Stand Up and Be Counted
Alot of people define themselves by their cultural or ethnic group. Me, I come from a small town in Kent. It’s not even Kentish, but where Kent meets the London sprawl; somewhere the whole purpose, the whole pride of the place was that it was cultureless. It had a way of life that wasn’t definable, it had nothing. People moved there because its purpose was boredom – ‘come to Swanley and life will pass you by’.
Punk exploded in these sorts of places, and I got into it when I was sixteen or seventeen. I remember the impact the first Clash album had on me: it said it was legitimate to be angry about the older generation. My parents’ generation had been through the war; they thought the boom would go on for ever, that all you had to do was choose a good trade, work hard and be in it for your whole life. We rejected this stability, so there was enormous tension between us and our parents – and out of that tension and the explosion of the late 1970s, when society polarised and became quite violent, with the rise of fascism and so on, came quite a wide layer of people my age who protested and asked questions. Is the stability we are being sold of any value?
This article is available to History Today online subscribers only. If you are a subscriber, please log in.
Please choose one of these options to access this article:
- Purchase an online subscription
- Purchase a print and online subscription
- If you are already a print subscriber, purchase the online archive upgrade
Call our Subscriptions department on +44 (0)20 3219 7813 for more information.
If you are logged in but still cannot access the article, please contact us