this endeavour she built on the legacy of the underground press, which had sprung up in London during the 1960s, to document and contribute to the emerging counterculture. For the pioneers of the 1960s, creating underground publications had entailed an active choice to foster culture in opposition or as an alternative to dominant society. However, despite the sense of egalitarianism that accompanied the cultural expansion of the time, the underground press was also notably elite; produced by a host of well-connected (often Oxbridge) graduates and successful
Best known for her work with punk provocateurs Crass, Gee Vaucher (b. 1945) is widely acknowledged for the idiosyncratic and powerful images that have played a decisive role in shaping alternative culture over the last fifty years. This is the first book to critically assess an extensive range of her work, situating it in a lineage from early twentieth-century avant-garde art movements through the counterculture and punk and on to contemporary street art. It provides a fascinating insight into social and cultural history from a vital but hitherto marginalised perspective. While Vaucher rejects all ‘isms’, her work offers a unique perspective within the history of feminist art. The book explores how her experience has shaped this perspective, with particular focus on the anarchistic, open house collective at Dial House.
ideas of The Situationist International (SI), 1957–72, also permeated various libertarian movements during this period, and they were widely accredited with providing the spur for action during Paris ‘68. It is worth noting that their ideas were not well known in British society at the time, and were only translated into English during the 1970s. 17 However, their outlook permeated the counterculture in Britain to some extent via word of mouth and underground press publications such as International Times (1966), Oz
, such as slowdowns and work-to-rule tactics pioneered at the turn of the twentieth century by the IWW and other worker groups. Instead, along with agitational activities, including numerous protests during the second half of the 1960s – in particular at the Democratic National Convention in central Chicago in August 1968 – the group deployed a combination of creative resistance tactics to effect cultural sabotage on a day-to-day basis. 13 These included the use of new and affordable technologies in the underground press and
subversion (as expressed via the underground press), and attacking bastions of societal control, was seen again in punk. Rather than a complete repudiation of the 1960s, punk can in many ways be seen as a reconnection with its radicalism. Punk also provided a space in which women could make a decisive impact. The rock music world of the 1960s overwhelmingly saw women as sex objects and/or foils for its male stars. Punk women often refused to passively subscribe to such roles. Female writers, including Jane Suck ( Sounds ), Julie Burchill ( NME ) and
Ripped, torn and cut offers a collection of original essays exploring the motivations behind – and the politics within – the multitude of fanzines that emerged in the wake of British punk from 1976. Sniffin’ Glue (1976–77), Mark Perry’s iconic punk fanzine, was but the first of many, paving the way for hundreds of home-made magazines to be cut and pasted in bedrooms across the UK. From these, glimpses into provincial cultures, teenage style wars and formative political ideas may be gleaned. An alternative history, away from the often-condescending glare of London’s media and music industry, can be formulated, drawn from such titles as Ripped & Torn, Brass Lip, City Fun, Vague, Kill Your Pet Puppy, Toxic Grafity, Hungry Beat and Hard as Nails. Here, in a pre-internet world, we see the development of networks and the dissemination of punk’s cultural impact as it fractured into myriad sub-scenes: industrial, post-punk, anarcho, Oi!, indie, goth. Ripped, torn and cut brings together academic analysis with practitioner accounts to forge a collaborative history ‘from below’. The first book of its kind, this collection reveals the contested nature of punk’s cultural politics by turning the pages of a vibrant underground press.
In the early 2000s, the Internet, the blogosphere and new online medias were said to have recreated and expanded the countercultural political uprisings of the late 1960s. The radicalism of the underground press, equality, anti-war and anti-colonial movements never quite managed the translate their counter-hegemonic activism into a dynamic restructuring of politics in the West. However, academics and activists saw potential in the Internet to offer a space with which to counter the narratives of political elites, capitalism, globalisation and the domination of western corporations. In Ireland, a group of writers, led by former republican prisoners, developed an activist media space that was critical of Sinn Féin, dissidents and the dominant narratives of the Peace Process. The print magazine Fourthwrite and the online magazine The Blanket, harnessed old and new technology to provide a sustained countercultural critique of their times. That they sustained themselves for much of the 2000s without a specific political vehicle or purpose while producing some of the most compelling and inclusive writing about the times is testament to the opportunities that technology provides for committed modern activists.
’ publications and activities; and the development of community or ‘self-help’ radical printshops. Firstly, however, we shall outline the wider cultural, technological and discursive context that enabled these publishing activities to take place. The counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s is typically associated with what Michelle Rau has called the ‘aboveground underground press’, exemplified by such papers as International Times, Friends/Frendz, Oz and, perhaps, Black Dwarf.1 Numerous other marginal and ephemeral publications -16- Going underground also proliferated
known for her collage work, in which she adopted the raw cut ‘n’ paste style of early punk design and the underground press, and turned it into a sophisticated, painterly form of expression. Her photomontage works are often not collages at all, but intricately painted, photorealistic depictions of a skewed reality masquerading as collage. The ideas of Crass (1977–84) and what has retrospectively been termed ‘anarcho-punk’ 1 were still highly influential within the punk social milieu that I was
‘the hat’ McVitie was bumped off by the Krays – reading situationist texts, conspiracy theories, Vietnam war books and watching cult films. Out of this period came the first perfect-bound journal double issue with a spine, Vague 16/17 Psychic Terrorism Annual (1985). This was a DIY English attempt to emulate San Francisco’s RE/Search manuals Vague post-punk memoirs -199- (formerly Search & Destroy fanzine) and revive IT and Oz hippy underground press ideas, featuring the Lindsay Anderson film If …, the situationists’ influence on Paris May 1968, the Angry Brigade