British PunkBrit punk
UK punk: a term often used to describe the entire UK punk movement that "mimicked" newborn American punk groups and spread them to Europe. We can celebrate the birth of punk in 1975, when music manager Malcom McLaren returned from the USA and the clothing store "Sex" became the center of anti-fashion punk. Economic crisis, unemployment and recession were the natural humus thanks to which the movement gained a foothold throughout the UK.
The landing of the Ramones in the United Kingdom gave the final consecration of a movement which as founding fathers also had The Damned and The Clash. Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious embodied the idea of punk, which is shaped in the collective imagination. Punk screamed an anarchistic desire for freedom.
British-style punk: An often used phrase to describe the entire punk scene in the UK that "mocks" new-born punk groups across Europe. Punk was born in 1975, when Malcolm McLaren, a returning US director of musicals, redesigned "Sex", a clothing store at the heart of the anti-fashion punk community.
Monetary crises, unemployment and recessions, where the earth's atmosphere, the ideal setting, increases the spread of the motion throughout Britain. Ramones' coming to the United Kingdom marked the completion of the dedication of a motion which among its founding members also had the damned and the struggle.
Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious personified the concept of punk recognized by the collectively subconscious. Torn clothing, Dr. Martens and necklaces were the symbol of this age, anti-fashion that rejected every popular style.
From lightning to exploitation, passing through Discharge: Alessandro from Moriarty Graphics tells us about the punk wave of the early 80s.
The hi-fi system produces fast music, raw and unsheathed, reminiscent of the punk of the first wave, from which it differs in performance, rhythm, roughness, violence and despair..... We' re facing the second wave of punk, called "British Hardcore" or "Street Punk" from time to time, or with the all-inclusive label "UK 82": It's a big volcanic Kaldera containing the magmatic fluids from the subcultures of punk and skinhead as they manifested themselves back then.
The reference period is the one that runs approximately from 1980 to 1984, with 1982 as the turning point: to dedicate the centrality of this year and give the new punk wave a name, there was the track "UK 82" by Exploited, which is included on their record troops of Tomorrow. Like all respectable second waves, the UK 82 attacked its opponents more fiercely, although - at least in part - it retraced the path of the less pessimistic Punk '77.
It' s about meeting everything and everyone, with anger and no expectations: In fact, the UK 82 bands are often not very proactive and essentially have a nihilistic attitude. Compared to Punk 77, the UK 82 often has a powerful and throbbing drum beat, a more accentuated bass and voice, and strong guitar distortions reminiscent of the New Week groups of British hard metals - and Motörhead and other related bands in particular - until in some cases they reach a certain resemblance to heavier metals.
If you look at the records of that time, you notice how dirtier and "kneaded" they often sound than the Punk '77. If own productions and independent productions had already had a certain relevance in the punk era of the 77s, they are now coming to the fore: It is inevitable to believe that they are at least partly the result of what they have done since 1978, anarchic punk realities like Crass and their Crass Records.
Compared to the past, a large part of the punk and skinning scene is asking about social rules and the possibility of breaking them, perhaps together with the state, which is often seen as the biggest enemy. As a result, punk music not only adopts more brutal sounds, but also the lyrics become rougher and more explicit than in the past and sometimes more politicized: on the one hand, there is a greater attention to everyday life and, on the other hand, a tendency to talk about issues such as unemployment and the aforementioned government policy, to the touch of dark and apocalyptic issues such as the nuclear holocaust and the end of mankind, or at least society as we know it.
At the beginning of the decade the punk look became even more extreme: The hairstyles of the first generation of punk rockers - who were already aggressively and at least according to common criteria deliberately unattractive - were often abandoned in favor of studs and Mohicans. Suits, jackets, ties and shirts are unusable today, as are the clothes worn by the first punks to change their original meaning associated with the ruling classes.
The punks of the early 80s, on the other hand, took on more enveloping, torn and dark clothing, such as denim or tight pants, as well as paramilitary clothing. The preference for T-shirts and large, reinforced boots is great, while clothing of the earlier punk generation, such as clippers, is often put aside.
From an aesthetic point of view, one sees - in a way - a greater resemblance between the new punks and the old rockers: the most used jacket is indeed the "Perfecto" or "Nagel" leather jacket, often modified by the addition of decorations such as lettering, pens, patches and rivets, following a typical Do It Yourself approach.
Destructuring the rockers look and incorporating some of its elements into a new context helps to give the punk look a darker, more aggressive and anti-social look. There is also a greater tribalism that results from the increased desire to belong to a social group - in this case a subcultural group - and perhaps the greatest spread of tattoos, especially among skinheads.
If the classic arm tattoo - which was also used in the early days of the Skinhead Age - was widely accepted, a greater use of this type of body modification was still subject to strong censorship, especially for facial tattoos. Although in the early 80's many skinheads tend to mark their origin stylistically and musically, a large number of shaved heads instead take up the legacy of that part of the skin scene that was strongly influenced by punk in the second half of the 70's.
Of course, not all shaved heads interested in punk are aesthetically affected, but part of the scene still refers to the appearance of the so-called "shaved punks" of the late 70s, so they evolve. The appearance of these skins is particularly hard and aggressive - in other words: fight - thanks to the introduction of tighter clothing, the increased use of the air raid gun - which was also somewhat widespread in the 1960s - and denim and T-shirts, which are preferred to classic button-down shirts.
Continuing the contrast created during the 1970skinhead revival, punk-influenced skinheads often see traditionalist skinheads as mods, while those who refer to the initial look give "shaved punk" or "thickhead" to those who prefer a harder and less elegant look.
Of course, this distinction should not be taken too literally - there are nuances between the two trends - but it is still something that should be considered, also because the contrast between the two addresses is not only aesthetic, but also concerns other aspects, such as musical preferences: While traditionalistic skins can hardly ignore such an established one as punk, the so-called "shaved punks" often dispense with genres historically associated with subculture such as Soul, Ska and Reggae.
This separation from the origins will have many consequences, including a greater willingness to turn to extreme right-wing organisations, also because of the economic and social crisis, who are interested in exploiting skinheads despite the multi-ethnic roots of the subculture. As mentioned above, the term "UK 82" does not mean a homogeneous scene - neither stylistically nor musically - but a suitable label that encompasses the punk realities - often very different - active in the UK during a particular historical period.
It seems appropriate at this point to present a general classification of the main strands of the United Kingdom which we have made on the basis of the attitude, aesthetics, music and lyrics of the formations considered, namely: "Street Punk Band", "Desacrated Band" and "Politicised Band". Indeed, the boundaries between the subgroups we identified are sometimes very blurred, so much so that several bands could have been included in more than one UK subgroup: to put it bluntly, we counted Blitz and Attak of New Mills among the streets punk groups, but since they more or less explicitly follow anarchist thinking, we could also include them in the politicized strand.
This clarification of the flexibility of the categories we use also concerns the musical plan: Utilized - that many were initially considered a group Oi! - it evolved over time into Metals and UK Harddcore, while the aforementioned Blitz over the years picked up significant New Wove influences at the expense of East Punk from the beginning.
Before we move on to classification, let's make another premise: The bands mentioned were not necessarily founded in the early 80s, because some of them - like the Adicts - were active before. But it was during the '82 wave in the UK that these groups perhaps became more important, and if we had ignored them, the picture of the scene at that time would certainly have been less comprehensive.
and therefore are little influenced by heavy heavy metals and closer to first punk. Stylistically, there are often skinheads or herberts in the formation as well as punks, while the texts are very much focused on everyday life, police oppression, youth discomfort and resistance to government policy.
Key representatives of the punk trend include Crux, Business, Adicts, 4-Skins, Cockney Rejects, Attak, Violators, Blitz, Infa Riot, Red Alert, Cult Maniax, Partisans, Vice Squads, External Menace and Major Accidents, but the list could get longer.
Banners of the genre include GBH, One Way System, Anti-Nowhere League, English Dogs, Court Martial, Picture Frame Seduction, Blitzkrieg, Dogsflesh and of course the Scottish Exploited, which are among the most representative bands of the entire UK 82 wave. This subgroup includes the bands most influenced by heavy metals and D-beat, i.e. the particular style of hard-core developed by bands inspired by the sound and attitude of Discharge.
The most important bands are of course Discharge and then Subhumans, Varukers, Flux Of Pink Indians, Disorder, Skeptix, Chaos UK, Amebix, Death Sentence, Fits, Antisect and Conflict. Of course they are all part of the group. Perhaps the most striking thing about the UK 82 is the broad adherence of a large number of boys - be they punks, skinheads or even Hertie - to punk, whose caution and anti-system charge we have already highlighted, sometimes spiced with a touch of irony.
However, it does not seem to us that punk is being strengthened - as was the case in the UK 82 - and in fact its most contradictory aspects are often hidden by media presence or freed from its content, which prefers to improve its most harmless features, also in view of its greater commercialisation.
Furthermore, there is no evidence of the emergence of a new scene - musical, subcultural or countercultural - on the horizon, capable of counteracting existing political and economic trends, as was the case in Britain with the second punk wave. Below we present some films and documentaries dedicated to the UK 82 or other related phenomena, such as the Squatters' Movement and the infiltration of the Right into the skinhead scene.
Alan Clarkes television movie about a young racist skinhead, Trevor (Tim Roth). Documentary by Christopher Collins with interviews and live recordings of bands like Vice Squads, Exploited, Adicts and others.