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  1. 1. ‘Clampdown: Pop Cultural Wars on Class and Gender’ Rhian E. Jones (2013)
  2. 2. Class and gender in Britpop and after, and why 'chav' is a feminist issue  ‘You know, if the Prime Minister wants to come to your fucking place, it’s your fucking civic duty to welcome him.’ Alex James, Blur, 2012.  ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll is not just an important part of our culture…It’s immensely important to the future of this country.’ Tony Blair, 1994, prior to his post-1997 General Election Downing St reception, attended by Noel Gallagher • Marxists have traditionally set themselves the task of raising working class consciousness beyond the common sense limitations imposed by socialization. • False consciousness stood in the way of radical progress and social change. • Consequently, Marxism – taking inspiration from the likes of Antonio Gramsci’s ideas on hegemony – has for some time turned its attentions towards cultural, as well as economic questions. • If a sustained challenge to bourgeois power is frustrated by the degree to which ordinary people are willing to consent to their exploitation, then Marxists had to begin to address culture – the media, religion, films, TV, football, pop music, social media….all of which contribute to the spell we are under. • ‘Clampdown’ (2013) by Rhian E. Jones is an example of these efforts
  3. 3. ‘Clampdown: Pop Cultural Wars on Class and Gender’ Rhian E. Jones (2013) Rhian E Jones’ Clampdown which offers a perceptive analysis of gender, identity and class in music.
  4. 4. ‘Clampdown: Pop Cultural Wars on Class and Gender’ Rhian E. Jones (2013)  ‘I don’t get rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t get all that smashing up the hotel rooms. The next morning, someone’s mum has to come and clean up afterwards. That’s not rock ‘n’ roll – rock ‘n’ roll would be buying her a holiday.’ Ricky Wilson, Kaiser Chiefs, 2008, now a judge on BBC’s The Voice.  Rhian E. Jones argues that class as a defining feature of society has been systematically downplayed.  Its meaning has been distorted.  Its role in advantaging/disadvantaging society’s members denied.  So where is this conversation taking place, and where are the arguments being won and lost? Pop music:  Q: How many of you have instant IT access to pop music right now?  Q: Daily, where are we likely to hear pop music being played?  Believe it or not, ‘popular music’ was once deemed a threat to social order, a radical voice for counter cultural ideas and sentiment.  What bands or styles would you associate with such characteristics?
  5. 5. ‘Clampdown: Pop Cultural Wars on Class and Gender’ Rhian E. Jones (2013)
  6. 6. ‘Clampdown: Pop Cultural Wars on Class and Gender’ Rhian E. Jones (2013)
  7. 7.  ‘The whole message with (Adele) is that it’s just music, it’s just really good music. There is nothing else. There are no gimmicks, no selling of sexuality. I think in the American market, particularly, they have come to the conclusion that this is what you have to do.’ Richard Russell, head of Adele’s record label.  "I'm mortified to have to pay 50%! [While] I use the NHS, I can't use public transport any more. Trains are always late, most state schools are shit, and I've gotta give you, like, four million quid – are you having a laugh? When I got my tax bill in from [the album] 19, I was ready to go and buy a gun and randomly open fire.“ Adele, 2013  ‘There just doesn’t seem to be any music which has substantially grasped the new mood after 2010 really in this country. It seems to me to be a major disjunction between the political situation and cultural forms. The cultural forms that dominate still seem to be so pre-2008 actually…Politics is ahead and culture isn’t caught up with it…’ Mark Fisher, author of Capitalist Realism  What is Fisher alluding to here? What is the post 2008 event he is hoping pop culture responds to?  What might that response look like?  Are there examples of pop music responding in the past?      ‘Swing music is only fit for negroes and jews…’ – Nazi propaganda
  8. 8.  Contemporary pop music, according to the author of ‘Clampdown,’ is bland, homogeneous and unchallenging. Think indie or hip hop musicians – more anxious to sell their songs to corporate advertisers than to rock the boat. Two recent examples effectively illustrate her point further:  Jones locates the tabloid campaign against ‘Chavs’ as not only one of contempt and hostility towards the working class poor, but as a form of misogyny. Female social and sexual autonomy, often articulated by pop music, is under attack.  ‘Being derogatory about someone who’s done well from nothing? That’s hilarious, I love that. It’s a big compliment – I’m a chav.’ Cheryl Cole, 2012.  Cheryl Cole and Tulisa are hounded across the print and on-line media for not subscribing to middle class norms, see headlines below. Try entering Tulisa and Chav into your search engine and get a taste of the class hatred and misogyny out there. Louis Walsh Slates Cheryl Cole's 'Chavvy' Bum Tattoo: 'It's So Stupid!' He's not feeling so rosy about her cheeky inking! Tulisa really is a ‘chav in a tracksuit’ as she heads to Tesco in sportswear with her dog in tow By Daily Mail Reporter ‘Rock n Roll is a means of pulling the white man down to the level of the negro. It is part of a plot to undermine the morals of the youth of our nation.’ Secretary of the North Alabama White Citizens Council, circa 1956.
  9. 9.  The author considers PM David Cameron’s professed affinity with ‘protest music,’ in particular his love of the Jam’s ‘Eton Rifles’ (1979).  ‘What part of it does he not get?’ The Jam’s Paul Weller, 2012.  Only in a culture which has lost its moorings, is as confused and disorientated as ours can a graduate of Eton and Conservative PM lay claim to a song as driven by hatred of privilege and class inequality as ‘Eton Rifles’ without being laughed out of Downing St.  ‘I was one,’ he said, speaking of the elite school’s cadet corps after which the song was named. ‘It meant a lot, some of those early Jam albums we used to listen to. I don’t see why the left should be the only ones allowed to listen to protest songs.’  ‘’What can we put this down to: a stupidity so colossal it is barely fathomable; a sense of entitlement that knows no bounds, that seeks to deny us even our class rage? If it is stupidity, however, it is a functional stupidity, functional for an ideology which has subdued class antagonism to the extent that the Bullingdon boys can pose as everymen, and say – with straight faces – that we are all in this together’. Abridged from Mark Fisher, ‘Going Overground’, 2013.  ‘Clampdown: Pop Cultural Wars on Class and Gender’ Rhian E. Jones (2013)
  10. 10. Eton Rifles – The Jam Jam – The Eton Rifles Lyrics (Weller) Sup up your beer and collect your fags, There's a row going on down near Slough, Get out your mat and pray to the West, I'll get out mine and pray for myself. Thought you were smart when you took them on, But you didn't take a peep in their artillery room, All that rugby puts hairs on your chest, What chance have you got against a tie and a crest? Hello-hurrah - what a nice day - for the Eton Rifles, Hello-hurrah - I hope rain stops play - with the Eton Rifles. Thought you were clever when you lift the fuse, Tore down the house of commons in your brand new shoes, Composed a revolutionary symphony, Then went to bed with a charming young thing. Hello-hurrah - cheers then mate - it's the Eton Rifles, Hello-hurrah - an extremist scrape - with the Eton Rifles. What a catalyst you turned out to be, Loaded the guns then you run off home for your tea, Left me standing - like a guilty schoolboy. We came out of it naturally the worst, Beaten and bloody and I was sick down my shirt, We were no match for their untamed wit, Though some of the lads said they'll be back next week. Hello-hurrah - there's a price to pay - to the Eton Rifles, Hello-hurrah - I'd prefer the plague - to the Eton Rifles. Hello-hurrah - there's a price to pay - to the Eton Rifles, Hello-hurrah - I'd prefer the plague - to the Eton Rifles
  11. 11.  When the likes of privately-educated aristocrat Guy Ritchie can parade their bespoke Mockney-isms with impunity, when the ‘lad-mags’ (Loaded, GQ et al) can invite their readers into a ‘post-class’ caricature of male proletarian lifestyles (football, lager, cars and girls) without fear of ridicule, when to resist such caricatures leads to accusations of being ‘kill-joys,’ popular culture has got some hard thinking to do.  Might one variable be that, like other ‘professions’ dominated by the privately educated, pop music’s collective voice is now drawn from a narrow and elite demographic?  pop-charts-60-acts-privately-educated.html  Q: Rhian E. Jones applauds a number of artists throughout her book for keeping the counter cultural flag flying, for being unafraid to challenge hegemony, for example by portraying working class culture, confident and assertive female sexuality or in attempting to give a voice to the voiceless.  Are you listening to anyone who might be doing the same? ‘Clampdown: Pop Cultural Wars on Class and Gender’ Rhian E. Jones (2013)
  12. 12. ‘Clampdown’ – a Summary  Jones is not expressing nostalgia for a time when pop and rock culture was dominated by counter cultural narratives which identified themselves against a dominant ‘parental culture.’  Such a period has never existed.  However, Jones is expressing regret that contemporary pop culture has almost completely succumbed to the values of bourgeois hegemony. The bourgeoisie's management of youth culture is almost total.  Pop and rock culture did offer significant ‘space’ for gay men and women, racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, disaffected and dissenting to articulate self defining narratives, to ‘stick it to the man’ with guitars and synthesizers.  Now, this platform has also been almost completely colonized by conformist and bourgeois ideology.  Jones challenges the young to reclaim this space.