of the musicians working in IT or finance, forming a colliery band may not have seemed an obvious choice.
Band leader Cllr Ronsson explained how he came up with the idea, after watching a late-night repeat of Brassed Off. “I’ve always been a little bit in love with the miners”, claimed Ronsson, “ever since I first heard Billy Bragg.”
“Their gritty determination is an inspiration to so many of us, as we commute into the City on electrified trains.”
Ronsson carried out lots of research for the project: following Ken Loach on Twitter, burning photos of Thatcher and swapping macchiatos for strong Yorkshire tea.
But nothing could prepare him for the icy reception they received, when their coach arrived for the competition in Ossett.
“Having the coach resprayed with our name on may have been over the top”, admitted Ronsson. “And they really didn’t like our motorised ‘marching’ grand piano or sequined hard hats. But as I said to the judge, you have to move with the times. For instance, my wife now has an LPG Aga.”
Organiser Mike Arkwright made it clear the band won’t be invited to competitions in future, and accused Ronsson of being an oaf.
“Mining may be dirty work, but it was crass of them to ‘black up’”, said Arkwright. “And when I complained that they don’t have a pit in their community, it was insensitive of Ronsson to point out that neither do we any more.”