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England's Dreaming: Jon Savage

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Oh, that’s a good question. Youth culture is changing considerably, and I think for deeper reasons than a whole load of crap television programmes like I Love the 1980s, to be honest. Of course Punk and the Pistols didn't do anything to lessen the bile and angst with violence accompanying gigs and wearing emblems such as the Swastika guaranteed to light fires under many a person. SK: I thought she was perfect for it! Just the idea that she might stand there, in Trafalgar Square, among all these generals and admirals. She was a sort of seer, wasn’t she? Face front, we got the future/Shining like a piece of gold/But I swear as we got closer/It looks like a lump of coal' - The Clash: All The Young Punks. The book built a picture of, to quote Savage quoting McLaren, “the human architecture of the city”, and provided an apocalyptic vision of England on the eve of Thatcherism – for Savage, a mirror image of punk’s suburban sado-masochism and its contempt for the woolly compromise of the welfare state. First of all, the book made me notice London. Suburban Southampton is an interminable, Americanised sprawl.

How England’s Dreaming told the definitive story of London punk

Do You Have The Force? -Jon Savage's Alternate History Of Electronica 1978-82 (Caroline True Records 2020) It can be problematic, but I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing. When I was 16, I used to haunt second-hand bookshops and record stores in grubby parts of London – there was one in Soho that was mega sleazy – hunting for something that might spark something. You see, punk was a product of focus. It was like going through a chicane where everything was narrowed down to points so that when it came out, it was even more powerful, focused and easy to grasp. I should qualify [my answer] by saying that I’m 67 and I live on an island, off an island. I’ve written a lot about youth culture, but I’m now observing it from afar. Jon Savage has managed to produce a very excellent and readable book. This must have been quite a task given the plethora of material but the complete, and in some cases deliberate camouflaging of events and reasons, that could have led to either some kind of hero worshipful bible-like book or to the usual skim, have generally been avoided. Mr Savage has made an excellent review of the period and analysed the precursors whilst managing to keep the sense of wonder that was there all through the punk years. Having been there (but hardly 'in' them) I found his book to be absolutely fair and very astute in it's analysis.England’s Dreaming’s conundrum is the pop-modernist dialectic, and the only writer who caught it as well as Savage was Marshall Berman, who wrote about Hollywood both offering a “dream of escape” from capitalism to his parents’ generation and a “force that bound them to it”. So too with punk: this generation – that of my parents – owed everything to the welfare state, yet they destroyed as much of it as they could.

Britain’s Dreaming: Jon Savage on the future of youth Britain’s Dreaming: Jon Savage on the future of youth

Jon Savage (born 2 September 1953 [1] in Paddington, London) is an English writer, broadcaster and music journalist, best known for his definitive history of the Sex Pistols and punk music, England's Dreaming (1991). Over the past 40years, Savage has gone from revered ​ ’70s/​early ​ ’80s NME/​ Sounds and FACE journalist to one of Britain’s most trusted cultural historians. He was at the centre of punk in the ​ ’70s, publishing on-the-ground reports for the weekly music press (the ​ “inkies”) and his self-published fanzine, London’s Outrage. The latter was the purest recording of asubcultural explosion, made on aphotocopier at an office where Savage was working, and catching the energetic highs of afebrile youth explosion – moments like Shane MacGowan’s ear-biting incident at aClash gig in 1976. The US tour is another interesting chapter and the author's treatment of Sid Vicious's demise and death is told with clarity and sympathy, and include comment from Sid's mother. I would imaging this was used for the screenplay of Pistol, the disney tv series. Everything in the show is found in this book - including the emphasis on Steve Jones stealing kit from Bowies gig at the Hammersmith Odeon.For Gareth Southgate, England’s coach, this will have felt like something different entirely. Sunday’s game will be the culmination of a task that in many ways was set out for him from the moment he stepped off the Wembley pitch after missing a penalty against Germany in 1996, and which – despite everything – still remains tantalisingly incomplete. England had lost their last four tournament semi-finals. They have not won a major trophy since 1966. That hoodoo has never felt closer to being broken.

England’s dreaming: Euro 2020 final offers chance to scratch England’s dreaming: Euro 2020 final offers chance to scratch

The Spanish Flu welcomed the Roaring Twenties, Thatcher’s ​ ’80s brought acid house. Grime hastened the death of skinny jeans – sort of. But however the political pendulum swings over time, it’s always youth at the helm. The movers, the shakers, the pissed off.Whatever the problems are in the world, young people – if they’ve got any spirit and they’re not prepared to just go along with things – will have apretty good idea of what’s wrong,” says Jon Savage over aZoom call, ​ “because they are entering aworld made by adults.”

Jon Savage - Wikipedia Jon Savage - Wikipedia

That Jon Savage's England's Dreaming stays afloat (just) is due to two things. First, that the times about which he writes are so vibrant, real, close yet distant and fundamentally dirty, makes for exciting copy. And second that his obvious enthusiasm for the people, the music and the events, shines through bright enough to burn.Frohman, Jesse (2014). Kurt Cobain: The Last Session. Contributions by Jon Savage and Glenn O'Brien. London: Thames & Hudson. J. C. Maçek III (6 June 2013). "Fashionably Anti-Establishment: 'Punk: From Chaos to Couture' ". PopMatters.

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