“1) Violence is total. This is exemplified not only by placing the punk character in films such as “Return of the Living Dead” or “Suburbia” or “Warriors” as the outcast and misunderstood alienist as transgressor…”
In the cinematic and musical universe of punk rock in the early 1980s, two things were made clear by the punk focus group, even if at times painstakingly obnoxious on behalf of their placement within the greater frameworks of society. 1) Violence is total. This is exemplified not only by placing the punk character in films such as “Return of the Living Dead” or “Suburbia” or “Warriors” as the outcast and misunderstood alienist as transgressor, but also within doing so, had placed the character with safety-pinned earlobes and silver spike-encrusted leather jacket inside the framework of otherness in which the meager existence and misunderstood evaluation of character had marginalized and enforced a dystopian “Mad Max” fringe encampment in which violence was not only a way of life, it was also harbored as a tactic in which to enforce through fashion, language and music a new reality in which the slow but steady unwavering conservative stance would eventually be weathered for the oncoming storm of civil collapse and technological enslavement. Violence was necessary and communicable.
The second characteristic 2) … is the complete failure of the future. Harbored during the early 80’s, the image of the punk rocker was in direct opposition to the establishment. And the establishment as then as now was determined not only from a Western post-war perspective of moral high ground (Catholic Church), but also the competitive terms of nuclear determents as evinced by Cold War posturing notably between America and Russia. Though punks were seen in hotspots such as England during Thatcher and also Berlin and Australia at the same time, the character was not insular to any one point. It was a global character resisting not only the degeneracy of what would become globalism and Orwellian thoughtcrime constrictions, but a figure, who could outlive and survive. Depending on which side the punk was depicted, this position could be seen as either a savior or a rat.
“2) …is the complete failure of the future. Harbored during the early 80’s, the image of the punk rocker was in direct opposition to the establishment. And the establishment as then as now was determined not only from a Western post-war perspective of moral high ground (Catholic Church), but also the competitive terms of nuclear determents as evinced by cold War posturing…”
Fabio Sgroi’s “Palermo 1984-1986” for Yard Press is a well-executed catalogue of similar, but real characters focusing on an overlooked scene in Sicily from the mid-80’s in which the punk, goth and cold wave marginalized youth fought back at the norms of a heavily Catholocized community through clothing, music and lifestyle. Their very being and essence were a strong effacement to the intolerable conditions of a reality that did not exist for most, but were interwoven into the cultural fabric of Italy through the Church, prayer and family. This insular, but damning group of rebellious youth seen in Sgroi’s images would be a catalyst for change that would come a few decades later in which conservativism would relax if only slightly along with the burgeoning instability of expendable income to share a mutable plural capacity in which different lifestyles would be tolerated, if not permitted. The same would happen globally during the 90’s and 2000’s and the punk of the late 70’s and early 80s would de-materialize into the product of a time in which nuclear warfare and intolerance would be hidden, but adversely would grow stronger with never-ending wars and financial terrorism waged on the general populace through unregulated banking systems and unregulated governmental cronyism. The time of the outsider would be put into a pluralism that had false flags of acceptance and would lead, in doing so to the pacification for the times we live in, or rather the pacification to the Orwellian technocracy that we accept. If ever there was a time for the punk to come back with T.S.O.L spray painted on their leathers, with Exploited t-shirts ripped and torn hanging like spaghetti from their shoulders, now would be it. Sadly, the dystopian utopia that punks envisioned, their “no future” would actually become the state sponsored mottos of “free credit” and “globalism” that we endure at present. Highly Recommended.
(All Rights Reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Fabio Sgroi.)