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Riotous Assembly: British Punk’s Cultural Diaspora in the Summer of ’81

  • Matthew Worley
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)

Abstract

Britain’s newspaper headlines made for stark reading in July 1981.1 As a series of riots broke out across the country’s inner-cities, The Sun led with reports of ‘Race Fury’ and ‘Mob Rule’, opening up to provide daily updates of ‘Burning Britain’ as the month drew on.2 The Daily Mail, keen as always to pander a prejudice, described the disorder as a ‘Black War on Police’, bemoaning years of ‘sparing the rod’ and quoting those who blamed the riots on a ‘vociferous immigration lobby’ that sought ‘excuses all the time for the excesses of the blacks’.3 The Daily Express wrote of a ‘permissive whirlwind’ wreaking havoc; the Daily Mirror combined coverage of ‘Riot Mobs’ with condemnation of a Tory government that failed to recognize ‘real, deep and dangerous problems’ rooted in housing, education and unemployment.4 Britain was ‘close to anarchy’, the Mirror insisted, as it juxtaposed images of battered police and broken windows with a message to Margaret Thatcher: ‘Save Our Cities’.5

Keywords

Social Commentary Break Window Music Industry Abrasive Wheel Daily Mail 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 6.
    See, for example, C. Brooker (1980) The Seventies: Portrait of a Decade (London: Allen Lane);Google Scholar
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    For two differing styles of overview, see B. Harrison (2010) Finding a Role? The United Kingdom, 1970–1990 (Oxford: Oxford University Press);Google Scholar
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  11. 11.
    Alwyn Turner and Graham Stewart are just two historians who have drawn from across the arts to find cultural complements to the prevailing moods and events of the early 1980s. See A.W. Turner (2010) Rejoice, Rejoice: Britain in the 1980s (London: Aurum);Google Scholar
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    D. Renton (2006) When We Touched the Sky: The Anti-Nazi League, 1977–81 (London: New Clarion Press), pp. 136–55.Google Scholar
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    S. Alexander Reed (2013) Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See J. Robb (2009) Death to Trad Rock (London: Cherry Red).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Matthew Worley 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Worley

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