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#154391 - 04/02/06 01:52 PM Happy 30th Birthday, Punk...
Lucyfer23 Offline


Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 55
Loc: Scotland
I was in town yesterday - passing through on my way home from my drum lesson - and the sun was shining, the sky was blue - it was one of those crisp, Spring days…and, as is usually the case when the sun comes out, all the Goths, punks, Emos and Indie-kids were out in force as well…

Now, if someone had said to me back in 1978 - ‘’one day, you’ll be walking along Princes Street and every third person you pass will be wearing a studded belt, or fishnets, tattoos, a pierced nose, black leather bikers jacket, and have dyed hair’’ - I would have called it science fiction !!

This got me thinking, this year, 2006, it’s the 30th anniversary of punk - at least, in October 1976, the Damned released what has been called, with hindsight, the first punk single, ‘New Rose’ - and so much has changed since then…The punks roaming the streets of Edinburgh back in the late ‘70’s - all 10 of us ! - looked so different from the armies of shiny, packaged indie-kids - punks, Goths, Emos, call them what you will - around now.

In those days, when the only thing available to us was either High Street fashion or school uniform, to be a punk - or indeed to ‘be’ anything that looked unlike everyone else on the streets - required a bit of imagination and creativity. You had to be able to alter and subvert what was available, you couldn’t just walk into a shop and buy it off the peg…

We didn’t look very glamorous or cool, gawd knows…Some of the things I wore back then make me smile now - the outfit in which I went to see the Rezillos in 1979 consisted of ripped fishnet tights, a pair of baseball boots, and one of my dad’s old white work-shirts with the sleeves cut off and ‘Sex Pistols’ written in marker pen on the back!

But the clothes we wore then really meant something. They were a badge of honour, the outward sign that proclaimed ‘’We are different’’. The clothes we chose explicitly stated that we saw ourselves as standing outside the uniformity and conformity of the ‘drones’, the masses who bought their clothes in Top Shop.

Of course it wasn’t just about the clothes either, they were simply the signifier that, even as we looked different, we also thought differently - we wanted to look beyond the predictability of popular consumer culture, and the narrow expectations of our parents generation…We didn’t want to be part of the herd.

Once the whole punk thing became comodified, as it quickly did, and the Sid Vicious-style leather jacket/black drainpipe trousers/spiky hair became a uniform, it’s not really surprising that punk disseminated rapidly throughout the masses of kids who wanted nothing more than a bit of rebellion with which to shock their teachers and bait their parents…

Once the clothes and the haircuts and the music became easy to acquire, and it required little or no imagination to be identified with punk, it’s no surprise really that it was taken up by the unthinking masses and became just-another-fashion, like flares, or denim, or Glam Rock, before it. Once that happened, it was no longer about being ‘an outsider’ as it had been, and everything to do, once again, with 'belonging' to another huge tribe…

Now, of course, every high street in every town has some sort of ‘alternative’ fashion on offer, and I was wondering as I walked along in the sunshine - is this a good thing, or not? As with most things, I think, it’s a bit of both really…

On the plus side, the ubiquity of all this ‘alternative’ culture now offers a great many more people an alternative to the dreary reality of their lives - a possible future in which they don’t have to grow up and end up just like their parents. It opens up many doorways into worlds more varied, interesting and alive than the nine-to-five, suburbia, wife-and-two-kids world which might once have been the only reality they ever saw…

And for those who grow up with the knowledge that they were somehow ‘different’ inside - that can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it feeling where you just know you’re not like everyone else - it offers role models, and peers, and an affirmation that they aren’t the only ones who feel like this. That can be a very powerful and important thing when you‘re young…

Could it also be that now that we’re surrounded by these sorts of images - people like omni-sexual Marylyn Manson, or Brian Molko, or even Pink, on TV regularly - that we’ve become more tolerant of difference as a society? Have we developed a sort of ‘weirdness fatigue’!?

In 1978, I was punched in the face in an Edinburgh pub by a drunk who told me that, if I wanted to act like a man, I should expect to be treated like one, i.e. punched! This was because I had a fairly large tattoo on my arm, an extremely rare thing on a woman back then, to which he had loudly taken offence. That would be almost unthinkable now, especially in a large and cosmopolitan city like Edinburgh, when large tattoos, on women or anyone else, are now the norm…

And, on purely aesthetic grounds, the High Streets of the land are now undoubtedly a more colourful and diverse spectacle…!

But now that one’s choice of clothes, music and lifestyle comes down to little more than amount of cash in your wallet, I can’t help but think that we may have lost something when we lost that vital creativity that was necessary back when we had no choices, and swapped it for a comodified, packaged MTV rebellion…

Now that we’ve swapped the desire to be different for the need to be ‘cool’, have we also traded the vitality of being genuine ‘outsiders’ for the safety of belonging to just another kind of herd?

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#154392 - 04/02/06 02:26 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Lucyfer23]
Lust Offline


Registered: 11/02/05
Posts: 4214
Just think if Sid Vicious were alive he would be playing golf with Billy Idol, and hoisting his rock-and-roll Hall of Fame Award on the Fairway.

Tiny Tim is Punk Rock!
Hail Tiny Tim!
_________________________
�Love is one of the most intense feelings felt by man; another is hate. Forcing yourself to feel indiscriminate love is very unnatural. If you try to love everyone you only lessen your feelings for those who deserve your love. Repressed hatred can lead to many physical and emotional aliments. By learning to release your hatred towards those who deserve it, you cleanse yourself of these malignant emotions and need not take your pent-up hatred out on your loved ones.�
Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible

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#154393 - 04/02/06 02:29 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Lucyfer23]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10573
Loc: England
>> ‘’We are different’’. <<

Isn't that a load of bullshit?

How can "we" be different?

To me, you all looked the same.

"I" was different.

And punk was never really "born" suddenly. It emerged from a variety of musical genres and became nothing more than a fashion that was dominated by major name fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood, who designed and made the outfits for The Sex Pistols.

And who follows these fashions?

Exactly.

>> Some of the things I wore back then make me smile now - the outfit in which I went to see the Rezillos in 1979 consisted of ripped fishnet tights, a pair of baseball boots, and one of my dad’s old white work-shirts with the sleeves cut off and ‘Sex Pistols’ written in marker pen on the back! <<

Like fifteen million others at the time.

There are a whole host of bands that have been attributed as the "first" punk band; predominantly The Ramones.

However, I think it started well before that in the 60's with bands like The Satans and other garage outfits - manifesting at the popular end of the scale with The Who.

But the music is all just various forms of Rock n Roll.

Punk was a fashion. That millions followed.
_________________________
"u.v.ray blends the dark street poetry of Nelson Algren with the swagger and style of a young Iggy Pop."

www.uvray.moonfruit.com





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#154394 - 04/02/06 03:09 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Lucyfer23 Offline


Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 55
Loc: Scotland
Woah - Mr Angry!! I think you've maybe misunderstood me a little bit, or you're taking certain things for granted...I'm using the label 'punk' as a means to categorise a period at the end of the '70's which went on to become a media label...What I'm talking about is not the whole 'origins of punk' debate, nor the who did/who didn't 'invent' punk etc...

It's funny, but I've heard some absolutely rabid rants from people who assume, when I talk about 'punk' and how important having that identity was to my youth, that I'm guilty of buying into all the cliches - the biggest one being that 'punk' was invented by the Pistols, Mclaren and Westwood and only happened in London...

I'm merely talking about a period when it was very, VERY unusual to see someone walking around the Streets of Edinburgh wearing anything unusual, and comparing that to the multitudes of 'weird' dressers that I saw today who would have been unthinkable in the late 70's when I was 15-16...

The exact points you bring up such as >Punk was a fashion. That millions followed< is EXACTLY what I'm saying, and wondering whether this was/is a good thing or a bad thing...As I say in the rest of my post - I think it's a bit of both...

The 'Happy Birthday Punk' title was just my way into talking about and considering the topic, and is in response to something I saw in a magazine at Sainburys yesterday which was saying all that stuff about 'punk was invented by Malcolm Mclaren in a little shop on the Kings Road at 9 o'clock on a Monday evening...' etc. I'm well aware that this is a load of bullshit - and that The Great Rock and Roll Swindle is a FAIRYTALE - because I was a teenager at the time (well, up here in the boondocks, not in London, the so-called 'birthplace' of punk !!) and I watched the comodification happen before my very eyes...

>> ‘’We are different’’. << Isn't that a load of bullshit?

Well, no...at least, not for me back in 1977...there was nothing else around then but a lot of people with long hair, flares, and football shirts...especially in Scotland. I'm specifically talking about before it all got comodified into the whole Carnaby-Street-bondage-trousers-and-mohawks-Kings-Road-Punks photographed by tourists thing...

>>How can "we" be different?<<

Don't see why not - haven't you ever had/seen/been part of a group of friends, say when you were at school, who were ostracised by almost everyone else for being 'weird'?
The 'we' I refer to were a small group of friends - Bowie freaks and so on - who were emphatically and obviously NOT the same as the aforementioned perms/flares/football shirts masses...
'We' were sort of arty-angry-rebellious (and, looking back, quite pretentious!) teenagers who had at last got a couple of pubs/places to go where we could hang out with other like-minded 'weirdos', and which played the types of music we liked...Being part of a small and put-upon group, at that age, affirmed the outsider-ness and difference-from-the-masses that 'we' had all always felt anyway...That sort of thing is important when you're 15-16...Or it was to me in 1977...

>And punk was never really "born" suddenly<
Yes, I know, I know (sigh)...Why would you assume that I think that to be the case?
The people you mention - Westwood, McLaren etc - were a) in London and b) played a large part in the exact comodification of it all that I'm talking about...I always liked Iggy, the New York Dolls, Bowie, Alice Cooper, the Ramones, and a variety of other things that eventually fed into my own 'punk' sensibility...

What I'm saying is that the identity we were tagged with - namely, 'punk' - was, at that time, an 'image' that one had to CREATE ONESELF BY USING SOME IMAGINATION - and it was something that happened during a very short period in my life when things were becoming really interesting (not the last time in my life when things were interesting, I hasten to add!) and that was typified by the clothes which later went on to become a uniform...

worn by > fifteen million others at the time<...
but NOT as I said in my post, by very many people at all at that time, in Edinburgh, in 1977-78...As soon as that became the reality -and Sid Vicious was on the front cover of the Sun - it was over, and the begining of what we have now...

>Punk was a fashion. That millions followed.<
My point exactly...Millions did, EVENTUALLY...but my point is also that when 'we' (as in me and my small - 5 - group of friends) were 14-15 years old, those millions who later adopted the whole 'punk' uniform were still 'a lot of people with long hair, flares, and football shirts' as I said before...
My point is that we had to USE OUR IMAGINATIONS in order to be part of something that very quickly, sadly, became commodified but was, while it was still new and vital, was amazingly liberating and great fun!! This is not the case anymore, and my post is about the possible pros-&-cons of that being the case...

>I think it started well before that in the 60's with bands like The Satans and other garage outfits <
Absolutely agree! Although my knowledge of those 60's garage bands is limited to a lot of Pebbles albums and various bands discovered through my liking of The Cramps...

But I wasn't really talking about the whole 'origins of punk' thing...Just how strange it is, 30 years on from such a tiny, minority thing, to see hundreds of gothy-punky-MTV-indie-types out on a sunny day in Princess Street...! Phuck - I've just re-stated my whole post again...!!


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#154395 - 04/02/06 03:34 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Lust]
Lucyfer23 Offline


Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 55
Loc: Scotland
...and Johnny Rotten would be on a reality TV show...no, hang on, that actually HAPPENED...!! I swear we're living in an alternate reality...

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#154396 - 04/02/06 03:47 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Lucyfer23]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10573
Loc: England
>> we had to USE OUR IMAGINATIONS in order to be part of something <<

Why did you have to be part of something?

I thought you said there was nothing to be part of when you and your friends started.

Makes no difference if others had perms and flares. It's all just various herds of sheep.

But you were young at this point, of course.

It's usually wise to see it in perspective in retrospect though. See it for what it really was and not uphold it for what you thought it was then. You were searching for an identity. You latched on to a fashion, thinking that was it.

And if you didn't start it all yourself you did follow.

Just own up.

I was around at this point too.

_________________________
"u.v.ray blends the dark street poetry of Nelson Algren with the swagger and style of a young Iggy Pop."

www.uvray.moonfruit.com





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#154397 - 04/02/06 04:00 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
RandomStranger Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 03/09/05
Posts: 2770
Loc: Here.
I just re-read the chapter titled "Evocation" in "The Devil's Notebook".

The posts in this thread reminded me of Dr. LaVey's "knapsack" analogy.
_________________________




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#154398 - 04/02/06 04:25 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Lucyfer23 Offline


Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 55
Loc: Scotland
I know ! You were 9, old boy ( I peeked at your website !) ...No doubt you were absolutely confirmed in your identity from a very early age, and never EVER 'followed' any fashions yourself !!

No, what I'm saying is that one is bound to be influenced by things / people / whatever one sees around at that age, but back then there wasn't any MTV, or The Face or whatever, and alternative identities weren't available off the racks in every store...you had to look harder, and try harder, and clothes were much more of an expression of SOMETHING beyond just...well, fashion...

I have to admit that some of the things I wore did come completely out of my own head (and I do mean OUT OF MY own HEAD !!) Remind me to post the photo of me in my school blazer at some point !!
One of the best examples was a big pink net ballet skirt, a glittery sequined boob tube and a pair of Doctor Martin boots ! Lovely !!

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#154399 - 04/02/06 04:31 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Lucyfer23 Offline


Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 55
Loc: Scotland
>Why did you have to be part of something<

Because we/I was/were only 15 !!!! And it was a huge relief to be amongst other weirdos's not be the ONLY weirdo like I was at my school !

Anyway, why all the nitpicking...? Did I lead/did I follow? Who cares?! I was A KID !! That's not relevant to the points I'm making at all, really...

Unless I'm missing something and I'm really just projecting my bitterness at the easy availability of exciting fashions for young people these days and cursing the fact that I'm old and twisted and will never be young again and am really jealous of all these young things I see with their cool clothes and exciting hairstyles....DAMMIT !!! I knew there was a subtext !! You've found me out !!

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#154400 - 04/02/06 04:37 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Lucyfer23]
Drake_Bamboozle Offline
CoS Reverend

Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 10573
Loc: England
>> Anyway, why all the nitpicking <<

I just wanted to see how you would react in order to gain a better understanding of who you are.

Provocation works better than merely asking.
_________________________
"u.v.ray blends the dark street poetry of Nelson Algren with the swagger and style of a young Iggy Pop."

www.uvray.moonfruit.com





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#154401 - 04/02/06 04:43 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Lucyfer23 Offline


Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 55
Loc: Scotland
>Just own up<

To what!!? That I was a teenager looking for an identity to give me the illusion of belonging to something instead of being the perpetual outsider? To having latched on, in hindsight, to a handy label for what I felt / looked like / liked/ was interested in at the time?

Nothing to own up to...It was a good period in my life, I know what was going on in my head at the time, and I know I was, like any other confused, angry-at-something-but-not-quite-sure-what teenager who felt herself to be DIFFERENT...and expressed that difference by dressing like, what was then considered to be a FREAK !! I'm not trying to say 'I started punk, me, I did it, all by myself' !! The 'punk' label came later on...

Can we talk about the comodification of youth culture now please !?!?

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#154402 - 04/02/06 05:00 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
Lucyfer23 Offline


Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 55
Loc: Scotland

Hmmmm....point taken !! Provocation's not a technique I would necessarily use out in the 'real world' - as it very often just leads to people getting defensive, then agressive, then shutting down on you, and this is not always the best way to get an open sort of dialogue going - but I can totally see the sense in it on a forum in which, after all, people can make any old daft statement they like and, with nothing - no face-to-face contact, I mean - to go on you're pretty much working blind..

Did I pass ?!?

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#154403 - 04/02/06 05:16 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: Drake_Bamboozle]
TrojZyr Offline
CoS Witch

Registered: 07/25/01
Posts: 12990
Loc: The Solid State
I never got "dressing to your music."

I dress like I listen to Yanni, jazz, classical, and Michael Savage, I think, and save for classical, none of that is true.

As a teenager, I dressed, every day, in denim or coloured shorts, and various types of moderately baggy t-shirts, most of them with dragon-related themes. I listened to, and still listen to, alternative, country, old-time music, bluegrass, metal, blues, rock, and oldies.

This isn't necessarily a snarky criticism, mind you, just a statement of my own puzzlement and inability to relate.
_________________________
"Gentlemen, the verdict is guilty, on all ten counts of first-degree stupidity. The penalty phase will now begin."--Divine, "Pink Flamingos."

"The strong rule the weak, and the cunning rule over all." HS!

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#154404 - 04/02/06 06:55 PM Re: Happy 30th Birthday, Punk... [Re: TrojZyr]
Lucyfer23 Offline


Registered: 03/26/06
Posts: 55
Loc: Scotland
...more of a case of dressing in a way that was completely different to the vast majority of people at that time as a means to express a difference that was felt inside...The music was an additonal part of it, but I also liked Hawkwind and (wince !) Gong and Bowie and Black Sabbath and a whole lot of other very 'un-punk' things...

The 'dressing to your music' is something that is almost de rigeur now, and is really, really evident in the whole MTV-generation-rebellion-as-a-fashion-statement thing I'm talking about...

And again in keeping with my original post - the whole thing nowadays seems to be that once you buy into a particular fashion / music / lifestyle you're supposed to stay rigidly within that narrow niche - you can't be a Goth and also like Hip-hop, for example...

Anyway, isn't it an inveitability, and has been for generations, that your appearance will likely be a reflection of your tastes, unless you are being terribly post-modern, or deliberately trying to express nothing at all in the way you dress ?

For example, most people who strongly identify with one particular type of music, though they may listen to all sorts of other stuff as well, will also in some way identify with the social aspects, the politics, and the style, or whatever you want to call it, of that particular type of music?
For instance, how often do you see someone in a dinner jacket and a bow tie, or an evening gown, at a heavy metal concert? Or a grunge-biker-Ozzy-Osborne-look-alike at a classical gig!?

It's an almost inevitable part of youth culture, especially when you were 16 in an era when 'youth culture' meant either looking like a hairdresser and liking chart music, or walking around in a long Army great coat with a Led Zepelin album under your arm...

It's easy to look back and say 'I never did that - I don't get it' when we're older and, one would hope wiser, and with the benefit of hidsight...But if we're honest, I think it's only the very exceptional among us who can truly say they didn't ever at any time in their mispent youth pick up an album and wish they could look like/dress like/grow their hair like the band on the cover!

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