Friday, September 26, 2008

Hot Love: Swiss Punk & Wave 1976-1980

I got this book for the Maximum Rocknroll archive after seeing it at Ooga Booga, and having looked through it over the past few months still feel like I haven't gotten to the bottom of it. Kleenex/Liliput were the only band I really knew about from Switzerland, and I think that band offers such a complete world inside a record in terms of their aesthetic, sound and band idea that in my mind there had to be more similarly minded bands in existence that just didn't get recorded or recognized. The book is huge, like two phone books split in half maybe, and set up like a scrap book. So there are tons of pictures of cool looking punk girls, homemade bondage shoes, fliers and zines, degenerate squats and collapsing practice spaces... Ramona from The Mo-dettes has an excellent piece that covers the history of her punk life, from art school in Geneva to the London squat scene.... I actually had no idea she was Swiss; she named herself are seeing The Ramones play, which is so dreamy. She just makes being in The Mo-dettes seem like endless kicks and mishaps that brught to mind the nature of their sound, complex, thoughtful, rambunctious pop music. It's great reading a complete other history of that era from the perspective of a woman who was in one of my favorite bands; I don't know, sometimes it seems like punk is eulogized by THAT SAME DUDE in a way that takes it out of reach and makes it into some weird weighty HISTORIC EVENT that is not open to participation or question. My favorite thing about the book was the fractured nature of the presentation, the millions of voices and ideas and images. It really represents to me the possibilities that DIY culture offers. Also the fact that it (punk? DIY culture?) works better/is more exciting and expansive when it exists in the cracks outside of 'rock' history... There is a great roundtable between all these women from the scene, fanzine writers, guitarists, singers, artists... including Sara from TNT who are a band you HAVE to investigate! Total insane punk lady vocals and falling apart music... Marlene from Liliput/Kleenex (there's the dreamiest picture of her in Bazooka bubblegum shirt, leopard print pants and jean seberg haircut in total transfiguration of ready for action guitar hero pose...)At anyrate this book offers a refreshing perspective on what punk is or was or could be, and speaking as someone who is totally immersed in a world which sometimes seems so defined and concrete tomb like in doctrine and costume this book was a reminder of potential realities, punk rock as an endless adventure.


saralibrarian said...

this books sounds amazing. we don't have a copy in the public library system i work for so i went to check this union catalog; (called WorldCat or OCLC) which covers the holdings of a majority of libraries (public, academic, special, etc.) in the u.s. and beyond to see who does... i found only 7 holdings. 4 of them are in libraries in germany. the weird part is that the only u.s. libraries i found these in were at:
yale, harvard, and princeton! wtf?!

decomposition said...

Yes, I've been noticing that only the big universities are getting cool books like this. What's up with that?

I saw this particular book at Ooga Booga and it definitely looks amazing.