Punk

Audio cassette tape labeled PUNK with a black maker and masking tape

Everything that was normally supposed to be hidden was brought to the front.

Punk subculture – Wikipedia

The First Rule of Punk: Be Yourself

Our Second Rule of Punk: Reframe

The First Rule of Punk: Always Remember to Be Yourself

When we reframe, we perceive others such that they too can be themselves.

Hey girlfriend
I got a proposition, goes something like this
Dare ya to do what you want
Dare ya to be who you will
Dare ya to cry right out loud
"You get so emotional, baby"

Double dare ya, double dare ya

Double Dare Ya by Bikini Kill

…the central tension of punk rock: it was built on individualism and an anti-hero ethos, yet expressed itself as a community. The motivation for punk was individualistic artistic expression, but the glue for the subculture was the experience of finding like-minded misfits.

We accept you, one of us?: punk rock, community, and individualism in an uncertain era, 1974-1985

This is a call to open arms
Lay down your guard, lay down your guard

A call to arms is what you need
I’m calling on you to sing along with me

Call to Arms, The Attack

Punk Origins and the Punk Umbrella

Punk was created by women, people of color, and queers. And without all of us, it would be nothing.

Alice Bag

Maybe that is the punkness of being a woman.

Marina Muhlfriedel

There have always been, like, women in it, and queer people, and people of color.

That community is also something really cool about punk.

Eloise Wong of The Linda Lindas

When you’re black, you’re punk rock all the time, you’re a target all the time.

Sacha Jenkins

We have been pushed to the margins, but we create in those margins. It doesn’t get more punk than that.

Shawna Shawnté

In the early aughts of punk, queerness was actually inherently tied to the movement.

The Story of Trans Punk Pioneer Jayne County – YouTube

But before all of them, was a man who inhabited punk in all its definitions. A queer, Black man, who played his music loud and fast and with a defiantly masterful un-polish. Little Richard set the stage for everything that punk would become while inhabiting every sense of the word with pride. John Waters once declared Little Richard “was the first punk.”

QUEER PUNK HISTORY: 1575 – PRESENT

“I went through a lot when I was a boy. They called me sissy, punk, freak…”

Little Richard

Punk has never not been queer.

QUEER PUNK HISTORY: 1575 – PRESENT

I was gay. It’s nice to be happy. I was happy, and I wanted the world to know I was happy. And I wasn’t ashamed. I had been that way all my life, and I didn’t know nothing else but that. And so I told everybody that: I am gay.

“I told everybody I am GAY” Little Richard 1932-2020

Punk Rock and the Dream of the Accepting Community

The lyrics referred to the way many people viewed fans of punk rock (who often endured stares, slurs and assaults at the time), but they could just have easily been about people diagnosed with mental illnesses, who are frequently looked down upon as crazy, violent and unintelligent.

A long-standing and influential theory regarding disability is the “social model,” initially advanced by Mike Oliver. The social model argues that “disability” does not reside within individuals, but is actually created by a mismatch between social structures and individual capacities. These structures can include obvious physical barriers (such as stairs, which could make it impossible for people in wheelchairs to enter a school or workplace by themselves), but can also include intolerant social attitudes which make it very difficult for people who don’t act in a manner that is considered “acceptable” to participate socially or avail themselves of community resources.

British human right activist Liz Sayce has specifically extended the social model to explain much of the disability that is experienced by people diagnosed with mental illnesses, and has argued for the establishment of “inclusive communities” to facilitate greater community participation among these individuals.

Punk Rock and the Dream of the Accepting Community | Psychology Today

As soon as I said, “Hello, this is exactly who I am”, I found the most beautiful community of people.

yungblud
@yungblud

you only lose, when you stop getting up. 🖤🖤🖤 (link in bio)

♬ original sound – yungblud
@yungblud

we are yungblud. this is OUR message. 🖤 #bhc #yungblud @tiktok_uk

♬ original sound – yungblud

But, do you know what?

I found you!

I love you.

I love all of you out there.

And this is why I’m so proud to belong here.

Because this family is about spreading love.

yungblud

You are with us.

Look at the people around you.

You finally belong somewhere.

yungblud

The Island of Misfit Toys

I don’t give a damn ’bout my reputation
Never been afraid of any deviation
And I don’t really care if you think I’m strange
I ain’t gonna change

Bad Reputation, Joan Jett

…punk rockers belonged to an international cohort in the 1970s seeking new sources of belonging as trust in traditional sources of community waned. With its increased emphasis on self-actualization and self-definition, the 1970s – and punk rock – therefore marked a critical juncture in the history of the self in America. Punk rock began as simple efforts by individual, unconnected people to make music that fulfilled them, something they hoped might revitalize the music industry. Over time, these discrete and disparate people and labors grew into a subculture whose music, publications, art, and lifestyle became a powerful critique of not only the music business but also the family, institutional authority, suburbia, dominant gender mores, and mainstream consumerism. Aesthetically diverse, a punk sensibility valued individuality above all else and allowed participants to be alternately angry, cynical, ironic, or hedonistically joyful. Despite punk rockers’ best efforts, these attributes they wore on their sleeves – individualism, apathy, hedonism, and irony – could not mask their very strong desires for existential meaning, a yearning to belong to something worthwhile. Punks came together in an inherently unstable community celebrating individualism.

Joan Jett, guitarist for the Runaways, a proto-punk Los Angeles band, voiced the feeling of innumerable punk rockers by stating, “A defining moment for any teen misfit is finding others like yourself, even if the only thing you share is the feeling of not belonging anywhere else.” Alice Bag, also of Los Angeles, described punk as being “like the Island of Misfit Toys” because it contained “all these people that had been ostracized and … had been considered geeks and nerds in school.” But “you put us all together, and we felt accepted, and we felt like we were in an environment where we could thrive and be creative without being criticized.” In these two quotes lies the central tension of punk rock: it was built on individualism and an anti-hero ethos, yet expressed itself as a community. The motivation for punk was individualistic artistic expression, but the glue for the subculture was the experience of finding like-minded misfits.

Dissertation or Thesis | We accept you, one of us?: punk rock, community, and individualism in an uncertain era, 1974-1985
We’ll start our own label

DIY or DIE: Punk Rock Is a Living Thing

The most important message I got from punk, was the DIY ethos. The DIY ethic. It’s inherently part of surviving.

Don Letts, SHOWstudio: Stussy – Talking Punk with Don Letts and John Ingham

Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s described the early Masque scene: “Everyone was kind of into the whole homemade thing, ‘cause … you couldn’t buy real punk clothes like they could in London.”

“We Accept You, One of Us?”: Punk Rock, Community, and Individualism in an Uncertain Era, 1974-1985

Next in a punk sensibility was its love affair with pastiche. As the true postmoderns they were, punks drew freely from highbrow culture, lowbrow culture, and places in between, picking and choosing as they went, bound by no formal ideology.

In practice, however, punks consciously or unconsciously drew on previous youth cultures, with methodologies and ideologies marked by pastiche and bricolage. In other words, punks borrowed freely from previous youth cultures and dominant society, melding these elements into a new form of expression.

“We Accept You, One of Us?”: Punk Rock, Community, and Individualism in an Uncertain Era, 1974-1985

…punks viewed the pedestrian actions of everyday life as potential expressions of art and ideology.

“We Accept You, One of Us?”: Punk Rock, Community, and Individualism in an Uncertain Era, 1974-1985

In punk and metal tradition, Stimpunk Diego made their own battle vest in celebration of their influences.

Oh bondage, up yours
Oh bondage, no more
Oh bondage, up yours
Oh bondage, no more

The punks wore clothes which were the sartorial equivalent of swear words, and they swore as they dressed–with calculated effect, lacing obscenities into record notes and publicity releases, interviews and love songs. Clothed in chaos, they produced Noise in the calmly orchestrated Crisis of everyday life in the late 1970s–a noise which made (no) sense in exactly the same way and to exactly the same extent as a piece of avant-garde music. If we were to write an epitaph for the punk subculture, we could do no better than repeat Poly Styrene’s famous dictum: ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours!’, or somewhat more concisely: the forbidden is permitted, but by the same token, nothing, not even these forbidden signifiers (bondage, safety pins, chains, hair-dye, etc.) is sacred and fixed.

Subculture: The Meaning of Style

Punk rock is a living thing.

It’s about turning problems into assets.

Don Letts, Rebel Dread

That Could Be Me: Inspiring Constructionism

For her 19th Birthday, she took a chance on seeing a London band with a provocative name.

That band was the Sex Pistols.

At the time, The Pistols were merely support for obscure Welsh metal outfit Budgie, they were mostly playing ramshackle rock’n’roll covers and there was barely anyone there.

They were just a bunch of kids playing music with no pretensions of professionalism.

But that was key: Like many others after first seeing the Sex Pistols, Elliot was hooked and realised that she could do this too. “That’s why I formed X-Ray Spex.”

Before Riot Grrrl: X-Ray Spex & “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” | New British Canon – YouTube

Pretty much immediately Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex’s influence was felt. Just like seeing the Sex Pistols had convinced Styrene that getting onstage without much musical grounding was possible, a generation of punk and new wave women saw X-Ray Spex and thought “That could be me.” Her left of centre look also helped in that, not being the traditional male fantasy of many other women that had appeared on Top of the Pops. “The idea that just anyone could (start a band) was really big to me. That people in your neighbourhood could start a cassette label or a record label, that you could see people who were making records walking down the street. And they didn’t necessarily have to be in a glossy magazine, and they didn’t have to weigh 90 pounds and have blonde hair down to their ankles or whatever was the fashion of the day.”

Before Riot Grrrl: X-Ray Spex & “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” | New British Canon – YouTube

I would argue that the ability young women and girls now have to embrace the DIY approach to music would not be as prevalent as it is now had Riot Grrrl not busted down the door back in the 90s.

The 90s DIY feminist art punk scene in the Pacific Northwest gave us Kurt Cobain, Ian MacKaye, and Sleater Kinney. And the list of bands in the Riot Grrrl legacy goes on.

Riot Grrrl: The Story of Feminist DIY Punk

Appropriate Space

The spaces where we belong do not exist. We build them with radical love and revolutionary liberation.

Gayatri Sethi, Unbelonging

Two of the most important developments that began in the 1990s, and continue to thrive today, are the staging of house shows and the establishment of volunteer-run community spaces. Both materialize DIY in important ways, but each has a unique historical trajectory.

In the face of such struggles, the creation of house spaces, volunteer-run spaces, and other punk- specific locations truly materialize DIY in powerful ways that also model what it means and feels like to do DIY together.

The emergence of the house as a DIY venue explicitly and implicitly challenges conceptions of the home as cut off from public life. Houses are transformed from somewhat isolated private spheres to pseudo-public spaces when punks decide to host shows in their homes. House show spaces are now standard locations for punk shows and are considered important options for DIY punk bands touring the U.S.; however, this contemporary awareness among punks that houses can function as venues did not develop uniformly. The contemporary DIY touring network is very much a product of efforts made in the 1980s but shifted and changed throughout the 1990s because of some limitations with the more common spaces used for shows during the ‘80s. Punk bands have played at houses since the music began.

Underground: The Subterranean Culture of DIY Punk Shows | Microcosm Publishing

There is, however, a major difference between these other uses of the home for collective music experiences and punk house shows. The people who live in the house and book the shows are enacting a DIY philosophy and politics, as are the bands that play and many of the people in attendance. The home space has in effect been appropriated to shift from a container for standard domestic practices to a pseudo-public place that offers an alternative venue option for many DIY punk bands that are often excluded from more official (or legitimate) live music venues.

Underground: The Subterranean Culture of DIY Punk Shows | Microcosm Publishing
Do you ever feel unsafe?
Do you wanna take up space?

Do you (Take up space)
Wanna? (Take up space)
Do you
Oh, do you wanna?
Ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh
Sha-la-la-la-la

--Take Up Space by Dream Nails

I think the key here is space.

“It’s Not Rocket Science” – NDTi

🎶🌈 It Take a Joyful Sound: New Wave, New Phrase, Neurodiversity

It take a joyful sound
To make a world go around
Come with your heart and soul
Come on come and rock your boat

“Punks are outcasts from society. So are the Rastas. So they are bound to defend what we defend,” Marley concluded. Shortly thereafter, they began recording the single Punky Reggae Party, and by naming an underground social phenomenon, helped further it.

Culture Clash: Bob Marley, Joe Strummer and the punky reggae party | Reggae | The Guardian
New wave, new phrase
New wave, new craze

It take a joyful sound
To make a world go around
Come with your heart and soul
Come on come and rock your boat
Because it's a punky reggae party
And it's tonight
It's a punky reggae party
And it's alright

Rejected by society
(do re mi fa)
Treated with impunity
(so la te do)
Protected by my dignity
(do re mi fa)
I search for reality
(So La te Do)

--Punky Reggae Party by Bob Marley & The Wailers

New wave, new phrase

New wave, new craze

Neurodiversity

What Neurodiversity Means to Me 

Neurodiversity, to me, means both a fabulous celebration of all kinds of individual minds, and a serious, holistic acknowledgment of the necessity of diversity in order for society to survive, thrive, and innovate. It means identity, belonging, and community. It means I am not broken, not alone, and neither are my siblings standing with me beneath that huge, multi-colored neurodiversity umbrella: we the autistic, the mad, the weirdly-wired, the queer, the crippled, and the labeled with neurodivergent diagnoses like flowers that glorify our beautiful bodies and minds.

Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement: Stories from the Frontline

Neurodiversity is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation.

It take a joyful sound. Reframe.

❤️🫀 Translate Your Love Into Action

I wasted my twenties in submission
I thought I was outside the system
I was rolling over for wealth and power
As if they really cared about me
The kids are just getting started
They only just learned how to howl
And most of them throw in the towel
Bout the time that they turn twenty three
You've got the taste for transcendence
That translates your love into action
And participate in the fight now
For a creed you can truly believe

Furman penned the second new single “Evening Prayer” as a “rallying cry” for her fan base. “We music fans go to shows for transcendence; it’s like being called to prayer,” she says. “But as Abraham Heschel said, ‘Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism and falsehood.I want all our fans to become activists. We punk fans have so much energy to give to the fight against injustice, i.e. the abuse of the poor by the rich, i.e. climate change. So this is one to get you in the mood.”

Ezra Furman’s Summer of Pride Mix: Listen | Billboard
It is time for the evening prayer
Time to do justice for the poor
It is time for the evening prayer
Time to do justice for the poor

Tonight you've got fire in your bloodstream
Your frail human heart is still pumping
And make this one night you'll remember
A note you'll deliver by hand
And when you get up in the morning
Let no man return it to sender
Pour gasoline on the embers
Give yourself a physical record
Deliver that fire in the real world
And tell them that E Furman sent ya

Evening Prayer aka Justice by Ezra Furman

☀️ Standing Up for the Rights, Like the True Light!

…punk and reggae are assumed to go together. The chocolate and peanut butter of the music world. But in the late 70’s, the decision to combine them at all—to attempt to create musical solidarity between Britain’s working class whites and the new Caribbean immigrant population—was a revolution in itself.

punk rock and reggae: a love story in 2 acts | AFROPUNK
Reggae music is still here
As the voice of the people everywhere
Whenever there is injustice and tyranny
Reggae music is there
Standing up for the rights, like the true light!

Reggae music gonna make me feel good
Reggae music gonna make me feel alright now
Reggae music gonna make me feel good
Reggae music gonna make me feel alright now
(Reggae, reggae, reggae gonna make me feel good!)
Reggae music gonna make me feel alright now
Reggae music gonna make me feel good
Reggae music gonna make me feel alright now

--Reggae Music by Jimmy Cliff
New wave, new phrase
New wave, new craze

--Punky Reggae Party by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Song recorded by Lee Perry. The alliance of punk rockers and Jamaican immigrants including Rastaman during the rock against racism festival (where punks and reggae bands played together against the British National Front) the Brixton riot’s soundtrack. This is an alternative version alternating dub and vocals.

punky reggae party perry sessions 1977-BOB MARLEY & LEE PERRY

🏗 We Rebuild What You Destroy

BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-hierarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.

BECAUSE doing/reading/seeing/hearing cool things that validate and challenge us can help us gain the strength and sense of community that we need in order to figure out how bullshit like racism, able-bodieism, ageism, speciesism, classism, thinism, sexism, anti-semitism and heterosexism figures in our own lives.

RIOT GRRRL MANIFESTO
Riot Grrrl Manifesto
We rebuild what you destroy
We Rebuild What You Destroy: The Linda Lindas
We Rebuild What You Destroy: The Linda Lindas
We can take turns taking the reins
Lean on each other when we need some extra strength
We’ll never cave or we’ll never waver
And we’ll always become braver and braver

We’ll dance like nobody’s there
Wе’ll dance without any cares
We’ll talk 'bout problеms we share
We’ll talk 'bout things that ain’t fair
We’ll sing 'bout things we don’t know
We’ll sing to people and show
What it means to be young and growing up

--Growing Up by The Linda Lindas

Further reading,

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Published by Ryan Boren

#ActuallyAutistic parent and retired tech worker. Equity literate education, respectfully connected parenting, passion-based learning, indie ed-tech, neurodiversity, social model of disability, design for real life, inclusion, open web, open source. he/they

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