catechism's Reviews > Dirty, Drunk, and Punk: The Twisted Crazy Story of the Bunchofuckingoofs

Dirty, Drunk, and Punk by Jennifer Morton
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's review
Feb 10, 15

really liked it
bookshelves: punk-rock, o-canada, nonfiction, music
Read from July 21 to 22, 2011 — I own a copy

I wish this book were bigger. I wish it were longer. Shinier. More expensive. And it cost me a pretty penny to begin with, seeing as how I had to order it from Canada and their dollar is up and shipping is expensive and I think Canada Post has Godot.

In theory, this book tells the story of the Toronto hardcore band/gang/something Bunchofuckingoofs, but in practice, it’s a punk rock coffee table book full of gorgeous photos, weird anecdotes about bizarre characters, quotes and flyers and lyric sheets and small pieces of prose that maybe kind of sort of fit together to tell something like a story. I’m generally of the opinion that “truth” is an unachievable goal when we are talking about 20+ years and a lot of mind-altering substances and people who sometimes have excellent reasons not to lay out their lives for the world, and so I thought the scattershot approach worked really well in this case. The whole story isn’t in the book — it probably isn’t anywhere — but there are enough pieces to shed some light on the mystery, and there are a lot of different viewpoints represented.

The book came to my attention earlier this year, when I read “Argh Fuck Kill: The Story of the Dayglo Abortions,” because the Dayglos spent a fair amount of time in Toronto, hanging with the Goofs. That book kept saying things like “slept in cages” and “bicycle gang” and “lived in a boozecan.”

(A note to my American readers: A “boozecan” is an illegal after-hours drinking establishment. Presumably we have them here, but I have no idea what they’re called. Speakeasies? It seems so old-timey.)

Naturally, I tracked the book down. I did find myself wishing it had more of a cohesive narrative, but I found it to be a quick and fascinating read — well, more of a skim — that mostly followed lead singer/den father/gang leader Crazy Steve Goof and his troupe of miscreants. Theirs is a not-uncommon blend of violence, anarchy and social justice: The Goofs smashed TVs on stage and got in huge chain-swinging brawls with Nazis, and Steve Goof took in fuckups by the hundreds and gave them a home and something a lot like a family. They dove off the roof into mountains of beer cans, and Goof ran for the Toronto city council twice, leading a campaign to get hard drugs out of Kensington Market. (Coke: The Real Thing For Real Assholes.)

There’s even a chapter on Goof’s cock. It is called “You Want Me To Include What?” and comprises two pictures. That would have worked out better for me if I hadn’t been reading it on a plane next to some kid who was was on her way home to Ft. Lauderdale, where her boyfriend had just bought his first car, a Mustang. She was excited to ride in it. I glanced at Steve Goof’s cock and didn’t make the obvious comment.

A few months after reading the book, however, the thing that sticks out most is the anecdote involving oral sex and a shorted-out refrigerator. Are you thinking “…what the actual fuck?” Because that’s exactly what you should be thinking.

Recommended for fans of punk rock coffee table books, fragmented narratives about weirdass Canadian subcultures, and people who like a good contradiction.

[original review]
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