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Subject: Margaret Thatcher and British pop culture?

Written By: Ebontyne on 07/18/06 at 3:27 pm

My perception is that Britain under Thatcher is a rather grim and gloomy place: massive unemployment, the very bitter '84-'85 miners' strike, inner-city riots, and an extremely confrontational political atmosphere overall. Obviously, though, my knowledge of it is more than a little sketchy, being neither British nor old enough to remember.

I'm interested in both the general atmosphere of the time and specifically how Thatcherite social and economic policies impacted British popular music, cinema, and television during the 1980s. How is the period distinct from Britain today, or from Britain before Thatcher's rise to power? How is it different from Reagan's USA? Please try to keep the focus primarily on popular culture.

I'm especially interested in the views of British people who are old enough to remember the period (though of course anyone is welcome to reply). :)

Subject: Re: Margaret Thatcher and British pop culture?

Written By: BrianMannixGirl on 07/19/06 at 4:43 am

I lived in London in the late 80s and early 90s - while Thatcher still reigned. I think what I saw was the end results of her work. High unemployment, high homeless rates - stuff like that.

My main memory was when she was told elderly people were dying in winter because they couldnt afford heating she replied "Tell them to wear spencers". For those that dont know the term - a spencer is a singlet - underclothing basically. She was all heart ! I am sure Number 10 Downing Street was nicely centrally heated.

From a point of view of living in Australia in the early 80s I felt her era brought out some of the absolute best stand up comedians in the UK at the time. People like Ben Elton, Alexie Sayle, Lenny Henry etc etc - all those who took pleasure in having a dig at her and what she was doing to their country.

edit - fixing spelling !!

Subject: Re: Margaret Thatcher and British pop culture?

Written By: Jeffpcmt on 07/19/06 at 1:15 pm

I know Pink Floyd sure took a shot at Margaret Thatcher.  In their song "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" off the Animals album they make a blatent directed socio-political insult aimed at Thatcher and the British conservatives of the time.

Second verse:

Bus stop rat bag, ha ha charade you are
You f*cked up old hag, ha ha charade you are
You radiate cold shafts of broken glass
You're nearly a good laugh
Almost worth a quick grin
You like the feel of steel
You're hot stuff with a hat pin
And good fun with a hand gun
You're nearly a laugh
You're nearly a laugh
But you're really a cry

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