Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Stains on the Carpet
While I was in San Francisco, I went to Needles and Pens, a great little shop n the Mission district. Mostly art, zines and wearables, but they also had a tiny shelf of books on punk rock. I picked up Please Kill Me, opened it up, and was immediately transported back to 1977. How had I missed this book before? I felt like this was the story of my life - except my life wasn't quite as dramatic as what's in this book! I was just a fan, in my leopard skin jacket and Fetish t-shirt, but I loved Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, the New York Dolls and later the Ramones. They're all here.
I read the whole book on the train from San Francisco. It's great because it's just quotes from everybody who was in on the scene. There's no pompous editorial voice trying to make sense of it all. But it also made me sad, especially towards the end, when everybody seems to be dying. There was just so much stupidity.
But Legs McNeil gives the absolute best description of punk I've ever heard. And I see so many parallels with the D.I.Y. culture today. Punk is a spirit that lives on, even if so many of the originators are gone.
"This wonderful vital force that was articulated by the music was really about corrupting every form - it was about advocating kids to not wait to be told what to do, but make up life for themselves, it was about trying to get people to use their imaginations again, it was about not being perfect, it was about saying it was okay to be amateurish and funny, that real creativity came out of making a mess, it was about working with what you had in front of you and turning everything embarrassing, awful and stupid in your life to your advantage."
*And I'll give a prize to anyone who can figure out the musical reference in this post's title.*