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This report is taken from PN Review 166, Volume 32 Number 2, November - December 2005.

Outtakes and Upsurges: Starting Salt Publishing Chris Hamilton-Emery

Growing up in north Manchester in the 1970s was a rich urban experience - the world might have seemed beige, grey and orange, as were the wallpaper, pants and hair, but we had union supremacy to contend with: cold nights without electricity and three-day weeks with refuse piling up in the streets. It all seemed socially precipitous, unpredictable and invigorating. Mind you, the power being wielded was already anachronistic, but at least it was fun. To add to all the upheaval, we had mad weather in the form of melanoma-inducing summers, inner city floods and savage, pipe-cracking winters. Seasons were differentiated, just like the politics. Given the penchant now for personal soundtracks in life, and long before podcasts and Walkmans, gangs of kids carried around tape recorders playing the latest punk or new wave sensation; and slowly socialism, pacifism, anarchism, Marxism and activism in all its wondrous forms found its way onto the streets.

It's hard to remember exactly when Val Doonican and Saturday Night at the London Palladium gave way to the punk explosion, but at some point The Buzzcocks, Magazine, The Gang of Four and Joy Division arrived and with the NME set the scene for a cultural revolution which offered up anew the pleasures and excesses of delinquency, social theory, popular depression and corruption. Culture was yet to become an academic subject, commodified and cross-referenced with simulacra and simulation. To be young was to be engaged in an intellectual and


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