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Fanzines, politics and agency

3 Whose culture? Fanzines, politics and agency Matthew Worley The impetus for starting a (punk) fanzine was often clear enough. Writing in the first issue of Sniffin’ Glue (1976), Mark Perry bemoaned the weekly music press’s failure to understand ‘this thing called “punk rock”’. ‘The weeklys [sic] are so far away from the kids that they can’t possibly say anything of importance’, he complained: ‘why don’t they stick to Queen and all that trash that drive around in expensive cars’.1 For Tony Drayton, communicating from the edge of Glasgow in November 1976, Ripped

in Ripped, torn and cut
Britishness, Englishness, London and The Clash

, nor their core fanbase, have access to cars. The song’s chorus refers to the tedium of this ludicrous motorised paradise more explicitly, repeating the number ‘nine’ five times. The addition of two more nines to an emergency phone number offers the suggestion that even the emergency services may be too lethargic these days to pick up. The idea of ‘burning with boredom’ resonates through a larger corpus of late seventies punk. The quest to make boredom excitement, or rather to celebrate nervous potential energy derived from a frank acknowledgement of boredom

in Working for the clampdown
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The Clash, Bologna and Italian punx

belonged to a new wave of local cultural policies targeting young people. In the same period, the hardcore punk scene was taking shape, with bands often singing in Italian, embracing DIY culture and adopting tactics of political and civic resistance.6 This new breed of Italian punks would come to the attention of quite a large audience on the occasion of The Clash show in Bologna. This chapter deals with the Bologna concert, its organisation and its aftermath. We are interested in ‘setting the scene’, where the performance by The Clash does not work as the ‘main act’ but

in Working for the clampdown
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The social life of music

This book argues that music is an integral part of society – one amongst various interwoven forms of social interaction which comprise our social world; and shows that it has multiple valences which embed it within that wider world. Musical interactions are often also economic interactions, for example, and sometimes political interactions. They can be forms of identity work and contribute to the reproduction or bridging of social divisions. These valances allow music both to shape and be shaped by the wider network of relations and interactions making up our societies, in their local, national and global manifestations. The book tracks and explores these valances, combining a critical consideration of the existing literature with the development of an original, ‘relational’ approach to music sociology. The book extends the project begun in Crossley’s earlier work on punk and post-punk ‘music worlds’, revisiting this concept and the network ideas underlying it whilst both broadening the focus through a consideration of wider musical forms and by putting flesh on the bones of the network idea by considering the many types of interaction and relationships involved in music and the meanings which music has for its participants. Patterns of connection between music’s participants are important, whether they be performers, audience members or one of the various ‘support personnel’ who mediate between performers and audiences. However, so are the different uses to which participants put their participation and the meanings they co-create. These too must be foci for a relational music sociology.

Punk and the politics of novelty

WHAT IF KEITH LEVENE HAD NEVER LEFT THE CLASH? 129 6 What if Keith Levene had never left The Clash? Punk and the politics of novelty Pete Dale The purpose of this chapter is partly to query the ‘year zero’ mythology of 1977 era punk, partly to question the idea that a discrete ‘post-punk’ music can be understood separately from ‘original’ punk, and partly to explore more general questions around music, novelty and tradition. The latter concern is something I have been exploring in theoretical work for some time now. The Clash are used here largely as a case

in Working for the clampdown

avant garde, searching for the art work of the future. For example, his second feature, Jubilee (1978), was ‘Britain’s first official punk movie’ 7 and a legitimate reflection of the zeitgeist of the late 1970s; yet Jarman sees it as a ‘healing fiction’ which ‘harked back to Pearl and Piers Ploughman ’, 8 poems within the medieval dream-vision tradition. British art cinema and the avant garde Jubilee is in many ways the direct precursor to The Last of England and The Garden . All three were very much

in British art cinema
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-mother-lover ( Le Grand Bleu , 1988) 8 Anne Parillaud as the punk Nikita and director Luc Besson ( Nikita , 1990) 9 Bob-the-father (Tchéky Karyo) in probing mood ( Nikita

in Luc Besson
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The Clash, Gary Foley, punk politics and Indigenous Australian activism

194 THE CLASH AROUND THE WORLD 10 The one struggle: The Clash, Gary Foley, punk politics and Indigenous Australian activism Alessandro Moliterno On the evening of 23 February 1982, The Clash appeared on stage at Melbourne’s Festival Hall. Towards the end of their set, the band launched into one of their well-known reggae covers, ‘Armagideon Time’. At this point, they were joined on stage by the prominent Indigenous Australian activist Gary Foley. The music receded into an instrumental soundscape, as Foley took to the microphone and, with clarity and

in Working for the clampdown

power on a platform of trade union repression and economic ‘reform’ in the interest of capitalism. The Clash played out their last years as efforts to push back Thatcherism climaxed (with the 1984 miners’ strike) and then subsided. By the time the final version of the band broke up in late 1985, neoliberalism was firmly ensconced in the UK. I think I’ve always been aware of this convergence between hard politics (what Francis Mulhern calls ‘politics proper’)2 and the path of The Clash, the most overtly political of the major punk rock bands. In the late 1970s and

in Working for the clampdown
The Clash in New York, in myth and reality

to the identity of punk and of The Clash in particular? American dreams The story of the Americanising of The Clash has been told before, of course. There is an English punk version of the story that finds it quite reprehensible, whereby The Clash signing to CBS is a greater transgression of the punk ethos than the Sex Pistols on EMI, because the former involved national as well as cultural treachery. For the most part, though, the band’s expansionary westward development up to and including London Calling meets with approval from British writers and critics, at

in Working for the clampdown