Post-punk, the youth and anti-discrimination
20 April 2018
Always aspiring to be young at heart, I went to see one of Britain’s most exciting bands, Shame, last night. They were all the things you should be when you are 20-something: rebellious, angry, provocative and thrilling. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the midst of such frenetic energy so I held onto my vodka and tonic for dear life. Having retreated to a safe space, I was somewhat shocked when the lead singer, Charlie Steen, announced “we don’t tolerate abuse, oppression or discrimination” and that anyone doing that can leave now (though using more colourful language to that effect).
This powerful message stopped me in my tracks. I am well used to employers working tirelessly with their dignity at work policies, training and initiatives to foster a culture that is free from discrimination, so this confrontational approach was disruptive. I am pretty sure that every person in the Electric Ballroom was in little doubt as to the band’s tolerance for discrimination or unacceptable behaviour. If you didn’t comply, you would not be welcome with the in-crowd. The message from the top was loud and clear. It’s ironic that those setting the tone and the culture were barely out of their teens.
Management take note.