Tag Archives: Joe Strummer

Taking the back door into UCLA or remember sneaking in the bathroom window to get into shows for free?

I did not know that this two-day event was the first of it’s kind at UCLA. Yet I naturally follow Joe Strummer’s advice, which is to move naively into things. I think of this as letting the essence or spirit of an event unfold as it may. This is how I fell into punk rock. The right place at the right time. It was synchronicity and all that unconscious revealing by focus and experience.  For me, as others, it was the first note of a song. The guitar riff or bass depth and drums ripping though my spine. It made me wake up!

I wanted to attend the full event but didn’t because of my bad back and family responsibilities. I attended the full event on Saturday. I made as many of the sessions as I was able to. Each session inspired me to see from a different perspective. Some of the panelists are very academic. Their blending punk with thesis was a challenging reality for most of them. Also, the need to archive punk, in general, was something that challenged all of them. I have questioned this one myself. I was hoping that by being here that some of my questions might be answered. Their augments are satisfactory. Over time, I will consider all of them.

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Session 2B ”Punk Epistemologies, 9:30 to 10:30 AM was my first session to focus my mind on.  I listened actively to Sarah Gelbard speak about punk as being “neutralized,” or “ask a punk,” and “ask a punk academia.”  She is a PhD candidate. She defines herself as a punk planner and architect. A punkarchitect! She said the Academy, conformity to institutions or university, does reject her feminist and or punk attitude. The title of her presentation, “Ask a punk: from informality to anti-formality and anti-authority and when to say fuck.”  I felt an irritatingly shy stirring in her that filled the room. I have not felt that feeling for some time. Her integrity and honesty moved me. She mentioned story telling may be a type of approach to her chosen field of study.

Robert Haworth was next, and his theme was on” radical learning spaces.” As an educator and practicing anarchist he shared some biographical stories about his punk rock experience. A theme that ran throughout his talk seemed to focus on building character. How society and educational (Academy) focuses a type of expendable economic character that forms our children. He mentioned a good book to study by Emma Goldman, “The Child and its Enemies.”

Session 5B: Punk Political Economies presented three panelists. What came forth here is that “We should consider continuing to support the cracks.” I enjoyed Kathryn Heffner speaking about women fanzine publishers of science fiction writing. Briefly I can say that I learned about the history of fanzines. She talked about the community formed by fanzines and how they communicated. It is about women and resistance. My heart about jumped out of my chest. She defined so many elements of what a fanzine is all about. It is about community, friends, and a subject.  The punk scene is about friends and the continuity of friendships over time. I did not hear much about this at this conference!  Kathryn did tell a short story about a sister zinester who misspelled a word and made a whole movement out of it. I about jumped up and screamed hallelujah. The point being that with fanzines the information is current and was often printed up quickly to spread like a good wild-fire of communication. I knew this to be true.  Her talk gave meaning to my community. We need to keep writing and self-publishing.

The final Session 21B. Decay, Ruins, Dystopias was very enjoyable and academic. S. Mark Gubb: “God So Loves Decay,” is an unusual perspective on achieving punk material. He is a PhD candidate. Simply put he had a friend read lyrics as punk poetry, UK Decay, in front of beautiful architecture in London (England… there abouts?). This is presented as performance art. My insight into what he said is that the archiving of punk repertories can inspire others to be creative. Taking archived material and recycling its essence to a new generation to use creatively.

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The Lyrics of UK Decay, Performed by Russ Crimewave

Michelle Gonzales presentation made a strong comparison between George Orwell and Joe Strummer. Her brief history of punk, music and films as influencing a generation of punks is a bit superficial to me. Yet her argument was sound and interesting. I noticed how she compared their lives and their life long intentions. As she suggested, I am going to Goggle the best of Utopian literature and do some reading. An honest look and what can move someone! A book and or a song.

Overall, I did not include everything from this punk academy conference. Yet in general I had a great time. My impression is that archiving punk is a very sound perspective and a reality for some such as Slash Magazine and Maximum Rocknroll. I am not sure If I am ready yet to turn over my stuff. (as a friend said to me, “Take it out of the dusty garage” or something like that ) Time will tell.

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Mixing the Academy and lived PUNK culture is a concept like a giant punk rocket filled bulging with repertories of sight and sound. A giant punk rocket to the future that explodes into the sky like a fucking loud scream to a new world of fireballs and resistance…. women indulgently included!



 

In moonlight
Danced through the night
Dancing in the white light
Freedom from conditioned trance
So stand so grand in decadence

And the white light
Danced through your stomach
Pulls tight
Tight pulls the chords of your empty heart

In decadence
The dance of decadence
Defiant stance - a new decade
Of decadence
Realise your personal destiny
Fighting the fat and prosperous
Brood of mediocrity
Once safe in its prosperity
Now burns
In decadence
The dance of decadence
The cry of truth - a state of mind -
Call it youth

Take up your part in the play
Decapitate the day
White eyed - hatchets high - luddite like
In decadence
Decadancing - you can be your own king
You can be your own king
In the dance of decadence
Deca-deca-deca-decadance

Generational Differences

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Martin Sprouse and Tim Yohannan (RIP) at the MRR House, 1987 maximumrocknroll.com

I know that Punk Rock is supposed to hate hippies. Joe Strummer pissed on the Beatles but he was once a hippie before he merged into a street punk as well as our friendly Tim Yohannan from the on going Maximumrocknroll. I grew up living and experiencing the ‘6os. I have one older brother who seemed, at one strange time, to be a flower child. Pot unites both. Yet I must say my heart and soul resonates to the punk scene with lots of jazz on the side.

I have often thought that John Fogerty and Colin Abrahall have similar strong singing voices. They hit me the same way with generational differences of course. Also Eric Burdon and Keith Morris both have that deep singing tone, of continuity and rebellious style, that turns my blood to a boiling point. Me like.

Ray Bradbury 1920-2012: The next Generation

While reflecting upon Ray Bradbury’s death, after reading about it in the Los Angeles times article by Lynell George, I was touched by the childlike qualities of Bradbury’s character. A few quotes stood out for me. I would like to share them here and why they are important to me, and profoundly so!

“Bradbury had very strong opinions about what the future had become. In the drive to make their lives smart and efficient, humans, he feared, had lost touch with their soul.”

Though I do enjoy the benefits of technology I can understand Bradbury’s statement. I would be lost on a  typewriter.  He was a genius when using this machine.  I think we need to find places that tend to the soul. I am not thinking about church or religion, but to the qualities of life that sustain the soul, such as reading, friends, music and beer. To plan time away from  others. As an introvert I find that time alone is one of the most precious ways in staying in touch with my soul. Also, to push my comfort zone now and then on some crazy adventure.

A  quote from the article takes another direct quote from Bradbury,

“We’ve got to dumb America up again” he said.

Joe Strummer from the Clash also made a statement along the some lines as, “You’ve gotta be slightly stupid.” To me this is a pun on childlike learning,  understanding innocence and applying this to each moment of life, and to new experiences. The world’s problems can be solved by fresh and creative minds.

Another quote I took from the article makes me think of William Blake, because like Blake, Bradbury had an enormous imagination.

“For Blake, paradise was the human imagination, and he spent most of his time there…His greatest achievement in his poetry and his designs is to carry us with him into such an imaginative world.”  {The Stranger From Paradise by G.E. Bentley Jr, introduction XXV}.

Bradbury states his greatest achievement in a statement from Times Magazine on his 90th birthday,

All I can do is to teach people to fall in love…my advice to them is, do what you love , and love what you do…if I can teach them that, I’ve done a great job.”

In conclusion I was amazed to read this from the article,

Bradbury’s follow-up bestseller, 1953’s Fahrenheit 451 was based on two earlier short stories and written in the basement of the UCLA library, where he fed the typewriter 10 cents every half-houras Bradbury says “You’d type like hell” he often recalled “I spent $9.80 and in nine days I had “Fahrenheit 451.”

What an inspiration!!