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British politics is (Johnny) rotten—no wonder punk music is making a comeback

The social conditions in modern Britain are providing fertile ground for a rebirth of anti-establishment rock music

By Oliver Ward  

The Sex Pistols in 1977. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

You may remember the first time you heard punk music. Perhaps it was back in 1976, when the Sex Pistols and piercing enthusiast Johnny Rotten broke onto the scene—just as James Callaghan’s chronically broke Labour government went begging to the IMF for a $3.9bn bailout package. Or perhaps it was in 1979, during the winter of discontent, when rubbish lay strewn across Britain’s streets, and Ian Curtis of Joy Division was warping minds with his generally incoherent vocal slurs.

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