The filth and the fury- how the establishment was far darker than the punks, hippies and alternative culture could ever beThe filth and the fury- or how some of the establishment nearly got away with it

Remember when the Sex Pistols were the painted as the anti Christ’s, the filth and the fury and the end of civilisation , remember when the so called alternative or underground culture was painted as the decadent and the dangerous, remember when the hippies were fingered as the evil droogs with loose moral ways, remember when Nicholas Fairburn- that strange MP- got up and called Throbbing Gristle the ‘wreckers of civilisation’, remember when bible bashing pop stars were wheeled out as examples of all that was good and wholesome and the punks and the hippies and many others were regularly slandered and attacked for their new way- slandered because freaky clothes and swearing was somehow worse than what was really going on.

Seems like we were all living in an upside down world.

When you look at the Sex Pistols in 1977 and the way they were painted by the media establishment who were still dominated by the likes of Jimmy Savile it seems so bizarre that it could have been pulled from the pages of some kind of caustic sci fi book loking into a double speak future. The Pistols and their fellow travellers now look like young innocents surrounded by the slavering freak show and sticking a V sign up to their madness.

Of course we always knew it was a grand illusion. We knew it then and we know it now- the more happy clappy, smiley smiley, the establishment figures appear then more dark and dangerous they really are. It’s like toothpaste can cover a multitude of sins. ‘Scrub away, scrub away- the SR way…’

For every Gary Glitter there is a whole raft of fallen politicos, dodgy priests, plastic faced pop stars selling fake purity and sanctimonious preachers doing what they pleased and wrecking lives.
It’s all been turned upside down. The supposedly degenerate alternative counterculture with its free love, soft drugs and wacky outfits has turned out to be the one with a moral code, and the lunatic establishment is beginning to look utterly depraved. Whilst they were busy running down the so called alternative society they were free to get up to what they wanted. The hypocrisy stinks and what’s scary is that nearly got away with it.

All those calls of ‘wreckers of civilisation’ for anyone making any edgy or noisy art and music from the double standard freak show of the ‘moral majority’ look even more ridiculous know. They never understood that the art was a mirror to their madness and a wrecking ball to their contemptuous and ugly party.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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