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Saturday, 20 October 2012

I didn't used to be punk rock ... but I am now

I know it's only a joke but the "I used to be punk rock" meme is the final straw ....

Been there, bought the book

That's it! These knowing, tired-of-punk remarks - or too tired for punk remarks - remind me of the way that the former "gunslingers" of punk journalism went on to dismiss punk ("vile white-thrash cacophony" and the like).

Over the years it's been a mini-trend in its own right. And it seems to have fed into a tendency within contemporary music journalism: yeah, punk was basically awful. Sometimes it's punk's former luminaries disparaging the scene that helped make them famous. Sometimes it's modern commentators acting as if it's now virtually a given that punk amounted to no more than a dozen or so decent records, a mouthy TV confrontation and a teen craze for drainpipe trousers and putting food dye in your hair. A kind of Kenny Everett Sid Snot reduction....

I'm not trying to pretend that punk was all great. There's plenty of second-rate stuff: a lot of The Clash, The U.K. Subs, Generation X, 999, The Ruts, The Jam, you name it ... (though, with The U.K. Subs, for example, I still like Warhead and Stranglehold (among others): even the "lesser bands" often produced one or two goodies).

And I'm also not, I don't think, a punk fundamentalist (ie I don't decry post-punk music as "lightweight", I don't hate dance music and I don't refuse to listen to modern stuff. Au contraire, my sceptical frères ...).

I'm simply making a very modest appeal for an end to the renunciation, the downgrading and the general condescension toward punk.

And we could start by ditching the "I used to be punk rock" thing. Yes, it's an insider-y joke: it's only because I am fairly hip - for my age - that I can make this joke; and anyway, at least I saw the Ramones. But, to use a nice punk Americanism, it still sucks. Or, as Samuel Johnson nearly said, those who are tired of punk, are ... well, just very tired.

Speaking for myself, I didn't used to be punk rock. But I am now ...


  1. we got tired of being tired of of all that too. we reurgitated it as prank rock, commonly known by the layperson as - punk ass blues fuzz and trashy cheap trick electronica all presented in a kitsch and intimidating form, motherf*Ker!
    keep on keeping on
    anarchistwood x

  2. Couldn't agree more! Cheers, N.