Unemployment is rising fast, racial tensions have been growing and Britain is in the midst of a huge economic crisis, with a Conservative government (recently elected with a huge majority) in place to deal with it. No, we’re not talking about Britain in the 2020s, but rather the situation the UK faced as the 70s turned into the 80s. But the similarities of the situations might give some clue as to why a musical movement that emerged from Britain in 1979 still has so much relevance in the UK and around the world today.
The Two-Tone movement emerged in Coventry in the West Midlands following the youth-quake of punk, and this year will see a brand new exhibition in the city mark the importance of the movement.
“It’s just great music, I think that’s the main reason it’s stuck around so long,” says Martin Roberts, the curator of the 2 Tone: Lives & Legacies exhibition at the Herbert Museum. “But it also has a very important political message about black and white people coming together that is still relevant today. Plus it has an incredible visual identity. Bring those things together and it’s a very powerful combination.”