I am dating myself, but…here goes…I was a punk, no, I am a punk.
Punk has played such a significant role in my life, then as a teenager now as a not teenager. My politics, my interactions, the way I view the world; have all been shaped by punk. It was the late 70’s; I was a teenager who just didn’t feel like I fit in. There was a group of us who couldn’t look at the world around us with optimism. We hung out together, discovering music, books, fashion and ourselves. We shopped at thrift stores and dyed our hair in an effort to recognize each other. Do you see that kid with the purple hair coming towards you, wearing ripped jeans and a leather jacket, that style is his nametag, his calling card. If you saw him, you knew he probably felt as alienated as you did, he in all probability listened to the same music, went to the same places. “What people don’t understand is when punk started it was so innocent and not aware of being looked at or being a phenomenon and that’s what everyone gets wrong. You can’t consciously create something that’s important, it’s a combination of chemistry, conditions, the environment, everything.”- Siouxsie Sioux, singer/songwriter, formerly of Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The problem with the obvious appearance is that those who don’t like those members of a subculture such as punk can also recognize you. You can become a target. So much so that Manchester, England has just included punks, emo, Goth and metallers in their hate crime laws. “Greater Manchester Police is to become the first force in the country to officially record such offences in the same way as those based on disability, race, religion and sexual orientation.”
“The move means victims of crime who feel they have been targeted because of their distinctive clothing, hairstyle and even musical tastes will receive special support from the police.” By Martin Evans, Crime Correspondent, Telegraph Media Group Limited 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9969457/Hate-crimes-to-include-attacks-on-punks-goths-and-metallers.html
Punk is a set of cultural artifacts and practices. Punk related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom and anti-establishment views. “Punk rock is just another word for freedom.”- Patti Smith, American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement, It was non-conformity, anti-capitalism, anti-everything. But the rebellion became mainstream style, punk became new wave, punk’s message became so diluted with its style that it became lost. “A guy walks up to me and asks ‘What’s Punk?’ So I kick over a garbage can and say ‘That’s punk!’ So he kicks over a garbage can and says ‘That’s punk?’ and I say ‘No, that’s trendy!’”— Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer Green Day. We couldn’t pick each other out of a crowd anymore. Now everyone was wearing safety pins as earrings. Conform to its non-conformity. “Punk is...