Funny how fashions change. When I was young it was platform shoes and ridiculously flared trousers that caught in the car door every time you shut it. (Sometimes you didn’t notice till you tried to step on the brake pedal – never a good thing.)
I still remember the first time I saw a Punk dressed in full regalia. The bondage trousers, boots, paint-daubed jacket, safety pins and a multi-coloured Mohican that looked like a dead parrot on his head.
And then the punks faded away to start families and find jobs in offices.
But the other evening I fell into conversation with a young man who looked as though he had just pogoed out of a Sex Pistols concert. It wasn’t something I expected to come across ever again. He looked as though he had travelled from thirty years in the past, his regalia authentic in every respect.
Now, you don’t really expect to get much sense out of somebody dressed like that. But, I tell you, his knowledge of the Seventies New Wave music scene was encyclopaedic. He was passionate about bands such as The Stranglers, the Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers and The Jam – were they, he wondered, more Mod than Punk? I don’t know – but he did, and backed up his point of view with a well-thought out line of reasoning.
He knew all about associated music styles such as Ska, now-defunct record labels, producers and writers. He also knew all about – not just the music – but the bands. And not just the bands, but the individual musicians; who played what and which band members were replaced by whom. It was remarkable. He knew far more than I did – and I lived through that era.
Punks used to be a social group you would dive behind a hedge to avoid. But this young fellow differed in a few respects. He was impeccably polite, charming, and is in the process of organising a charity event.
He asked if I would be interested in helping out… How could I refuse?
As he wandered off into the night I saw the slogan “Punk’s Not Dead” daubed across the back of his jacket. Well, with his knowledge and passion in a whole culture like that, he’s probably right – despite the excess of no-talent sing-along-to-backing tapes music that’s so prevalent today.
Now, where did I put my razor blade earring?