It's a London thing

How rare groove, acid house and jungle remapped the city

By Caspar Melville

It's a London thing


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3125-6
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: November 2019
  • BIC Category: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century, MUSIC / General, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, London, Greater London, Human Geography, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Music Industry
  • Series: Music and Society


This book tells the history of the London black music culture that emerged in post-colonial London at the end of the twentieth century; the people who made it, the racial and spatial politics of its development and change, and the part it played in founding London's precious, embattled multiculture. It conceives of the linked scenes around black music in London, from ska, reggae and soul in the 1970s, to rare groove and rave in the 1980s and jungle and its offshoots in the 1990s, to dubstep and grime of the 2000s, as demonstrating enough common features to be thought of as one musical culture, an Afro-diasporic continuum. Core to this idea is that this dance culture has been ignored in history and cultural theory and that it should be thought of as a powerful and internationally significant form of popular art.


Caspar Melville is Lecturer in Global Creative and Cultural Industries at SOAS, University of London


List of figures
List of plates
Introduction: London's Sonic Space
1 Hostile environment: London's racial geography, 1960-1980
2 Warehouse parties, rare groove and the diversion of space
3 Ibiza to Brixton: Rave and black acid
4 'A London Sum'ting Dis': Diaspora remixed in the urban jungle
Epilogue: Music and the multicultural city
Appendix 1

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