Daytimers: An Intergenerational Love of the British-South Asian Diaspora

Daytimers: An Intergenerational Love of the British-South Asian Diaspora

COVID-19 stole socialization from us. Night after night, we’d stay home, slowly forgetting what painful heels feel like and the social cues needed to survive a night out. But, for a collective like the Daytimers and the more significant British-South Asian diaspora, the pandemic forcing us to pause and eventually restart presented a new opportunity. 

Come September 2021; when restrictions were newly lifted, our Instagram feeds were flooded with pictures of young and spunky British-South Asians at DialledIn. Hosted by the Daytimers, DialledIn was a day-time rave that fused South Asian and British beats. Never before had we seen this much South Asian joy, creativity, and pride as at DialledIn. 

photo by India Bharadwaj

But, these day-time raves and South Asian creativity are not new. In the 80s and 90s, when many British South Asians had strict, first-generation parents who wouldn’t allow them to go to clubs or gigs, they created day-time raves. They would pretend they were going to school, only to bunk and spend the day dancing at a daytimer, all in time to be home for dinner. 

Daytimers were a solution and an escape in the 80s and 90s. When racism was rampant, and clubs wouldn’t let British-South Asians in, daytimers gave young British South Asians a taste of freedom and euphoria of a night out. It reminded them of the solidarity of the more significant South Asian diaspora and the similarities they shared with their peers. The daytimers scene in the 80s and 90s enabled South Asian cultural diffusion, popularized the UK Bhangra scene, and even led to the first Asian club night. At its crux, the daytimers of the 80s and 90s were a place for British South Asians to express themselves and their identities freely. 

For today’s generation, DialledIn and events by the Daytimers serve the same purpose. While the daytimers of the 80s and 90s were a cultural exploration, today’s daytimers are a reconnection and renaissance. The pause of the pandemic enabled British-South Asians to scale and introduce British-South Asian creativity and community to the world. 2 years since DialledIn, Daytimers has performed worldwide and have even partnered with brands like Nike, Apple Music, and Instagram. 

When we needed it most, in September 2021, DialledIn reminded us of the fun in going out. 2 years later; the Daytimers showed us the worldwide power of South Asian talent and pride that has been brewing for generations.

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