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London’s sonic space

relation between music, race and space and the history of the post-colonial city. There is plenty of academic discussion of popular music cultures of the 1970s through to the 1990s, punk and post-punk (Savage 1991; ­Reynolds 2006; Cabut and Gallix 2017), Brit pop (Gilbert 1997; Stratton 2010) and hip hop (Turner 2017), but very little on the London club cultures of rare groove or jungle, and what there is about acid house is in my view partial (as I argue in chapter 3). One of the reasons Paul Gilroy’s work (1987, 1993, 2000, 2003, 2010) is so important to this

in It’s a London thing
Musicking in social space

and white together in the context of a highly segregated society; and where whites acquired a taste for jazz, they often also developed an admiration and respect for black artists. This was no magic bullet, but it contributed to a reduction of racial divides. Similarly, music has, on occasion, provided an important bridge across sectarian divides in Northern Ireland. The most famous example of this is punk. At a time when ‘the Troubles’ were at their height, with tit for tat murders and bombing campaigns, ‘Punk music culture … created a non-sectarian common ground

in Connecting sounds
Brixton acid and rave

will make you move and groove’– Sweat drips from the ceiling. It’s madness, collective fucking madness. Can you feel it? By late 1987 rare groove, which had been the dominant London music scene for at least the last three years, was waning, and a new kind of music was bubbling up on the fringes of club culture, with very different cultural associations and modes of behaviour. This was acid house, a dance scene soundtracked by a new kind of electronic dance music from America, mixed, with that London talent for recombination, with mod peacockyness and punk negation

in It’s a London thing
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. Positif accused him of adopting the role of spokesperson for the young, even of having taken them hostage and of practicising a racism of exclusion when he declared in an interview that the spectators who went to see his film did not need an explanation as to how or why Nikita became a punk-junkie – they knew already – but that those who might need one were their parents. 36 Besson also answers these criticisms by saying that

in Luc Besson
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London’s racial geography, 1960–80

, once uptown ska gave way to ‘sticker’, more militant rocksteady and roots reggae in the early 1970s (Hebdige 1987), was largely ignored by the mainstream market and media, and it circulated instead through clandestine channels back and forth between Kingston and London, where it was put to use in the semi-autonomous zones of black London. Reggae and the rebellious independent Rastas who dominated it in the 1970s were exotic and mysterious to white youth – which is part of what made it such an influence on punk – but it was never something that 26 London.indb 26 04

in It’s a London thing
Ambivalence, unease and The Smiths

The band’s Irish provenance was, then, less pronounced than that of their second-generation Irish contemporaries such as Shane MacGowan of The Pogues (whose post-punk reconfiguration of Irish folk music articulated a peculiarly London-Irish experience) or Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners (who sought to fuse Irish music with soul).14 In stark contrast to such exteriorised conceptions of ethnicity, The Smiths would arguably dramatise (in oblique and abstracted ways) certain second-generation sentiments, not least via the trope of ambivalence in their address to

in Why pamper life's complexities?
Pop, rock and war children

decade, including The Music Lovers (1970), Savage Messiah (1972), Mahler (1974), and Lisztomania (1975). The late 1970s saw the rise of the provocative and confrontational punk subculture in Britain. Films which came out of this movement or documented its developments include The Punk Rock Movie (Don Letts, 1977), Jubilee (Derek Jarman, 1978), and The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle ( Julien Temple, 1979). A number of British-produced music films of the 1970s focus on black culture and music, or on music that displays the influence of immigrant culture on young, white

in British films of the 1970s
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Manchester on 4 June 1976, which melds actual 8mm footage of the event with Wilson’s commentary concerning the influence of that gig, while he himself witnesses and participates in it. This sequence is followed by one in which Wilson argues the significance of his own So It Goes television show, a Manchester regional programme that featured the latest punk groups, and we again see footage of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Iggy Pop

in Michael Winterbottom
The Smiths and kitchen-sink cinema

consisted basically of a re-reading of American folk music from the turn of the century. In the words of Nik Cohn, it was ‘knockabout American folk song thumped out any old how on guitar and washboard. Its major attraction was that any musical ability was entirely irrelevant. All you needed was natural rowdiness.’15 The appeal of skiffle to working-class teenagers lay in the feeling of authenticity that came with American folk music, the music of the common people. Moreover, skiffle preceded punk’s ‘do-it-yourself ’ ethos by twenty years, in that musical talent was not a

in Why pamper life's complexities?
Smiths fans (and me) in the late 1980s

: Local, translocal, and virtual (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2004), pp. 238–53; A. Bennett, ‘Punk’s Not Dead: The Continuing Significance of Punk Rock for an Older Generation of Fans’, Sociology, Vol. 40, No. 2 (2006), pp. 219–35. CAMPBELL PRINT.indd 194 21/09/2010 11:25

in Why pamper life's complexities?