Billy Bragg: the singer thinks the age has passed when music can act as a vehicle for social change. Photograph: Alan Betson

This week the veteran English protest singer Billy Bragg joined us for a chat on the Irish Times politics podcast (which, I am contractually obliged t(...)

Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks in 1978. Photograph: Chris Gabrin/Redferns Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks in 1978. Photograph: Chris Gabrin/Redferns

In January 1977 a young punk band called Buzzcocks walked into the Manchester branch of Virgin with a box of singles they wanted to sell. They had set(...)

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s Brexit. Illustration: Angelo McGrath (with apologies to Jamie Reid)

If you are English and in your 50s or early 60s, two things are likely to be true of you. One is that in 2016 you voted to leave the European Union: 6(...)

Almost everyone was too old for high school. Olivia Newton-John was nearly 30, Stockard Channing four years older

In October of 1978, Bob Geldof yawned and tore up a photograph of John Travolta on Top of the Pops. A decade and a bit later, his mate Sinead O’Connor(...)

Ian Lloyd Anderson (Jack) and Kate Stanley Brennan  (Nora) in  ‘The Plough and the Stars’ by Sean O’Casey.  Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

In 1910, George Bernard Shaw wrote a short comedy called The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, which was to be performed as a fundraiser for a campaign to est(...)

A detail from the cover of Lady Gaga’s Artpop (2013)  by   Jeff Koons. Label: Interscope Records

There’s more to that record collection you’ve begun to accumulate than the sounds on the grooves. In front and around many great albums is very often (...)

Sex Pistols pictured in 1976. File photograph: PA

The son of the late Malcolm McLaren, manager of seminal 1970s punk group Sex Pistols, has said he will set fire to millions of pounds of punk memorabi(...)

Jefferson Hack: “Nightclubs since the 1960s have been a laboratory for ideas that have gone on to influence popular culture. People who live in a subculture know what is going to happen in five years’ time.” Photograph: Ian Gavan/Getty

Jefferson Hack, founder of the influential British counterculture style bible Dazed & Confused, is a polished performer on stage. Despite the tit(...)

The Devil’s Spine Band: ‘We know certain things are going to happen, but it all relies on intuition. Sometimes it doesn’t work out’

Everybody knows what Oscar Wilde had to declare when he reached the New York Customs office, at the beginning of a lecture tour of America in 1882:(...)

Vivienne Westwood on the runway for her Red Label show during London Fashion Week, wearing a badge in support of Scottish independence. Photograph: Mike Marsland/Wireimages

Julian Assange calls Vivienne Westwood “a sartorial agitprop artist”. The co-founder of Wikileaks is in a good position to describe Westwood, what (...)

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