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Jon Savage (1953 - )

Related: techno - music journalism - cultural criticism

If there is one central idea in techno, it is of the harmony between man and machine. As Juan Atkins puts it: "You gotta look at it like, techno is technological. It's an attitude to making music that sounds futuristic: something that hasn't been done before." This idea is commonplace throughout much of avant-garde 20th-century art --early musical examples include Russolo's 1913 Art of Noises manifesto and '20s ballets by Erik Satie ("Relâche") and George Antheil ("Ballet méchanique"). Many of Russolo's ideas prefigure today's techno in everything but the available hardware, like the use of nonmusical instruments in his 1914 composition, Awakening of a City. --Machine Soul via The Village Voice Summer 1993 "Rock & Roll Quarterly" insert.] via hyperreal


Jon Savage (born 1953) is a self-styled 'cultural commentator' and music journalist, best known for his award winning history of the Sex Pistols and punk music, England's Dreaming (1991).

Savage wrote and published a fanzine called London's Outrage in 1976, and in 1977 began working as a journalist for Sounds. "Sounds" was, at that time, one of the UK's three major music papers, along with the New Musical Express and Melody Maker. Savage interviewed punk, New Wave and electronic music artists for "Sounds" until 1979, when he moved to "Melody Maker", and then in 1980 to the newly founded pop culture magazine The Face.

Throughout the 1980s, Savage wrote for The Observer and the New Statesman, providing high-brow commentary on popular culture.

England's Dreaming, published by Faber in 1991, was lauded as the definitive history of punk music, and remains the single most comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon. It was used as the basis for a television programme, "Punk and the Pistols", shown on BBC2 in 1995.

Savage continues to write on punk and other genres in a variety of publications, most notably Mojo magazine.

Several compilation CDs based on his tracklistings have also been released, including "England's Dreaming" (2004) and "Meridian 1970" (2005), the latter of which puts forward the argument that 1970 was a high-point for popular music, contrary to critical opinion. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Savage [Aug 2005]

England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond - Jon Savage

  • England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond - Jon Savage [Amazon.com]
    In an account packed with incisive social analysis, a London- based writer who contributes regularly to US music magazines (Spin, Rolling Stone, etc.) chronicles the lurid yet surprisingly complex rise and fall of Britain's quintessential punk band, the Sex Pistols. Taking his title from the lyrics of the band's ``God Save the Queen'' (``There is no future, in England's dreaming. No future for you, no future for me''), Savage begins with a long description of the nihilistic, in-your-face fashion world in which Malcolm McLaren, the group's manager, got his start. These first pages are decidedly slow, but they are the only slow ones in a long book that--among countless other things--describes McLaren's apparently seething, opportunistic ambition, and the ``miasma'' of violence that followed the Sex Pistols from an early, foulmouthed TV interview to a gruesome tour across America's South (recounted by Noel E. Monk and Jimmy Guterman in 12 Days on the Road, 1990) and the drug-induced death of bass player Sid Vicious. Throughout, Savage provides much intriguing background information, especially about the suffocating nature of recession-hit 1970's England, along with illuminating quotes from dozens of sources. His narrative is filled with pithy insights that keep their appropriate punch even when wallowing in verbosity (``The very English phlegm which had served as a powerful psychological metaphor for denial...was now, literally, expelled in torrents as...Punk audiences covered their object of desire with sheets of saliva''). Though at times overly detailed and wordy, still a compelling and intelligent narrative that's as much about the nature of anarchy as about the Sex Pistols and punk rock. (Sixteen-page color insert.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

    See also: punk - culture - criticism - music journalism

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