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Red Wedge:Billy Bragg in conversation with Daniel Rachel

To celebrate the book launch of Walls Come Tumbling Down join us for an evening with Billy Bragg in-conversation with author, Daniel Rachel including live music, an audience Q&A and a rare screening of the Red Wedge film Days like These.

Walls Come Tumbling Down cover

 

The period from 1976 to 1992 was the last time cultural engagement would play a defining role in British politics. To celebrate the book launch of Walls Come Tumbling Down join Billy Bragg in-conversation with author, Daniel Rachel who will be discussing the tumultuous events of this sixteen year period including live music, an audience Q&A and a rare screening of the Red Wedge film Days like These.

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Billy Bragg’s first political awakening was the great Rock Against Racism Carnival in London in 1978.  Witnessing the energy of the Clash and the gender politics of the Tom Robinson Band led Bragg to embark on a solo career armed with a Fender Telecaster and a desire to seduce girls. As a new decade turned, and with Thatcherism taking hold of the nation, artists of the left galvanised behind the resurgent CND and in opposition to the Falkland’s crisis and the Miners’ Strike offering socialism as a compassionate alternative to savage cuts, high youth unemployment, and government class war. Alongside Paul Weller, Bragg was the driving force behind Red Wedge, a loose collective of artists declaring themselves for but not of the Labour Party. 

Red Wedge 042_ Labour Listens invite

Musician-turned-author, Daniel Rachel (Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters) witnessed the first Red Wedge tour in Birmingham in 1986. Raised in a staunch Conservative household, the alternative music and politics of the late Seventies and Eighties had a profound effect on his ideological thinking. Interviewing over 100 people Walls Come Tumbling Down charts the battle for the musical and political terrain of Great Britain: when youth culture demanded a voice; when counterculture became national news; when politicians campaigned alongside contemporary pop stars; and when the political persuasion of musicians was as important as the songs they sang.

Red Wedge 036__Melody Maker front cover

The sixteen-year period between 1976 and 1992 was characterized by badge-wearing, flag-waving, rioting, marching and partisan alliances. Political activism brought a young electorate to an understanding of the ideological struggle; it brought them to protesting on the streets, to free festivals, to concert halls, to rallies, to comedy gigs across the country, and finally it brought those ideas to Parliament.

The revolutionary spirit was that of People Unity:

Governments crack and systems fall . . . lights go out – walls come tumbling down!

 

6.15pm – Screening of Red Wedge film in the Coal Store

7.00pm – Drinks reception and private view of Rock Against Racism exhibition in the Accumulator Tower

7.30pm – Daniel Rachel in conversation with Billy Bragg

9.00pm – event finishes