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Exeunt Magazine: Review: Jubilee at Royal Exchange, Manchester

November 18th, 2017

exeunt17aNo future: Catherine Love reviews Chris Goode’s furiously intelligent take on the punk movie classic.

Punk is dead. Long live punk.

When director Derek Jarman released Jubilee in 1978, punk had already scaled its zenith and was starting to tumble down the other side. The Sex Pistols had just split. The controversy of ‘God Save The Queen’ had come and gone. Thatcher was lurking just beyond the horizon.

Chris Goode’s version – more of a playful wrestle with Jarman’s film than an adaptation of it – asks what punk means now, four decades after it had its moment. By the time I was aware of punk in the late 90s, it was already nostalgia. Now, in 2017, it’s distant yet present. It’s Johnny Rotten in butter adverts. It’s mohawks and safety pins at fancy dress parties. It’s the Sex Pistols on the radio.

Jarman’s film suggested that everyone would sell out in the end, and punk proved him right. That abandoning of revolutionary stances and evacuating of radical gestures is worried away at throughout Goode’s reimagining. His Jubilee is firmly located in the now – the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s uranium jubilee, according to protagonist Amyl Nitrite (queer performance artist Travis Alabanza) – and picks at contemporary scabs. Is there still any sort of resistance in nihilism at a time when the film’s defiant cry of “no future” feels more and more like a simple statement of truth?

• Continue reading at Exeunt Magazine.

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