The long good friday

From cheap sex comedies to gritty brilliance: British culture comes of age

As readers of a certain age will realise, Looking for a New England derives its title from ‘A New England’, a chart hit in early 1985 for the singer Kirsty MacColl. The song was written by Billy Bragg and opened side two of his first LP, 1983’s Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy. Famously, Bragg pinched the opening couplet — ‘I was 21 years when I wrote this song, I’m 22 now but I won’t be for long’ — from Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Leaves that are Green’ (1966), a winsome number that was itself a cover of Paul Simon’s acoustic original, which had first appeared on the folk singer’s