Many have characterised Strummer as some kind of activist. There is no doubt Strummer saw music as a way to advance left-wing politics but that did not make him an activist, even if he advocated individuals should become politically active and activists themselves. Consequently, these characterisations are wrong. By showing what Strummer was not, this chapter demonstrates what he was namely an advocate and leader. So the locus for identifying and understanding Strummer’s influence is to be primarily found in what he said the words he spoke in his lyrics, interviews and on-stage pronouncements and not in what he did, because he was not an activist prosecuting his politics by turning words into deeds. Activists seek to generate countervailing power through their actions. Chapters 8 and 9 examine the other side of this equation his followers.
This brief afterword considers the conjunction of the ‘migrant crisis’, Brexit negotiations and COVID-19 at the Kent coast. Noting that COVID-19 ushered in new forms of exclusionary nationalism and populism, this chapter suggests that the events of the winter of 2020–21 further positioned the Kent coast as a bulwark against threats to the ‘island-nation’. However, it notes that some of the initial explanations for the emergence of the alpha (Kent) COVID-19 variant, such as the influence of refugees, were misplaced, and that the fast transmission of the new variant is best understood in relation to the socially divided nature of the Kent coast.
Gerontology has been gaining in importance since the 1970s. However, until we begin to experience it ourselves, the process of ageing is often difficult to grasp, and the study of ageing in fiction has been recognised as a useful counterweight to the abstractions and theorisation of gerontology. This chapter will discuss Deirdre Madden’s fiction from the perspective of recent work on ageing, focusing particularly on her novel Authenticity (2002), in which three characters, Dan, William, and Roderic, illustrate different attitudes to ageing. Old age has often been seen as a time of getting back to essentials, a journey towards a more authentic self. In Authenticity, Dan, with his freedom from social convention, his serenity, and his solid sense of self, is the character who comes closest to this ideal. But, as Erik Erikson points out in The Life Cycle Completed, the ageing process can reveal hidden traumas and, rather than integration, may lead to despair, as in William’s case. For Roderic, who also knows what it is like to be trapped in an inauthentic life, ageing leads to loss of confidence, especially sexual confidence. An examination of ageing in Madden’s fiction reveals the extent to which the experience is shaped by the culture in which her characters live. William, raised to exercise self-control and willpower, qualities that have enabled him to succeed in a consumerist, capitalist society, fares least well when it comes to ageing.
This chapter explores the identity of Margate, alighting on sights that reveal its former role as a centre of mass tourism but that now appear ‘out of time’. Noting that images of disinvestment and abandonment have consolidated the representation of Margate as something of a ‘dumping ground’ for the socially vulnerable and those on welfare, it examines the way that recent gentrification and reinvestment has exposed social divisions of class in the town, which have often been articulated through the politics of migration and nationalism. Here, it suggests that depictions of Margate, and the wider Isle of Thanet, as a stronghold of pro-Brexit voters is overly simplistic, but notes the continual circulation of ideas of Englishness and whiteness in the town. The chapter concludes by exploring the significance of the public art in the town, which rejects exclusionary nationalism in favour of a more cosmopolitan sense of place.
Family secrets and the Gothic in The Birds of the Innocent Wood and Remembering Light and Stone
This chapter probes Deirdre Madden’s subtle and self-reflexive deployment of Gothic tropes and themes in The Birds of the Innocent Wood and Remembering Light and Stone. It inspects too her affinities with what has been dubbed the female Gothic. Haunting is a central trait associated with the heroines of these texts, their families, and their social and sexual relationships. In particular, the Gothic manifests itself in the form of family secrets and of the uncanny spaces occupied by the protagonists, which have double aspects and are unhomely abodes. The secrets that dog the characters are never fully unlocked and exert their troubling force by persisting in later generations and countermanding the heroines’ attempts to evade them. The Irish lake-land terrain in The Birds of the Innocent Wood and the split and contrary facets of the Umbrian town, S. Giorgio, in Remembering Light and Stone concretise the unsettling sense of spectral worlds that subtend the everyday. Even though Madden’s figures are beset by the uncanny and feel dislocated as a result, they themselves act as disturbing and alienating presences. They are caught up in realities that are full of doubles and troubling mirror images, but they too bring disequilibrium with them. The compulsive and repetitive cycles linked with the Gothic are allayed to a degree by the conclusion of these novels. Yet they are never fully banished, as the uncanny is an ineluctable feature of existence for Madden’s characters.
This chapter explores the transformations of anti-racist discourses, practices and alliances over the last several years through the case of two neighbourhoods in Madrid. Bridging the fields of urban studies on the one hand and migration, racism and anti-racism studies on the other, the aim of the chapter is to show how changes in the types of activism and changes in the city are interconnected. A qualitative methodology was employed involving face-to-face and social media participant observation, as well as semi-structured in-depth interviews. The structure of the chapter is as follows: firstly, the study is placed within the framework of theoretical debates on racism and anti-racism, with special emphasis on the Spanish context. Secondly, the perspectives on racialisation, belonging, ethnicity and activism are connected to the analysis of urban space at the neighbourhood level. This contextualisation allows me to present the case studies of the two specific neighbourhoods, Lavapiés and Usera, which represent different problematics and different forms of activist organisation around the right to the city. In addition, a third activist and spatial context connects neighbourhoods and activist experiences by drawing attention to a new stage and forms of anti-racist organising by migrants and racialised people. In this way, the chapter aims to draw attention to the ways that institutional and economic urban violence take very different expressions for white Spaniards and for migrant and racialised people and affects them in very different ways in their life trajectories and struggle for living with dignity in the neighbourhood.
This chapter considers the traces of refugee arrival and integration at the Kent coast, focused on Hythe and Folkestone. It contrasts the accommodation given to Vietnamese ‘boat people’ in the 1970s and 1980s at Moyle Tower, Hythe, with the incarceration of more recent asylum seekers and undocumented migrants at Napier Barracks, Folkestone. Considering the ethics and politics of hospitality, the chapter suggests that the ongoing attempts to discourage and prevent migrant crossings of the Channel are indicative of the rise of the ‘island thinking’ that has accompanied Brexit, fuelled by negative representations of refugees as economic migrants. The chapter concludes by noting the opposition to these dominant representations which is articulated via local public art, suggesting that a careful reading of the local landscape reveals the positive contribution that successive waves of migrants have made to the life of towns, which have been indelibly shaped by arrivals and departures.
In 2020 the convergence of Brexit, COVID-19 and the ‘migrant crisis’ put Kent in the headlines as never before: images of refugees on beaches, lorries queued on the county’s motorways and the white cliffs of Dover crumbling into the sea were all used to support claims that severing ties with the EU was the best – or worst – thing the UK had ever done. In this coastal driftwork, Phil Hubbard considers the past, present and future of this corner of England, alighting on the key sites which symbolise the changing relationship between the UK and its continental neighbours. Moving from the geopolitics of the Channel Tunnel to the cultivation of oysters at Whitstable, from Derek Jarman’s celebrated garden at Dungeness to the art-fuelled gentrification of Margate, Borderland bridges geography, history and cultural studies to show how ideas of national identity and belonging take shape at the coast. In doing so, the author argues that the ongoing crises of global displacement, climate change and ecological disaster require an expansive geographical imagination, with the current fixation on the sovereignty of our national borders appearing increasingly futile at a time of rapid global change.
By the start of our period (1965) Brighton already had a long-standing queer reputation, and this chapter explores what happened both to that reputation and to the texture of queer life in this seaside town in the years since. It shows how these things changed as the town became more studenty, countercultural and self-consciously arty from the later 1960s, as women’s and gay liberation movements waxed and waned in the 1970s and 1980s and as AIDS took its particularly heavy toll here. The homophobic punch of Clause 28 (1988), which banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality by local authorities, came as a jolt to activism in this town of historic queer ease and the result was a more strident and visible scene and community in the 1990s which was determined to act on its own behalf. Soon after, trans networks became more visible and the town consolidated its reputation as a supportive, if sometimes also problematic, place for trans people. All this, in the 2000s, was woven into the ways in which the new city of Brighton and Hove (from 2001) presented itself. The earlier conservatism and homophobia of the local authorities and press gave way to a civic pride in the city’s LGBTQ credentials. Though welcomed by many, for some this came a dilution of Brighton’s particular grassroots queer culture and community.
This chapter, and the next two, draw extensively on oral history testimonies to highlight particular themes and compare the experiences of LGBT people across the four cities. The focus on migration in this chapter shows that ‘circling around’ was a common pattern of movement for many queer people as they tried out various cities and towns before settling down. Different factors pulled LGBT people into each city and shaped their urban queer cultures. With its dense and varied LGBT scene, gay businesses and sense of openness and welcome, Brighton offered the strongest queer draw throughout the period. Manchester became known as the cutting-edge northern queer rival from the 1990s. The LGBT cultures of Manchester and Leeds were stimulated by the mass migration of young people to their expanding universities, many of whom stayed on to contribute to their politics and queer scenes. Everyday reasons for migration, such as employment, relationships and family commitments, also influenced LGBT people’s movements. These are explored in detail in relation to Plymouth, a city which many LGBT people stayed in or returned to, negotiating various degrees of acceptance from their birth families.