Paperback reader

England's Dreaming

Jon Savage <em>Faber and Faber, 632pp, £14.99</em>

ISBN 0571207448

First published in 1992, this study of the punk years has been fully updated and revised by Jon Savage. A former writer on the Face magazine, he vividly recreates the age of safety pins, disaffected youth and Sex Pistols. Unravelling what he calls the politics of boredom, he makes us wonder if punk, behind the T-shirt slogans and attitude, did have an ideology after all.

Savage chronicles the music and recreates the run-down atmosphere of the late Seventies, recalling how a 1975 painting by Adam Ant depicted Margaret Thatcher as a dominatrix. This take on the Iron Lady was provident, as years later the entire country succumbed to her brand of "suburban sadism".

Much of the writing here is sharp and well observed, but perhaps the real literature is to be found in the discography at the end of the book, detailing punk and its influences from the Fifties onwards. Certainly one to be enjoyed by sociologists and ageing Mohicans alike.

Next Article