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Youth, pop and the rise of Madchester
Author: Steve Redhead

Madchester may have been born at the Haçienda in the summer of 1988, but the city had been in creative ferment for almost a decade prior to the rise of Acid House. The End-of-the-Century Party is the definitive account of a generational shift in popular music and youth culture, what it meant and what it led to. First published right after the Second Summer of Love, it tells the story of the transition from New Pop to the Political Pop of the mid-1980s and its deviant offspring, Post-Political Pop. Resisting contemporary proclamations about the end of youth culture and the rise of a new, right-leaning conformism, the book draws on interviews with DJs, record company bosses, musicians, producers and fans to outline a clear transition in pop thinking, a move from an obsession with style, packaging and synthetic sounds to content, socially conscious lyrics and a new authenticity.

This edition is framed by a prologue by Tara Brabazon, which asks how we can reclaim the spirit, energy and authenticity of Madchester for a post-youth, post-pop generation. It is illustrated with iconic photographs by Kevin Cummins.

A ‘post’-script
Steve Redhead

Springing from the Second Summer of Love, this chapter offers a reconfiguration of youth, drugs and social change. Acid House was not a continuation of youth culture’s history. It was a rip, rupture and disconnection, offering a meta-theorisation of the history of popular music, youth and cultural studies.

in The end-of-the-century party
Abstract only
The cultural politics of pop
Steve Redhead

Baudrillard dismissed the 1990s in advance of that decade. Summoning an early ‘end of the century party’, Steve Redhead uses this absence and avoidance to retheorise rock and pop history, offering a more complex genealogy and trajectory.

in The end-of-the-century party
Post-subcultural pop
Steve Redhead

Pop must be rendered political. Yet it is available for deep thinking about sex, race, masculinity and femininity. Subcultural style cannot capture this complexity. The New Romantics and Goths confirmed that theories of style required radical reconfigurations. New Order, Factory Records and Tony Wilson offered a playful, irreverent reflection on style history.

in The end-of-the-century party
Post-pop politics
Steve Redhead

Rock and folk histories have configured a particular version of politics and resistance. Yet as rock and folk are transformed through different modes of music, how is politics also configured? Playing with authenticity, the hyperreal offers a new way of thinking about political pop.

in The end-of-the-century party
Whatever happened to the new bohemia?
Steve Redhead

Popular music cultures are regulated and policed. Yet as ‘new bohemia’ emerged through the 1990s, the role of independents in the music industry did not continue the legacy of the punks. Instead, a new political economy of pop – activating silence and refusal – offers new trajectories through production and consumption.

in The end-of-the-century party
Post-political pop
Steve Redhead

Avoiding the celebration of spectacular consumption, innovative theorisations of postmodernism and popular music provide strategies to move between the binaries of cultural pessimism and cultural optimism.

in The end-of-the-century party
Steve Redhead

During the Thatcher years, youth culture became an advertising platform. But there were and are alternative trajectories, histories and pathways in which we activate both the seriousness of pop and the trivialities of academia.

in The end-of-the-century party