Monday, June 27, 2005

Punk Rock Flea Market, or: London Yawning

We had a very good friend come in from the West Coast this weekend (he was one of the two Best Men at our wedding, in fact) and we tried to think of things he might like to do while he was here.

This fellow – let’s call him “Bob” (since that's his name) – moved out West some time ago and found that it agreed with him, and his friends - including us - had to get used to the fact that there was no bringing him back. The temperate clime of California, as well as its more liberal frame of mind, meant that he had found his home. This weekend’s weather seemed only too happy to prove the wisdom of this move, being a brutal, high-temp, humid Philadelphia scorcher.

It’s impossible to get together with Bob without indulging in some punk rock nostalgia, as he was the clerk at what once was Philly’s hippest record store. Between Bob, me, and the wife, you won’t hear much discussion of any record made after 1985. We had our Golden Age and are loathe to leave it go. One of Bob’s first acts upon arriving in the city was to visit the local Tower Records to buy the new Eno CD, in fact. When the cashier made it clear he had no idea who Eno was, well, let’s just say he was lucky that Bob didn’t seek out a manager to fire him on the spot. These kids today!

So these veteran badass punk rockers tried to think of what edgy behavior would be suitable for the day. Now, when all of these aforementioned badasses are starting to hover around the half-century mark, they have to temper their ambition just a bit. So we laid out the possible record stores that might be worth a visit, not to mention the Punk Rock Flea Market being held in the city for the purpose of raising money to pay for the damage to the church that puts on the Punk Rock shows. Which only seems fair.

We started out slowly. First, a visit to the local comic store to find the bendable Ignatz Mouse figure that Bob had taken a shine to when he saw it on my shelf. Then it was off to the K-Mart to find a fan with an LCD display that provides hours of fun with its many spinning color patterns.

After this, the idea of slogging through any more activities in the heat quickly evaporated whatever Anarchy remained within us. So we headed for home, cranked up the A/C, and watched old clips of Iggy, XTC and The Specials on The Old Grey Whistle Test. That’s my kind of Punk Rock Flea Market: Central air, 5.1 surround sound, a big couch, and no one stage diving over my head. After 20 minutes, we all started to fall asleep.

Maybe it’s like John Lennon said. I’m quoting from memory here, but during the Lennon Remembers interview, I remember him talking about his devotion to the ‘50’s idols of his rock ‘n’ roll adolescence. “Maybe I’m just like our parents, and that’s my era and I dig it and I’ll never leave it.”

It was a devotion that was evident all the way through to his last single. Listen to “(Just Like) Starting Over” in your head for a moment. It’s just as much a valentine to Elvis Presley as it is to Yoko Ono.

Which is a pretty good description of just about everything he ever did.

Good night sweet punks, then and now.


Blogger Miss Templeton said...

Ah Count...I shouldn't be such a stranger. Will listen to some Undertones and some Stiff Little Fingers tonite and think fondly of this post.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 8:21:00 PM  

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