From European Son
The 80s British anarcho-punk band Conflict is hanging in there — like U2, the Rolling Stones, and all the other bands that they no doubt detest. So, as the decades old slogan says, “Punk’s [or ‘Punx’] not dead.” But it’s playing things safe in its old age. On Conflict’s MySpace page there’s a poster for a punk gig with image an of a nun holding a revolver, encircled by the words “Punk illegal” — or “illegal Punk,” perhaps. Only, in Britain, of course, it’s not illegal, and it lost its ability to shock long ago — at least in liberal democracies, that is.
Already by the early 80s the UK had become so well known for punk the image of the “punk rocker” had become a tourist icon. Postcards of red telephone boxes with a punk inside were everywhere — just like… err… red telephone boxes. The few punks remaining, that had big enough mohawk hairstyles, and outlandish enough dress, could charge tourists five pounds sterling for a single snapshot. To put that in perspective, today that’ll buy you a cup of Starbucks coffee in the UK, and about three cups in the US.
Today we’re obsessed with not causing “offense.” It seems as far away as ancient Greece, but only a few years back young people lived to be as offensive as possible. Being offensive was being creative. Whole genres of fashion and music were created with the intention of causing as much “offense” as possible. Good times.
If punk were still challenging Conflict’s poster wouldn’t have had a nun with gun. It would have shown something relevant to the times, to political debate, and so on: a woman in a burka, maybe — decorated with studs, rips, chains, and graffiti, like actual punk clothing. And, maybe she’d have been… continue reading.