UonTV – Matt Grimes Seminar

Director – Laura Roklicer
Vision/Sound – Dan Holloway

Matt Grimes from Birmingham City University presenting his work “From Protest to Resistance”: British anarcho-punk fanzines (1980-1984) as sites of resistance and symbols of defiance’


This presentation focuses on the role that alternative publications played in the cultural, political and ideological practices of the British anarcho-punk movement between 1980 and 1984. I explore the way these ‘zines disseminated the central ideas of anarcho-punk and the way that the editors mediated a shifting notion of anarcho-punk. In doing so I seek to move beyond the simpler notion that ‘zines acted simply as channels of communication, but to the idea that discourses of resistance and defiance are constructed and reinforced through the embodiment and undertaking of ideological work of ‘zine editors as ‘organic intellectuals’[1] and thus represent cultural work. This raises some interesting questions about the role of ‘zine editors/producers as key agents in articulating the perceived central tenets and identity of a subcultural movement. Where previous studies on ‘zines have alluded to the role of editors little emphasis has been placed on the way that these ‘zine authors take on leadership roles and perceived positions of authority.

I examine how DIY fan production practices, through the articulation of specific and at times oppositional ideological positions contributed to the construction of the musical, cultural and political boundaries of the anarcho-punk movement. Therefore this presentation explores how these discourses of political position, authority and identity were mediated and the sense of an anarcho -punk movement that they constructed.

Matt Grimes is Degree Leader and Senior Lecturer in Music Industries and Radio at Birmingham City University. He is also a member of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research where he is currently conducting his doctoral research investigating British anarcho-punk and its significance across the life courses of a group of ageing anarcho-punks. Matt is one of the founder members of the Punk Scholars Network, where he sits on the PSN steering committee. Matt works in a number of disciplines including popular music studies, radio for social change and has presented at a number of international conferences and symposiums. He has co-authored two published book chapters “Radio as a Tool for Rehabilitation and Social Inclusion” (with S. Stevenson) in Radio and Society: New thinking for an Old Medium (2012) edited by M.Mollgaard and “Punk ‘zines – ‘symbols of defiance’ from the print to the digital age.” (with T.Wall) in Fight Back: Punk, Politics and Resistance (2015) edited by M.Worley.

Here is some ‘old punk’ too: