Scenes from a bedroom: situating British Independent Music, 1979-1995

Elodie A. Roy

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This article deals with the real and symbolic centrality of the bedroom in the development of independent music in the UK (1979-1995). Drawing from Bachelard’s Poetics of Space (1958), Bollnow’s Human Spaces (1953) and also cultural and music theorists such as Susan Stewart and Wendy Fonarow, I argue that the bedroom can be read as (1) a space of creation, (2) a place of mediation and self-mediation and (3) a political space. The bedroom is notably, but not exclusively, examined in the songs of The Smiths and the later ‘bedroom pop’ movement (as embodied by Sarah Records).This article aims to situate British independent music, showing that it is not primarily or initially a genre or a sound, but should rather be defined in its relationship to a lived, everyday environment. The article especially focuses on the material culture of the bedroom (with analyses of the radio and the mixtape), and its dissemination beyond the bedroom. The bedroom is seen as both fragment and miniature of the world; as a transitive, and potentially subversive space, which proves instrumental in the making and establishing of independent music.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalThe Luminary
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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