In Praise of Punk

I don’t care how nice a person you are, I don’t mind betting you occasionally have a bad thought. What distinguishes us is how we deal with the feeling: how we expend it.

Back in the day, while working on a supermarket cash register during my school holidays, I noticed that the well-to-do lady I was serving was visibly sneering at a couple of punks who had joined the queue behind her. They were a boy and a girl obviously in love: classic, charismatic punks with torn clothes and spiky hair. 

The supermarket (Booths) was as quirky and eccentric as supermarkets went in those days, stocking strange product lines like tinned partridge, so you had to expect more of the customers to be characterful in their different ways. 

The well-to-do lady teetered with meaning from her high heels, expecting validation. Wide eyes and firmly raised eyebrows eloquently conveyed her outrage. 

I’m sure I would have given her a gentle smile. I try not to be too judgmental about people, but the lady wasn’t my ideal customer in other ways too. 

Perhaps the punks had thrown her into a flurry, or my neutral stance had upset her: what’s certain is that I wasn’t seeing her at her best. She slowly fitted all her shopping into her bag before attempting to pay me, then discovered her purse was at the bottom of the bag and had to unpack it again. I remember wryly noting after I’d served all three that the punks had been considerably more patient and courteous than the lady who had been so offended by their style of self-expression.

It was an early lesson but throughout my life, I’ve found people who get the true spirit of 1970s punk (I usually call it ‘new wave’) to be on the kind, thoughtful, gentle, creative side of things. 

I wonder if it’s because the music itself offers such a wonderful means of releasing the occasional bad thought or indignation by expressing it in a vibrant way? 

If you already love this genre of music, you’ll be able to think of lots of cathartic songs. 

For those who do not, I thought long and hard about whether I should offer two or three songs that can dispel all bad thoughts and have you cheery again in 2 mins 31 seconds, providing you can appreciate their humorous spirit. The trouble is, they would have had to come with a public health warning to the easily offended who might find themselves doing a passable imitation of the lady I was serving in the supermarket.

And, of course this would only work if you find you actually like new wave and have been missing out all these years. If you conclude it’s a horrible racket, you’ll feel 3.14 times worse (it’s a scientific fact; something to do with circles). 

OK, you’ve rumbled me – it’s not a real fact, but it ought to be. Is there such a thing as a metaphorical fact?

Anyway, the result of my in-depth thinking is that I prize too highly my site as a safe, inclusive space to squander it by sharing punk songs with a few naughty lyrics in them, especially when (1) they don’t need any recommendation or endorsement from me and (2) music is such a personal thing and (3) you’ll no doubt have a song of your own that makes you feel better. Play that!

So this is a music post without any music in it, shared in response to today’s Discover Challenge: Song.

36 Replies to “In Praise of Punk”

  1. It can be complicated. Early in our budding relationship my sweetheart presented a compilation of her favorite tunes to “acclimate” me to her musical tastes… some I took to instantly, but a decade later I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around others…Still, I accept that they are all clues of sorts so I’m still trying!

    1. Ok Felder, I’m gonna try this one again. You didn’t like the “Gypsy punk” a few years ago. Hehehe! Miss you guys 💜

  2. From time to time I’ve noticed in old movies that Person A asks if Person B likes music. I’ve always found that a silly question. Virtually everybody likes music of some sort, but often not of the same sort. As you pointed out, what’s music to some people is cacophony to others.

    1. When I was younger, I was very hopeful that people would share my tastes. With age came the understanding that most would not!

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