Postcolonial paths of pop: a suburban psychogeography of George Michael and Wham!

Negus, Keith and Sledmere, Adrian. 2022. Postcolonial paths of pop: a suburban psychogeography of George Michael and Wham! Popular Music, 41(2), pp. 131-151. ISSN 0261-1430 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article draws on psychogeography to explore suburban Bushey, Hertfordshire (UK), where the popular music duo Wham! formed and created the foundation for the later career of George Michael. It locates this neglected cultural narrative within the context of parental postcolonial and metropolitan journeys, arguing that migrations from the margins of the British Empire and across London form part of a ‘spatial moral order’. Exploring how a distinct pop group emerged at a particular time, it emphasises the importance of family and friendship within the suburban landscape of school, home, a pub, church halls, and a scout hut. A focus on the formation of Wham! contributes to debates about the postcolonial journeys and suburban circumstances that have shaped UK popular music since the end of World War II, and illustrates how psychogeography can contribute to the study of popular music.

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Additional Information:

This article has been accepted for publication and will be published in a revised form in Popular Music. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed.


George Michael and Wham!; popular music; suburbs; postcolonial; Bushey; psychogeography.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


11 March 2022Accepted
17 June 2022Published Online

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Date Deposited:

28 Mar 2022 10:12

Last Modified:

15 Sep 2022 13:52

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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