Remember when young Brits used to wear funny hats and have piercings and stuff? When they shouted words like “Grunger!” at each other from buses, or let Pete Doherty inject heroin into their arms on a beach? You probably didn’t think it at the time, but they were the last days of something Brits used to have in their country called “subculture.” And it was something that the UK did spectacularly well, perhaps better than any other. Until, that is, the great Hollister pandemic of 2012 swept in and Britain started looking like a refugee colony for people who’d been exiled from California for being too ugly and melanin-deficient.
The last teen subculture to really hold sway over there were the emos. They infested shopping precincts from Bluewater to the Trafford Center, and seemed to make total sense there, their checkered Vans even matching the mosaic tiles of the water fountains they always congregated by.