Something I hope to publish on every Tuesday to illustrate some time which came before and thank christ will never come again. This is all inspired by an email out of nowhere a few weeks ago from a former classmate inviting me to a 30-year High School reunion which I won’t be able to attend.
I went through a punk phase my first year of university.
We were a tight group of five living on the same dorm floor. We couldn’t get enough of the garbled, barking lyrics and fawk-you delivery local guys like Joey Shithead and the DOAs, the Pointed Sticks and of course the Clash and the Sex Pistols were throwing our way. We were actually on what was supposed to be a quiet floor reserved for the studious and reserved, but our disco-addicted downstairs neighbours got so fed up with us they called out the Campus Quasi-Cops to shut us down on more then one occasion, slamming the main power switch off usually at the high point of our screaming parties.
Another time those downstairs doorknobs were having yet another lame-o mixer and for some reason had invited along a man who later went on to become UBC President. Oh yeah, I remember now: sick of living midst hospital grey, they had painted their corridor in some sort of Dark Side of the Moon album cover motif, and our man in the suit was along to cut the ribbon. Gag. We were all ready for it, timing a gigawatt blast of DOA’s Disco Sucks down the stairwell just as they were half-way through another sloppy string of Heart of Glass, YMCA and Stayin’ Alive. Ah, but they were ready with plans of their own, leading Our Man in the Suit up the stairs through our wall of total harmonic distortion. He was really into it though, and pogoed along with the rest of us. I have scoured the online archives of The Ubyssey trying to find the picture of him I know is out there, but to no avail.
The live concerts were the highlight of course. On concert nights we’d all pile into somebody’s car the bus and head downtown to some dive I think was called The Windmill. Our arrival was usually greeted with a mixture of shock and derision. Shock because none of us had the guts to shave his head or gel it into anything even remotely resembling a Mohawk, derision because we were obviously just a bunch of dabbling KAWledge kids / punk wannabes who must have come off as if the only safety pins anywhere near our skin were still keeping our diapers together.
The concerts were – no surprise – very loud and sometimes violent places to be. The music was so distorted and the lyrics so incomprehensible, it was only fitting that everyone start slam-dancing, flailing, spitting at the band and swearing. If you weren’t prepared to go around with someone else’s gob in your hair, shove your neighbour or hork a loogie at the bass player, you might as well have stayed home.
Sometimes fights would break out, but they wouldn’t last long. I almost got into one myself after one of our group played a trick on me. Reaching past two punked-out women who were standing right behind me, he grabbed my ass and goosed me so hard I nearly did a pogo jump onto the stage. I turned around with a snarl and my fists clenched only to come face-o-face with both of them, who gave me this whadda YOU lookin’ at look before I saw my friend right behind them looking off into space and trying too hard to act like he didn’t know what was going on.
I like to think of that time as my contribution to that youthful tradition every generation has to go through of dressing funny, talking weird, and having music our parents think is just noise. Now that I’m pushing 50 and entering my early curmudgeon years, I can say the spirit lives on.
My parents used to call it load of crap. That’s not far from what I now call it:
© 2007 lettershometoyou