Book: McKay, George 1 Jan 1997

Senseless acts of beauty

Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties

McKay shows the historical continuity in movements as the New Age travelers, anarchy punks and Free festivals.

Social historians and cultural commentators seem to feel that history has stopped with the punk movement. However, riot, revolt, imagination and utopias haven't disappeared, they have simply taken new forms. The 80's and 90's have seen an extraordinary rise in the number of young people living outside the institutions of British society: travelers, ravers, tribes, squatters, direct-action protesters. This book surveys and analyses these cultures of resistance, and explores and celebrates their creative senselessness. McKay looks at the the legacies of the 60's hippies and 70's punks, and shows how their legacies have been transformed.

McKay assembled his information from the underground press, record lyrics, interviews and diaries, and illustrated with posters, photographs and record sleeves the book gives an account of these largely unrecorded countercultures. Nevertheless, McKay offers his own questions and answers as well: What are their politics and aspirations? What are their consequences? His overall conclusion is that if there is still resistance to politics and social devastation in Britain today to it should be found in the beat-up busses and barricades.


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5.1 MCK