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Rock Against Racism
On the 5th August, Eric Clapton took the stage at the Birmingham Odeon. ‘Enoch was right,’ he said. ‘We should send them all back.’ According to Clapton, a musician who throughout his life had appropriated African American music to inspire and underwrite his own creativity and success, Britain was in danger of becoming a ‘black colony.’
His drunken invective was not released into a vacuum. The National Front had recently won around 40% of the vote in Blackburn. Racist attacks were on the rise. The intervention of fascist ideas into mainstream politics seemed a real possibility. Significant numbers of the population were being seduced by the Far Right and the violent solutions they offered to economic and social ills. An ugly mood pervaded the country.
Gurdip Singh Chaggar had been murdered by a gang of racists in Southall. The NF commented ‘One down, a million to go.’
Musicians as diverse as Sid Vicious and David Bowie were flirting with Nazi imagery and rhetoric. Much of this represented a desire to shock. Others were perhaps less innocent. Bowie thought Hitler ‘one of the first rock stars.’
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