Open Thread - Thurs 04 August 2022: New World, Same as the Old World
New World, Same as the Old World
I started reading a new (new to me) book last night about the history of UK punk from 1980-1984 called Burning Britain by Ian Glasper.
The early 80's was the time when I got involved in punk and quickly became a 'goth'. I was in college, doing my under graduate degree, living near the music and cultural centers of Berkeley and San Francisco. Anyway, this book is gonna be super interesting, I think, because although my first tastes of punk were of the American (and first wave British) variety, once I moved to Britain I got more exposed to the second wave of British punk and dived in.
The first chapter goes a bit into the background of the social conditions in the very early 80s in Britain which gave rise to first and second waves of punk. The British had their Thatcher, we had our Reagan. It all sucked. The following (on pg 11 in the book) really struck me:
Unemployment was rife, opportunities non-existent, with so-called job creation schemes proving as ineffectual as they were patronising... Thatcherism was shading our green and pleasant land the very unpleasant grey shades of despair.
The police force, showing their true colours on picket lines and demonstrations, seemed increasingly concerned with oppression rather than protection, and the government was callously ignoring the plight of industry at home to concentrate on futile conquests overseas. Everybody was terrified of either a nuclear strike or meltdown, and soon there would be pitched battles on the streets when social tensions reached boiling point.
What struck me was how much this sounds like now. The past is repeating itself (as usual, I guess). I know there are differences, after all, we are beyond the changes that Thatcher and Reagan saw into being. We are dealing with the consequences of those changes. Still the police act the same or worse (in the USA). There is still the frustrating futility of trying to change things. We are constantly moved by TPTB from one terrifying possibility (Russia!) to another (China!). Nukes, nukes, nukes are a problem again and social tensions are rising quite quickly. I guess, almost in my early 60s, I will be doing the same fighting and protesting I did in my early 20s. I hope I'm not too old for it!
Here's some music, very punk, but modern (2016). It's from a punk opera/cabaret from Germany, by Heiter bis Wolkig. They have been a punk band since the late 1980s/early 1990s or so. The whole album is really good, in German, or in English (here's a link to the album in English on youtube).
Smash your TV (English version) by Heiter bis Wolkig. Just a warning, there's swearing in this.
And just for the heck of it, here's one of their first videos from 25 to 30 years ago. It's a German folk song, done super punk.
So, thanks for reading and here's the open thread - and remember, everything is interesting if you dive deep enough, so tell us about where you're diving!