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Archive for May, 2011

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The return of right-wing retro

Port, 16 May 2011

Is 2011 a repeat of 1981? Two weeks ago, Britain celebrated a royal wedding with an enthusiasm and patriotic fervour that almost matched the betrothal of Charles and Diana. And today, as then, we can also see a creeping right-wing retro revivalism – an embrace of conservative style, status symbols and values – spreading across British culture.

That’s not to say that 1981 was an inherently conservative year. Sure Thatcher was in power. But it was a time of bitter division: of 2.5m unemployed, riots in Brixton, IRA hunger strikes and the Militant Tendency as a serious force in the Labour party. But if the country was split socially and politically, then it found some solace in the embrace of fashion trends and brands that espoused a traditionalist, un-modern and anti-urban concept of Britishness. This was the age of Laura Ashley dresses and Tricia Guild wallpaper, the Sloane Ranger and the Young Fogey, the Aga as a symbol of enduring tradition. more

Now Playing – Arthur Russell

Arthur Russell “World of Echo” (1986)

I fell in love with Arthur Russell years long before I  ever knew his name. I’d heard the sparse, hypnotic ‘Wax The Van” by Lola on release in 1987 and been mesmerised by it. I’d adored Loose Joints’ “It Is All Over My Face” and Dinosaur L’s”Go Bang”, to a similar extent. But it was only much later that I realised the same person was behind all those records. And that Russell himself was so much more than the creator of minimal disco. An artist of haunting brilliance.