By Bradley Morgan
New Books Network
This is the late 1970s and ’80s as explained through the urgent and still-relevant songs of the Clash, the Specials, the Au Pairs, the Style Council, the Pet Shop Boys, and nearly four hundred other bands and solo artists.
Each chapter presents a mixtape (or playlist) of songs related to an alarming feature of Thatcher’s Britain, followed by an analysis of the dialogue these artists created with the Thatcherite vision of British society. “Tell us the truth,” Sham 69 demanded, and pop music, however improbably, did. It’s a furious and sardonic account of dark times when pop music raised a dissenting fist against Thatcher’s fascist groove thing and made a glorious, boredom-smashing noise. Bookended with contributions by Dick Lucas and Boff Whalley as well as an annotated discography, The Fascist Groove Thing: A History of Thatcher’s Britain in 21 Mixtapes (PM Press, 2023) presents an original and polemical account of the era.
Hugh Hodges has written extensively on African and West Indian music, poetry, and fiction, including essays on Fela Kuti, Lord Kitchener, and Bob Marley. Linton Kwesi Johnson praised his book Soon Come as “extremely engaging and an important, original scholarly work.” He currently teaches at Trent University, Ontario, where his research focuses on cultural resistance in its many forms, and his band the Red Finks remains hopelessly obscure.
Hugh’s author page for PM Press.
Bradley Morgan is a media arts professional in Chicago and author of U2’s The Joshua Tree: Planting Roots in Mythic America. He manages partnerships on behalf of CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM, serves as a co-chair of the associate board at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and volunteers in the music archive at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Bradley Morgan on Twitter.