Tag Archives: punk

You might like… Too much fighting on the dance-floor

There’s an interesting radio documentary available to stream over on the BBC presented by Adrian Goldberg which focusses on the different musical tribes in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It explores the politics of British music in the punk/post-punk era.


You can find a description of the show below

Why was British music in the late 1970’s and early 80’s so tribal and so violent? If going to a musical gig now is about having fun and enjoying a “party” atmosphere, it used to be very different. It was an era when music was taken very seriously. For many, it defined who you were. Writer Paul Morley says: “Back then the music you liked was a matter of life and death.” 

It was common for musical differences to end in violence. Peter Hook, of Joy Division and then New Order, says “There were riots all the time at gigs.”

And it was a time when politics played a much more prominent role in popular culture. Neville Staple of Two-Tone group, The Specials, recalls the havoc caused by the far right National Front. “We used to get a lot of conflict at our gigs …we always used to get the NF,” he says.

Adrian Goldberg looks back at a culture divided by haircuts, clothes, class and politics. What did this tribalism say about Britain then?

The programme includes contributors from Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order; Peter Hooton from The Farm; Pauline Black of Selecter; Neville Staple of the Specials; Clare Grogan of Altered Images plus music journalists Paul Morley, ex New Musical Express and Garry Bushell of Sounds. It also has a stellar soundtrack from the era.

Producer: Jim Frank.

Week 6 Lecture A materials: Punk and art rock




Albiez, Sean (2009) ‘Punk After ‘Punk’ In The UK: 1978-1984’, unpublished book chapter, https://www.scribd.com/doc/54282068/Punk-After-Punk-in-the-UK-1978-1984

Chambers, Ian (1985) Urban Rhythms: Pop Music and Popular Culture, Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Clark, D. (2003). “The Death and Life of Punk, the Last Subculture‟ in D. Muggleton and R. Weinzerl (eds.). The Post-Subcultures Reader. Oxford: Berg, p. 223-236

Hebdige, Dick (1979) Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Routledge.

Marsh, D (1983) The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made, New York: Plume/Penguin.

Savage, Jon (1991/2010) England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, London: Faber & Faber.

Tsitsos, William (1999) ‘Rules of Rebellion: Slamdancing, Moshing and the American Alternative Scene’, Popular Music, Vol 18, No 3: 397–414.