Home > Music > The glories of post-punk

The glories of post-punk

Of course, those of us with our ears glued to John Peel, frantically pressing pause and record, finding spare segments of sacrificable C90 for the latest session, resulting in a palimpsest of rearranged magnetic granules on fragile brown plastic ribbon, did not know it would later have a name. But we knew everything that mattered that came from these isles at least was to one extent or another a ripple of creative experiment from the great boulder in the already-electric pond that was 1976-1977. Ripples that could be discerned (just) right up to the mid-1980s. And we knew these omniverous waves – which embraced much that the spirit of 76 pretended to find a mortal sin, from prog (Siouxsie/Magazine) to funk (Pop Group, Go4, Cabs, etc) – mattered all the more for their lack of tutored art.

What might have shocked us is to find ourselves nearly 30 years later still listening, still inspired. Thanks to the unbelievable prices for which these things can now be tracked down in physical form, I have in the last year rediscovered joys as varied as Swoon, Collossal Youth, English Settlement and the Affectionate Punch. Hearing them on headphones for the first time, albeit from files with nowhere near the depth of good vinyl (but whoever talked of audio quality when they were made?), I rediscover a music that is more than art (and at its best I use the term without hesitation, and all the more proudly because the makers were people like me, the pretentious arty twats with badges in one corner of the sixth form block); it is an inspiration, a way of life, a hunting like a brave man with a flashlight, to quote TV Smith at his wisest.

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