Thursday 11 March 2021 -
19:30 to 20:30

As part of the UK-Russia Creative Bridge forum, the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow invites everybody interested in music and literature to the online discussion with Simon Reynolds.

In a video-illustrated conversation with Alexander Gorbachev, Simon Reynolds will talk about the era chronicled in his classic 2005 book Rip It Up and Start Again, now published in Russian for the first time by Shoom Press, and will discuss the subsequent legacy and ongoing reverberations of postpunk, including in Russia.

Punk's raw power rejuvenated rock, but by 1978, the movement was stagnating into self-parody. Postpunk is what happened next: bands inspired by Sex Pistols and The Clash but who didn’t want to repeat punk’s increasingly constricted cliches. Groups like Public Image Ltd, Joy Division, Talking Heads, Wire, and Gang of Four dedicated themselves to fulfilling punk’s unfinished musical revolution. Experimenting with electronics and machine rhythm, or adapting rhythmic and production ideas from disco, funk and dub reggae, this vanguard was confident there was a whole new future for music waiting to be built. 

The content and delivery was challenging too: postpunk teemed with unusual voices like The Fall’s Mark E. Smith and Ari Up of The Slits, and lyrical innovation was a priority, ranging from penetrating political critique to existential anguish. “Constant change” was the postpunk watchword, with endless brilliant innovations not just in words and music but in performance, style, design, and criticism. Rather than a genre, postpunk was more like a “space of possibility” out which spawned new and enduring genres like Goth, industrial, and synthpop. It was also a movement struggling to create an alternative culture through independent labels like Rough Trade, Factory, and Mute, and the proliferation of the do-it-yourself ethos, resulting in an explosion of samizdat creativity.

The talk will be in English with simultaneous translation. Please register here.  

About Simon Reynolds 

Simon Reynolds is the author of Rip It Up and Start Again, an impeccable study of the period 1978-1984, Retromania about pop culture’s addiction to its own past, Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture, and Shock and Awe that explores the history of glam rock. Born in London, Simon is currently based in Los Angeles. As a music journalist, he has contributed to magazines such as The Guardian, Pitchfork, and The Wire. He also maintains an informal blog, Blissblog.