Punk in Drublic


Since the Jubilee and the outpour of national pride and Queen worship that went along with it, I feel the need for a change of pace. There is seemingly very little in the way of an “alternative” or “counter culture” these days, other than total apathy. Around the time of the Silver Jubilee in 1977 there was the UK punk movement kicking back against traditional values that seemed to exclude them, an economy in trouble and a music business that was a closed shop.

Avoiding the whole debate of who did what first and the evolution of the movement after the late seventies, I just wanted to have a look at punk to maybe inspire a little more teen rebellion than I can see when I walk down Western road past Primark, Topshop and H&M. Of course I have to start with the Sex Pistols, brain child of Malcolm Mclaren, and face of the first wave of “Punks”.  They probably had the coolest line up of “musicians” and in true punk style only lasted two and a half years as a band, before they burned out with Johnny Rotten saying “Ever feel like you’ve been cheated?” as they left the stage for the final time.

Lets ignore what they have done since their break up, it could be worse; The UK Subs make doing butter adverts look good… (Go see them live and you’ll know what I mean).

Of the more fashion oriented punk bands the default look of the scene came from Mclaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop, which was aptly named “SEX” and took it’s inspiration from all sorts of places, like Bikers, fetishists, hookers and even Scotland (Kilts). Although a style that was very much of the moment it still endures today, with a community of Punks living on Camden Lock and posing for tourists (punk?).

Siousxie and the Banshees were a band formed (in Bromley!) in the wake of the Sex Pistols and the rising DIY Punk Scene. Siouxsie Sioux soon became a punk icon and they went on to create some brilliant and challenging music in the post punk era.

These are just a few iconic snapshots of late seventies phenomenon and I’m in no way saying I would like to see a punk revival, I would just like to see a bit more attitude in youth culture in general. If Billy Bragg is right, then this does exists in the Grime and Rap scene, but maybe I would just like to see some unwashed young people with deliberately offensive outfits. Or I would like to see something kill off X factor and the musical dirge that this has brought with it, the way Punk put the nail in the coffin of glam rock and prog.