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Balcony - A story of idealists

Piece about the indie subculture in London, illustrated by a new band

1980s. The indie scene blossoms and becomes a universal movement — a counterculture even. At that time, ‘new labels such as Postcard, Whaam and the fledging Creation all had a 60s’ pop art imagery — punk idealism to them’ Sam Knee recalls. The rather left-wing young people of the indie scene like the optimistic idealism of the 1960s. It inspires them. And so they use it as a model way of living through the conservative regime in the UK. In A Scene in Between, Sam Knee writes: ‘it’s easy to understand why so many young folk (myself included) felt disconnected from the times they were living in and were seduced by the poetic paisley haze and noisy positive moxie of an era rich with romanticism and escapism, rather than endure the ghastly, harsh, mundane reality of ’80s Thatcher Britain.’

All in all, ‘the indie scene was an alluring way out, offering romanticism and reality at the same time. It was a life choice, not just a fad.’ Sam Knee remembers. ‘The scene was purely a coincidental natural occurrence of the times, and history can never be repeated in the same way. But it remains an influence and inspiration for all future idealists to pull from…’ he adds.

2016. There are still some underground scenes that exist and thrive away from the mainstream culture. A youth either apolitical or politically leaning to the left is gathering all around London, in their own secret places…

Like a hidden gem behind Stamford Brook underground station in West London, after a few-minute walk through Wilson Walk, is the Arch Studio. At the end of the corridor, whose walls are impregnated with a smell of sweat, a band plays upstairs in the rehearsal room with the arched ceiling. Their name is Balcony. They’re a London-based unsigned band composed of four music lovers — although only three of them are present today — playing their instruments, singing their heart out and slowly escaping what is.

A beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, their outfits range from skinny black jeans, loose fitting t-shirts, vintage velvet jackets and ‘Beatles boots’ to trainers, Doc Martens and leather coats. A mix of different vintage styles that resonate with their very aerial, galactic, psychedelic sounds.


Marie Dubreuil

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  • Freelance Arts & Lifestyle Writer and Publicist

Project Tags

  • indie music
  • London
  • voguing subculture

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