Martin Cloonan (University of Turku, Finland)


In recent years notions of locality and scene have proved to be highly influential within Popular Music Studies. In addition prominent music cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield have been subject to sustained, if intermittent, academic analysis. Thus far such analyses have tended to focus on large post-industrial cities located in northern England, often with a policy focus.

This paper shifts the focus to a smaller city located in the lower midlands: Oxford. Based on 28 interviews carried out with musicians, promoters, recording engineers and other scenesters, it presents some initial thoughts on the narratives of their town which interviewees presented. The paper examines how notions of locality and scene are articulated in a town which is famous for its University, but has also produced artists such as Radiohead, Ride and Supergrass. It suggests that while globalisation is apparent, local nuance remains important.