Friday, 15 June 2012

Punk Britannia, Episode II

Punk Britannia, Episode II - FRAGMENTS

Before episode three of BBC's documentary series celebrating the 35th 'Jubilee' of punk I thought I'd try to stitch together some fragments I jotted down into something resembling a blog post. I have already posted on episode one here.

For your listening pleasure (and some pain!) I have put together a playlist of the songs used in this episode.

In this episode we revisit the 'golden years' -  1976-1978. Or should we say the day-glo years.
We are told that Britain in the seventies (before it was dyed by punk) was Orange, BROWn and muSTARd, a country defined by those set to embrace punk as the United QUEENdom of BOREdom

A young generation felt locked out - seniority and experience were the key 'talents' required to GET AHEAD.

With London described as a place of pilgrimage for the few, it is almost as if these are the early christians. The (THREE) Lions are sharpening their teeth.

Siouxsie Sioux, doyenne of the Bromley contingent talks of ESCAPING the suburbs - where ultra conservatism reigned hand in hand with QE2.

Paul Weller says The Jam were playing social clubs to disinterested punters who really just wanted bingo. Some accused them of being OLD FOLKS because they wore SUITS!
UP to (OLD) tricks - 46

Everything has to start some where and we hear that IN the ORIGINAL SCENE there were only 500 people.

Then came the first few curiosity seekers boosted enormously when they were seen as a "Bigger threat than communism." This COLD WAR wanted to take youth culture out of the FREEZER.

"Look at me now, I'm nothing. That's what punk is isn't it?"

TOO much conservatism brought the pendulum to maximum amplitude creating a FORCE that would give Freaks, misfits and outlaws  their moment in the sun

Now the spotlight belonged to anyone who wanted it, "you don't have to have somebody else's permission"

One of the original pUNKS Vic Godard of my personal favorites SUBWAY SECT  lies back and tells us "rod stewart looked like louis 14th' which was the reason "somebody just had to cut their heads off".

Once it started to grow punk splintered into different tribes.

John Cooper Clarke said the catch cry was "you're shit - we're the business"  HAIR cutter Ant, Adam agreed there was no camaraderie, it was all competitive.

It was Jealousy that was driving it laughed Johnny

Mark Perry, glue sniffer and Alternative to TV ragged The Jam "We used to take the PISS out of them for tuning up, which Paul Weller hated"

Billy Bragg had an ALTERNATIVE view on The Jam "We knew where they were coming from"
Billy Bragg(with beam pasted on face) said CLASH were incendiary on white RIOT tour at the rainbow finsbury park

PUNK and reggae shared COMMON CAUSE

"Punks loved the bass lines, the reportage, the anti establishment element and the weed too" said Don Letts whose records played a big part in INJECTING reggae and dub into PUNK VEINS.

THere were similarities - both were rebel musics - mick jones

Johnny SAID he had to rewrite the ANTHEM because "the original lyrics were UNACCEPTABLE"

CARoline Coon, called it "the poetry against the jubilee" and remembered the  ghastly ass licking of the monarchy.

The Documentary missed the chance to explore why the children of Jamaican and Irish immigrants to the UK might not want play tribute on steel drums and fiddles.

The INFAMOUS boat trip down the Thames was revisited with Johnny practicing for his last ROTTEN words - "Ever get the feeling you've been trapped!"

contempt for themselves  - a ant

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN outsold all other records only to be Dissappeared like a SOUTH American dissident. It was surrealist achievement to have a number one that didn't exist

"Although the gigs were exciting they were also very scary" said Paul Weller, sometime poet of FEAR. (see Down in the Tube Station at Midnight / 'A' Bomb in Wardour Street)

Others seemed to have NO FEAR and the leaders of this new punk were those working class godfathers Sham 69

In comparison to these "we were ponces" said Mark Perry of the ORIGINAL punk scene.

This appealed to the working class and "those working class kids are 70% of our Country" said Jimmy Pursey whose anthemic songs and singalong confrontion made him an unwilling icon of national front

Pursey was an unwilling leader He could ask Where are we going? but not answer it. Like The Motorcycle Kid in Rumblefish
 "If you're going to lead people, you have to have somewhere to go".

In a revealing voiceover we are told that "Punk in Northern Ireland made sense because kids had something to rebel against." I think it made sense everywhere, and still does. But it may have had an EXTRA EDGE.
"Life it was just boring" is what Jake Burns said - sounds much the same as elsewhere.

Television Personalities' PART TIME PUNKS is still the perfect encapsulation of what happened.

As Johnny says - Imitation greatest part of flattery. Is it? It ain't!

Punk became as orthodox as the world it had started out to overthrow

RULE 1 - Wear those clothes
RULE 2 - drink snakebites
RULE 3 - gob -
There were supposed to be  NO RULES - Siouxsie, before delivering her EPITAPH for PUNK "Once something becomes easy to copy then it loses its power".

But there were escape routes

Don Letts said London Calling was a huge relief, telling eveyone "You can embrace all that the world is offering"


SO how will they deal with  post punk?

We got a hint from Johnny's P.I.L.

The FALL and  WIRE have to APPEAR on tonight's EPisODE. That's reason enough to watch even if the Excitement levels have been lowered rather than heightened by this SECond episode.


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