70s English Youth Culture and the Labour Party and the Unions

Michael Hoover hoov at freenet.tlh.fl.us
Mon Aug 2 08:21:01 PDT 1999

> Alex LoCascio wrote:
> >On Sun, 1 Aug 1999 13:16:42 -0400 Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com>
> >writes:
> > >Yeah, though mainly from the anarchist left. What about the Mekons
> > >and the Au Pairs?
> >Never listened to either (Au Pairs stuff is damned hard to find on CD,
> >and I don't have a turntable). Both bands were from the Leeds University
> >scene that spawned Gang of Four though, and GOF even gives a shout out to
> >the Mekons in the liner notes to Entertainment!, so I can' t imagine the
> >politics being that different.
> The Au Pairs are a bit preachy, and sound pretty dated now. But the
> Mekons are just wonderful - and funny too, which is pretty rare for
> the genre of politicized music.
> Doug

I interviewed GOF's Jon King some years ago and he related an incident from his university days that stemmed from events surrounding the occupation [agreed to by student government and the school administrators] of the administation offices to protest cuts, a pathetic exercise guaranteed to give semlance of action where ther was only passivity... King and Andy Gill ran a student film group on campus and they were among those who sabotaged this 'reasonable demonstration' and eventually a good bit of damage was done...in turn, about 6000 students held a mass kangaroo court and voted to withdraw funding and facilities for a radical student org that got blamed for the violence...King said that one of their friends (who became the Mekons first manager) had started the melee but he was ignored when he shouted that he had done it because he was a mining engineer and didn't fit the troublemaking stereotype...

in the art program at Leeds, King and Gill studied with one-time Situationist and art historian T. J. Clark whose book on Courbet resonates with the view that bourgeois socety is effcient in making all arts its own and that the avant-garde is an unabashed form of social climbing...they also studied with feminist Griselda Pollock, structuralist Fred Orton, and Terry Atkinson who was into the relationship between art and language as well as the relationship between Hobbesian ideas of atomic individualism and craft-based activity

Au Pairs *Playing With a Different Sex* (with 8 additional songs) was released on CD in eaerly 90s but maybe available only as import in US and maybe out of print by now....and for what it's worth, I disagree that band sounds dated... Michael Hoover

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