Walls Come Tumbling Down – The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge
Sunday 26 March 2017
St John’s: AuditoriumVenue
Musician-turned-author Daniel Rachel discusses his book about the coming together of pop music and politics in the 1970s and 1980s with the Labour politician Clare Short and singer/songwriter and lead singer of platinum-selling 2 tone band The Selecter Pauline Black. The event will feature a unique soundtrack of the period, compiled by Rachel, and a presentation of more than a hundred images of related ephemera including archive film footage.
Walls Come Tumbling Down charts a period between 1976 and 1992 that saw a youth generation challenge racism, gender inequality and social and class divisions as never before. Rachel spoke to more than 100 campaigners, musicians, artists and politicians, including Short, to follow the rise and fall of three movements in particular – Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge.
Rachel had a career as a singer/songwriter including as lead singer in Rachel’s Basement and with his solo albums, A Simple Twist Of Folk and A Taste Of Money. His first book, Isle of Noises (A Guardian and NME book of the year), is a series of in-depth conversations about songwriting with some of the UK’s greatest living musicians of the past 50 years. Rachel has also written for the Kinks, Ray Davies and Bryan Ferry and is a regular guest contributor on BBC Radio 5.
Short was Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood between 1983 and 2010. She served as Secretary of State for International Development for six years in the Blair government, gaining a reputation as an effective minister in the UK and abroad. She resigned from the Government in protest at the Iraq War. Short grew up with Irish rebel songs, married a drummer – and toured in the back of the van – and played a key role in Billy Bragg’s Jobs For Youth tour campaign.
Black has spent four decades in the music business and campaigns for racial equality through her work. She joined The Selecter as lead singer in 1979, and the band went on to become one of the most influential in the 2 tone scene alongside Madness and The Specials. The band is on the road again this year with The Beat for a tour of the UK and Ireland. Black has also worked as an actress and as a presenter on radio and on Channel 4 and BBC Four.