Playlist: Comics Youth Radio: Lockdown! at the Disco


Issues posed by the lockdown – not least, the impacts of social isolation – are being mitigated by innovative and supportive group initiatives. Now,  with added positive vibes, Young People’s community organisation Comics Youth are standing by to launch Lockdown! at the Disco…

The Double Negative: Who or what is Comics Youth?

Comics Youth is a creative community organisation led by young people, for young people across the Liverpool City Region. We started up in 2015 and are the first organisation in the UK to provide holistic comics-based literacy and wellbeing projects for disadvantaged and marginalised young people aged 8 – 25 (such as young carers, LGBTQIA+ youth, young people with special educational needs and disabilities and those experiencing mental ill-health).

Due to the success of our practice, we’ve been expanding fairly quickly over the years and now offer a variety of projects and programmes for these young people to be involved with on a weekly basis. We’re home to Marginal – the first youth-led publishing house in the UK – and are currently putting together the first issue of our youth-led newspaper. But we also do things like youth activism sessions, a D&D group, safe spaces projects where young women and LGBTQIA+ youth are nurtured to reclaim city centre spaces, and holistic art sessions with chronically ill children and young people. We don’t mean to toot our own horn (that’s a lie, we totally do) but we’re kind of a big deal!

We love the idea of Comics Youth Radio: Lockdown! at the Disco – tell us more!

Thank you! Basically, Lockdown! at the Disco has been made to help nurture a sense of connection and community during these extremely challenging and uncertain times. It’s a way for us to stay connected with our young people (whom the whole Comics Youth team loves and misses so much) while also broadcasting a message of solidarity to a wider audience. Music can be such an intimate and unifying tool and we really want to use it during our live-broadcasts to instigate joy and inspiration and connection – maybe even a few illegal dance moves here or there! – alongside some upbeat messages from and for young people about how we can make it through this. We might be physically distanced, but we can still stick together as a community. We want this radio show to be one of the bonds that helps to do that.

You’ve made us a playlist; walk us through what went in to putting it together.

We basically made this under the ethos that we do everything at Comics Youth! We let our young people lead the ideas and shape the playlist – with some minor input from some of the slightly (slightly) older people on our team. The playlist is full of songs that we all feel define Comics Youth in some way – our general vibe and mission – but there’s also a lot of songs included that you always hear in the background of sessions at Comics Youth too. Basically, we just want Lockdown! at the Disco to be an online replication of the vibe in our city centre HQ – tunes and all.

How will it work, it being produced under our current circumstances, and all?

By keeping with the DIY ethos at the heart of Comics Youth, that’s how! We’re running with a simple set-up – I’m going to be sat in front of my laptop in my sweatpants trying not to crunch snacks down the microphone or get caught singing along to every jam – but most importantly, we’re generating a lot of the content of the show by crowdsourcing song requests, shoutouts to loved ones, or general advice about what to do, watch, or read to help get through lockdown.

Who should tune in and how can they get involved?

Although the show is primarily designed for young people (some of the tunes may be super punk rock or heavy, but it’ll still be super wholesome!), Lockdown! at the Disco is for everyone – and of all ages. If you’re looking for something to make you feel good about things right now or if you just want a radio show that’ll inspire you to throw some shapes around your home or simply help you get out of bed that day then we hope that this show could help.

People can find out more about how they can submit song requests, shoutouts, titbits of trivia or cultural recommendations for lockdown life via our blog post. And they can also just get directly in touch with me via and I’ll be happy to see what I can work out.

Comics Youth CIC

During lockdown I’ve been getting some crazy earworms – Amerie’s 1 Thing has been stuck on repeat in my head since I heard it again recently. Have you found your relationship with music has changed in recent weeks?

For sure! My listening habits have been all over the show in the past month that I’ve been in lockdown. I’ve found that I’ve been dipping more into nostalgia and going back to songs I loved when I was younger – probably as a comfort thing but also because they remind me of so many people that I love and miss so much. It’s possibly even just the case that these songs helped me through the trauma of adolescence and we’re all going through a collective trauma as a society right now. There’s something about those feelings that just warrants bad music sometimes!

But I’m also finding that specific bands and songs are acting as strange conduits for connection, right now. I’m self-isolating on my own in a tiny one-bedroom flat and I’m separated from everyone that I love. And so, there are just certain songs that make me feel close to these people – almost as though they’re in the room with me again – and there’s this dialogue that still exists there between us because it’s right there in the song. There’s something about music that has this tangible, emotional power to tap into the physical connection you might share with someone that doesn’t always come through in text or phone conversations.

When, and how regularly is this happening, and do you think you’ll continue post-lockdown?

At first, we’re going to just be doing the show every two weeks starting from Sunday 19th April. But we’re hoping to make it a weekly show and – if we manage to procure a cheeky bit of funding to help support its progress – there’s a chance we might do the show more than once a week and open it up to segments made by young people.

Honestly, it’s something that we’d love to continue after lockdown. I’m going to be very much figuring this out as I go (it’s the DIY way!) but once we’re back in our HQ I want to be able to share the skills I’ve learned with our young people so that they can take over the station and start producing and programming their own shows for it, too. Liverpool is about to get very noisy for it. With all the stress and disruption we’ve experienced as a community and as a city in the past few years, we reckon it’s a good time for that to happen, too.

As told to Mike Pinnington by Amy Roberts, Marketing and Communications Officer for Comics Youth 

You can tune into Comics Youth Radio tomorrow, 4pm-5.30pm

Posted on 18/04/2020 by thedoublenegative