A week ago Jim Groom and I headed to ds106radio for the third episode of Utopian Tendencies. I sent Jim a link to a YouTube upload of Jeremy Deller‘s ‘Everybody in the Place: An Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992’ (2018). The BBC aired the one hour film last year which gave me a chance to watch it – from then it’s been ripped to YouTube a few different times, most copies are with music removed to avoid take downs, but this upload hosted via official means by Gucci and Frieze lets you watch with everything intact:
‘Everybody in the Place’ presents a social history of the UK between 1984-1992, looking at the cultural moment of rave and acid house music and its origins in the social and political upheaval of the 1980s (Thatcher in power, miner’s strikes etc.). It takes the form of a lecture delivered by Deller to an A-level politics class (16-18yos).
It’s a joyful film that fits in with thinking through the limits of utopia, as well as chiming with many events taking place right now. It charts the rise in raves and diy music from Kraftwerk to Detroit to Manchester sound systems and finally 40,000 person raves with city dwellers taking to the countryside. It also includes amazing archival footage and photographs, such as this local Detroit show with people dancing to Kraftwerk:
Jeremy Deller grounds the rise in raves and acid house in the alienation that young people felt as a result of racial discrimination faced by black working class communities, the fallout of the 1984-85 Miner’s Strike and the violent shift from an industrial economy to a service economy. Through this folkloric telling of a history of Britain 1984-1992, Deller describes how people found agency in creating their own parties, social spaces, and diy music production.
Feel free to listen to our discussion of the film at the top of this post. It was interesting hearing Jim’s take seen as it was very much an introduction to events in Britain at that time for him as an American (he knew little to nothing of the Miner’s Strikes and their continuing impact in the UK).
Near the end of the discussion I mention Grime artist and Boy Better Know label founder Jme‘s twenty minute documentary ‘The Police vs Grime Music‘ (2016) on the use of the 696 form by the London Metropolitan Police to prevent muscians (specifically MCs) from playing live music or organising live events. We are still in the middle of the many struggles Jeremy Deller highlights in ‘Everybody in the Place’, and Jme’s film is a necessary watch to gain insight on the issues people face today.
Also it turns out Jim Groom doesn’t know what Grime music is (!!) so this upcoming week I’m planning a show to expose him and the ds106radio community to some 140bpm classics.