Brigade Rosse
The Clash, Bologna and Italian punx
in Working for the clampdown
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The political disposition of The Clash was a matter that divided opinion from the very outset. For their fans, it was the songs that the band crafted together that provided the spark for an entirely different viewpoint on the world. For their detractors, in contrast, the group were often considered to be merely another cog in the machine of the culture industries, and were, therefore, part of the problem rather than the solution. In this chapter, the authors focus on one particular moment when these countervailing readings of The Clash came into sharp relief. In the summer of 1980 the band played a free outdoor concert in the centre of Bologna. While the gig drew an enormous audience of enthusiastic fans, it was also the setting for protests from local radicals self-styled as punx. The chapter traces these threads through the recollections of some of those who were associated in different ways with the Bologna concert. Their disparate renditions of what happened that night and its significance offer some insight into the enduring facility of The Clash to mean entirely different things to different people.

Working for the clampdown

The Clash, the dawn of neoliberalism and the political promise of punk

Editor: Colin Coulter
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