October 27, 2006

Punk: Attitude

Rialto Channel last night showed "Punk: Attitude", a documentary by Don Letts. It's a rich cornucopia of sound bites by a huge coterie of ageing punk rockers from the early 70s to the almost present, with a, to my mind, biased slant towards American bands and a less than subtle snub to the British punk rockers.
There is a complete transcript here.

It was telling that many an essential mover and shaker at the time, such as John Lydon, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, were all missing from the interviews. Which was kind of a shame and it was left unexplained.
But it was good to hear it confirmed, even if this is a somewhat uncharitable take on it, that UK punk rock basically was killed off by Americans on smack - the hippies' revenge?
Don Letts made the excellent "The Punk Rock Movie" (watch it online here) in 1978, which was actually a far more interesting look at the contemporary subcultural phenomenon than this 2005 "update".
But it was fun to see all those aged, balding wrinklies (pretty much what I stare at in the mirror in the morning too), but the women still looked excellent: Siouxsie Sioux, Chrissie Hynde and especially the ever wonderful Poly Styrene and Ari Up.
There are quite a few memorable quotes (and David Johansen has to be seen to be believed). My favourite came from Henry Rollins when commenting on the "hardcore punk" scene that came after as:
"Guys touching each other, sweating, flesh, pectoral muscles. Very homo-erotic. You say, fellas, stop fighting. Get a room. Get it over with"

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