How David Bowie paved the way for the diamond dogs of 1977 UK punk rock

David Bowie’s fingerprints were all over the ’70s as he ricocheted between musical styles, covering psychedelic-folk, spikey guitar pop, plastic soul, Krautrock-influenced funk and more, casting an influential shadow over the decade.

One of the movements picking up Bowie’s 70s vibes was the first wave of UK punk as bands like the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash and Joy Division took some of their cues from one or more of Bowie’s personas.

Continue reading

The Week in Punk Rock

From left: Hüsker Dü’s Greg Norton, Grant Hart and Bob Mould

This week’s roundup features Hüsker Dü, Sleater-Kiney, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Interrupters, The Go-Go’s, Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Hot Water Music, Boysetsfire, Snuff, Vagrant Records and Rise Against.

Continue reading

হয়ত ব্লগটা দেখে…

Bengali bangla adjectives handwriting

হয়ত ব্লগটা দেখে কিছু সঙ্গীতের লেখা পড়েছ । সব আমার বাঙলার লেখা থাখবে । আসা করি এই বছর আমি-ও আরো বাঙলার লেখা করব ।

Interview: Nick Collins from All Ages Records

London’s All Ages Records is an institution. It’s the city’s only dedicated punk rock and hardcore record store and has been since 2003, when owner Nick Collins first opened doors in Camden.

Then Covid hit last year and Nick’s focus on the bricks-and-mortar shop was all for naught when the UK began its first lockdown. It cut him off from his beloved punk customers and forced him on a steep learning curve to get All Ages Records’ webstore up and running.

Continue reading

‘It was about being open minded’: Don Letts on the punky reggae party

Punktuation Magazine Don Letts

Don Letts is a DJ, filmmaker and musician, and my feature about the huge impact punk has had on his life – and his integral role in the punky reggae party of the 1970s – is up on Punktuation today.

He appeared recently at an online Q&A for Rough Trade with music academic and author Dr Jennifer Otter Bickerdike to talk about his newly-released autobiography, There and Black Again, that was just as entertaining as the book itself. Continue reading

Oh, life: R.E.M.’s Out of Time at 30

Everything changed with the release of R.E.M.’s seventh album, as Out of Time’s unexpectedly meteoritic rise thrust the Athens, Georgia band into the spotlight. In a year when the US album charts were topped by the likes of Vanilla Ice, Michael Bolton and Paula Abdul, R.E.M. were deliciously out of their time when their post-punk informed chamber-pop produced their first Billboard number one album. 1991’s Out of Time would see them form an advance guard for the underground invasion of the mainstream, soon to be turbo-charged by the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind, and hugely expand their audience. As it grew way beyond people acquainted with The Replacements, Throwing Muses or The Minutemen – all support acts for R.E.M. in the 1980s, the band would become a key gateway for many to the wider indie rock world. 

Continue reading

Punk’s police stories

Punktuation Magazine hardcore punk rock police

Police on their backs, my look at punk rock’s more than 40 years of challenging police brutality, appears on Punktuation today.

The ‘police story’ begins with the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ruts and looks at how things got more serious with 1980s hardcore punk bands like Black Flag and Dead Kennedys (not to mention MDC and The Dicks). Continue reading

Visiting Brick Lane in London

Brick Lane London

To visit Brick Lane once a year or so is to watch the tide recede on the East London area’s Bengali culture.

It’s not a particularly new observation to point out its hipster feel, but it feels so much pronounced in the area these days, or it did today. Continue reading

A sweet way with language

Bengali (bangla) letters chocolate

Once on a school trip a friend of mine, whose mother was from Holland, refused to share his sweets unless I learned the Dutch for ‘can I have a sweet?’.

It may have pushed the boundaries of friendship but, decades later, I still remember most of ‘kan ik een snoepje hebben?’. Continue reading

Where to find Mrinal Sen films online

Antareen, a Bengali film by Mrinal Sen staring Dimple Kapadia and Anjan Dutta

I tend to over-estimate the number of Bengali films I’ve watched. I guess I’m just too easily seduced by Tollywood’s bigger, brasher sibling in Mumbai.

According to my IMDB Bengali film list, just two of those that I have seen have been directed by Mrinal Sen, with his 1993 movie Antareen (pictured above) being the more useful to students of Bengali, thanks to the telephone conversation format between the writer and a mysterious woman that’s at its core. Continue reading