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‘If I had more time it could be better, but the new wave’s about spontaneity, right?’: Finding meaning in Britain’s early punk fanzines (1976‐77)

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This article uses fanzines produced within the United Kingdom in 1976‐77 to explore how punk’s politics, production and cultural impact were understood by those first enticed by the new wave. It is divided into three principal sections, the first offering some context: a rough survey of who made fanzines and how. The second explores definitions of punk’s new wave, looking at how emergent cultures were understood and the rationale applied to any point or purpose. Third, the inherent tensions of punk’s cultural formation are teased from fanzine editorials and articles seeking to maintain the momentum of 1976‐77 and protect against perceived infiltration or dilution. In each case, choice examples are given and the article is not meant to suggest any definitive reading. Rather, the objective is to test, challenge and confirm recurring punk myths and give voice to those who were there without enabling any conceited subjectivity to transform into universalism.
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Keywords: 1977; DIY; fanzines; music; punk; self publishing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000404579566University of Reading

Publication date: June 1, 2020

This article was made available online on March 5, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "‘If I had more time it could be better, but the new wave’s about spontaneity, right?’: Finding meaning in Britain’s early punk fanzines (1976–77)".

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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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