I hoped for so much more. Some of these were entertaining, in a LiveJournal c2006 "read my great meta!!" sort of way, but most were just plain bad. PaI hoped for so much more. Some of these were entertaining, in a LiveJournal c2006 "read my great meta!!" sort of way, but most were just plain bad. Particularly the first one, some kind of Noir-Or-Not ranking that belongs on BuzzFeed, and the one on conservatism, which contains the sentence, "Veronica Mars has no problem with the First Amendment's right to self defense." Do you even Bill of Rights, bro?...more
I will admit it, guys: There is not a lot I love more in the world than stories about How Punk Rock Saved My Life, and this book has many such storiesI will admit it, guys: There is not a lot I love more in the world than stories about How Punk Rock Saved My Life, and this book has many such stories. Most of them are pretty short, only a page or two, and they’re mostly by people who Do Stuff in punk. They’re in bands (Blag Dalia, John Poddy, Blake Schwarzenbach) or they write books (Michael Azerrad, Chris Walter, George Hurchella), something like that, but some of my favorite ones are by regular joes.
For example, I love the one by Anna Kanaan, who was 43 when she went to her first punk show. She was there because her kid was playing the show and she got suckered into doing security. She was a little freaked out by the prospect, but learned that — surprise, surprise! — punk rockers are people, too. They were nice to her, and now she smiles at them on the street and says hi. It’s pretty adorable.
I suspected I would enjoy this book, and I was right. If you have similar suspicions about your own enjoyment, they will probably be right. I do suggest the library, though. This is a pretty fast read, nothing too deep or life-changing, nothing that you need to keep forever and ever on your shelves.
It did make me think, though: What would I come up with if someone asked me to write an essay or story about my first punk show? I don’t know that I could. I might be able to write something about my first show back after years of no shows at all, but that show was not a punk show. It was followed by an affair with CanRock (still ongoing, although these days it’s my bit on the side), and then a first punk show after the first non-punk show after no shows after many shows after the first show. That first punk show, maybe I could write about.
But my first punk show ever? I have no idea. And I don’t know what that means. Does it mean that it sucked? That it didn’t change my life the way it was meant to? Was I Doing Punk Rock Wrong? Or just that it was so long ago that I’ve lost it?
G: What’s the first thing you remember? R: The first thing that comes into my head, you mean? G: No, the first thing you remember. R: No, it’s no good. It’s gone. It was a long time ago.
I started going to shows in 1990. It was not a great time for punk rock. So — maybe there wasn’t a first punk show. Maybe it was Pearl Jam. I see a lot of kids these days in Nirvana shirts at punk shows. Last week a kid had on his back: The Exploited (back patch), GG Allin (regular patch), Nirvana (sharpie). So maybe early Pearl Jam counts.
It was definitely not Marilyn Manson. I went to a hockey game last week, and they played the opening of “Beautiful People” as the Blackhawks skated onto the ice (despite the absence of Patrick Sharp from the lineup — rimshot!), and I was appalled on several levels. It wasn’t Nine Inch Nails, either, although let me tell you about early 90s pits at industrial shows as a small teenage girl. That thing you’re imagining right now? The face you made? You’re not wrong.
Was it Social Distortion? Could be. That would make sense. It might at least explain my deep affection for Mike Ness, which is otherwise unfathomable.
Or was it some local Flint band, a few kids my age who played four gigs ever at the Local, their names and songs since lost? Or — one of the guys I dated in high school, he had a band. Maybe it was them. I would not have called them punk rock at the time, and I wouldn’t do it now, but maybe it was them.
G: You don’t get my meaning. What’s the first thing you remember after all the things you’ve forgotten? R: Oh, I see. …I’ve forgotten the question.