Punk Scene

A Cultural Revolution

Disco and progressive rock dominated the music scene in the mid 1970s.

However, just eight months after the Ramones released their eponymous first album in April 1976 in America, the Sex Pistols swaggered on to a live TV show in the UK to unleash what the media would call ‘the filth and the fury’. On both sides of the Atlantic, what was to be labelled ‘Punk Rock’ had arrived.

In the UK young people, many from working class backgrounds unhappy with the social and political climate, used punk to express their frustration via a ‘do it yourself’ ethos, most notably through fashion and music. Punk enabled creatives to tap into their imaginations, producing a wealth of musicians, designers, photographers, poets, filmmakers and artists, some of whom you’ll come across in the Leicester exhibition.

But punk wasn’t just about nihilism, spiky hair, safety pins and ‘Destroy’ T-shirts – what underpinned all of this together was attitude. As unemployment and discontent grew, and with the dole queues getting longer, punk enabled disenfranchised and disillusioned young people to channel this new found attitude through music, fashion, literature and art.

“We’d buy a dog collar from the nearest pet shop, wear a dustbin liner and then just walk around the neighbourhood, it was brilliant…”

Sandra Baum