Punk is an aesthetic I never really subscribed to…

… the mohicans, the fashion sense and the apparently nihilistic attitude, the appearance of potentially looming violence, the drugs of preference — needles have no place in recreation other than knitting (?!) — and that particular subculture…

…which isn’t to say I didn’t know folk who other people classed as punks, but we were not quite goths, not quite ‘evvy metal, sort of grebo, not quite hippy, not quite rock and not quite blues, not crusties, not travellers (hitchers, yes, most definitely), and definitely not ravers (though some probably were).

Three or four years ago I started hitting the road again, trekking round the country following Hands Off Gretel, who tend towards the punk aesthetic with dayglo overtones, but the tunes I like are the poppy ones of Nevermind era Nirvana, corssed with Pink, and voice to match in both respects.

Over the last few years, I’d seen Ferocious Dog t-shirts, hoodies, caps and more getting ever more prevalent at the festivals we frequent, but from the look of the stage photos they were “punk” so not my thing…

…till I heard them, of course, and the folk punk rock melodies and social political nature, the family feel of an FD gig and the merch you can’t not get a habit for once you get the habit means they are hugely habit forming…

…and despite the lockdown and the many tickets to gigs that keep getting rolled back, we had Thosdis to look forward to, and Red Ken’s lockdown sessions (what could possibly go wrong…) and amongst the classics (Ken only plays classics), some new bands to me I’d not really heard before, done as solo acoustics, from punk named bands but with melodies and rhythms to die for…

…so enter Rancid and Social Distortion to my regular listening mix….

…and a thought that maybe, maybe, I need to start listening a bit more widely to the punk rock back catalogue, because there are some cracking tunes out there, and even the aesthetic isn;t your thing, the melodies may be…

… and some fantastically singalong-a-lyrics, particularly in the choruses…

Punk? Not me, not never, ever… But maybe, maybe, I need to rethink what I thought I thought I thought I understood by punk rock.

FWIW, I always thought of the Sex Pistols as a rock band (as least as far as Bollocks goes…); and Green Day; and Dog’s d’Amour (whom Social Distortion keep reminding me of….). And Iggy & the Stooges; and The Ramones. And the mother of all rock and roll bands: Motörhead.

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...