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Post-punk poet: An interview with Dick Witts of The Passage

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Richard ‘Dick’ Witts is a professional musicologist, music historian and ex-leader of 1980s’ band The Passage. He was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, and studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music and briefly at Manchester University. During this time he was a member of the HallĂ© Orchestra as a percussionist. During the mid-1970s he wrote for the contemporary classical music magazine Contact and was also involved in the Manchester Musicians Collective. This led to contact with the growing punk scene and he formed The Passage, producing their recordings and singing on many of their releases. He presented the BBC television programme Oxford Road Show in the early 1980s and was also a reporter for BBC Radio 3. During the late 1980s he became involved in arts administration roles. He subsequently wrote a critical history of the Arts Council of Great Britain (1998), as well as books on Nico (1993) and The Velvet Underground (2006). Dick now lives in Liverpool and is reader in music and sound, and programme leader for the Music, Sound, Enterprise programme. The Passage: Post-Punk Poets (Witts 2017), a collection of lyrics and visual material, was recently published by Eyewear Publishing.
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Keywords: Dick Witts; Manchester; The Passage; academia; music criticism; post-punk; punk

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Falmouth University

Publication date: 01 September 2017

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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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