In Manchester last week, the police made their first arrests under a local extension of the "hate crime" law, recently widened to protect those who belong to recognisable alternative "subcultures" such as goths, punks, emos or metallers. I'm not fully up to speed on the nuances of 21st-century teenage subculture, but the definition of such groups generally involves flamboyant introspection, piercings, heavy black eyeliner, noticeable hair dye and a general feeling of being at odds with mainstream society. The word "emo" wasn't around when I was a teenager, but I'm pretty sure I ticked a few of those boxes myself, bar the piercings.

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