I guess most people who like music have a genre that rocked their world. In the 50s it was rock and roll. In the late 70s it was punk. For a whole generation it was a feeling of “This is it” – something we’d been waiting for all our lives. Not just a musical revolution (if only for a few short months), it was a cultural revolution too, for many people changing forever the way we thought about everything – politically as well as aesthetically.
It’s easy these days to think punk was about boredom, spitting and safety pins but it was really a massive surge of energy born out of pent-up frustration and adolescent attitude. It came along at a time of political wilderness in Britain after the hottest summer on record in 76 and rising unemployment culminating in national celebrations for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Punk said “Stuff the Jubilee!” and the Sex Pistols (masterminded by Machiavellian manipulator Malcolm MacLaren) released “God Save the Queen”. The Jamie Reid sleeve, a photocopied Queen’s face with a safety pin through her nose, is still one of the iconic images of the twentieth century.
Punk was about Rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, two fingers up to the establishment but huge excitement and passion too. It was angry and pissed off but also hugely creative and inspirational with its DIY attitude: form a band and play Stooges tunes with just 3 chords on a knackered guitar, put a fanzine together with a few bits of paper and a stapler, just go and do it!
It’s a bit like community cinema – some of you will have been to screenings where the technical bit isn’t always as smooth as it could be, but the important thing is that we do it – show some good films in some interesting venues (don’t think we’ve had a boring one yet) to some great audiences and the spirit comes across just as it should.
So 35 years on, we’re remembering the spirit of punk in all its passion and creativity – the spitting can stay back in the past where it belongs – as we approach the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this weekend.
You don’t have to wear a safety pin through your nose or own a pair of bondage trousers to come to our alternative jubilee event. You can even come along after being at a proper street party with union jack bunting! Just bring your spirits of creativity, passion or curiosity – be excited or even delighted. Be part of something. Be anything but bored.