Rick Blackman

Music & Movements: The Skiffle revolution

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Following the Second World War, austerity and rationing loomed large in British society. The rebuilding of post-war Britain would change the country forever. The Windrush generation saw new cultural influences appear, rationing ended and the longest sustained boom in the history of capitalism began. Musically, the US was the most important place in the world and young people looked there for their inspiration, leading to four musical developments that would profoundly influence British youth in the 1950s: traditional jazz, rock’n’roll, skiffle and modern jazz.

Surrealism in Egypt: Art et Liberté 1938-48

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Surrealism grew out of the Dada movement and the carnage of the First World War. Since then it has been associated with Europe. This, the first comprehensive UK exhibition of African surrealists, seeks to address this imbalance and places Egyptian artists firmly at the heart of surrealism.

Many Egyptian artists were influenced by or had studied in Europe, but the art that evolved throughout the period covered here deals with both universal and profoundly African issues.

Rock and Roll against racism

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Notting Hill in the 1950s

A pioneering anti-racist organisation was founded by musicians in the aftermath of the 1958 Notting Hill riots. It's time that the Stars Campaign for Interracial Friendship got its due.

In the late summer of 1958 racist violence broke out on the streets of Notting Hill, west London. At its origin were many complicated social, economic and political factors. Against a backdrop of slum housing, concerns over employment and “interracial marriage” was a nascent racism against the newly arrived African-Caribbean and Asian communities. This had been exacerbated by a renewed fascist movement around the Keep Britain White campaign orchestrated by the White Defence League and Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement.

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