I love books like this. Brenda Perlin has put together a scrapbook of photos taken in the halcyon days of L.A. Punk combined with memories and quotes defining the movement from faces on the scene at the time.
The reason I love this book is that it is more of a statement or even a testament to the time. The photos are black and white, and the design is minimal. You can pick this book up and flick open any page, and you’ll learn something, or you’ll feel something. I flicked through it in the company of a cheeky Australian Shiraz, with some vinyl on the Technics 1210. A few pages in and I wanted to get Gen X on and the Damned. After a few glasses of splosh and couple of sides of punk, I felt a wave of sadness.
Not melancholy or depression, just a dose of sadness for my young uns, because, they will never be able to create something like this. Generations are missing out because culturally we lack a decent musical movement.
I was a nipper when Punk rocked. I remember it, sort of, I remember the stink kicked up by God Save the Queen. Then it went quiet. Safety pins were flung off in favour of frilly collars, and orange hair was replaced by pastel dyed bouffants. The next movement for my generation was rave. Dance culture changed Britain and created a panic in much the same way Punk did. And bands like the Prodigy helped the BBC get the knickers in a twist all over again. Newspapers screamed about the dangers of drugs and the impropriety of illegal parties. How the fuck can a party be illegal? Any way you look at it.
Punk and rave, well they’re mates I reckon. Feral urchins powered by guitars and drums, dancing wildly while spitting at the establishment and dragging the kids along for a crazy ride in a wrecked Chevy fuelled by drugs and anarchy.
What have we had since rave? Fucking Brit pop? Saccharin soaked boy bands and manufactured artists, aka refugees from reality (sic) TV. There is a sickening lack of diverse culture in the charts today. Everything sounds the same, and most of it is shit. There isn’t a movement, and there isn’t any danger. There’s subculture, sure, but we need a mainstream revolution. I want the newspapers to panic, and I want to see hysteria over a fucking 7” – sorry, download. I’m bored of these straight-laced fucksicles, who croon shite over sampled beats with a rap bridge lending it some street. Fuck me music got depressing, didn’t it? Thank fuck for Sleaford Mods I say.
So Brenda’s book simultaneously delights and depresses me. It is a historical document that I will ram into the faces of my offspring if they dare try to play me a track by Beiber or that twat Sheeran.
You can buy it here. I’d recommend it – at the very least you can leave it on your coffee table and con your pals into believing you’re interesting.