Monday, March 2, 2009

Punk rock: so what? edited by Roger Sabin

So this book bills itself as being a collection of essays about the cultural impact of punk, really the majority of the book talks about the sex pistols, which I get, because I realize that they tend to be THE punk band, you know what I mean? Like when mainstream culture thinks of punk they think of them. The problem with that being is I personally haven't really cared about the sex pistols since I was 12. It's interesting to read ideas of how they've influenced contemporary art and film, but at the same time a lot of it reads like a boner for the pistols record review. Oh, and it's a book out of england, so it's more in the context of the culture of england rather than the culture of the U.S. (duh). As far as the essays not about the sex pistols are concerned, a lot of them were really interesting. There were a couple about fashion and all the commodification that came with it, the differences between small town punks and city punks, there was one essay I really liked that talked about racism in punk and how there is this legacy of rock against racism and all that and this mythology that all that late 70's english punk was anti-racist but then has instances and examples of times when those bands or people did say and do fucked up things, and how there are all these anti-racist bands now that are influenced by that time period but how there are bands from that time period who basically started the trend of skinheads listening to punk.
Anyway, the book is split into two parts, the first being more about visual art culture, films, comic books, literature and the like and then the second half is about fashion and racism and current music and politics. I kind of spent the first feeling like they were streching it in trying to prove their points and that it was some space to talk about how great the sex pistols were, but for the most part I really liked the second half.

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