Recently we asked, “Where have all the protest songs gone?” Matthew Collin in his new book, Pop Grenade: From Public Enemy to Pussy Riot – Dispatches from Musical Frontlines, may have the answer. Moreover, Collin, suggests if you ask that question, then you haven’t been listening to the right stuff. He writes that music is still a vital form of resistance in these latter days of Capitalism. He begins his book with the raw political force of Public Enemy at their height, moving next to the ultimately tragic arc of the Love Parade in Berlin. From there, he accompanies a group of techno renegades as they travel central Europe, visiting the war-torn Balkans to inject some humanity into a hell-scape. Next he stops is the slightly surreal era of Saakashvili’s Georgia who enlists the help of Boney M to regain the rebellious states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Collin journeys to tear-gas clouded Gezi Park, as the Turks push back against Erdoğan and a swelling religio-neoliberalism. Finally, he heads to Moscow, to get a feel for Putin’s Russia after more than a decade of control, and the nascent push-back by the likes of Pussy Riot and others.
His book is a fascinating read, because he writes from experience, documenting a mixture of the personal and the journalistic, interspersed with historical allusions and slices of local flavour. Matthew Collin will join Norman B in an upcoming edition of Life Elsewhere to talk about his engaging book and answer, “Where have all the protest songs gone?”
Life Elsewhere airs every Sunday at 12 noon ET on The Source WMNF HD3 and Mondays at 5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio