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Postcolonial paths of pop: a suburban psychogeography of George Michael and Wham!

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 June 2022

Keith Negus
Affiliation:
School of Media, London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London SE1 6SB, UK E-mail: a.sledmere@lcc.arts.ac.uk
Adrian Sledmere
Affiliation:
Popular Music Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London SE14 6NW, UK E-mail: K.Negus@gold.ac.uk

Abstract

This article draws on psychogeography to explore suburban Bushey, Hertfordshire (UK), where the popular music duo Wham! formed and created the foundation for the later career of George Michael. It locates this neglected cultural narrative within the context of parental postcolonial and metropolitan journeys, arguing that migrations from the margins of the British Empire and across London form part of a ‘spatial moral order’. Exploring how a distinct pop group emerged at a particular time, it emphasises the importance of family and friendship within the suburban landscape of school, home, a pub, church halls, and a scout hut. A focus on the formation of Wham! contributes to debates about the postcolonial journeys and suburban circumstances that have shaped UK popular music since the end of World War II, and illustrates how psychogeography can contribute to the study of popular music.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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