Subculture by Don Letts / Channel 4 Part 5

Part 5 of this continuing series took in punk and the 2 tone ska revival that emerged via coventry – there’s some good early punk footage but the big idea here is how quickly these scenes were emerging, blowing up and ultimately disappearing. For the small pockets of people picking up the gauntlet and attempting to reflect the landscape and times they inhabited through new styles and new ways of presenting themselves  it was arguably less than a year later that the Sex Pistols/Bill Grundy incident on live TV blew the whole thing apart. As soon as the media latched on to it, presented it as something that could be copied the initial impetus was lost. The punk look became a cartoon.

Woefully brief on 2 tone, the programme did at least get over the sheer joy and sense of community that emerged when Jerry Dammers decided to weld the pace and aggression of punk with classic ska sounds, and one of the great things about 2 tone is that it looked as good as it sounded.

Watch it here on Channel 4 OD for a limited time

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