Music

Revisiting Ghost Town: Watch our behind the scenes video with The Specials

It’s 1981. Britain is two years into the Thatcher era.

“The tide is a bit further in,” says Terry Hall. Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, aka The Specials, are throwing rocks into the Thames at St Katharine Docks. It is almost 38 years since they were last on this tidal mudbank together, at 5am, rounding off a riotous night shoot for the video to accompany perhaps their finest achievement as a band.

Ghost Town was so much more than a hit record. It was a visceral, uncompromising portrait of how it felt to be young in Thatcher’s Britain.

“No jobs to be found in this country.” “Government leaving the youth on the shelf.” “All the clubs have been closed down.” “The people getting angry.” The song depicted a country on the edge of violent unrest.

The recording, release and success of Ghost Town took place against a backdrop of UK rioting, including Toxteth in Liverpool, Handsworth in Birmingham, Brixton in London and Moss Side in Manchester. The video showed the band careering through Britain’s deserted financial heartlands in the City of London, and if the 1962 Vauxhall Cresta driven by Panter seemed out of control, so was the country.

For an exclusive, behind the scenes look at our cover feature with The Specials revisiting Ghost Town, pick up this week’s Big Issue, on the streets today, and use our Augmented Reality app to bring the pages to life.

To download the GenARate app on the Apple App Store, go here

If you’re using Android, you can get the app here

Read the full article in this week's Big Issue.
Find your vendor
Inside No. 9

Image: Mathew Parri Thomas

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Soweto Kinch on ripping up the jazz rulebook and how his new BBC show is building community
Soweto Kinch
Music

Soweto Kinch on ripping up the jazz rulebook and how his new BBC show is building community

Grassroots music venues need your help to survive now more than ever. Here's why
The Nefarious Picaroons play at Fiery Bird in Woking
Venue Watch

Grassroots music venues need your help to survive now more than ever. Here's why

How a band formed in an asylum hotel is giving refugees hope: 'Each note comes from the heart'
Ardavan of The Unknowns
Music

How a band formed in an asylum hotel is giving refugees hope: 'Each note comes from the heart'

Iron Maiden legend Bruce Dickinson: 'You don’t need some rock star saying war is a bad thing'
Bruce Dickinson
Letter To My Younger Self

Iron Maiden legend Bruce Dickinson: 'You don’t need some rock star saying war is a bad thing'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know