Talk:Underground (British subculture)

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Some references[edit]

Ty 06:43, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

The generally accepted use of the term "underground" as relating "to an avant-garde movement or its films, publications, and art, usually privately produced and of special appeal and often concerned with social or artistic experiment" [29] has been attempted above to apply uniquely to the narrow focus of this article. Currently a search for "underground acts" will likely turn up hip-hop artists, while "underground art" will likely turn up graffiti artists such as Banksy. The UK underground scene has changed over the years and will mean different things to different people. "UK underground" or "UK underground scene" is an attractive proposition for an article, but as it is a non-notable term (in that it will be used to refer to different things at different times, depending on the speaker) it cannot be used in the same way that Beatnik or Hippie or Madchester is used. It is too vague. SilkTork *YES! 11:41, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Where the same term has different uses, wikipedia has a policy of disambiguation, as I'm sure you know, so that is not an issue. The term was used during the relevant time period of the 1960s and for some time after, and, as can be seen from the links above, it continues to be used now to refer to the relevant matters during that period. It clearly passes wikipedia notability requirements for articles. If you have a problem with the name, then that can be discussed, e.g. UK Underground (1960s) or whatever. Ty 15:19, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not convinced the article meets Wikipedia notability requirements. There may be a case for using some of the material in Counterculture of the 1960s, though I'd like to see a reliable source on which to build that material, because the material currently in the article appears to me to be contentious speculation on a loose term used by various people, media, etc that has not been clearly defined by a reliable source and so requires a bit of original research to pull together mentions of the term and try to make something out of it. While there are aspects within the article that are notable - such as the underground press, psychedelic music, etc - pulling together these elements into a cohesive article is a form of WP:SYNTHESIS. I think we need to take this to the wider community to get some consensus. SilkTork *YES! 16:31, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
It was a notable historical local cultural movement, fairly well documented. Folding into Counterculture of the 1960s would be pointless as that would only likely ultimately lead to a decision to split it out again as there is just too much info. Moving to UK Underground (1960s) is not a bad idea. Wwwhatsup (talk) 18:34, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree with that, except disambiguaton shouldn't be done unless it is necessary, i.e. there is another article with the same name, which at the moment there isn't. The article as it stands is accurate as a starting point and gives the reader an insight into the subject. It needs expansion and changes of emphasis, e.g. Mick Farren seems to feature rather a lot, while Richard Neville, a much more widely known figure, isn't there at all. Ty 01:38, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the opinion above that this article is 'Farren-centric' which I believe lies in its roots as an adjunct to the Steve Took and Pink Fairies articles. Ladbroke Grove, while important, was only the base for period and part of the movement. Certainly there were origins in Oxford University in the 50s, and the folk scenes in the provinces. That Richard Neville is better known than Farren is open to debate, although I guess that could change once the movie finally gets released. I note that Jeff Dexter's article - quite extensive - got bounced out for non-notabilty some time back.[30] Wwwhatsup (talk) 05:59, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Apologies for ignoring the guideline that this "is not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject." However...The real problem for me is the premise of this article in defining the UK or any other underground as a “movement”. There can be movements that are underground but the underground is a generic sociological status that isn’t limited to a single place or time. The UK underground of the 60s and 70s consisted of a non-homogenous mixture of bohemians, artists, political radicals, drug evangelists, filmmakers, musicians, theatre makers, sexual adventurers, health food gurus, writers and expatriates (US and Australian but also from many other places where – usually young people - had issues with the establishment, so Spain and Argentina and South African for example). Only the most naïve amongst them would have ever thought of him/herself as a “member” of the underground. The difference was rather more like the distinction in the US between who was hip and who was square, but everybody was more or less of either one in their own way.
Referring to the underground should be more strictly defined as relating to activities and interests that are suppressed, illicit and risky. Usually it means something without any or little financial resource, often obtained by illegal means, and maybe accessible only to those in the know and by private invitation. This is why Oz was not really ever an underground magazine and International Times was at some times not that much of an underground newspaper. Altcult101 (talk) 14:21, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
We follow established usage per WP:V, WP:NPOV and WP:NOR. OZ and International Times are both widely termed Underground publications, and the term Underground is used in a specific sense by sources to refer to a movement of this period. The fact that the word underground has many other uses is beside the point. Ty 17:56, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Possible merge[edit]

Is English underground dealing with the same topic as UK underground? It is currently unclear what that article is about, but it mentions some of the same people as this article. SilkTork *YES! 12:25, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

No, English underground is a much wider topic and refers to much older traditions. It has a bearing on aspects of UK Underground, but the two are separate topics with their own identities. They need separate articles as they each have large areas which are not in common. Ty 21:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I would say, probably yes. The English Underground article primarily sources Jonathan Greene's book, which is about the same scene as described in this article. Wwwhatsup (talk) 05:54, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
It sources E.P. Thompson, who uses the term to refer to basically the folk music tradition. This was an influence on some of the 1960s Underground musicians. However the 1960s Underground encompassed many other cultural and political activities, not just music. It is much clearer to keep two articles as at present with the English Underground as a section of UK Underground and linked as . Ty 01:38, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
How about English underground becoming a section in the UK underground article? SilkTork *YES! 12:44, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
But the English underground is not just a part of the UK Underground. It is a stand-alone subject, which mostly has nothing at all to do with the UK Underground, and has a history pre-dating it by at least a century. All of this can, and should be developed, in its own article. It was just one of the influences on some of the 1960s Underground musicians, along with e.g. Eastern music, mediaeval music, blues and other. The Underground musicians were themselves only one aspect of the entire Underground movement, which included publications, events, theatre, politics and visual arts. The names might lead to confusion, just as London Underground might, but that's not a reason to merge (the UK Underground in London is also referred to as the London Underground, but the context makes the meaning clear). Ty 01:18, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Fact is, however ancient and significant 'English' might be - as it stands there just isn't enough meat there right now. It should be merged - it is proto. If it gets unwieldy it can always be forked out again, as indeed could the 'Ladbroke Grove Underground' if enough non Ladbroke Grove material were to present itself.. Wwwhatsup (talk) 08:26, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

That's totally inappropriate. We don't merge separate subjects which have some overlap because they are not yet fully-fledged. Ladbroke Grove Underground is an integral part of UK Underground, as is London Underground. English underground is not part of UK Underground. I suggest you start an RfC to get wider input. Ty 02:26, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but we do merge articles all the time. If you read the English underground article all it says is that it was an old tradition, with the one ref. Then it launches off into UK underground related material. Not enough to merit it's own article if you ask me - but certainly a section in this one. Wwwhatsup (talk) 04:57, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

So could we start voting on this? I put myself down as:

  • Support - as per arguments above. Wwwhatsup (talk) 05:01, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
We do not settle content disputes by voting, but by discussion and consensus. I suggest you start an article WP:RFC for outside participation. Ty 05:52, 27 December 2009 (UTC)


I have just finished reading Days In The Life: Voices from the English Underground, 1961-71 by Jonathon Green and it certainly has a wealth of anecdotal material - I don't kno how much it could be counted as "reliable" but it is certainly quotable and gives a fair choronology of the development of the the culture and media. I am next going after All Dressed Up: The Sixties and the Counterculture also by Jonathon Green, and London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945 by Barry Miles. In Green's book it was noted that, while there was text aplenty in the underground press, there were actually next to no topical prose books at the time - in fact it was less or more down to Richard Neville's manifesto Play Power and Jeff Nuttall's parthian Bomb Culture. I would add Mick Farren's scat Watch Out Kids. I don't know if I'll ever find the time to write up the article according to these sources, but I'd suggest that, as the release of the Oz movie approaches, there's going to be increasing interest in the period, and someone should! Wwwhatsup (talk) 08:02, 11 January 2011 (UTC)