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Gavin Baddeley: Street Culture: 50 Years Of Subculture Style

A partisan history of youth cults.

“Hipster culture is not a counterculture,“ bemoans author Gavin Baddeley in the conclusion of this enjoyable trawl through half a century of sartorial sea changes. It’s a good point. In a digitised age where even the most underground movement can be accessed within seconds, there’s a strong argument to say the internet hasn’t promoted youth culture, it’s killed it.

It’s a shame this idea isn’t expanded upon. Instead we get an entry-level trawl through every youth fad from Teds to Emo, with the author’s own prejudices – as a teenager he was an Iron Maiden fan – thinly disguised.

So Glam rockers are “air-headed”, and the Blitz Club, home of the New Romantics, little more than a “competitive fancy-dress competition”. Casuals, meanwhile, are dismissed in four lines. Which is all part of the fun.

The days of the youth tribe may be numbered, but for former members, loyalties last until the grave./o:p