Tagged: the specials

Sunday Service: ‘Twas the Riot Before Christmas

If you’re an easily suggestible sort, the last few weeks’ flurry of alarmist headlines on strikes, snow, and student riots might lead you to think of London as the convulsing epicentre of the end of the world as we know it. In fact, it’s still perfectly possible to work and play on the streets of the capital without detecting any signs of the collapse of civilisation, although that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

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I dreamed that I was living back in the mid-nineteen-eighties: The Specials, ‘Ghost Town’

Just a quick link, in keeping with the prevailing socio-economic mood, of possibly the best song of the past three decades. There’s a lot to be said about a(nother) disenfranchised generation left with no choice but to disengage, but you get it all here: the backbeat’s plodding fatalism, the wind howling through streets of boarded-up shopfronts, the creeping undirected menace.

I remember, back in the day, a godawful cover of this by Back To The Planet. Fucken hippies, but you could see what they were getting at: 1994 and all that was another top-down assault on youth culture, the Criminal Justice Bill suddenly getting the apathetic to sit up, shake off the comedown and take notice of the systematic erosion of civil liberties. A bit. But there’s no call-to-arms here, just mournful observation, the anatomy of market failure and government misconduct.

And oh well, here we are again, looking for something to get us in the mood (unlimited respect or something like it to anyone who gets that reference without googling). Enjoy.