Joined: 26 Apr 2008
|Post subject: R.A.R article in today's Guardian (7/9/2015)
|Between 1976 and 1981, Britain’s youth tribes rose up against the National Front. As a new book of his pictures is published, photographer Syd Shelton talks about a unique moment in music culture.
On 30 April 1978, Syd Shelton was woken by people parading past his building in Charing Cross Road, singing Clash songs. It was 4am but Shelton, a photographer and activist from Yorkshire, was delighted. He was helping organise a Rock Against Racism march later that morning from Trafalgar Square to east London. A stage had been set up in Victoria Park and the Clash were playing, as were Steel Pulse, X-Ray Spex and the Tom Robinson Band, but the organisers were worried no one would walk seven miles to see a concert. “When I went down at 7am,” Shelton recalls, “there were already 10,000 people in the square.”
In the end, nearly 10 times that number marched to Victoria Park. It was a coup for Rock Against Racism, which had been staging only small events for two years. Its mission was to challenge racist tendencies in British music – the spark was a rant by Eric Clapton at a gig in Birmingham, praising Enoch Powell and urging Britain to “get the foreigners out” – but it had a wider social agenda too. The National Front was on the rise, and tensions between communities were being stoked by the rightwing press, and by the police, which many perceived to be institutionally racist.
Terry, Neville & Horace, Leeds R.A.R carnival, 1981.
FULL ARTICLE, INCLUDING SOME GREAT PHOTOS: