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No Future


About the Book 

'No Feelings', 'No Fun', 'No Future'. The years 1976–84 saw punk emerge and evolve as a fashion, a musical form, an attitude and an aesthetic. Against a backdrop of social fragmentation, violence, high unemployment and socio-economic change, punk rejuvenated and re-energised British youth culture, inserting marginal voices and political ideas into pop. Fanzines and independent labels flourished; an emphasis on doing it yourself enabled provincial scenes to form beyond London's media glare. This was the period of Rock Against Racism and benefit gigs for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the striking miners. Matthew Worley charts the full spectrum of punk's cultural development from the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and Slits through the post-punk of Joy Division, the industrial culture of Throbbing Gristle and onto the 1980s diaspora of anarcho-punk, Oi! and goth. He recaptures punk's anarchic force as a medium through which the frustrated and the disaffected could reject, revolt and re-invent.

Reviews and Endorsements

'A — rare — authentic look at punk, its impact, and what impacted on it, around the country. It’s refreshing not to read the usual art-school myths, as well as including the whole country and not just art-school London.'

- Tim Wells, Morning Star

'Its hard to imagine anybody will write a better book on the era this year, as the whole spirit of protest burns through Worley’s perfectly constructed work.'

- Amy Britton, Louder Than War

'I've been involved with punk for most of my life but even for me it's easy to forget how diverse the whole movement was. This book reminded me of how exciting and different it all was and how 'real' punk had nothing to do with the media's myths. Look and learn my little droogs.'

- Steve Ignorant, former member of the band Crass

'Matthew Worley manages to strike a remarkable balance between vividly evoking punk's raucous rebellion, while also revealing how its aesthetics and politics disrupted the routines of British society. No Future is history as punk, and punk as history.'

John Street, author of Music and Politics

'No Future cuts through the stodgy crust of nostalgia, self-serving memoir and fan-boy facts that conceals punk and reveals the truth of youth culture in late Seventies / early Eighties Britain: the internecine battles fought over issues of sound and style were inextricably linked to the political conflicts and dilemmas of that era. Digging deep into the fanzine squabbles and music press controversies that raged across the punk community, Matthew Worley brings to keen life the urgency of a period that felt at once like a terrifying crisis-time and the dawn of a new epoch delirious with radical possibilities. Giving Anarcho and Oi! the serious attention they've long deserved, and analysing this tumultuous time through perspectives that range from anti-consumerist boredom and feminist personal politics to media-critique and dystopian dread, No Future is an essential read for punk scholars and punk fans alike.'

Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–84 and Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy

10 books that influenced punk

  • Richard Allen, Skinhead (1970) – pulp-fiction and youth culture violence from the New English Library: every playground should have a copy

  • J.G. Ballard, Crash (1973) – dystopian and an influence on those looking beyond guitars

  • Christopher Gray, Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Works of the Situationist International (1974) – Jamie Reid’s involvement makes this the way into punk’s Situ-influences

  • James Herbert, The Rats (1974) – London in the md-70s, decaying into dystopia

  • Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962) – watch the film then find the book; droogs and ultraviolence

  • John Willie, The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline (1974) – Bizarre S&M artworks carved up for many an Adam and the Ants poster and badge

  • John Heartfield, Photomontages of the Nazi Period (1977) – warnings for history, an aesthetic and a method

  • Colin Wilson, The Occult (1971) – popular guide to magick that seemed to be on a lot of bookshelves in the early 1980s

  • Albert Camus, The Fall (1956) and The Outsider (1942) – key reading for young men with weights on their shoulders that informed band names and lyrics alike

  • George Orwell, 1984 (1948) – A looming end-game with Mrs Thatcher as big sister 

10 films that influenced punk

  • If.... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) – another England

  • A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971) – ultraviolence in the underpass

  • Night Porter (Liliana Cavani, 1974) – Nazi chic, S&M, decadence

  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Toby Hopper, 1974) – as watched by Sex Pistols before playing the Notre Dame Hall

  • 1990 (Wilfred Greatorex, 1977) – TV series from 1977; Labour government has turned Britain into a prison

  • Scum (Alan Clarke, 1977) – banned borstal drama 

  • Punk Rock Movie (Don Letts, 1978) – DIY film capturing The Roxy and more

  • Jubilee (Derek Jarman, 1978) – punk arthouse; the corrugated iron in the background steals the show

  • The Long Good Friday (John Mackenzie, 1980) – London’s calling; a film that captures the changes punk also soundtracked

  • Threads (Mick Jackson, 1984) – nuclear war over Sheffield; still terrifying

No Future by Matthew Worley

No Future

Punk, Politics and British Youth Culture, 1976–1984

AUTHOR: Matthew Worley
FORMAT: Original paperback
ISBN: 9781316625606
PRICE: £17.99 / $19.99

To purchase a copy please visit


This book will change how you think about punk!

The truth of youth culture in late 70s and early 80s Britain is revealed’

No Future: The Soundtrack

Matthew Worley's Spotify Playlist

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