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‘Running Riot’: Violence and British Punk Communities, 1975-1984

Andrew H. Carroll
Traduction(s) :
« Running Riot » : la violence et les communautés punks au Royaume-Uni, 1975-1984

Résumé

Roused by their experience at the Notting Hill Carnival of 1976, the Clash penned their first single “White Riot” and at an early stage helped to establish the burgeoning punk community’s obsession with violence. In the context of the social and economic crises of the late 1970s and early 1980s, street level disorders and attacks were common place. However, punk’s use of aggression was more than a simple embrace of violence’s banality during the period. It constituted a response to postwar British discourse about youth and the stark rise in divorce rates. Punks used violence to react against cultural isolation and to find individual, masculine empowerment as part of a subcultural community.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 David Leigh, “Confrontation recalls 1958 riots,” Times August 31, 1976.
  • 2 Stewart Tendler, “250 People are Hurt as Notting Hill Carnival erupts into riot,” Times August 31, (...)

1On 30 August 1976, the Notting Hill Carnival, which celebrated West-Indian culture, came to an explosive end. As reggae and steel drum bands played, the festival acted as a place for London’s black residents to come together and celebrate their community. However, throughout the carnival, tension permeated the air. The police made their presence palpable. As one reporter wrote, “Lines of police officers shepherded the steel bands with assiduity I have only seen otherwise during National Front marches1.” By treating these bands like confrontational far-right nationalists, the police clearly anticipated trouble with the crowd. Their prediction came to fruition on the festival’s last day. The police entered the crowd and began to exert their authority by targeting and arresting black teenagers whom they accused of being pickpockets. Carnival goers lashed out against the police by showering the officers with bottles. The rioters, who were primarily black, fought pitched battles with the police, looted stores, and lit cars on fire. By the end of the night 250 people were injured, nearly half of which were police, and 68 people had been arrested2.

Social Violence and the Causes of the Riots

  • 3 David Leigh.
  • 4 David Leigh.

2The Notting Hill Carnival Riot illuminates several themes of British life in the period of 1975 to 1984. First, the 1970s constituted a period of economic strain for Britain. For many British youth, job prospects ranged from bleak to non-existent. Reflecting upon this idea, one critical editorial about the Notting Hill Riot wondered if the police were “sensitive” to the plight of jobless youth3. Furthermore, it demonstrated growing fissures in British life during this period. Black Britons interviewed by the press already held deep-seated distrust of the predominately white police force before the uprising4. Considering the police’s treatment of the festival’s security, this distrust was surely mutual.

  • 5 David Leigh.
  • 6 Sex Pistols, “God Save the Queen,” on Never mind the Bollocks, Warner Brothers Records Inc., 1977, (...)

3In addition, the Notting Hill Riot was not a unique occurrence during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Street violence and terrorist bombings punctuated British life. In fact, journalist David Leigh connected the conflict between black and white Londoners at Notting Hill to another battle raging in the United Kingdom by directly comparing the West-Indian community’s relationship with the police to that of Catholics and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland5. He thus implied that the confrontation at Notting Hill was as deeply rooted as ‘the Troubles’ in Ulster which had already fueled the death of approximately two thousand people since its outbreak less than a decade earlier. At this moment in 1976, Britain was talking itself into a crisis. In this context it is unsurprising that a chart-topping 1977 single claimed, “There is no future in England’s dreaming6.”

Guttersnipe, no 2, vol. 1

Guttersnipe, no 2, vol. 1

Madely, UK : Telford Community Arts, 1979.

  • 7 Joe Strummer in The Clash: Westway to the World, directed by Don Letts (Sony Music, 2000), DVD (Son (...)
  • 8 The Clash, “White Riot,” by Joe Strummer and Mic Jones, on The Clash, Sony Music UK, 1977, remaster (...)

4However, at least one witness, who used the stage name Joe Strummer, found inspiration in the riot. He remembered, “This was one of those times where people kind of went, ‘we’ve had enough, and we’re going to say so now’7.” With this inspiration Strummer wrote a song for a band he had joined just a few months previously. His new band was called the Clash and they played a new type of music called punk. Roused by his experiences at Notting Hill, Strummer penned the song “White Riot.” The song opened with a blistering and jarring guitar riff. Soon after it began, Strummer screamed, “White riot / I wanna riot/ White riot / a riot of my own8.” These punks were raging about British life in the latter half of the 1970s; they wrote and performed songs about their world – a world in crisis. Twenty years after the riot, Stummer reflected about Notting Hill and “White Riot.” He claimed that London’s black residents “had more of an ax to grind, and they had the guts to do something about it,” and he wanted to inspire white Britons to do something as well. Nevertheless, the song was about more than violently attacking the status quo. On a deeper level, Strummer seemed to be signaling for young Britons to build their own community by calling for “a riot of [his] own.” Yet, even at this early moment in the community’s formation, he exposed punk rock’s obsession with violence.

  • 9 Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style (1979; repr., Routledge, 1996), 19.

5Punk was born in the United States in the late 1960s, but it reached maturity, or rather immaturity, in Britain during the late-1970s. Punks wrote songs about their own lives. As such, they often took transgressive and confrontational stances – like the Clash glorifying riots. Moreover, their fashion of ripped clothing, held together with safety pins, combined with fetish gear, and spikey odd colored hair, struck a combative pose against orthodox British society. Describing the punk style in 1979, cultural theorist Dick Hebdige claimed, “No subculture has sought with more grim determination than the punks to detach itself from the taken-for-granted landscape of normalized forms, nor to bring down upon itself such vehement disapproval9.” One way punks brought themselves this disapproval was through outlandish physical violence.

6The gratuitous violence of punk rock fueled the mainstream hysteria over the community, and it influenced much of the literature that defines punk as a form of working-class resistance to bourgeois cultural hegemony. However, this “anti-social” behavior served a deeper purpose for punks. It both signaled participation in the community and helped define the latter against normative culture. Moreover, cultural shifts regarding family and sexuality in the preceding decades came to a head in the 1970s and 1980s and helped fuel Britain’s mood of crisis during the period. The punk community’s violent proclivities constituted a reaction to these shifts and helped young people find individual empowerment through participation in the punk community.

The Punk Generation: Children of Divorce

  • 10 Lynne Segal, “Jam Today: Feminist Impacts and Transformations in the 1970s,” in Reassessing 1970s B (...)
  • 11 Deborah Cohen, Family Secrets: The Things We Tried to Hide (London: Penguin Books, 2013), 230.

7After World War II, divorce rates rose exponentially which led many to feel anxious about the continuing importance of family to British life. However, it also offered a number of women more independence. Then, in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) directly reacted against the misogyny of “free love” during the 1960s and began to contest all forms of patriarchy10. Specifically, they turned their attention to issues regarding women’s power and place within the British family. The WLM and the concurrent Gay Liberation Movement fed the growing anxieties over the family’s paramountcy because they attacked the institution of marriage. They claimed it forced individuals to subsume their autonomy under paternal authority which set the groundwork for patriarchal subjugation in society at large11. By the latter half of the 1970s, many Britons felt that these reformers threatened the nuclear family and masculine power. These factors combined with the stark rise in divorce rates; from the perspective of many Britons, the British family appeared to be in crisis.

  • 12 Garry Bushell, Bushell on the Rampage (Clacton on the Sea, UK: Apex, 2010), 33.
  • 13 Garry Bushell, 12.
  • 14 Garry Bushell, 32.

8Journalist and punk musician, Garry Bushell highlighted these feelings. He wrote of his childhood, “One day I got in at teatime and found my dad crying his eyes out.” Bushell’s father, George, cried because he found out that his wife had an extra-marital affair12. George Bushell’s tears were critical to his son because, at a younger age, Garry Bushell’s male family members taught him that real men should “keep [their] emotions buttoned up13.” Therefore, Garry Bushell’s mother removed George Bushell’s manhood by eliciting a deep emotional response over the breakup of his family. In fact, Garry Bushell recalls that his father “seemed smaller from that day on14.” Bushell equated the break-up of his parents with the emasculation of his father. From Bushell’s perspective, shifting family structures and women’s liberation constituted a threat to masculinity.

  • 15 Deborah Cohen, 197.

9Moreover, throughout the postwar period, Britons also directly associated the crisis of the family with the corruption of youth. Historian Deborah Cohen argues that, in the 1950s, to many Britons, descriptions of shifting family structures invoked “the signs of moral breakdown of the populace at large.” Paramount among these signs was juvenile delinquency which was “personified by the spectacle of degenerate and rebellious” youth cultures15. By the 1970s, this association became a truism for the British; young people internalized this discourse and, if they came from a home divorce, they would see themselves as inherently inadequate and participants in societal breakdown. Because of these factors combined with rising divorce rates, large swaths of the generation that came of age in the late 1970s and 1980s surely felt isolated from society. In addition, many young men felt that they had lost facets of their masculinity because of these changes. One way young people reacted to this was by constructing a new community, centered on punk music, that used violence to define itself.

Punks and Violence

  • 16 Shane McGowan and Victoria Clarke, A Drink With Shane McGowan (New York: Grove Press, 2001), 51.

10Punks both reveled in and faced violence on regular basis. Shane McGowan, who later in the 1980s achieved fame with his band the Pogues, was one of those first-wave punks who partook in regular acts of bloodshed. In the late 1970s, McGowan, who had always been an outsider, was drawn to punk rock. He had spent much of his youth looking for a sense of belonging. McGowan was the child of Irish immigrants, and this created a sense of resentment and otherness for him16. Moreover, considering that divorce rates bred isolation in native British youth, many other punks held similar deep-seated anger combined with a desire to find a sense of belonging. Before punk, McGowan explored several youth cultures in his quest to belong, and, for a time, he even identified himself as a soul boy. However, soul clubs did not offer McGowan an outlet for his anger. Then he discovered punk.

  • 17 McGowan and Clarke, 154.
  • 18 “Sneaking in the Back Door with Dirty Magazines,” Bombsite!, no. 5, eds. Mart, Grom, and Alg (Liver (...)
  • 19 Magazine, “Shot By Both Sides,” Real Life, Copyright Virgin, 1978; Caroline Records CAROL 1808-2, C (...)

11After joining the punk community McGowan faced regular violence from outsiders. He recalled that punks were often targets for “lads,” and that the punks were not afraid to fight back with anything they could, including the “dog-chains and knives” they wore. He continued, “we didn’t try and fight fairly17.” Furthermore, McGowan was not the only punk who faced violence from “normals.” In a 1977 interview, Garth Smith of the Buzzcocks described an attack the band faced. The Buzzcocks had just played a set at a university in Leeds and were attempting to leave: “students waited for us outside… A gang of about 7 or 8 came over to the car, I had the window down, one swung his fist through the window… then they put a brick through the back window and started ti [sic.] lift the back of the car up. We just managed to break away in the car18.” As this incident illustrates, even educated and middle-class people of the same age assaulted the punks. The conflict was not strictly generational nor limited to uneducated reactionaries. Punks became the scapegoats for a society frustrated by cultural transformation. As such, punks faced attacks from all sides, or, to quote a song by Howard Devoto’s post Buzzcocks band Magazine, punks felt “Shot by Both Sides19.” Punks’ transgressive, shocking attitudes and stances caused normative culture to react viciously against them and it further isolated them from normative society; the reactions against them pushed punks deeper into their alternative community.

Kill Your Pet Puppy, no 2

Kill Your Pet Puppy, no 2

London : Self Published Zine, February and March 1980.

  • 20 McGowan and Clarke, 150.
  • 21 Lauraine Leblanc, Pretty in Punk: Girl’s Gender Resistance in a Boy’s Subculture (New Brunswick, Ne (...)

12However, committing violent action also offered punks a level of celebrity. According to McGowan, he once got coverage in the music newspaper NME for being involved in an act of literal bloodshed. The paper ran an article titled “Cannibalism at Clash Gig” which featured a picture of McGowan with large amounts of blood running down his ear. He and a woman named Jane Crockford were “having a kind of sado-masochistic love ritual in front of the stage with broken bottles” and his ear got nicked. He asserts that “It felt like a good idea at the time… I got off on pain, both inflicting and being on the receiving end. It was a kick. Some new kind of kick20.” For McGowan, and presumably for other punks, violence constituted a way to alleviate boredom bred from cultural isolation. It forced them to feel something other than their resentments of everyday life, and surely offered an energy release for their frustrations with the world around them. Because of the NME article, McGowan became an infamous leader in the London punk scene. Violence thus made McGowan an important member of the community. It helped him find the sense of belonging that he sought. Moreover, the violence allowed punks, like McGowan, to exert and construct individual power tied to the community’s valorization of an adolescent form of masculinity21.

Punk Communities and Masculinity

  • 22 The Punk Rock Movie, directed by Don Letts (Rainbow Productions, 1978), DVD (Bootleg).
  • 23 Punk in London directed by Wolfgang Büld (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, 1977), DVD (A (...)

13This violence defined the spaces punks occupied. Early punk gigs were chaotic affairs. For example, in period footage of shows at the Roxy in London, the crowd appears to be dancing violently to the music22. The primary dance was called the pogo because it simply involved jumping up and down to the music. While pogoing, many punks embraced the fast and angry nature of the music. They would flail violently while jumping up and down, and often bashed into each other. In many respects this was a form of play acting violence because punks rarely got injured while dancing. Punks were seemingly parodying street violence, like the Notting Hill Carnival Riot, common during the period. However, as McGowan’s ear incident demonstrates, many punks blurred or crossed the line of play acting. This superficially savage behavior actually perpetuated the violence in Britain’s punk scenes. The press regularly ran stories that sensationalized bloodshed at punk shows, and, as we have seen, this granted punks a level of celebrity. In fact, one music journalist who covered the punk scene even claimed that the national press encouraged the violence23. Moreover, as punk moved from its first wave into its second wave, gratuitous violence became even more normalized in the community.

14In 1977 punk emerged from the underground. Bands like the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Damned all released their first albums which meant that more people now knew about and had access to the community. By 1979, a full second wave of punk was under way, and these new communities were less tied to major city centers like London and Manchester.

  • 24 Viv Albertine in The England’s Dreaming Tapes, ed. Jon Savage (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota (...)
  • 25 Mensi in Punk Rock: An Oral History, ed. John Robb (Oakland, CA: PM, 2012), 353.
  • 26 Bill Buford, Among the Thugs (New York: Vintage Departures, 1990), 28.

15Furthermore, this growth was very much hyper-masculine. Viv Albertine, of the Slits, claimed of the shift during 1977, “It did become more macho24.” This growth of machismo in the community was connected to the incorporation of more men with already established violent tendencies who appear to have been attracted by punk’s association with violence and aggression. Thomas “Mensi” Mensforth, of the Sunderland band Angelic Upstarts, described this facet of punk’s growth around 1977, “punk started to spread and it became acceptable to like us especially among football fans… so it went full circle from being beat up to them following us25.” Thus, with the injection of new members particularly from subcultures like football fans, the community began to shift more towards extreme violence. For example, journalist Bill Buford described one group of football fans in the early 1980s. He was learning about Manchester United’s “firm” from a member, “at one time or another, just about everyone, if not actually in jail, was at least facing a criminal charge.” In fact, Buford described Mick, his guide to the firm, as “not having a violent disposition,” but Mick too had been arrested for threatening to hit someone over the head with a bar stool26. Therefore, after punk’s break out in 1977, the community grew, but many of its new members already had a penchant for violence, and they were surely attracted by the community’s reputation. Punk offered these frustrated young men a way to enact their masculinity upon society.

“Football Ain’t the Only Thing Played with Balls”

“Football Ain’t the Only Thing Played with Balls”

Sounds, November 5, 1977.

  • 27 See: A Clockwork Orange, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1972; Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2007), (...)
  • 28 Cocksparrer, “Running Riot,” on Strength Thru Oi!, Decca Records, 1981, Captain Oi!, 2003, AHOY CD2 (...)
  • 29 Mathew Worley, “Shot By Both Sides: Punk, Politics and the End of ‘Consensus,” Contemporary British (...)

16Punk’s second wave glorified violence and offered men a way to reclaim the masculine power they felt they had lost through shifting family structures. For example, the band Cocksparrer’s stage personas alluded to an obsession with violence. The lead singer would often dress like a “droog” as depicted in the 1972 film A Clockwork Orange, and therefore referenced the film’s depiction of the characters’ obsessions with “ultra-violence27.” Second, numerous second-wave songs lionized rioters and street fighters. Cocksparrer’s song “Running Riot” constitutes a clear example. In the song, the front-man sang, “It seems to me the time is right / for another generation and another street fight / Got no future, but I sure got a right, I got a right to live / Got running a riot / I can't stand the peace and quiet / Because all I want is a running / Riot28!” Cocksparrer in many respects echoed the frustrations of early bands like the Sex Pistols with its reference of “got no future.” However, unlike the Clash and the Sex Pistols who only offered critique, Cocksparrer proposed a solution – a “street fight.” Their solution implied that Cocksparrer wanted punks to violently assert themselves and their masculinity29. Within the punk community, violence had become a solution to the crisis rather than just a way to react against it. In the face of the crisis, violence offered punks a means to achieve power.

Conclusion

17In their quest for empowerment, punks built a culture of violence. This offered young people physical power over their own bodies and those of other people. Punk men literally enacted their masculine power upon each other and the world around them through brute force. Violence thus offered punks one means to define their alternative community. For many young Britons who lived through the crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the world seemed chaotic. Participation in the punk community, and its violence, allowed them to reflect and parody this anarchy while living in the present without concern for a seemingly bleak future.

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Bibliographie

Bibliography

Black, Lawrence, Hugh Pemberton, and Pat Thane eds. Reassessing 1970s Britain. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013.

Bushell, Garry. Bushell on the Rampage. Clacton on the Sea, UK: Apex, 2010.

Buford, Bill. Among the Thugs. New York: Vintage Departures, 1990.

The Clash, The Clash. Sony Music UK, 1977. Remastered edition 88725447011, 2013. 33 1/3 rpm.

The Clash: Westway to the World. Directed by Don Letts. Sony Music, 2000. DVD. Sony Music, 2001.

A Clockwork Orange. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Warner Brothers,1972. Blu-Ray. Warner Home Video, 2007.

Cohen, Deborah. Family Secrets: The Things We Tried to Hide. London: Penguin Books, 2013.

Leblanc, Lauraine. Pretty in Punk: Girl’s Gender Resistance in a Boy’s Subculture. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1999.

Leigh, David. “Confrontation recalls 1958 riots.” Times (London), August 31, 1976.

Magazine. Real Life. Virgin, 1978. Caroline Records CAROL 1808-2. CD.

McGowan, Shane and Victoria Clarke. A Drink With Shane McGowan. New York: Grove Press, 2001.

Punk in London. Directed by Wolfgang Büld. Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, 1977. DVD. A Collectors Label, Bootleg, 2000.

The Punk Rock Movie, directed by Don Letts. Rainbow Productions, 1978. DVD (Bootleg).

Robb, John ed. Punk Rock: An Oral History. Oakland, CA: PM, 2012.

Savage, Jon ed. The England’s Dreaming Tapes. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Sex Pistols. Never Mind the Bollocks. Warner Brothers Records Inc., 1977. Rhino Vinyl ed. R1 3147. 33 1/3 rpm.

“Sneaking in the Back Door with Dirty Magazines.” Bombsite!, no. 5. Liverpool?: Self-Published Fanzine, 1977.

Strength Thru Oi!. Decca Records, 1981. Captain Oi!, AHOY CD230, 2003. CD.

Tendler, Stewart. “250 People are Hurt as Notting Hill Carnival erupts into riot.” Times (London), August 31, 1976.

Worley, Mathew. “Shot By Both Sides: Punk, Politics and the End of ‘Consensus.” Contemporary British History 26, no. 3 (2012): 333-354. Accessed May 26, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2012.703013

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Notes

1 David Leigh, “Confrontation recalls 1958 riots,” Times August 31, 1976.

2 Stewart Tendler, “250 People are Hurt as Notting Hill Carnival erupts into riot,” Times August 31, 1976.

3 David Leigh.

4 David Leigh.

5 David Leigh.

6 Sex Pistols, “God Save the Queen,” on Never mind the Bollocks, Warner Brothers Records Inc., 1977, Rhino Vinyl ed. R1 3147, 33 1/3 rpm.

7 Joe Strummer in The Clash: Westway to the World, directed by Don Letts (Sony Music, 2000), DVD (Sony Music, 2001).

8 The Clash, “White Riot,” by Joe Strummer and Mic Jones, on The Clash, Sony Music UK, 1977, remastered edition 88725447011, 2013, 33 1/3 rpm.

9 Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style (1979; repr., Routledge, 1996), 19.

10 Lynne Segal, “Jam Today: Feminist Impacts and Transformations in the 1970s,” in Reassessing 1970s Britain, eds. Lawrence Black, Hugh Pemberton, and Pat Thane (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 153.

11 Deborah Cohen, Family Secrets: The Things We Tried to Hide (London: Penguin Books, 2013), 230.

12 Garry Bushell, Bushell on the Rampage (Clacton on the Sea, UK: Apex, 2010), 33.

13 Garry Bushell, 12.

14 Garry Bushell, 32.

15 Deborah Cohen, 197.

16 Shane McGowan and Victoria Clarke, A Drink With Shane McGowan (New York: Grove Press, 2001), 51.

17 McGowan and Clarke, 154.

18 “Sneaking in the Back Door with Dirty Magazines,” Bombsite!, no. 5, eds. Mart, Grom, and Alg (Liverpool?: Self-Published Fanzine, 1977), 9.

19 Magazine, “Shot By Both Sides,” Real Life, Copyright Virgin, 1978; Caroline Records CAROL 1808-2, CD.

20 McGowan and Clarke, 150.

21 Lauraine Leblanc, Pretty in Punk: Girl’s Gender Resistance in a Boy’s Subculture (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1999), 8.

22 The Punk Rock Movie, directed by Don Letts (Rainbow Productions, 1978), DVD (Bootleg).

23 Punk in London directed by Wolfgang Büld (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, 1977), DVD (A Collectors Label, Bootleg, 2000).

24 Viv Albertine in The England’s Dreaming Tapes, ed. Jon Savage (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 302.

25 Mensi in Punk Rock: An Oral History, ed. John Robb (Oakland, CA: PM, 2012), 353.

26 Bill Buford, Among the Thugs (New York: Vintage Departures, 1990), 28.

27 See: A Clockwork Orange, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1972; Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2007), Blu-Ray.

28 Cocksparrer, “Running Riot,” on Strength Thru Oi!, Decca Records, 1981, Captain Oi!, 2003, AHOY CD230, CD.

29 Mathew Worley, “Shot By Both Sides: Punk, Politics and the End of ‘Consensus,” Contemporary British History 26, no. 3 (2012): 346, accessed May 26, 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2012.703013.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Guttersnipe, no 2, vol. 1
Légende Madely, UK : Telford Community Arts, 1979.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/criminocorpus/docannexe/image/5657/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,2M
Titre Kill Your Pet Puppy, no 2
Légende London : Self Published Zine, February and March 1980.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/criminocorpus/docannexe/image/5657/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 576k
Titre “Football Ain’t the Only Thing Played with Balls”
Légende Sounds, November 5, 1977.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/criminocorpus/docannexe/image/5657/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
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Andrew H. Carroll, « ‘Running Riot’: Violence and British Punk Communities, 1975-1984 », Criminocorpus [En ligne], Rock et violences en Europe, Rock, contre-violence sociale et anti-racisme, mis en ligne le 01 février 2019, consulté le 18 février 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/criminocorpus/5657

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Auteur

Andrew H. Carroll

Andrew H. Carroll is a candidate for the Master’s Degree in History at California State University, Long Beach whose research explores and contextualizes popular music in late-twentieth century Britain and Ireland. His forthcoming thesis, A Riot of My Own: Crisis Community and Punk Rock in Postcolonial Britain, 1975-1984, examines punk rock’s place as a reflection of Britain’s crisis during a period of cultural change, economic stagnation, and decolonization in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also the organized “Playing with a Purpose,” a speaker series at California State University, Long Beach that helped to better establish Los Angeles punk’s place as an integral part of the region’s cultural history through lectures and remembrances by the participants themselves.

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