Wednesday, 29 June 2011

So Scratched Into Our Souls #5: Turkish Techno - Meth Not Meat

"Here is the great, explosive novel I promised you. Like our souls it is polyphonic; it is, at the same time, a lyric poem, an epic, an adventure novel, and a drama. I am the only man who has dared write such a masterpiece, and it will be my own hand that will destroy it, when the growing splendor of the world has equaled it with its own and rendered it superfluous. In spite of what the inhabitants of Goutville and Paralysis may say about it, this work of mine unfurls an immortal banner in the winds of glory, on the topmost peak of human thought; and my creator’s pride is well pleased. Don’t think of justifying it; watch it, rather, bounding and exploding like a well primed grenade over the shattered heads of our contemporaries, then dance, whirling in a warlike reel, splashing about in the quagmire of their imbecility, taking no heed of their monotonous driveling." - F.T. Marinetti in the preface to Mafarka the Futurist, swinging like an eleven foot penis not just for the fences but the nebulous bonds of human creation itself. An utter fascist shit, it should be mentioned, but you've got to kind of admire that level of bravado.

For the most part with this blog, I want to focus on shit that I love. There are many punk bands that I am mostly or wholly indifferent to, a few that I genuinely dislike and want either scorched from the earth or just given a really good talking to that tells them to buck their ideas up, sunshine, but I don't really see the point of focusing on them too much, because unless you're actually getting paid to review something, or someone requests it, or they are part of a larger review (Bad Ideas) then purposely seeking out something you're not into rather than attempting to highlight a few small parts of the endless reams of beautiful brilliant stuff just seems kind of fucking stupid.

All I really want to do with my life is write about punk rock in as eloquent and inspiring a fashion as someone like John Berger writes about art and resistance, in as chaotic and beautiful fashion as Dambudzo Marechera writes about love and rebellion. I want to be as angry and funny as Bill Hicks, to be as fearless as Kathy Acker as she tears down and reconstitutes culture and literature for her own playful angry ends, as noisy as JMG Le Clezio, as fun as William Burroughs, as conscious as Ursula Le Guin, as moving as Bao Ninh, as readable as Ross Macdonald, as thrilling as William Gibson, as human as Flannery O'Connor, as punk as Aaron Cometbus, as conscious as Juan Goytisolo, as self-aware as Stewart Lee, and really to just rip off Lester Bangs for the most part, and I expect to spend my life in a constant struggle to get even a quarter of the way towards those ideals, or the strengths of dozens of other writers that I idolise, but that's what I'm aching and reaching for. (Also, I want to egregiously mention lots of writers so people know how smart I am, and then acknowledge what I'm doing as if that in anyway alleviates the shuddering arrogance of it all, like a cunt.) I want to do all this shit not just in general, not in the abstract, but with specific regards to punk bloody rock, and these writers represent many many different approaches and styles and genres, but if there's a way I lean with my writing, a direction in which I make an active effort to synthesise them, it's as an attempt to scrabble away from my own natural cynicism.

While it is important to question and attack the negative aspects of punk rock and one of the many aspects I love about punk rock is the way it accepts and encourages self-criticism (I do not think all these recent articles about sexism would be as prevalent in metal) and I do want to fight to make the scene as accepting as it can be without compromising what I see as the essential parts of it, now what I see as an essential part may seem peripheral and alienating to others, but such is the nature of the music and culture. While I want to sing along to Back to the Motor League or Chickenshit Conformist and enact their angry slashing denunciations of the scene, but generally more than that I want to sing along to Ghost Mice singing Up the Punx or Against Me! remaking the world in a better image with Reinventing Axl Rose. I want to talk about the redemptive power of the music and culture more than I want to talk about the shittiness of the scene. I want to write narratives akin to Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony and A.R. Flowers' De Mojo Blues and their common themes of dealing with traumatic events and experiences with a return to the values and traditions of a marginalised native culture. I don't have a native culture, for the most part, or maybe I just don't have one which I feel in any way connected to, as Nick Hornby wrote, there are few people as rootless as a middle-class white Englishman, all I have is what I have chosen to believe in, what I have not been able to help but love since it first got scratched into my soul, and so I will continue to emphasise all that I see as punk rock's contradictory strengths, its beautiful human powers a little bit more than I focus on its contradictory weaknesses, its painful human ugliness and if I do turn my gaze towards the flaws and nastiness of it, I want to fold them into its strengths as a sympathetic mirror of the stunning fascinating complexity of all that human effluvium and steam generally more than I want to engage in scathing condemnation. That may be a fucking cop out, but it's just how I see the world and seek to leave a skidmark on it.

But still, you know, I get fucking pissed off.

I think the whole idea of punk cred is kind of bullshit. The wonderful thing about punk rock is that it has no definitive texts, yes, there are many punk albums which I personally would consider essential, I recently attempted to compile a list of 'important' punk albums, not my favourites, or even ones I really like, but just a list of albums I consider influential in the sonic and social development of punk and its subgenres, I gave up on this when I realised that my brief primer had reached 125 albums and I had another 30 on the tip of my tongue. But even if I'd completed and posted the list I know people would've had a go at me for missing out some albums, including others, probably they would've mentioned some albums which they feel are undisputable punk rock classics that I would have never even heard of. There may be some sort of loose canon running from Fun House to Scrambles but still, there is not one album you can point at and say "This is all that punk rock can be.", you can only say "This is something, or some of the things that punk rock can be." because even an album that battles and struggles with itself, that contradicts itself in sound and message in an attempt to mirror the wider schisms within the genre and culture would miss out on the fact that many of the best punk albums are cohesive unified works.

There are no definitive texts, it may be a faith in some ways but it is not in any way a religion, this means that in many ways that all definitions of punk rock are equally valid, the idea of what punk rock is offered by a 15 year old just getting into it is as valid as mine, when I've spent about a decade now thinking about it and loving it, and yeah that gets frustrating for me sometimes, I do get annoyed. When my friend posts a picture online of him in a Dead Kennedys NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF! shirt where you can only see the top half of the logo and has someone tell him off for being hateful or says "I hope you're being ironic with that shirt" I cannot help but howl to myself "IF YOU CANNOT IMMEDIATELY RECOGNISE SOMETHING AS OBVIOUSLY FUCKING ICONIC AS THE FUCKING NAZI FUCKING PUNKS FUCKING FUCK OFF LOGO THEN WHAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS CUNT FUCKING FUCKARSE ARE YOU EVEN DOING CLAIMING TO BE PUNK FUCKING ROCK IN ANY FUCKING WAY AT ALL YOU FUCKING FUCKING FUCK!?"

But still, those poor pathetic fools who have never let the cheshire-cat surfy menace of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables or the brief goofy thrash of In God We Trust Inc or the apocalyptic driving thunderscapes of Frankenchrist run through them and work its witty wailing way into their heads still have a place in this culture, this scene. I wouldn't have it any other way because there's always the underlying suspicion possibly the definition of a snotty 15 year old is more valid than mine being as it is a culture born in the teenage maelstrom of frustration and isolation and what I seek to do is to preserve the rawness of passion and feeling that all art inspires at that age while trying to work towards a more measured clearer evocation of punk rock's varying appeals, but in the ever-shifting bounds of such an amorphous self-contradictory culture I find myself constantly revising and arguing with myself, struggling and dancing with conflicting ideas that seem to each represent some vaguely tangible notions of punkness (not Punk Ness, which is either an extensively-pierced Family Ness member with a Black Flag tattoo, or anything up to and including White Light, White Heat, White Trash, zing!). I believe things are far too complicated to say that because something is contradictory it is weak or invalid, to paraphrase Walt Whitman fairly tritely: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, punk rock is large, it contains multitudes."

But still, like I said, I get fucking pissed off.

And when I get pissed off, I listen to Turkish Techno's Meth Not Meat from their split with the always great Brokedowns on Traffic Street Records, a brilliant label of the sort where if I were rich I would just send them a big wad of cash and the note "SEND ME EVERYTHING YOU DO. I WANT IT ALL!" (this video cuts off the song by a couple seconds).

Meth Not Meat a brief scratchy pop-punk tune for all those times where you couldn't take the expansive view of things. It is a zero-compromise-fuck-all-yall-had-it-up-to-shittin-here shout. Even the aforementioned anti-scene rants offer some hope. Nazi Punks Fuck Off comes from a position of siding with one particular group of punks, the good ones, though a song called Non-Nazi Punks Have Some Delicious Biscuits would probably not have attained the same level of ubiquitous reproduction in its logo and lyrics on armbands and shirts and skin (BUT APPARENTLY NOT UBIQUITOUS ENOUGH FOR SOME FUCKERS). The protagonist of Back to the Motor League begins by listing what he does like before he descends into a laundry list of his punk pet peeves, he offers some awareness and direction towards the hard-rocking reconciliatory movement betwixt his "mouthed feet, eaten hats, teated bulls, amish phone-books, drunken brawls" and the wispy unattainability of perfection that too many fools passive-aggressively posture at lamely, broadly speaking, he has somewhere to go back to. Chickenshit Conformist has little nudges towards the light like "Change and caring are what's real" buried in amongst its laundry list declaiming all the dogshit hardcore formulas and other related ills of the punk scene.

Meth Not Meat has none of those nudges, none of those good points and people to take sides with. Fuck that positive noise. Redemption is a myth. Salvation is a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut. I am pissed-off with being pissed-on by shitty little fucking pretentious fuck motherfuckers who seek to turn radical politics or noisy music into a fucking compe-fucking-tition, who like to exist in a inbred echo-chamber of punk rock rules and regulations and humourless policing of others through self-important self-satisfied grandstanding. WHO THINK THEY'RE FUCKING BETTER THAN ME. I am alone and everyone else is a ridiculous slimy shitehawk with an acoustic (FUCKING ACOUSTIC! IT'S LIKE BOB DYLAN NEVER FUCKING DIED!) guitar. Alienation as a point of order. Being a solitary prick in the face of massed pricks. There is not a single line in this song which is not filled with all the spit and itching fury of the moments when you feel yourself falling into the silly sucking black wound of the idea that, as Frank Turner sang on Love, Ire and Song, 'punk rock didn't live up to what I hoped it would be'. This song captures that moment so perfectly, a quick mid-tempo guitar intro, an odd little pop and then it tears into action and you're sneering and shouting along "TAKE ME FUCKING HOME! I REALLY WANNA GO! THIS BAND IS REALLY WEAK ANOTHER SHITHEAD FASHION SHOW!" You're in the restless fitful rhythm, the screaming pace of this all-encompassing feeling of loathing and bile, it quietens down in places, repeating the central refrain of "I don't want it. I don't need it" like a churning mumbling to yourself as you smolder in the corner of the terrible show. It also slows down a little for the solo, restrains itself slightly, draws back into itself briefly before projecting that bubbling rant out at the world again. "I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR WHITE BOY BLUES, YOUR SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT OR BAD TATTOOS! AND I DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOUR VEGAN SHOES!"

Now obviously this mentality is a temporary one, an unsustainable one, a pretty fucking stupid one (chances are a good proportion of those singing along have some fairly bad fucking tattoos), but it is a bright flash of an undeniable instinct, a cutting spark that cannot be overlooked in the way it flips through you and marks you with its pyrographic reminders of times when you just snapped (a couple songs which perfectly illustrates the unsustainabilty of it and the complex process of simmering down to a greater calmness and then taking your ability to create that energy and channeling it into love and dancing rather than spite would be Operation Ivy's Jaded and Dillinger Four's Doublewhiskeycokenoice, two bands whose albums were definitely on my list of essential ones). It's a renegade Marinettian blast of personal affirmation that is kind of fucking pointless in the long term and exists in some ways as a warning for people to maybe steer clear of being quite that utterly batshit and uncompromising in their self-assurance next time, whether its in the act of proclaiming yourself a genius or just the only sane person left standing.

Turkish Techno are at that exact same point that Dear Landlord were at a few years ago, a few seven inches out and a long-gestated album in the works (coming soon for the last fuck knows how long, but apparently genuinely coming soon from Dirtcult) which all those arseholes sad and deluded enough to believe that they know their shit (I totally know my shit) about punk rock are predicting will be perched atop many end-of-year lists. This confidence in a band with so little actual material out there similarly springs from one momentous song which makes pretty much everyone who hears it get totally and forever caught up in its 2 minute rush, the marriage of bouncy shouty noise into a breathless breakneck rant that squats resplendent within the anserine beating heart of punk rock. With Dear Landlord it was Three to the Beach, with Turkish Techno it's Meth Not Meat.

A funny thing though, about a song like this, is that it, like the songs that approach punk rock with the most happy-clappy inspiring loveliness, like the ones that travel from one to the other, is that it is contingent on the listener already being a punk. It will convert no-one. It's by the punx, for the punx, with the punx. The references will not make sense to those not already invested in the scene. Who else knows enough people who brag about their vegan shoes to get pissed off by it? Who else appreciates the determination of deciding not to burn your bridges despite fifteen fights and your six bucks up some promoter's nose? Who else can honestly say "Punk rock saved my life" and know that it's not a pose in any way, shape or form. The glorifying and the denigrating are twin sides of the same battered pick. One of the things out of the many many things in seemingly endless ever-expanding list of things that I love about punk rock, one of the contradictory things, is that it is a place which both shamelessly self-mythologises and ruthlessly self-excoriates and I think it needs both parts to survive, it needs to struggle between them, the clatter when they come together and snap apart, to move from one to the other and back again, to sit temporarily in either one until boredom sets in. For the most part with this blog, I want to focus on shit that I love, but sometimes I love being a shit.

So go fuck yourself, world. Go fuck yourself, Joe. And above all other things, before you get out of bed in the afternoon or pass out in the early ours, fuck the fucking punx.
"I don't want it, I sure as fuck don't need it..."

Friday, 24 June 2011

I Live Sweat doublepost: Comic books and dancing like a twat

Both these posts are taken from things I've written for the excellent I Live Sweat where they cover comic books and actually important matters relating to punk rock, rather than just wittering on about half-forgotten songs by half-forgotten bands:

"There is no secret identity." - A review of Punk Rock and Trailer Parks by Derf

There’s a really good article by Charles Baxter in which he coins the term ‘Owl Criticism’, referring to the sort of critics that dislike a book for its content, rather than the way it deals with its content, the sort of people who might say “This book has an owl in it, and I don’t like owls.”

I definitely get annoyed with reviews of art that don’t engage with the topic, and then refuse to analyse the reasons for this failure to engage, but it works the other way too. There are things we’re going to like because they’re in a certain genre we enjoy, or because they deal with a certain subject we’re interested in. That’s great. The problem there is, when we come to talk about them, we have to look at whether we love them for their merits, or just the topic they cover. Punk Rock and Trailer Parks is like that. It’s a book I love, but I do wonder if there was ever a chance I could dislike a book where Joe Strummer and Lester Bangs get drunk and decide to slash the tires of Journey’s tour bus.

Punk Rock and Trailer Parks is a bildungsroman set in and around the punk scene of late ’70s. It’s written and illustrated by John “Derf” Backderf, also known for his weekly comic strip The City, and his short graphic memoir about the weird kid named Jeffrey Dahmer he was friends with at school.

This is, for the most part, the story of Otto, a Tolkien-quotin’, beach-party-movie-lovin’, extremely tall, nerd, who, thanks to a couple of younger classmates, is drawn into the Ohio punk boom of the late ’70s that flowered in the wake of Devo and The Pretenders. Otto is, at heart, a traumatised victim of constant bullying, and has invented a ridiculous ‘cool’ persona for himself called ‘The Baron’ to take him away from himself. At school he’s still ridiculed, but as he gets drawn into the punk scene, finding himself as a bartender at the local punk club, The Bank, and eventually as a singer in a local band, he starts to take on this mantle for real. But as he becomes immersed in the punk scene, he’s still a nerd at school, and him and his friends have to negotiate creepy teachers, idiot jocks, unattainable crushes, sketchy neighbours, alcoholic uncles, and all the awkward travails of adolescence.

Like the songs of Craig Finn, another Midwestern chronicler of punk rock and youth, PR&TP is concerned with the pseudonymous power in punk rock; the same power that means a middle-class son of a diplomat can become ‘Joe Strummer’, living embodiment of the rhythm guitar; an angry DC white kid named Henry can borrow the name of a mysterious sax legend, and then pour the same amount of feeling that the old jazzman put into his horn into thrashing hardcore anthems of alienation; a fat kid can store up the names he’s been called and choose to wear it as a proud definition, striding onto the stage, axe in hand, as Pig Champion; and in this story, a bullied masturbation-obsessed high-school band-geek can take on the hard-rocking super-tough alter ego of THE BARON and become king of the scene. This is the key theme of the book for me, teenage reinvention of self and how far it can take you, what it’s limitations are, and how it both liberates and traps you. Maybe the central message is actually a wholeheartedly corny ‘be yourself’ but it blurs the idea of what that self is, because it’s neither the superstar or the geek. There is no secret identity. It’s about establishing a sustainable synthesis between these two conflicting parts of yourself.

The journey of Otto is chronicled in a Forrest Gump style trip through the scene of the time; meeting Wendy O. Williams, hanging out on the The Ramones tour bus, shooting the shit with Stiv Bators. There’s one panel where two of his friends fail to realise that his car isn’t finished and almost fall through the floor of it, later on, to show how far he’s come, that panel is repeated but this time with Strummer and Bangs in the car on the aforementioned mission to stop the corporate rock and roll machine in its tracks.

The art has a blocky cartoony style to it that emphasises the adolescent awkwardness of the leads, and probably owes something to the exaggerated physical attributes of Robert Crumb’s work (although less interested in tits, though this is a book which has three teenage boys as the main characters, so inevitably that obsession crops up). I really like the way it deliberately distorts perspective to highlight the juxtaposition of certain people or objects and their relation to each other. It’s one of those places where you can point at comics and say, “Look, this is not just a film storyboard. This is something you cannot do as subtly or effectively in any other medium.” And I like books where you can do that, because if you can’t do that, then what was the point of making it a comic? There are also cool touches like the Ramones’ amps bouncing merrily in the air like the anthropomorphic NPCs in 3D platform games, and I love the way the lettering is drawn as an integral part of the art style, taking up large portions of the page when it’s shouted by one of the punk bands we see in action.

One minor criticism is that sometimes it falls foul of the show-don’t-tell rule, with regards to both the symbolism and themes, and just basic images. Some of the things people say are overly articulate. It works alright most of the time with The Baron as that’s his character, an eloquent commenter on all the craziness he’s caught up in, but it’s a technique that’s overused. Some things that happen are obvious enough that they don’t need to be expounded upon by the characters. The first time we see The Bank, we don’t need one of the characters to announce “An abandoned bank turned into a punk club!” We can see that. Not just simple descriptions either, sometimes the motivations of the characters and the symbolic moments should be left for the reader to work out for themselves. Steve Aylett said of his slipstream science-fiction Accomplice quartet: “Unlike real life, most Accomplicers are aware of and ridiculously articulate about their own delusions, but like real life, they don’t change.” Except Aylett used it deliberately to great comic effect. In Derf’s writing it sometimes comes across like a lack of faith in his own narrative ability, which he shouldn’t have, as it’s a great story he’s telling, and he tells it well for the vast majority of the book. It’s just that sometimes we don’t need to be told what’s inside someone’s head, or what we can see happening right on the page.

The end of the book does conform to the narrative of a lot of punk rock stories with a moral that suggests this is all just a phase. To risk Owl Criticism, I’m not a fan of that do to my own personal preference for seeing punk rock as a living breathing malleable entity, but I recognise that it really works with the story here. And it’s not a depressing ending, it perfectly captures the wry mixture of knowing melancholia and stomping triumph present in these life-altering moments in the same way as The Clash’s Death or Glory. There’s a sense that something has gone, but that something just as cool is about to creep over the horizon. This sense of loss is only amplified by the post-story final page which notes that pretty much every single one of the punk rock icons of the time featured in the book are sadly no longer with us. This book is a hymn to the transformative powers of punk rock, and a story of all the weirdos and outsiders finding a place for themselves, not just for the glorious moment when the music rushes through their veins, but how they have to fight to keep that feeling alive in the everyday grind of society.

“Every bad thing I have is acknowledged as worth it, because it led to this moment.” You can dance if you want to...

I have seen a lot of people recently criticising violent dancing in punk rock, as sexist, as ableist, or as just plain selfish. and most of the time, when people tell me something makes them uncomfortable, for whatever reason, I am okay with appreciating their perspective and stopping doing it, even if I don’t agree with their reasons, because I do have a lot of privileges and if I can attempt to eliminate and nullify them then it’s great, but not with this one. While I do try to understand other people’s perspectives I have real trouble imagining someone who hears music that is this energetic and loves it and doesn’t want to move to it. I can totally get someone who’s weirded out by touching strangers or by crowds like that, but surely that can’t be everyone. So I acknowledge that I’m not going to be able to comprehend everything, this is one time where I just don’t get the opposing point of view, so I’ll just say to them something along the lines of “Look, I have no idea why you would consider standing still to be an appropriate response to a band you like, but if that’s your thing then go for it.” This doesn’t mean that I am going to stop to notice people who are not dancing and attempt to fit in with the way they’re acting, and there’s an extremely important reason for that.

When I dance, in some crappy basement or the grimy back room of a pub, surrounded by a dozen or a hundred people dancing like that with me, I am not thinking about someone who’s not dancing, and why they may not be dancing. I’m not thinking of anything but the words in my throat and my unsteady footing. When I am dancing like that, in a really good pit, that is boisterous but not scary, that supports all the crowd-surfers and immediately picks up anyone who falls, that is as close as I get to a genuinely spiritual experience. The one time in my life where I feel the tickle of what might be described as a higher-consciousness. That is the moment where all the effort, and hurt, and stress, and love, all coalesces into a greater whole and just pours out of me and I grin like a moron. Every bad thing I have is acknowledged as worth it because it led to this moment. The dark only made this light seem brighter. Every good thing I have is present and screamed at the top of my voice. All the time spent working soul-sapping dead-end jobs, all the mistakes and shitty things I’ve done, all the frustration, all the lonely desolation I’ve ploughed through, all the hours spent listening to punk rock and scrutinising lyrics booklets as holy texts, they all seem completely worth it. When I’m dancing and singing, with other people dancing and singing, I no longer feel as if I’m some isolated fuck-up who’s toiling in obscurity, destined to live and die frustrated and alone; I feel like I am kin with a million isolated fuck-ups who all feel these things. I am feeling the music. And the music is in part born of pent-up rage, and pent-up loneliness and despair and all that shit streamed into these coruscating anthems. I will not abase that part of myself before anyone who just wants to stand there, no matter how valid or important the reason is that they want to do that. Maybe that’s selfish to an extent, but it’s not lazy or ill-considered, it’s that core part of me that makes me me. It’s the one stand I will always take, because in the dancing exists the little unshakable nugget of hope and self-evident truth that makes me barrel out of the show drenched in sweat and want to change the world, want to write books, want to play music that connects to some lonely 15 year old and save them the way I was saved, want to rip apart racism, and sexism, and homophobia, and all these shitty destructive prejudices, want to shock oppressive arseholes with wild situationist pranks, and blow minds with truth, and burn down entrenched class systems with a song in my heart and a glint in my eye. And I’m supposed to reel that in, to stifle that sensation because someone, whoever they are, whatever their sex or experiences, feels uncomfortable with it? Because someone wants to stand still and drink a beer and take a crappy blurry cellphone picture of the band and feels that this raucous and beautiful music is best appreciated by head nodding? Fuck that.

I’m not alone in this. It’d probably be really cliche to quote Emma Goldman right about now but it probably fits. As well as that Pat the Bunny line and guys talking feminism to get into girls’ pants and quoting Emma Goldman without bothering to dance. And I’d point to the sheer amount of people my age seduced into the punk scene and its progressive politics by Against Me!’s romantic glorious vision of crowds of likeminded people dancing like no-one’s watching with one fist in the air. This is a quote from a piece entitled My First Punk Show written by Brittany Walenta, a good friend of mine, about why she loves punk rock:

“In the pit, i realized that, outside of the pit, I was wearing a leash that I had never noticed because I had not tested its length. I discovered just how glorious it felt to be rude, violent, and drenched both in my sweat and the sweat of others. How cathartic it was to shout along to songs with no regard for how it sounds to other people. How completely primal and desexualizing it can be to fight a crowd of people to music.

And that night I was reluctant to wash the perfume, of cheap cigarettes, and lone star beer, and gallons of sweat, away in the shower. And the next day at school I wore my bruises and aching muscles as a badge of honor, because I knew I had found something so much more satisfying and thrilling than fluorescent lights and class rank and “funny” student run morning announcements. And for the first time i understood wanting to run away and join the circus.”

I want to just address a couple of specific points here, that a moshpit is sexist and/or ableist. I don’t think it’s sexist. To characterise the pit as purely an expression of testosterone is an incredibly limited gender-normative viewpoint that is effectively attempting to shame women into maintaining a quiet, reflective, stand-in-the-corner, coatrack, appreciation of the music when they might want to release all their stresses, and demonstrate all their love for this music, by dancing freely with a bunch of similarly stressed-out and wasted punks, like a scarecrow caught in the wind, just as a guy might want to sit at the back and watch the music in peace.

And as for ableism, I once saw a guy crowdsurfing in a wheelchair and it was a wonderful thing. I got the sense from everyone around me that there was this real joy at seeing someone do this, at realising that a disabled person is connecting with the music in exactly the same way that all us more able-bodied people were. Now maybe that’s patronising in a way, most able-bodied people don’t really have an exact idea of how hard it is to live with a physical disability, but we assume it must be pretty fucking hard at times and we do try to make allowances, though it’s just great to see someone just doing what the fuck they want regardless of what the expectations of them are. My girlfriend has been whacked in the face by a guy with no hand, and smacked in the shins by a guy in a motorised wheelchair in a circle pit, but when she related these stories to me it wasn’t like “What are those people doing there?” but again this sense of “How fucking awesome was it that people who might be constrained by their physical disabilities and also the social pressures to play up the victim card as a result of those physical disabilities are getting in the pit and enjoying it the way anyone can?” It was taking great joy in a reaffirmation of the powers of this thing we love and believe in, that it can lift up and free people who will often face a much tougher day-to-day struggle than most of us on the most basic level.

Real violence born of malevolence or carelessness is a terrible thing, but the fantasy of it, the concept of a constructive upward-striking violence that we are all a part of is a beautiful idea, and the pit offers that. I have been assaulted in the street more than once, not for quite some time but when I was 17 an amazing string of bad luck led to me being attacked three times in two days, the first two within 15 minutes of each other, by three completely unrelated groups of people for three different reasons. This led to me barely leaving the house for quite a while. It was tough and I hated myself for it (one of the big issues was that I thought that as a man I should’ve been able to defend myself), but I did get over this paranoia, and agoraphobia, and self-loathing, and one of the ways I got over it was by going to punk shows and moshing, getting into pits, filling myself with enough adrenaline that I didn’t care when I was hit in the face, I didn’t feel pain or terror, just concentration and exhilaration. At one Zatopeks show I fell over on the beer-slick floor and didn’t notice until two songs later that I had a significantly sized shard of glass sticking out of my hand which I ripped out with my teeth and carried on dancing. I’ve had a friend hit in the head with the lead singer’s guitar and he barely cared because he was dancing and because he was having fun, and yes, because there is an odd badge-of-pride to shrugging off pain and injury that some would characterise as a pointlessly macho exercise, but to me represents a physical aspect of that desire to pull in all one’s hurt, and to stream it into songs, and art, and the expression of dancing, mind over matter, rhythm over the chattering spikes of the world.

The pit is violent, but it’s not a violence aimed at anyone. (Also, let’s not pretend that non-dancers are inherently non-violent, we’ve all encountered the dickhead who throws punches at people dancing too close to them and their girlfriend. That happened to me personally at an Andrew Jackson Jihad show.) It is a communal physical and mental catharsis that should be, in its most perfect form, open to anyone who’s willing to stream all the love and passion they have for this music into a chaotic slamdance. Yes, some pits are overly violent and macho and that might annoy me, but it also pisses me off when nobody in a venue wants to respond to a beautiful piece of music by throwing themselves around with reckless abandon. I think ultimately there should always a place for both sitting and absorbing in peace and someone who wants to release all their stresses and demonstrate all their love for this music by dancing freely with a bunch of similarly stressed-out and wasted punks, like a scarecrow caught in the wind, but I always know which one I’m going to pick given an absolute choice. In a perfect pit, the kind I’ve been in a bunch of times, there’s always support for crowd-surfers or stage-divers, people actively attempting to hit people (or to molest people) rather than just bounce and shove are treated with utter contempt and disrespect, and nobody ever fails to stop dancing and immediately go to the aid of somebody who’s hit the floor, which is inevitably going to happen sometimes because of the expressive full-contact nature of the dancing, no matter how friendly the pit is.

What I am always extremely quick to oppose is anything that seeks to sanitise and simplify the culture that I love. That I have invested myself in for about 40% of my time on this planet now, and all its stupidity and sweetness, all its intelligent activism and hard-fought communal spaces, all its noise. That it is a place for everything from gleefully pissy songs to a sustained self-interrogation of privilege and prejudice present within the scene. That it accepts and encourages all these things on a local and global scale. That it’s got bands ranging sonically from Ghost Mice to Threatener, from the simplicity of Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue to the sprawling epics of Fucked Up. In scenes from everywhere from Japan to Alaska. It’s a place for something as fantastically juvenile as the Hickey/Voodoo Glow Split or the music of Splodgenessabounds as it is for more stridently political or serious material like Crass or Bikini Kill.

I reject the attempts to dull the sharp edge of punk rock, not just from the co-opting powers of mainstream culture, and their desire to remove the serious radical politics, and package rebellion as a hairstyle and a power chord, but from the uncompromising drive for homogeneity-as-equality eroding the fact that the beautiful (and terrible but ultimately essential) thing about people is that we’re all from different places, and all have our different ways of expressing ourselves, and comprehending the world, and fighting to make it the better world that we want. How can we invite and welcome people into the scene by taking away some of the verve, and romance, and noise, which makes it appeal to the sort of people who want to get into it? How can we make punk a threat again if we systematically purge all that is wild and carefree in its adherents? The idea that everyone has to cater wholly to one perspective by limiting the freedom of expression of everyone else, or that we need to institute equality by forcing people to give up anything that might offend or disturb anyone else is pretty much Stalinist. It is so absurd that it’s like a stereotypical right-wing caricature of a left-wing position. It’s the mentality that Kurt Vonnegut so perfectly satirised in Harrison Bergeron and the Sirens of Titan.

Why should I be forced to acknowledge, and kowtow to, the possible misinterpretation of my dancing, and compromise this essential part of my being in favour of people who are crowing that a moshpit is anti-inclusive, as they completely fail to make the same attempt to understand the possible appeal and ethos behind something they disagree with, as I have done repeatedly with positions that are not my own; who have not made a single concession to the idea that what me, and my friends, and dozens of strangers who are for this moment my very best friend, are doing is not alienating in it’s intent, or even alienating in it’s execution, if you’re willing to understand it, but is in fact motivated by a constructive and inclusive desire to create, for one of these perfect moments that can occur when a band full of people as confused, and shitty, and broken as we are play their hearts out and everybody’s tumbling around the mic, these glorious fucking moments of equality, and joy, and freedom, open to all who wish to engage in it. The notion that we should stop that, and turn around and look for guidance from people who by all outward attributes appear to just not give a shit about where they are, and who they’re with, and what they’re witnessing, is lazy and selfish and anti-intellectual on your part and I reject it totally. Me and my fellow dancers and our pitborn friendships are Kevin Bacon and you are John Lithgow. And no-one roots for Lithgow.

I have huge problems with this piece. Maryam Hassan has thankfully already pointed out the inherent irony in the phrase “Consideration for others is punk fucking rock.” used in it, but there are bigger problems than that:

“I’ve never moshed because if you shove me, I am going to want to fight you. Because wanting to fight you is the natural reaction to being shoved. Now, you can kick my ass, no doubt. I’m an old lady. But I’ll still try to fucking fight you. Because you don’t just fucking shove people. What the fuck?”

Isn’t that your issue more than it is anyone elses? Because when someone shoves me at a show, I can recognise when there is intended malice and when there is not. Wanting to fight someone is not an all-purpose natural reaction to someone shoving you, it’s a selfish arsehole reaction. You’re mistaking your own views for the absolute truth.

“You are selfish. You are a selfish asshole, just like every selfish asshole you have ever complained about in your life. You are THE selfish asshole at every show you attend.”


How is you saying that people shouldn’t dance, or that people should dance in a certain way (telling people at a punk show to learn to dance is like telling a punk band to learn their instruments, enthusiasm over technical ability is kind of the bloody point of the whole endeavour) less selfish than me and my friends wanting to dance and wanting to dance in the way that we love? “What about you and your desires trumps me and mine?”

I’ve been moved to apologise to bands after shows where people didn’t dance on behalf of the crowd and the scene, because it just seems disrespectful to these people, who have travelled hundreds, or thousands, of miles to play their hearts out, in a tiny room, for little to no money. Some things are incompatible, sometimes ideologies and philosophies will clatter and clang against each other, and there can be no compromise or diplomacy, and we just have to live with that. People who don’t want to dance have to accept people dancing and just stand a little further back, just as I have to reign in my exuberance and accept people not dancing at shows when there’s a crowd that doesn’t want to move even though it makes me feel massively uncomfortable and never fails to really make me feel like shit in the one place that can often lift me from my lowest moods. It’s an unbearably complex world, and often we have to acknowledge other people’s feelings and maybe cater to them if we realise that something means more to them than it does to us, but almost nothing means more to me than dancing. It is my line in the sand. NO PASARAN!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

So Scratched into Our Souls #4: The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

The first three songs in this series have been pretty inconsequential affairs in the wider scheme of things. A mid-80s Ramones album track, a horribly obscure early 90s classic rock pastiche and a mid-90s parody Oi! song, not the stuff that is going to find it's way onto a Rolling Stone list of any sort. But this song here is a genuine classic.

Everyone has one pop song which they feel is the greatest pop song of all time, be it Hey Ya! or Billie Jean, Tracks of my Tears or Good Vibrations, one of those incredible songs which you can't imagine could ever offend anyone, but are so filled with all that makes pop music great and vital that their untamed spirit lies exactly there, within their mass market appeal, their ability to make every single person feel like it's their song, the one that draws them up onto the dancefloor or pulls them away from whatever stresses and bullshit they have if it pops up on the radio. Times when everything went right for two to three minutes. For John Peel, this was Teenage Kicks. For me, it's a similar song, one born of the late 70s power-pop that smoothed down the snarl and clash of punk rock with beautifully catchy melodies while retaining its irresistible energy. I fucking hate when people talk about 'the best year for music' because it's just bullshit nostalgia, to refer to the great Peel once again: "People ask me, "what was the best year for music?" I always say, this year is the best year for music. Prior to that it was the previous year." but it's undeniable that this period produced a lot of amazing stuff in this really brilliant style, from The Undertones to The Buzzcocks to The Runaways to The Vapors to The Jam, and it's here where you can find the song that typifies all I love about pop music and all I love about rock and roll. For me, it's Another Girl, Another Planet by The Only Ones.

They used this song in Paul, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen's slightly underwhelming but still enjoyable enough UFO-nerd buddy-comedy, and it didn't work, because it's one of those songs that is so good that it just takes you out of the film and makes you think about the song. I just wanted to be able to sit in that massive room and have that song played through the huge sound system with no distractions.

Every single note is perfect, the way it starts with that little clicking washboard guitar riff before those bass tones and the spacey background warping builds into the guitar solo with its soaring melancholia like watching an injured bird you've nursed back to health skipping off and rising up into the sky, climbing into a dot. A couple quick slurred verses and then a second solo pulling even further upwards and out of the thermosphere until it's just wildly skipping about, roiling in itself, bouncing between asteroids and planets and further and further out into the berth of the stars themselves. This is a song in part about leaving the earth behind and all the tender regret and restless excitement you face as you forget where you came from and punch into the deep black yonder.

It would be an amazing song even without the heady drawl of the words, but the lyrics are just pop perfection. Space travel as a metaphor for drugs as a metaphor for love. Love as a metaphor for drugs as a metaphor for space travel. Drugs as a metaphor for love as a metaphor for space travel. Wanderlust and fatigue and transcendence in needles and stargazing and the arms of some other beautiful little fuck-up like you, all mashed up together. Smoky warmth then wispy loneliness. Pulling away and dragging down. Bouncing out into the universe like old radio waves, eroding as you go. Cold outside and burning up inside. A romantic vision of one defiant moment in one line, a terrifying crush of infinity in the next, the tug of addiction and the battle of withdrawal, apathy and death, then rebellion and anger, just all that good and scary shit.

This is a song of true longing, and filled with all the depth and pain and sucking human wounds that that languorously gorgeous word conjures up in your drug-love-and-star-fucked head, your heroin arms and kissed fingers, your endeavour ideas, your challenger heart. Fucking hell, the whole thing is just fucking beautiful and perfect and it makes me want to die. It makes me want to run about and swagger down the street with shivers in my pocket. It makes me cry. It makes me laugh. It reaches as deep and as far and burns as bright as the human sound ever can.

So Scratched Into Our Souls #3: Hard Skin - First Day Angry Song

"STOP THINKING START DRINKING!" - Hard Skin, First Day Angry Song

A couple years ago I had the idea for an essay about pastiches that represent a perfect example of the thing they're pastiching, examples of art that embraced the self-awareness of post-modernism, but rejected the sniffiness of tone that can characterise works of that nature and embraced the silliness and honest joy of the things they were making. I had a big long list of these, and I can't remember all of them and I've lost the notebook they were in, but a few that I can remember include:

  • Dr Hook and the Medicine Show's Shel Silverstein penned Sylvia's Mother, a lovelorn teenage break-up song that highlights the absurdity of how seriously young love is taken by the people involved, but also works honestly as one of those teenage love songs because there is an honesty to the melodrama in those situations.
  • Alan Moore's Tom Strong, pulp comics which knew pulp comics were stupid a lot of the time, full of odd ape obsessions and laughable over-the-top villains, but still got the reader invested fully in the characters who stumbled into these battles with Nazi seductresses in flying machines and what-not. (Actually, pretty much everything Alan Moore has ever done.)
  • Warren Ellis' Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., a massive silly celebration of the purity of comics where people get punched and then explode with its tongue set firmly in cheek.
  • Hal Duncan's Escape From Hell!, a sacrilegious b-movie in 140 pages that had you cheering all the way.
  • Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius books, a sharp satire on the excesses of 60s counter-culture and also the ultimate avatar of its joyous reckless abandon.
  • Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn, a really great detective novel where the narrator comments on how many detectives in detective novels get knocked unconscious as he gets knocked unconscious.
  • Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead.

I abandoned the essay, both because I was incredibly lazy, and I realised that this is such a dominant tone nowadays—a reaction against irony that retains the awareness of your situation that gave birth to the studied irony in the first place—that I was probably writing a book and I didn't have any argument beyond "Hey, look, this is a thing that happens" and that this wasn't a new phenomenon either, there are examples I mentioned just now from 35 years ago and I could probably dig up earlier ones pretty easily, maybe that scene in the classic film noir Rififi that comments on the chiaroscuro aesthetic and underworld obsessions of such films using a shadowplay and song in a club that all the characters visit. I'm sure it goes back much further. (Don Quixote?) But anyway, the point I'm getting to here is that this Hard Skin song I'm talking about falls neatly into that tradition, being as it is a parody Oi! song that is also a great fucking Oi! song.

People get really pissy about Oi! these days. When I asked a DJ at a punk rock night for some Cock Sparrer he said "We don't do Oi." and gave me a look like I'd just asked him if I could shit on his chest. This despite the fact he'd just played Off With Their Heads and they're basically just Cock Sparrer with the working class apolitical anger swapped for introspection and self-loathing.

**If you know what Oi! is and have a brief idea of its history, you can skip the whole next bit. Just press Ctrl+F and type in 'twattitude' and that'll quickly get you to round about the place I actually finally get around to discussing the song.**

I have talked before about the way punk rock borrows and appropriates parts of other styles and cultures that fit its aesthetic, The Clash seizing on bass-driven threat of ska and reggae, World/Inferno incorporating the swirling madness of cabaret and swing. What Oi! did was to take the speed and noise of punk rock and imbue it with the choral emetic that is a football ground terrace chant. It is a great thing to be among people singing the same song. Whether it's the away-end singalongs of "Who's the bastard in the black?" and "We only sing when we're fishing" on one side or Sham 69's "There's gonna be a borstal breakout!" and the Angelic Upstarts' "We're the kids on the street. We're the kids that you meet." on tother. Whatever you're singing, if it's en masse it's pretty thrilling.


The other reason why people dislike Oi! include the supposed far-right tone to the music, because it was explicitly working class and this was a time when a number of working class youths were seduced by the vainglorious xenophobia of the National Front (see Shane Meadows' fine This is England which is set a year or two later but still applies). Oi! bands generally fit into a few categories.

  • Avowedly apolitical like Cock Sparrer. Watch Your Back sets out their philosophy perfectly: "Everybody's talking about revolution/Everybody's talking about smash the state/Sounds to me like the final solution/Right wing, left wing, full of hate" Concerned almost solely with the travails of working class youth and instilling pride in people stuck in shit jobs and on the dole. See also: The Cockney Rejects
  • Slightly political stuff like Sham 69. They do deal with the topic of politics now and then, but always from the perspective of a dumb kid stuck in a situation beyond his control. There's generally more pity than preaching. Sham 69 played Rock Against Racism. They were anti-cop (George Davies is Innocent), anti-war (Ulster is a song of sympathy for all young people caught up in the old old Troubles). Generally just concerned with the emotions and pursuits of bored, confused young people from the shabbier side of town, and this can lead them into political songs, but just as often will leave them singing "HURRY UP HARRY, WE'RE GOING DOWN THE PUB!" See also: Infa Riot, The Business, The 4-Skins.
  • Punk Pathetique like The Toy Dolls. Not quite Oi! A related genre. Goofy working class humour. An absolute refusal to take absolutely anything seriously. See also: Splodgenessabounds, The Notsensibles, The Macc Lads.
  • Left-wing Oi! like Angelic Upstarts. The Upstarts were redder than a fucking matador's hanky. See also: The Burial, The Oppressed.
  • Right-wing Oi! like Skrewdriver. Skrewdriver's first album was apolitical. Then Ian Stuart junked the rest of the band, hired new people, kept the name and started pumping out disgusting white power bullshit. Also slightly more centrist but still right wing bands like Combat 84 that also fucking suck. The whole RAC (Rock Against Communism, not the breakdown company) shite. Completely fucking stupid pricks who obviously never heeded the cry of "In the real 4th Reich you'd be the first to go" from DK's Nazi Punks Fuck Off and continued to espouse a morally and logically bent philosophy which was in fact aimed at capitalising on their localist insecurities and destroying everything they really loved. Utterly despicable bollocks. See also: a bunch of bands I have never bothered to learn the names of because fuck them. Fuck them.

So yeah, there was far-right Oi!, but it definitely wasn't in the majority, Oi!'s political spectrum covered all the laces of the rainbow,* the idea of its right-wing nature springs both from the often social conservative tendencies of the working class they represented (which always have been reinforced by the pandering and patronising centre-right tabloid rags) and the loudness of the right-wing motherfuckers (also focused upon by the lovely scaremongering tabloid rags), and additionally from the fact that the first big Oi! compilation was named Strength Thru Oi!, an unwitting pun on the Nazi slogan Strength Through Joy. Garry Bushell, the journalist behind the compilation, is not a Nazi. He is a fucking twat though, but there is no totalitarian intent or jackboot fetishism to his twattishness, it's just pure and unbridled smug twattidude like a big pint pot full of piss you're forced to drink every time he pops up on a clip show discussing the few seconds for which he was relevant.

Anyway, let's get to the song. Hard Skin, members of another great comedy punk band called Wat Tyler, put out this glorious fucking self-deprecating singalong. Taking the working class and ramping up the silliness until it's approaching Pathetique levels, but it doesn't really have any actual jokes, it just completely overdoes the straight-laced (black) simplistic approach to life as a series of dog races, pub binges and trips to the dole office with no wish to aim for broader horizons. It's stupid and apolitical, it glorifies drinking and pub-culture at the same time that it rips the piss out of it (The Zatopeks' The Boy Done Good does the same thing in a much more wry and subtler fashion, but fuck subtlety), it's a song which uses the word 'cunt' seventy-eight times. This is the chorus of First Day Angry Song:

"Spent all day in the fucking pub, cos I'm a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt cunt. Pissed my giro up the wall, cos I'm a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt cunt. Spent all day in the fucking pub, cos I'm a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt cunt. Pissed my giro up the wall, cos I'm a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt cunt."

This sort of casual profanity should be familiar to anyone who has spent significant time in a drinking establishment of the sort depicted here. Groups of (mostly) men turning the air so blue, everyone is a cunt, everyone is a wanker, all swearwords are simultaneous rueful descriptions of self, friendly reaffirmations of intimacy, a barrier against strangers and genuine threatening hate speech ready to be directed at anyone who threatens their self-satisfied camaraderie. You can call your friend a cunt but at the same time punch someone in the face if they call your friend a cunt, walking a myriad of complex social tightropes with each profanity dropped casually, each 'fuck' or 'prick' with its own little set of nuances, bellowed angrily at a football game on the TV, let slip smoothly in a laughing demand for a cheapskate friend to finally get a round in, growled menacingly through gritted teeth at the unfortunate sod who just spilt your pint and dozens of other uses sitting in a complex web between these ones. Hard Skin, who are as a parody Oi! band one-step in and one-step out of this mindset, get the idiocy of this steadfast narrow-mindedness, but also appreciate the homeliness of a local pub. They simultaneously use the word as a friendly self-deprecating nod at these idiosyncracies, the "Alright, I guess it's this cunt's round." as you get up to go to the bar, and as angry denunciation of the stupid fucking wastrel who blows all their benefits on beer and betting, the "YOU ARE A USELESS FUCKING CUNTSCRAPE!" bellowed at a drunken prick who's forgotten he was supposed to pay the gas bill. And both these conflicting usages are aimed both inwards and outwards, screaming "I'm a cunt!" at someone is probably just as threatening as screaming "You're a cunt!" at them. And that seems to me to be one of the major parts of punk rock, taking your flaws, acknowledging them, knowing that they're stupid but also knowing that they're a strong and essential part of yourself, using them as armour so you can spit in the face of the world as much as you use them as a platform to be angry at yourself, a weapon to dig and lever into all the chances you missed to pull yourself out of this comfortably depressing little mire.

Also, swearing is just fun. Anything which you're not allowed to do on TV is. Especially if, as I discussed earlier, you're doing it in unison with dozens or hundreds of other people. Now I'm gonna stop thinking and start drinking.

*Interesting factoid: Not sure how true this remains, but for a long time you showed your political affiliation as a skinhead by the colour of the laces on your Doc Martens. White = White Power. Red = Socialist/Communist. Black = Apolitical/trad. Pink = Gay. Something like that. There were more but I can't remember. EDIT: According to one of my knowledgable anti-Nazi friends, it's also a fascist fashion thing. Apparently if you're an acknowledged Nazi then red laces means you've spilt blood in the race war. What charming people.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Mix Jones #1: I'd Be Joey From Friends if He Was Always Drunk aka NO PARTIES! NO CASUALTIES!

This is a compilation of punk songs about TV. This is what I came up with. I tried to avoid some of the really obvious ones as I made it as a response mix to the mix of my friend Ditty (who made the sweet fucking cover art you see above) and wanted to avoid any and all of the songs he used, I still let a few unavoidable tracks like the opener creep in though. At first I thought I might be struggling for tracks and then I remembered how all punk rockers are pathetic nerds who love singing about having crushes on characters in TV shows or pathetic nerds who love singing about how how all of TV is a mass market capitalist sedative forced by lizard scum upon a bovine audience of sofa tubers. I think I let it get away from me a bit. The first draft was 50-odd tracks long, so I did pretty well to get it down to this length. For a long while I opened with the Minutemen's Corona. Could've done with another five songs or so of trimming but fuck it, I need to go to bed.

I'd Be Joey From Friends If He Was Always Drunk

01. Choking Victim - 500 Channels
02. Fancy Pants and the Cellphones - Love Cruise
03. The Dickies - Banana Splits
04. Hextalls - Televisionary
05. Connie Dungs - Teenaged Punks on Talk Shows
06. Dead Milkmen - Born to Love Volcanoes
07. Screeching Weasel - 99
08. Neopunkz - If I Watch the TV
09. Butthole Surfers - TV Star
10. Teenage Gluesniffers - Immoreality Show
11. Good Clean Fun - A Healthy Dose of Reality Television
12. Knuckle-hed - Cable TV
13. Jake and the Stiffs - TV and My Baby
14. Plasmatics - Just Like on TV
15. Dead Kennedys - MTV Get Off The Air
16. Shorty Cat - TV Show
17. Oblivion - We Hate Reruns
18. Bomb the Music Industry! - Blow Your Brains Out Live on TV!!!
19. The Steinways - Everybody Loves Raymond
20. Spoonboy - Fireball (Or What I Learned From TV)
21. Golliwog - Commercial TV Sell Shop Show
22. The Capitalist Kids - Television is the Opium of the Dumbasses
23. Southside Stranglers - Too Much TV
24. The Toy Dolls - Alec's Gone
25. BBQ Chickens - Sesame Street Theme
26. Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Colour Television

Length: 1:01:51