Beaten Generation

Episode 6/6

Wednesday 5th September 2012
episode-6

Episode 6

The final film in the series discusses the casual, rave and Britpop scenes of the 1980s and 1990s, and asks what the future holds for British subculture. Features contributions from Steve Mason and Wayne Hemingway.

The 1980s and young people have never had so much money. Football hooliganism is rife, with participants draped in expensive sportswear. Along came Ecstasy which created political apathy and all the violence stopped. The ravers dressed to relax and dance in, listening to electronic music – Acid House and Jungle. The ravers were the first subculture to really have a love for each and every member, and there was a true cross pollination of all backgrounds. The rave scene was arguably the last truly original subculture. Britpop then followed containing elements of retro fashion and music – back to bands and mod fashion. 

Don Letts - Biography

Don Letts has been joining the countercultural dots for almost forty years, coming to notoriety in London during the late 1970s, running Acme Attractions and introducing an entire generation of punks to reggae as DJ at the Roxy Club. Now, as Fred Perry approaches its 60th anniversary, in 2012, he will celebrate the integral part that the brand continues to play in shaping youth culture.

As Fred Perry Subcultures will show, it's not just a fashion label. It's a way of life.

Don Letts was inspired by what he saw at Acme Attractions and The Roxy, and adopted a punk D.I.Y ethic, to make "The Punk Rock Movie". Shot on Super-8mm, it remains the seminal documentary on the U.K punk scene, featuring The Sex Pistols, The Clash and many others. Don went on to direct over 300 music videos for the likes of Bob Marley, Elvis Costello and The Clash.

Don's other films include "Dancehall Queen" (Jamaica’s highest ever grossing movie), and BBC documentaries, including, "Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", "George Clinton: Tales of Dr. Funkenstein", and "Soul Britannia". In 2004 he directed the acclaimed "PUNK: Attitude", following on from the success of "The Clash: Westway to the World", for which he won a Grammy in 2003.

Drawn towards musical projects, he created the band Basement Five, released a single with members of John Lydon's P.I.L., managed The Slits and formed Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones (formerly of The Clash). B.A.D. enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic into the early 1990s, including the top ten hit "E=Mc2".

Today Don Letts will be familiar to many from BBC 6 Music, where he has presented a weekly show since 2007, and his involvement with Strummerville, the new music charity founded by the friends and family of Joe Strummer, making the acclaimed film of the same name in 2010. 2011 saw Big Audio Dynamite reform, with their original line up, playing Glastonbury, Coachella and Lollapalooza to rave reviews, with The Observer stating "...they remain a joy".

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