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Clampdown by Rhian E Jones - Review

Thursday, January 18, 2018

First of all, I need to say two things: one, I received this book free from the publisher so thank you very much to Zero Books, and two, Rhian is a friend of mine. We met years ago through The Libertines, but we have quite a lot of music in common and are quite similar politically. When I heard about the book I wanted to read it so was thrilled to receive a copy, but then I lost the book and unearthed it recently and decided to read it. I would like to read more non fiction in 2018 so this seemed an ideal place to start.

Concentrating on several bands of the 90s Britpop and later 00s British bands, Rhian talks about the class identity of those bands, how they used class signifiers, and how bands with women in in particular identified. She particularly looks at how working class women have been demonised in the press and how the 'chav' image is used against women more than men. She looks at working class bands like Kenickie to comment on the ladette culture of the 90s and so on. The text is pretty dense so quite often I had to break sentences down to make sure I really understood them, but there were parts that made me actually laugh out loud. This may be because I know Rhian and her dry wit, but she also has such a way with words - for instance, describing the 'camp wit' of The Libertines and the 'languorous sleaziness' of Elastic (two of my favourite bands, which helps!) I don't think the book is too difficult for someone non academic (like me!) to read. It is similar in parts to Chavs by Owen Jones, a book I've skimmed but not read properly. I really liked the book and would recommend it to anyone who grew up on Britpop and other guitar bands. Five out of five!

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