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The Crack Magazine

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Like Punk Never Happened by Dave Rimmer

This is a newly expanded edition of a book that was originally published in 1985. It was the first account of the New Pop phenomenon, a loose movement of sorts that encompassed bands such as Culture Club, ABC, Haircut 100, Duran Duran, Adam and the Ants, Wham!, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The book’s title was unwittingly provided by Paul Weller. He was sounding off about bands such as Spandau Ballet, seeing their excesses as a betrayal of punk’s legacy. But, as Dave Rimmer, a Geordie, puts it here: “There was nothing anarchic about the way they clung ever more tightly to the totems of rigid form. Punk actually now seemed to express a deep desire for order amid a subcultural chaos.” Rimmer – a writer for Smash Hits at the time – rejected John Lydon’s claim that Duran Duran fans were “poor little cows”. He also rejected rock criticism in general that pushed the notion that “some music is good for you, some music isn’t”. Rimmer’s account of the period was nominally meant to be about the rise of Boy George and Culture Club (he went on tour with them to Japan) but he widened his scope to take in the most fertile period in British pop history since the mid 1960s (at one point, he notes, nearly half of the Billboard top 40 was taken up by British acts). It’s an impassioned account and a perfect repost to Lydon’s assertion: “Making records for people just because you think that’s what they want. To me that’s fascism.” “And to me,” Rimmer notes pithily, “that’s bollocks.” RM

Published by Faber

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