Beginning in 1994 and closing in the first months of 1998, the UK passed through a cultural moment as distinct and as celebrated as any since the war. Founded on rock music, celebrity, boom-time economics and fleeting political optimism - this was Cool Britannia. Records sold in their millions, a new celebrity elite emerged and Tony Blair's Labour Party found itself, at long last, returned to government.
Britpop and the English Music Tradition is the first study devoted exclusively to the Britpop phenomenon and its contexts. The genre of Britpop, with its assertion of Englishness, evolved at the same time that devolution was striking deep into the hegemonic claims of English culture to represent Britain. It is usually argued that Britpop, with its strident declarations of Englishness, was a response to the dominance of grunge. The contributors in this volume take a different point of view: that Britpop celebrated Englishness at a time when British culture, with its English hegemonic core, was being challenged and dismantled. It is now timely to look back on Britpop as a cultural phenomenon of the 1990s that can be set into the political context of its time, and into the cultural context of the last fifty years – a time of fundamental revision of what it means to be British and English. The book examines issues such as the historical antecedents of Britpop, the subjectivities governing the performative conventions of Britpop, the cultural context within which Britpop unfolded, and its influence on the post-Britpop music scene in the UK. While Britpop is central to the volume, discussion of this phenomenon is used as an opportunity to examine the particularities of English popular music since the turn of the twentieth century.
If we remember them at all, the Sheffield pop group Pulp are remembered for jolly class warfare ditty 'Common People', for the celebrity of their interestingly-named frontman, for the latter waving his arse at Michael Jackson at the Brit awards, for being part of a non-movement called 'Britpop', and for disappearing almost without trace shortly after. They made a few good tunes, they did some funny videos, and while they might be National Treasures, they're nothing serious. Are they? This book argues that they should be taken seriously —very seriously indeed. Attempting to wrest Pulp away from the grim jingoistic spectacle of Britpop and the revivals-of-a-revival circuit, this book charts the very strange things that occur in their records, taking us deep into a strange exotic land; a land of acrylics, adultery, architecture, analogue synthesisers and burning class anger. This is book about pop music, but it is mainly a book about sex, the city and class via the 1990s finest British pop group.
Renowned for making films that are at once sly domestic satires and heartbreaking 'social realist' dramas, British writer-director Mike Leigh confronts his viewers with an un-romanticized dramatization of modern-day society in the hopes of inspiring them to strive for greater self-awareness and compassion for others. This collection features new, interdisciplinary essays that cover all phases of the BAFTA-award-winner's film career, from his early made-for-television film work to his theatrical releases, including Life is Sweet (1990), Naked (1993), Secrets & Lies (1996), Career Girls (1997), Topsy-Turvy (1999), All or Nothing (2002), Vera Drake (2004), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) and Another Year (2010). With contributions from international scholars from a variety of fields, the essays in this collection cover individual films and the recurring themes and motifs in several films, such as representations of class and gender, and overt social commentary and political subtexts. Also covered are Leigh's visual stylizations and storytelling techniques ranging from explorations of the costume design to set design to the music and camerawork and editing; the collaborative process of 'devising and directing' a Mike Leigh film that involves character-building, world-construction, plotting, improvisations and script-writing; the process of funding and marketing for these seemingly 'uncommercial' projects, and a survey of Leigh's critical reception and the existing writing on his work.
When John Major launched the UK’s National Lottery in 1994 he christened it “the people’s Lottery” and handed it to the mythical stewardship of the Everyman. But when the proceeds began to be distributed to worthy causes, including the British film industry, this populist rhetoric came under increasing strain. If Lottery funding is used to produce the type of British films which the public want to see, such as romantic comedies, then many question whether the market deserves such subsidy. Short films and low budget, experimental cinema – which often require state support – tend to go unwatched by large swathes of the Lottery ticket-buying public. This book explores the debates which were sparked by the arrival of “the people’s pictures”, and places them in historical context by examining their many precedents. Is public patronage a boon or a burden for filmmakers? And how do institutional cultures or political buzzwords affect the finished films? Case studies include the popular hits Billy Elliot (2000) and Shooting Fish (1997); art-house releases such as Love Is The Devil (1998) and Gallivant (1997); short films by Lynne Ramsey and David MacKenzie; and artists’ film and video work by Bill Viola and Tracey Emin.
Now in an updated 3rd edition this popular A-Z student handbook provides a comprehensive survey of key ideas and concepts in popular music culture. With new and expanded entries on genres and sub-genres the text comprehensively examines the social and cultural aspects of popular music, taking into account the digital music revolution and changes in the way that music is manufactured, marketed and delivered. New and updated entries include: social networking peer to peer American Idol video gaming genres and subgenres of blues, jazz, country, and world music music retail formats goth rock and emo electronic dance music. With further reading and listening included throughout, Popular Music Culture: The Key Concepts is an essential reference text for all students studying the social and cultural dimensions of popular music.
At a time when fundamentalism is on the rise, traditional religions are in decline and postmodernity has challenged any system that claims to be all-defining, young people have left their traditional places of worship and set up their own, in clubs, at festivals and within music culture. Pop Cults investigates the ways in which popular music and its surrounding culture have become a primary site for the location of meaning, belief and identity. It provides an introduction to the history of the interactions of vernacular music and religion, and the role of music in religious culture. Rupert Till explores the cults of heavy metal, pop stars, club culture and virtual popular music worlds, investigating the sex, drug, local and death cults of the sacred popular, and their relationships with traditional religions. He concludes by discussing how and why popular music cultures have taken on many of the roles of traditional religions in contemporary society.
'We didn't want the world. We understood the need for caution and compromise. But really: what was all this?' War in Iraq. Top-up fees. Blair in bed with Bush. Private companies continuing to buy into schools and hospitals. You wouldn't be alone in feeling unable to rush down to the polling station and vote Labour on election day. John Harris travels up and down the country to talk to MPs, health workers, teachers and policy-makers to find the answers to some key questions: Is there any chance of a swing back to a recognisable Labour Party? What does a Liberal Democrat actually believe in? Who on earth are the Respect Coalition? And can you risk a protest vote now that Michael Howard has restored some credibility to the Tories? With characteristic humour and an ability to cut through the double-speak of party politics, John Harris has written a book for the thousands of people asking themselves: so now who we vote for?
A warts-and-all autobiography by the team of feuding brothers who are the biggest rave act of all time, Orbital Over the course of thirty years as one of the bestselling and most recognizable techno acts on the planet, Orbital (the duo of brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll) has survived addictions, suicide, four marriages, and two splits and reunions. Halcyon and On and On is a great rock 'n' roll story without any actual rock 'n' roll, and, best of all, it's never been told. Since their first single "Chime" became a club hit in 1989, Paul and Phil have been at the heart of techno and rave music, viewed by critics more like an indie band than as a faceless dance act. In addition to millions of albums sold and career-defining performances at the Glastonbury Music Festival and the 2012 Olympics in London, theirs is a story of bust-ups and binges, suicide and addiction. Paul and Phil have their share of dark secrets that would make most rock bands blush, but no matter how bitterly they fight and how deeply they resent each other, their family ties always bind them. And now the Hartnoll brothers want to tell their story themselves, in their own words, as an oral history. Their biggest problem, however, is that they both remember most of their history a little differently.