Due out next month, the new British movie Awaydays based on the Kevin Sampson book of the same name, looks like it might be a pretty good flick. Definitely good, really good, is the soccer hooligan film's accompanying soundtrack, which is predominantly UK post-punk, circa late seventies -- the period in which the film's story line unfolds.
Awaydays, as its name implies, is about the football (soccer) game days when a team plays away from home in their opponents' towns; when their diehard thuggish fans follow them, they cause mayhem along the way. The fans in this case are The Pack in the far from glamorous Birkenhead corner of Britain. It is 1979 -- the same time that the unpopular conservative Margaret Thatcher had just begun her reign as prime minister -- so there is a lot of angst and aggro in the grim Northern English wasteland air.
If the above trailer, in which Awaydays is described as a "Control meets This Is England," is even halfway right then it should be a damn good film since each of those were very good films: both the Joy Division biopic and the early 80's skinhead and National front era films, that were each also set in that same rough time period -- and set against a sparse, overcast grey English backdrop where music (as well as booze, drugs, and sex of course) offered escapism from life's bleak reality.
While understandably not every worthy UK post-punk group is captured on this one CD collection, the Awaydays soundtrack does a remarkably damn good job of capturing a nice slice of the rich post-punk, mostly all DIY UK music scene, a period that is a little overlooked compared to the more documented punk rock movement. On a side note, a highly recommended music history book on the adventurous post-punk music scenes is Simon Reynolds' book Rip It Up and Start Again (Penguin). That book spans the post punk years 1978 to 1984 but this soundtrack narrows it down mainly to the years '78, '79, '80. And listening back to these tracks all together brings home what an amazing time in music in the UK those years immediately following punk really were!
In Britain in 1978 and/or 1979 post punk bands like Magazine, Wire, Gang of Four, Cabaret Voltaire, The Jam, The Cure, OMD, Ultravoxx, Human League (note that the early incarnations of the latter two were quite different from later years), and of course, Joy Division -- each of whom are featured on the soundtrack -- were all creating incredible timeless music.
Below are some music videos for a selection of these songs found on the Awaydays soundtrack, including Cabaret Voltaire's 1979 song "Nag Nag Nag," Magazine's "The Light Pours Out Of Me" (live in Berlin in 1980 version of the song originally on their 1978 album Real Life), The Cure's "10:15 Saturday Night" (the video is a live in Rotterdam from '79 the same year they released it as both the opening track on their debut album Three Imaginary Boys and as the B-side to the single "Killing An Arab" -- note the new soundtrack has a Feb 1978 demo version), Gang of Four's "Damaged Goods" (not the original version off 1979 album Entertainment but a live in SF version from last July), and The Mekons' 1978 single "Where Were You?" (audio only). Other songs include Ultravoxx's 1977 single "Young Savage" and Echo & The Bunnymen "Going Up" from their 1980 debut Crocodiles. Meanwhile the current era band The Rascals have an Echo & the Bunnymen cover of "All That Jazz" on the soundtrack.