A lovesong to London in the early 80s: a pre-computer, pre-digital, pre-mostmodern, New Wave age
'Michael Bracewell proves himself to be nothing less than the poet laureate of late capitalism' Jonathan Coe
SOUVENIR is an account of London during the last years prior to the rise of digital technology. As such it surveys the capital through its geography, post-punk, New Wave and Style culture between 1979 and 1986.
While punk's battlefield is now well-trodden by writers, very little has been published about the stranger, twilight years of the late 1970s and early 1980s, when music became darker, moodier and melancholy and the city itself entered a kind of violet hour. The old London - electrical, mechanical - that had endured since the turn of the twentieth century, was soon to change forever with the rise to ubiquity of computers and the reinvention of London's financial markets. SOUVENIR describes the city on the cusp of change and the edgy, extreme characters that inhabited the lengthening shadows, weird urban creases, violent music scenes and sub-cultures that would one day mix the mainstream and the margins.
This was also a time of political dissatisfaction - with widespread virulent dislike of Margaret Thatcher's newly elected administration. History would later decree that both pop and politics would be changed forever by computers. A new London would emerge during the second half of the 1980s, with new technology for a new society and a new culture.
SOUVENIR is an account of the old London - part ruin, part film-set - that the new city replaced.