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Director's cut — July 2005

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July 1, 2005 by Tara Brabazon

Greetings to members and lurkers.

We will always see and remember July 2005 through bloodied gauze. The irony for those of us in the Popular Culture Collective is that the murderous events in London were punctuated by and through pop.

On July 2, 2005, the Live 8 concert was held. This event offered a new sort of politics: justice not charity and text messaging not money. Popular culture became the font for change.

On the Wednesday of the following week, London was seemingly rewarded for Live 8's success being granted the 2012 Olympics. Sport offered a pathway for a new city imaging, remaking the old core of Empire for the new century.

Yet this euphoria was short lived. The city that had seen so much enthusiasm and success was bombed on the Thursday, July 7, 2005. By targeting the Underground, the fear that many of us share — about darkness, terror and death — seemed to collide in a ghostly dance.

Within the space of six days, the weaknesses and strengths of popular cultural politics was revealed. Sport, music, technology may facilitate change, but every city and its citizens can be cut by the blade of terrorism.

So many of the issues that trouble, enflame and enliven members of the Popular Culture Collective are found within these six days. Sport, city imaging, music, technology and the creative industries remade London into a fashionable modern city. Terrorism tumbled London into a pre-modern hell.

Our task, as we move from the shadows and smoke of the Underground, is to not only ask how these events happened, but what we are going to do about it. Popular culture is not only the cause of racism, xenophobia and fear, but a way to build connections and dialogue with difference.

Be well,