Wednesday, March 27, 2002

ANOTHER PUNK ANNIVERSARY: God, ten years on, fifteen years on, twenty years on, twenty one years on... now we're up to the silver jubilee, and we're in for the same old yak. I'd imagine Lydon has already bought a new suit and shoes for the rounds he'll be doing. And, fair play to him, he's turned himself into a veritable Peter Ustinov. But perhaps its time to actually take stock of the movement once and for all, and see it for what it was.
Of course, I'm grateful for it having happened, that without it we might now be sat here discussing Emerson Lake and Palmer's link up with Mike Oldfield while BBC Six prepares for a weekend of the best Phil Collins - ever. But in the twenty five long years, the breaking wave of 1977 has spread itself out so far, its hard to point at very much and say "That's punk's doing, that is" with any degree of certainty, and certainly without adding "and, of course, hiphop/eddy shah/tucker jenkins" - maybe Tony Parsons' pisspoor book and the BBC serial based on it and Julie Burchill's weekly brain wrong in ink for the weekend Guardian, but beyond that - what? Without punk, Oasis could easily have existed, just maybe a bit nicer to children. Rave's fingerprints are all over 2002, and that movement owed more to Northern Soul than Never Mind the Bollocks. Indeed, Rave's aggressive promotion of self in the face of state hostility tasted more of a 1960's anti-war protest movement, and was therefore more akin to the hippies punk swore to obliterate.
So, should we stop the old punks from telling us what they did in the culture wars? Maybe not, but someone should ask them to listen to what they're saying, rather than letting them run out the stories we've heard so many times before. McClaren, of course, will hide his Virgin Club Class eyecovers and slippers before trotting out the tales of the battle with capitalism; Lydon is already trilling about anarchy; Branson popping up to bemoan being robbed by the charts.
This is what's so sad - old punks still fighting over the fucking Top 40 chart from twenty five years ago. In god's name, why? Wasn't the chart a symbol of all you were meant to despise? Wasn't punk meant to be about a feeling, two fingers at the music industry? And yet here you are, still worrying about a list of record read out by - Jesus, probably Paul Burnett or someone. The final sting, of course, is that the record industry disregarded its own rules in order to get the list it wanted. The ends were more important than the means; the laws were ignored. In effect, the BPI was more anarchic in 1977 than you bunch ever were. The sad thing is that you cared about a sales chart. See you at the 30th, lads.

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