Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Katie - 1970's Britain

"no subculture has sought with more grim determination than the Punks to detach itself from the taken-for-granted landscape of normalised forms" (Dick Hebdige - Subcultures & Styles)

  • It was a decade of strikes - postal workers, miners and binmen. It ended with the 'winter of discontent' in 1979 when ITV went off the air for five months.
  • A three-day week was imposed during February 1972 to save on electricity at the start of the miners strike.
  • In 1977, the whole nation celebrated the Queen's Silver Jubilee with street parties.
  • During the summer of 1976 the weather turned so dry that water supplies reached critical low levels.
  • Many coal mines closed because the need for coal in Britain was no longer as great as it had once been.
  • Electricity was now generated by power stations burning oil or gas from the North Sea or in some cases by the use of nuclear energy.
Miners march through London in support of
their pay claim in 1972.

Influence on Punks & their ideologies

The punk subculture was primarily concerned with concepts such as rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, individualism, free thought and discontent.
The safety pins, studs, pierced faces and torn jackets of Punk fashion started to appear this and the seeds of the Mohawk hair craze was born.
Punk was a reaction against all things Hippie: long hair, love of nature, love of everybody, peace. Punk was the most shocking youth movement the world had ever seen: loud, angry, spitting, universal disgust. It was also a reaction against a huge rise in unemployment and inflation.
Many punks wear second hand clothing, partly as an anti-consumerist statement.
Economic recession, including the binmen strike, created much dissatisfaction with life among the youth of industrial Britain. Punk rock in Britain coincided with the end of the era of post-war consensus politics that preceded the rise of Thatcherism, and nearly all British punk bands expressed an attitude of angry social alienation.

During the Queen's Silver Jubilee, The Sex Pistols released 'God Save the Queen' along with the controversial design by Jamie Reid which was said to be an attack on the Royal Family. 

Because anti-establishment and anti-capitalist attitudes are such an important part of the punk subculture, a network of independent record labels, venues and distributors developed. Some punk bands chose to break from this independent system and work within the established system of major labels which went agains their original ideology. The DIY look is common in the punk scene, especially in terms of music recording and distribution, concert promotion, magazines, posters and flyers.

There was obviously a lot going on in the seventies for the Punk subculture to start. However, I think i need to look more into the past. There must have been a big change from one thing to another for subcultures to start. I am going back into the 50's and onwards to see what was going on in the world for subcultures like the Teddy Boys, then the Skinheads and then the Punks to form their own culture. 

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