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Indoor Raincoat

Lavinia Greenlaw: Joy Division

22 April 2015
So This Is Permanence: Joy Division Lyrics and Notebooks 
by Ian Curtis, edited by Deborah Curtis and Jon Savage.
Faber, 304 pp., £27, October 2014, 978 0 571 30955 9
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... whose memoir, Touching from a Distance, has just been reissued, contributes a foreword which has the clarity that comes with having made sense of something at last. It is such a sad thing to read. JonSavage offers an equally clear distillation of what has become a clash of narratives as books about Joy Division, Manchester and post-punk proliferate. The word fans settled on to describe the band ...
19 December 1991
England’s dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock 
by Jon Savage.
Faber, 602 pp., £17.50, October 1991, 0 571 13975 2
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... like Dick Hebdidge’s Subculture and Dave Laing’s One-Chord Wonders, which worthily organise and educate the chaotic punk threat until it sits up nice and neat as a Cultural Studies textbook. JonSavage’s monumental tome, 15 years in the writing and in which the author’s parents and grandmother get thanked for ‘living through this with me – twice’, attempts to do all these things at once ...


Dave Haslam

20 July 1995
The Black Album 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1995, 0 571 15086 1
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The Faber Book of Pop 
edited by Hanif Kureishi and Jon Savage.
Faber, 813 pp., £16.99, May 1995, 0 571 16992 9
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... to find his favourite Prince LP. The Faber Book of Pop is especially good at capturing the impact of pop music, the inexplicable power of the right sound in the right place at the right time. JonSavage and Hanif Kureishi have gathered more than a hundred and fifty pieces extracted from punk fanzines, key texts of pop history (such as Peter Guralnick’s Sweet Soul Music and Ice T’s autobiography ...

Aunt Twackie’s Bazaar

Andy Beckett: Seventies Style

19 August 2010
70s Style and Design 
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.90, November 2009, 978 0 500 51483 2
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... and sometimes intersecting with, the equally unresolved quarrel about 1970s politics – has been one of the main ways Britons have chewed over their postwar history. In 1988, the cultural historian JonSavage, who had spent the 1970s as a young rock journalist writing doomy but excited pieces about punk and urban decay, published a cover feature about the decade for the style magazine the Face. It ...

Bringing Down Chunks of the Ceiling

Andy Beckett: Manchester, England: The Story of the Pop Cult City by Dave Haslam

17 February 2000
Manchester, England: The Story of the Pop Cult City 
by Dave Haslam.
Fourth Estate, 319 pp., £12.99, September 1999, 1 84115 145 9
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... songs ever to dominate the Top Forty. Yet Haslam is too busy being comprehensive and all-connecting to pause and magnify. He cites all the other clever British pop authorities – Michael Bracewell, JonSavage, Simon Reynolds – while replicating their tendency to jump frustratingly between subjects and stiffen up their sentences with jargon. Haslam’s footnotes, interestingly, are much more ...

77 Barton Street

Dave Haslam: Joy Division

3 January 2008
Juvenes: The Joy Division Photographs of Kevin Cummins 
To Hell with Publishing, 189 pp., £200, December 2007Show More
Joy Division: Piece by Piece 
by Paul Morley.
Plexus, 384 pp., £14.99, December 2007, 978 0 85965 404 3
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directed by Anton Corbijn.
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... and Morrissey created a version of Manchester that journalists and photographers began to define and refine. ‘Joy Division’s themes are a perfect reflection of Manchester’s dark places,’ JonSavage wrote in Melody Maker in July 1979, and in the NME Paul Morley championed the band’s ‘blurred depictions of desperation and desolation’. Cummins, who often worked alongside Morley, writes in ...

If I Turn and Run

Iain Sinclair: In Hoxton

1 June 2000
by Bill Drummond.
Little, Brown, 361 pp., £12.99, March 2000, 0 316 85385 2
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Crucify Me Again 
by Mark Manning.
Codex, 190 pp., £8.95, May 2000, 0 18 995814 6
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... in an unfashionable way)’. Introducing a 1998 reissue of The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way), a canny primer by Bill Drummond and fellow KLF superhero Jimmy Cauty, the rock scholar JonSavage asserts that ‘the biggest contradiction in late-period pop may well lie between calculation and intuition, between knowledge and the deepest innocence.’ Savage is interested to discover ...
27 October 1988
... morally acceptable since it benefits everyone. Finally, exploitation is morally acceptable since it is a necessary stage in the development of socialism. On the other hand, there was agreement that savage exploitation was unacceptable. In theory, there was no limit to how rich entrepreneurs would be allowed to get, but there were definite limits to how poor workers could be allowed to be. A major ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy

22 December 2019
Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon​ Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... they were almost unknowingly enlisted, still less how their response might have affected the course of the experiment, is never quite addressed. For help with these matters, we can turn, though, to Jon Lawrence’s Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England. The book is based on a careful rereading of the records of ten major community studies in postwar England (Lawrence doesn’t ...
25 January 1990
... the Communist world, the Shanghai and Beijing episodes represent the terminus a quo. Will the other stories illustrate their terminus ad quem? When sclerotic Communism dissolves, the result might be savage capitalism. In Delhi in 1988, I met Indian social scientists who expressed a feeling of inferiority with respect to China, based on the fact that the Chinese had managed to solve the problem of ...

How Movies End

David Thomson: John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

9 February 2020
by John Boorman.
Faber, 237 pp., £20, February, 978 0 571 35379 8
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... like Sam Peckinpah material, about some city guys who go off on a canoe in the wilderness and get more than they (or the censor) had reckoned on. It was a location ordeal, with Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight as the leads, and Boorman was at one point thoroughly beaten up by the indignant and much larger James Dickey, author of the original novel, who felt that the veracity of his story was being ...
21 August 1980
... that it could qualify for expulsion, were it not for the fact that expulsion would then not be a punishment. One could write a long article on The Yawning Heights simply to let the reader sample the savage wit of such observations. But it is much better that the reader do this for himself. Instead I shall try to bring out the hidden structure of Zinoviev’s work. This I believe is to be found in ...

Degrees of Not Knowing

Rory Stewart: Does anyone know how to govern Iraq?

31 March 2005
What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building 
by Noah Feldman.
Princeton, 154 pp., £12.95, November 2004, 0 691 12179 6
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Blinded by the Sunlight: Surviving Abu Ghraib and Saddam’s Iraq 
by Matthew McAllester.
Harper Perennial, 304 pp., $13.95, February 2005, 0 06 058820 9
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The Fall of Baghdad 
by Jon​ Lee Anderson.
Little, Brown, 389 pp., £20, February 2005, 0 316 72990 6
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The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq 
by Christian Parenti.
New Press, 211 pp., £12.99, December 2004, 1 56584 948 5
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... Abu Ghraib for eight days, and interrogated by Saddam’s security services, as American tanks approached Baghdad. His account of this terrifying experience is modest and precise. The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson first met Ala Bashir, an Edinburgh-educated plastic surgeon, one of Saddam’s few intimates and his official sculptor, in August 2000. As Bashir evolves from an apologist for Hitler and ...

Schadenfreude with Bite

Richard Seymour: Trolling

15 December 2016
This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture 
by Whitney Phillips.
MIT, 256 pp., £10, September 2016, 978 0 262 52987 7
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Gendertrolling: How Misogyny Went Viral 
by Karla Mantilla.
Praeger, 280 pp., £32, August 2015, 978 1 4408 3317 5
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Bad Clowns 
by Benjamin Radford.
New Mexico, 188 pp., £12, February 2016, 978 0 8263 5666 6
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Trolls: An Unnatural History 
by John Lindow.
Reaktion, 60 pp., £9.99, August 2015, 978 1 78023 565 3
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... In September 2016, she hanged herself. The detached mockery, the rapidly commodified memes, the moralistic spite: the treatment of Tiziana Cantone is all but indistinguishable from mass trolling. As Jon Ronson reminds us in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, this pattern is not peculiar to the internet.* Before the phone hacking scandal put it out of business, the News of the World routinely ...

Big Bad Wolfe

John Sutherland

18 February 1988
The Bonfire of the Vanities 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 659 pp., £11.95, February 1988, 0 224 02439 6
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... New York standards were unusually vicious. On this evidence, Wolfe’s ‘Jungle’ seems all too tame a word to describe the world of the Midtown commuter. The most timely confirmation of Wolfe’s savage assertions in The Bonfire of the Vanities is the Howard Beach case, the sentences in which are just now being given out. On 19 December 1986, a car with three young black men in it broke down near ...

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