The Punk Scene Then and Now
Question: How do the London and Miami scenes compare?
Irvine Welsh: South Beach is a fantastic playground, but it’s not kind of, it’s not really a kind of indigenous culture. It’s where people is kind of “Spring break!” . It’s where people go in to have their fun and they have this kind of hedonistic conferences, like the World Dance Music Conference. They have the Hip Hop Conference. They have they pull all these kind of stuff and it kind of works because Miami Beach is just such a fantastic place for that. You’ve got the beautiful kind of art deco hotels and you’ve got sort of kind of Ocean Drive and Lincoln and all. You’ve got all these stuff going around there, and it’s got a bit of… It’s just got a nice kind of sort of vibe to it, so… But not at all like the, not at all like London in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s. That was much more of a kind of indigenous thing that people a whole kind of generation of people it’s basically, it’s a 1940, it’s the  Education Act that caused punk, basically, sort of the Butler Education Act, which basically gave the working classes a liberal education for the first time.
So we had disaffected working class youth who were kind of if you were… if you went to college to learn a trade like in plumbing or carpentry and [IB], you had to do this Liberal Studies thing and you started talking about all the things that that you’re interested in your life, like, kind of from like football, hooliganism to kind of rock and roll and all that sort of stuff. This became this, these technical colleges became this weird, kind of salons of interaction, and people, I think that, more than the music, was the thing that kind of, was the sort of thing that kind of inspired punk. And you’ve have this kind of, for years you [followed] these generations in Britain who’ve basically been lied to by the ruling classes, right from Lloyd George [almost for heroes] thing. You’ve always had this idea that there would be something great for the working classes around the corner if you just put up a shop.
And, unfortunately, after punk, [the actors kind of cry] and move so much in punk, that something great of a stature who decimated everything. So, yeah, I think, it was, like, such an interesting time, such a vibrant time, but very, very… we [mildly] notice, but a vibrant time in a very different way.
Recorded on: September 8, 2008
Irvine Welsh takes us back to the streets of London circa 1980.
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