"This thoughtful, troubling film from Don Letts shows how a joyful movement became hijacked by thugs and bigots. To the point where even the title of this programme will be off-putting to some. But the precursor to all the hooliganism was a teen obsession with Jamaican ska. Kevin Rowland recalls, 'We saw the Pioneers, we saw Desmond Dekker and we loved them. It was completely multiracial.' And Letts is at pains to celebrate both the fashion before the fascism – reflected in increasingly ugly 70s archive – and the style revival."
"Hamilton was a member of the Independent Group, formed in the 1950s by a group of artists and writers at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, whose symposiums contributed to the development of Pop art in Britain. He was one of the prime practitioners of the critic Lawrence Alloway's theory of a 'fine/pop art continuum'. Hamilton interpreted this as meaning that 'all art is equal - there was no hierarchy of value. Elvis was to one side of a long line while Picasso was strung out on the other side ... TV is neither less nor more legitimate an influence than, for example, is New York Abstract Expressionism' (Hamilton, p.31)."
(Terry Riggs, December 1997, Tate)
Richard Hamilton (1956). 'Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?'
"Jones explains the situation, as he sees it. 'For artists of my generation, coming on stream in the Sixties, whatever you did you had to reckon with American gestural abstraction. The problem with figurative art at the time was that it had run out of steam, but the polemic was that you couldn't do it any more, which seemed absurd after 4,000 years of people making representations of each other. To me the Pop movement was incontrovertibly a swing of the pendulum back towards representation. The problem wasn't with representation, it was the age–old one – with the language. And the language had run out of steam. Using urban imagery as source material revitalised figurative painting, without a doubt. And recently the main thrust of the avant–garde from Basquiat and Schnabel up to Koons and company has been figuration with a vengeance.'"
(Andrew Lambirth 1 November 2014, The Spectator)
"An extension of the UK skinhead movement, the roots of sharp lie in the influx of European immigrants in Australia in the early 1960s. By the late 1960s the Sharpie subculture had evolved and existed in the mainly working class and migrant inner city suburbs such as Richmond, Fitzroy, Collingwood and Brunswick where Greeks, Italians, Yogoslavs and English immigrants all lived side by side. But as street corners gradually changed to shopping centres, by the early 1970s, the Sharpie movement started to spread to the outer suburbs of Melbourne where a 'rough as guts' working class ethos existed.
The name 'Sharpie' originated from the fashion. It was all about the clothes and looking sharp, and flash. The first wave of Sharpies from 1966 – 1969 were strongly influenced by UK Mod fashions, the 1964 Rockers and the style of certain Italian migrants. Demeanor was tough, hair was short back and sides and clothing was custom made by European tailors, thus allowing for a blend of neo–thirties suave combined with a contemporary larrikin attitude. Dances were also a big part of the Sharpies social fabric, with bands such as Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, Wild Cherries, Ray Brown & the Whispers, and Max Merritt & the Meteors being popular choices.
From 1970–1980, the second wave of Sharpies were following hard, tough rock'n'roll bands like Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls, Buster Brown, Rose Tattoo, The Angels and ACDC. Sharpies were now often congregating in large numbers, regularly attending live band concerts at town hall and high school dances as well as early discos. But due to their sheer numbers, Sharpies were often perceived as being untouchable by the police and were often associated with excessive violence, regularly taking part in fights."
(Melynda von Wayward)
"This is one of those rare and unsettling examples of a rock film which has the all the immediacy of reportage from a distant war–zone. The terrain is Olympic Studios in London in June 1968, where the Rolling Stones, recovering from the critical mauling of At Their Satanic Majesty's Request, are at work on the tracks that would become Beggars' Banquet. The film–maker was Jean–Luc Godard, at the height of his reputation as Europe's most daring director. Godard had briefly left Paris for London in the wake of the Paris riots of May '68 with the aim of making a film about art, power and revolution. The Stones, at their most dazzling and Luciferian, were, as Godard saw it, perfect for the role of agents of anarchy in a movie whose stated aim was to 'subvert, ruin and destroy all civilised values'. ...
As the track is worked and reworked, we glimpse the inner dynamics of the Stones. Bill Wyman and Brian Jones are on the margins (Jones spends most of the film shuttered away, ostracised, playing an inaudible and irrelevant acoustic guitar). Charlie Watts is every inch the dapper jazz mod, as spare with his incisive drumming as he is meticulous with his clothes. Jagger is languid, bored and then sexually ambiguous and cruel, coming only properly to life when he sings the lyrics. Most compelling of all is Keith, changing rhythms and cues at will, eyes gleaming, restless and fiercely intelligent, a million miles from the stoned zombie of legend. When he choreographs and leads the band and acolytes (including the witchy Anita Pallenberg) into the 'whoo, whoos' that make the track so malicious, it is sinister and stunning."
(Andrew Hussey, 21 May 2006, The Guardian)