Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town? / We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown.”
So sang The Specials in 1981, AKA the summer of riots, when unemployment was at a record high, police brutality heightened racial tensions and young people who’d – unsurprisingly – had enough took to the streets.
The tune ran through my head coming home from a pre-recorded interview at BBC Broadcasting House – not that there was any rioting. I was in the heart of the West End, and the place was eerily empty (Extinction Rebellion, who have been protesting in central London, don’t do the Friday before the bank holiday weekend, it seems). I’d been expecting a tricky journey and even planned extra time, but I heard no one and saw nothing.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies