UNTOLD STORIES : JOHN MCANDREW

“DOING THE DO SINCE 82… ROBOTICS TO POPPIN’ TO BEING A BBOY.”

40 years of loving the scene and it’s people – with John McAndrew

When b-boying first emerged as a subgenre of Hip Hop, it’s mainstream popularity only lasted for a brief few years in the 1980s. The new phenomenon known as breakdancing swept across Britain in a flash of neon jackets, shell toes and casual farahs, now 40 years on we’re documenting the experiences of those teenagers in Southampton, a city that became the unlikely stamping ground in the break dancing craze and part of the rise of Hip Hop culture.

John McAndrew, was one of Southampton’s first generation, an original bboy, taking part in the phenomenon that for a short time bonded often disaffected, marginalised teenagers in the city. Being 13 when he and his friends were swept up by the craze, the concept of Hip Hop and involvement in learning to dance changed his life. Breakdancing, graffiti writing, DJing and MCing all became the foundation of a new artistic revolution for these kids and unaware that their actions would initially be seen as rebellion, these youngsters formed the first crews that shaped what would be Southampton’s first Hip Hop community.

Raised in Southampton in 1970, John grew up living between houses with his mum in Lordshill and his Nan in Millbrook. He attended Millbrook secondary, and at the age of 13 he recalls his first experience of discovering something that made him change from a shy, introvert young man into a natural performer. Breakdancing and the culture of hip hop that was about to take over his life.