On the thirtieth anniversary of the first punk record that I heard, the Sex Pistol’s Never Mind The Bollocks, I find myself helplessly drifting off into nostalgic reverie, as the aged will sometimes do. When I was a teenager, I was 12 years too late for punk. Punk was dead and in a coffin in the King’s Road. But I had a haircut and some homemade t-shirts and I remember thinking: “It’ll be great, man, when everyone’s a PUNK and you go to the bank and the teller is a PUNK and the waitress at the restaurant is a PUNK and the COP is a PUNK and PUNKITY PUNK PUNK PUNK, and we will TAKE OVER.” And now, at last, my dreams have come true.
Everyone from movie stars to graduate students wears black, smeary eyeliner and has tattoos and a really nice guy at work is a 24 year old Cornell alum with a two-tone faux hawk. And it’s terrible. Really, really bad. When I spent my free time getting superfluous facial piercings and listening to questionable music, I felt part of a small, surly culture, but because these pursuits only involved a small cash outlay and willingness to risk infection, they eventually filtered down to the general population. The first time I saw an eyebrow ring/baseball hat combination, I knew it was no longer a mark of my people.
All I’m saying is: bike messengers, death metal kids, transvestites, animal activists, militants of all stripes and outcasts of all denominations: don’t be surprised when one day, people you have nothing in common with look just like you. I found it painful, and I hope you’ll steel yourself from that same disappointment.