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Journal ArticleDOI

Just a closer walk with thee: New Orleans-style jazz and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1950s Britain

01 Oct 2003-Popular Music (Cambridge University Press)-Vol. 22, Iss: 3, pp 261-281

AbstractThis article looks at a particular moment in the relation between popular music and social protest, focusing on the traditional (trad) jazz scene of the 1950s in Britain. The research has a number of aims. One is to reconsider a cultural form dismissed, even despised by critics. Another is to contribute to the political project of cultural studies, via the uncomplicated strategy of focusing on music that accompanies political activism. Here the article employs material from a number of personal interviews with activists, musicians, fans from the time, focusing on the political development of the New Orleans-style parade band in Britain, which is presented as a leftist marching music of the streets. The article also seeks to shift the balance slightly in the study of a social movement organisation (the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND), from considering it in terms of its ‘official’ history towards its cultural contribution, even innovation. Finally, the article looks at neglected questions around Americanisation and jazz music, with particular reference to power and the past.

Topics: Jazz (59%), Popular music (58%), Disarmament (55%), Social movement (54%), Parade (52%) more

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This article explores the connection between politics and music; in particular it asks how music might be incorporated into accounts of political thought and action. Despite the fact that political science has tended to neglect the place of music in politics, there are a number of writers, such as Jean‐Jacques Rousseau, who have taken a different course. For them, music is intimately linked, via its aesthetics, to ethical judgements and to social order. The article develops these latter claims and connects them to work of a similar kind in music studies to propose a framework which helps to make sense of, and give due weight to, the place of music – as organised sound – in political thought and action. Music, it is argued, should not be viewed just as a footnote to, or appendage of, political thought and action, but rather as an integral feature of them.

16 citations

Cites background from "Just a closer walk with thee: New O..."

  • ...(McKay 2003: 267) What this account hints at – and what McKay develops at length – is the idea that music can form a ‘bridge’ with political ideas, investing those ideas with emotional significance, rather as Bennett imagines....


Journal ArticleDOI
23 Feb 2007-parallax
Abstract: What happens in social movements when people actually move, how does the mobile moment of activism contribute to mobilisation? Are they marching or dancing? How is the space of action, the street itself, altered, re-sounded? The employment of street music in the very specific context of political protest remains a curiously under-researched aspect of cultural politics in social movements.... By looking at the marching bands of different socio- political and cultural contexts, primarily British, I aim to further current understanding of the idea and history of street music itself, as well as explore questions of the construction or repositioning of urban space via music'how the sound of music can alter spaces'; participation, pleasure and the political body; subculture and identity.

10 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This essay explores the intellectual biography and diverse artistic, literary and cultural production of Jeff Nuttall – a significant, if underacknowledged, figure on the British ‘underground’ scene in the Sixties. It argues that Nuttall played an important international role as a catalyst and co-ordinator of ‘countercultural’ events and activities through his involvement with small press publications, as an early instigator of ‘happenings’ and ‘performance art’ in the UK, and as a correspondent, networker and commentator. In particular, it addresses Nuttall’s understanding that ‘imagination’ and ‘affect’ could be allied with collective possibilities for emancipatory social change, as well as liberatory personal development. Finally, it briefly considers the currency of these ideas within the context of a new articulation of how a ‘politics of possibility’ may be informed by notions of embodied and transmitted affectivity.

9 citations

15 Sep 2015
Abstract: This dissertation argues that discussions of war representation that privilege the nationalistic, heroic, and redemptively sacrificial strand of storytelling that dominate popular memory in Britain ignore a whole counter-history of movies that view war as an occasion to critique through devices like humor, irony, and existential alienation. Instead of selling audiences on what Graham Dawson has called “the pleasure culture of war” (a nationally self-serving mode of talking about and profiting from war memory), many texts about war are motivated by other intellectual and ideological factors. Each chapter includes historical context and periodizing arguments about different moments in British cultural history, explores genre trends, and ends with a comparative analysis of representative examples. Chapter One traces competing representational modes between 1939 and 1945, arguing that films about war and wartime during this period trouble the traditional binarism in British film historiography between realism and fantasy. Chapter Two looks at historical intersections of comedy and war, arguing that the embrace of irony as a argumentative position allows war comedies to engage with the idea of failure, a notion all but missing from dominant strands of war representation. Chapter Three describes a post-1956 brand of war tragedy that embraces cynicism, tonal bleakness, and the cultural vogue for existentialism as another affront to triumphalist war narratives. Chapter Four shifts from bigger conceptual categories to a specific, historically embedded interest in technology and strategy that intensifies after 1945. This chapter argues that many films turn away from war as historically grounded fact, and towards a conception of war that is overtly simulated and virtual. Chapter Five examines the representational challenge of the nuclear bomb for British cinema, arguing that beyond similarities to international trends that align these weapons with panic and horror, the specter of atomic energy encapsulates a larger geopolitical visioning of the nation’s loss of control. A Conclusion examines the reception of many of the films analyzed and acknowledges the influence and legacy of these alternative approaches to war.

4 citations

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01 Jan 1992
Abstract: The Politics of Performance^ addresses fundamental questions about the social and political purposes of performance through an investigation into post-war alternative and community theatre. It proposes a theory of performace as ideological transaction, cultural intervention and community action, which is used to illuminate the potential social and political effects of radical performance practice. It raises issues about the nature of alternative theatre as a movement and the aesthetics of its styles of production, especially in relation to progressive counter-cultural formations. It analyses in detail the work of key practitioners in socially engaged theatre during four decades, setting each in the context of social, political and cultural history and focusing particularly on how they used that context to enhance the potential efficacy of their productions. The book is thus a detailed analysis of oppositional theatre as radical cultural practice in its various efforts to subvert the status quo. Its purpose is to raise the profile of these approaches to performance by proposing, and demonstrating how they may have had a significant impact on social and political history.

415 citations

01 Jan 1985

168 citations

"Just a closer walk with thee: New O..." refers background in this paper

  • ...For instance, Iain Chambers writes that – at the time of bebop and the beginnings of free jazz, after all – white trad could ‘conveniently overlook’ the ‘new, black militant musical consciousness’ of the times by ‘nostalgically evoking a mythical New Orleans of around 1900’ (Chambers 1985, p. 48)....


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Introduction. Part 1 The mainstream: CND in embryo - the National Council Against Nuclear Weapons Tests formation and advance - the early years of CND, 1958-1960 problems and decline - CND 1961-1965. Part 2 The radicals: the Direct Action Committee - Gandhian pacifism and the nuclear issue the Committee of 100 - mass civil disobedience, radical politics and the peace movement. Part 3 The Socialist dimension: the Labour movement and the peace issue, 1957-1964 Marxists and nuclear disarmament postscript - nuclear protest and radical change. Bibliography. Index.

51 citations

21 Feb 1975

44 citations

"Just a closer walk with thee: New O..." refers background in this paper

  • ...(Boulton 1958, p. 137) We have seen that the reinvigorated ‘music of the people’ Boulton desires (presumably after Finkelstein 1948) was, in its original African-American form, precisely that....