Nowadays when people mention Generation X, they tend to be using it as shorthand to refer back to the kind of characters chronicled in Douglas Coupland’s book of that name: North American 20-somethings from the 1990s, who although well educated had to make do with working in menial jobs; think some of young people who appear in Richard Linklater’s 1991 film Slacker or Dante Hicks from Kevin Smith’s Clerks from 1994 – the year incidentally that Coupland declared that Generation X was dead, complaining that that the term had been co-opted as a marketing term.
Coupland has given a few different versions of how he came upon the name Generation X, one of which being that it came from the punk band, who themselves had taken their name from a book on popular youth culture written by Charles Hamblett and Jane Deverson in the mid 1960s – which Billy Idol’s mum happened to own a copy of.
This particular Generation X featured a collection of interviews with teenage British baby boomers, who spoke about ‘their hates and hopes and fears’. I’ve never read this book myself although I know that the ‘Yes, I am a Mod and I was at Margate’ quote used on the back of the 1977 Clash single White Riot was taken from it.
While I’m on the subject of record sleeve art, the cover of Your Generation was designed by graphic art genius Barney Bubbles, who here was heavily influenced by Russian Constructivism, an art movement that has also been borrowed a number of times by Franz Ferdinand, especially for their early album and singles covers.
Below is an ad on the same theme by Bubbles from Record Mirror:
Your Generation, the first single by Generation X, was released on 2/9/77, two weeks before the death of Marc Bolan (who belonged to the original ‘Generation X’ himself) and here they are performing the song on ITV’s Marc pop show with an introduction where the host decided to set his camp levels firmly to 11.
For more on Generation X (the band) click Here.
For more on the first Generation X click Here.
For more on Douglas Coupland click Here,
And for more on Barney Bubbles click Here.