PRINT February 1986


The Clash find the sound of silence. Plus the 1985 Top Ten.

“LONDON’S BURNING WITH BOREDOM NOW!” So screamed Joe Strummer for the Clash in 1977; if the fire was inside whoever might respond, the punk project was to feed the fire into the open air. But that was a long time ago. “This Is England”—like the rest of the new Clash album, Cut the Crap (Epic)—seems to be set in a riot; not the idealized “White riot/Wanna riot of my own” Strummer was singing about in ’77, simply one of those white-on-black riots that are necessary anomalies in Margaret Thatcher’s New Britain. As the strict redivision of English society into capitalist and serving classes proceeds, it becomes plain that unemployment—“redundancy"—and disorder are not costs of this project, but linchpins. Under Thatcher, redundancy is not merely economic; it is social exclusion organized as spectacle. Those who are cut out of organized social life make up a third class, which is used to

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.