Top Ten of 2017 – #2 – Non-Aligned Punk: The Last Yugoslav Generation

Editor’s Note: In the weeks leading up to the new year, please help us remember 2017 at the Imperial & Global Forum by checking out the past year’s 10 most popular posts.

Ljubica Spaskovska
University of Exeter

‘As a regular reader of NME I feel insulted by the way you write about Yugoslavia in your issues of May 3 and May 17′, wrote a New Musical Express reader from Zagreb in 1975.

In your ‘Teazers’ column you worry about »How will the Communist Bloc take to British pub rock when Kilburn And The High Roads tour Yugoslavia and Poland in August.« Now try to get this: Yugoslavia does not belong to any bloc, so you better don’t try to make jokes about something that may be irrelevant to you, but is of principal meaning for Yugoslav people […] This is not fair toward your Yugoslav readers and many other rock fans in our country. The same singles, albums, groups and singers that top the Pop Polls in Britain are very popular in Yugoslavia, too.

Similarly a Tomaz Domicelj from Ljubljana complained in a 1978 issue of Melody Maker that he was ‘fed up with reading again and again about Yugoslavia being behind the Iron Curtain. We are, if anything, on the border of that Curtain, which MM staff and other British people involved in the music business should know by now. Remember 1948, when we told Stalin off? If not, ask some historians about that.’ Two years later, Melody Maker columnist Chris Bohn visited Yugoslavia, a visit that he summarised in a two-page article entitled ‘Non-aligned punk’.

The geopolitical positioning of Yugoslavia had a significant impact on the way the youth conceptualised and articulated their self-identification and sense of belonging in wider global terms. It also enabled the development of a burgeoning youth culture. [continue reading]

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