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First wave on film: Ray Gange, Rude Boy and The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle

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This article will explore The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle (Julien Temple) and Rude Boy (Jack Hazan and David Mingay) (both 1980), the two highest-profile films to emerge from and treat cinematically Britain’s first wave of punk rock. Featuring the Sex Pistols and the Clash, respectively, each film attempts to tell its tale in an oppositional manner. Both do so, however, from within dominant industrial and discursive modes of practice. Taking as its keynote Stacy Thompson’s dialectical approach to punk cinema, the article considers these seemingly irreconcilable positions by tracing implied cinematic traditions and questioning the role of the protagonist. It goes on to centre its attention on Rude Boy specifically, analysing the position of the fan as a key figure within the narrative. An in-depth interview with Ray Gange, the novice actor/fan at the heart of the film, concludes the piece.
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Keywords: Ray Gange; Sex Pistols; docu-fiction; first wave; punk cinema; the Clash

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Leeds

Publication date: 2012-08-24

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  • Punk & Post-Punk is a journal for academics, artists, journalists and the wider cultural industries. Placing punk and its progeny at the heart of inter-disciplinary investigation, it is the first forum of its kind to explore this rich and influential topic in both historical and critical theoretical terms.
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