IDEA 5 – Subculture

Being that it was now the start of the Christmas holidays and I had finally got together my idea of how I wanted my project to go with no other modules to distract. I felt more motivated towards getting all my research out the way from this I compiled a list of research of which will form my Bibliography and went to the library to source the books that I needed.

I decided to look at how music is referred to subculture where I found this book that explained it…


Speaks of how Rock ‘n’ Roll started off as fans wanting fun (1950’s = silent generation) while musicians wanted to speak out about their views they had on the political front. Songs were to speak out against mistreatment from the authorities. Some came from the war front and theatre while others were written on protests and in some cases were wrote in preparation for a protest to happen so to release the song. Giving an understanding of how rock music came about and started out to form into the idea of what I am talking about within my work. Giving an understanding and basis to my work.


Following me on to looking at this book that explained some terms to me in terms of definition or explanation.

  • Rebellion is the spirit of rock n roll
  • Punk rock was seen as the death of rock
  • Elvis Costello questions if glam should be considered as rock
  • After 1980s all music is recycled
  • Nowadays rock is questioned in terms of being new as compared to not being everywhere

This books title questioned a term that is usually known as ‘punk is dead’, ‘grunge is dead’ etc. but looks at the point of view as to whether it is or not in the eyes of journalists, critics, musicians and fans for why they are under that opinion. In the process though it had lead to me reading it after reading ‘WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER’ of how the music started to now whether the change of music is classed as what it originated as. Giving me a chronological understanding of music and how it is conveyed from people with different roles within the scene

As the topic had become to be based on how  fans depict themselves I thought it might be of use for me to look into how fans portray themselves.


Ordinary audience – buys into the interest through viewing the interest or buying the songs.

  • Fan – Take more interest than the ordinary audience. Feel the need to buy merchandise etc.
  • Fandom           – Takes place in the fans head.
  • Anti fandom – Feels the need to vocalize their dislike.
  • Myths – Conjures up more of an interest as to the unknown about. Puts the star in a new realm.
  • Cults – Seeing the star as a religious icon.

Fan communities have both internal and external kinds of functions. Internally, they welcome, support and socialize individuals. Externally, they organize to act as a collective bodies that represent both their fans and their heroes. PAGE 249

This book was really helpful to me as it explained more of an emotional affect to subcultures. Explaining how people become members of a subculture and are not just fanatics or over the top-screaming people. This book I feel has become one of the most helpful books to me in terms of my work.


  • 1960’s rock music was described as underground music as it wasn’t mainstream or used in popular format PAGE 12
  • Simon Frith has argued that ‘Songs are more like plays than poems , songs work as speech and speech acts, bearing meaning not just semantically, but also as structure of sound that are direct signs of emotion and markers of character’ (Frith 1988c, 120). PAGE 129

Giving an emotional or heart felt speech about what the person feels about or being able to share in the experience of another through what they feel and experience.

  • ‘There are… no masses, there are only ways of seeing people as masses’ (William 1963, 289) PAGE 168
  • Joli Jensen has argued that such notions of ‘the fanatic’ and ‘mass society’ were still very influential in the study of fans well into the late 1980s. She asserts that ‘The literature on fandom is haunted by images of deviance’.

Saying that the idea of fandom is misunderstood.

This book was highly informative and compared two previous options I had looked at of the fan being influenced to be more of a relation and understanding. Compared to the idea of the fan being over the top  bringing together the two points that I had read about and had witnessed.

Returning me to my original thought of the emotional impact I decided to follow up with this book…


Unlike previous periods where fashion spoke a clear and schematic voice of class, gender, and etiquette, the current voice is chaotic, subtle, and complex. It speaks the voices of couture and outrage, power dressing and anarchy, extravagance and anti-chic, subtle dress codes and their disappearance-all at the same time. PAGE 134

Saying that fashion has become to be a way of speaking or saying this is who I am or how I feel about a topic without having to say anything.

Fashion of all art, act as a vehicle for unconscious fantasy. PAGE 139

The fashion expresses a persons thought, it is a way or reading a person and understanding them.
This essay based book looked into the part of what I wanted to cover to make my work deeper of the emotional impact and what the music and fashion means in terms of it. It did though inform me of how fashion has changed from what it was to what it is now.


While looking at fandoms I came across this book wrote by a fan based on fans of Morrissey. Here I got the points of:

  • Mod’s are based on fashion
  • The original skinheads had little interest in politics. The movement was intensely masculine (although there were female skinheads) and working class, and offered it’s members both a feeling of belongings and a powerful, intimidating image. Page 59
  • Style became important.
  • Photographic portraiture differs from other forms, such as painted portrait, in that it captures what is really there. Photography has the ability to show what Susan Sontag describes as “immortality” and to capture events that have occurred “for all time” (Sontag 2002). PAGE 143
  • The act of being photographed is a performative one where the subject takes on a role or an identity. As Anne Marsh writes “the relationship with the camera is narcissistic […] the subject is always trying to act out an image of the ideal self” (Marsh 2003).
  • Roland Barthes describes being in front of the camera as making another body, “I transform myself in advance into an image of the ideal self” (Barthes 1981: 10) PAGE 144/145
  • Morrissey says he is 98% image and that he has tried to pass himself off as being a human being PAGE 145

This book was informative and gave me some useful quotes when referring to music and photography at once. While showing how a musician is based on the culture. That Morrissey is influenced on political insight and the way in which he expresses that in his music. Turning into him then influencing the culture that influenced him. Creating a cycle of society influencing music to music being influenced by society while presenting it in terms of the artist and the musician. Making me want to look at music within society.

Returning back to how subculture is shown in a range of ways.  I started off with every day as the idea of subculture suggested it wasn’t just occasional happenings.


  • The way that we dress can serve either to confirm or to subvert various facets of our identities, such as our gender, race, class and age (1997:171) PAGE 94

Meaning that the way we dress can portray how someone wants to see themselves  or do see themselves.

  • Late modern individuals create personal images, designed both to situate the self and send out culturally – coded messages to others PAGE 94

Allowing people to reach out to others creating a community.

  • ‘Personalized’ identities have led to claims that it constitutes ‘a celebration of individualism’ (Mort, 996: 16) PAGE 94
  • Fashion is a form of social power (Rucker et al., 1999) PAGE 98

It gives the impression of understanding and knowledge.

This book looks at how music and fashion are used within society before turning to greater reach of everyday in a more global aspect through advertising. Then looking at how it influences different age ranges and the way other works have spoken about the theme. It was informative and useful to give me quotes and insight into how music and fashion is portrayed in society.


Looks at the idea of subculture today as compared to back in the 1980’s where you could tell the difference in who listened to what music to now being everyone looks the same. Making them question why is it… no creativity or social media or change of times. Enforcing a key point in my work of what has happened in m eye’s subculture is still about but not as prominent.


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