What happened was I did myself a favor. This last year, I finally started working, I went to a high school reunion to tell my teachers how they tried to kill my brain and how great a job they did on my fellow classmates. Yeah, I was drunk and of course I stole some shit as well from some random classroom. But that’s how it usually goes, right? I fell in love with a girl who broke my heart but at least for the first time I had made love to someone I really loved. To heal my heart I traveled alone to a foreign city, ate vegan pizza with German punk celebrities and did speed from a filthy toilet seat at an illegal and underground dance club with a guy who rambled about the greatness of Bob Dylan, so I dropped my pants and showed him my third tattoo I got one day months earlier with those mythical four bars and the slogan ‘punk love.’
This column will be about punk love. Summoning everything, I have done more adult stuff in one year than maybe I should have, but as I said I did myself a favor. I can still evoke my younger self without the need to make up excuses for why I’m not that person we planned I would be. Maybe I haven’t stayed naïve and curious. I’m jaded more than even a grandpa should be but instead of glorifying my past I’m amazed by my present. Punk is at least for me about the present—staying young, ugly and smart. And mostly because I don’t believe in excuses. Why should anyone make those? Why would we do things we don’t really want? I don’t even believe in guilty pleasures. There’s no guilt in love. There’s no innocence as well. It’s just pure enthusiasm and blindfolded-diving into joy.
Punk love. For the first time this year I paid to sleep in a hostel. That’s where I had a huge revelation. I spent money to sleep in a “nice” hostel, and It was terrible. Before I was just hanging out at a hostel where my friend works. I wanted to sleep on a cold floor but be around a host I had known for years, or even one I just met hours ago but who I know will be cool cause fuck knows, we dress the same so we feel the same.
Seriously if you wear ripped jeans, sneakers and band t-shirts just hit me up and I will make you breakfast. And even though I was there with my friends I still felt alienated. And I felt that this is not real. Cause why would a room be real when the door only opens with money? Whenever I travel I always sleep where real people live. So I have to find punks around the world and convince them I will be cool to have around. And we will have these drunk late night conversations, nerding out on records or just learning from each others’ thoughts. Otherwise I stay on the streets and drink rum with war veteran homeless guys as I did in England once. It was great as well, it’s always great when it’s real. I want it in the pure form and this is the pure form. Hostels, big clubs, contracts, managers—you are stupid and too easy to achieve.
Lately the majority of the shows I went to took place at rehearsal rooms and I loved it cause finally we can be free. And there was no security or other bullshit policy system that clubs like to bust our balls with. Not even a fucking fight happened and it’s a big thing in Eastern Europe when you mix together angry, desperate kids in a small room with booze and loud music. I didn’t miss anything, and I couldn’t even imagine if something was missing. Heat? I was around many people and we sweated. I didn’t even need a cloak room cause I knew my friends wouldn’t steal my winter coat. It was just perfect.
But then either me or something else changed and all I saw around me was establishment. And I hate it. There is just no fun in establishments. I like changing, learning, improving and, I don’t know, just not rotting in one fucking spot. Even circulations are cool. They are always cool. My heart is always with people who can listen to bands and dress and think like they did when they were 16. But I like how my taste and the whole meta taste of the cosmical international punk community is changing and how we rediscover things let it be the Wipers or the whole good part of the ‘90s. Establishment sucks cause it makes things easy and when things are easy people get lazy. And I can feel there is a wall we built around ourselves cause there’s just nowhere further to go, we think. While the top is still far to reach. More so in punk there is no top to reach at all. It’s just a constant struggle and you die. But without struggle life would be fucking boring. And let’s face it it’s already has been very very boring. All of us could have it much easier. Like get a job with a shirt and tie and buy fancy shits to kill time. We are making it harder.
But where is the agenda in going anywhere when the tendency is go to a show and see every weekend the same bands, playing the same songs to the same people at the same place and people just no longer care. They no longer care about the rage in the songs, bands don’t careabout saying something new or just anything that still matters. As I see we just no longer care for a show, for a band, for the magic, we just wanna socialize, drink beer, have funny but shallow conversations and save our weekends instead of saving our lives.
In the message boards everybody is saying the show was good but the after party with nostalgic songs was even better. And I’m fully on the side of dancing but not to nostalgic stupid songs we half laugh, cause ‘yeeea this is what I was listening to when I was a kid.’ You are still a kid if you’re still a punk and kids are open to new things, they wanna learn, they wanna know everything in the world and everything what is new is magical to them. And this is what I can’t really see. It has become entertainment. Fucking instead of love making. I love new bands but it’s just sad when they are dragged out from the rehearsal room cause “we heard you are playing music and everybody is curious so please come” and by then these bands become just products for promotion but it’s no problem cause everybody will applaud cause we’re all friends.
That applause is the establishment. It’s good to witness people feeling awkward and willing to die behind their instruments, but I just wish them some extra months in the rehearsal room. Or I should just go to their practices. And witness their magic there. ‘Cause why the fuck not? I love shows but there is some more intimate magic in going to someone’s rehearsal.
And it sounds good on paper that most of the new bands I have seen this year sounded like Beat Happening trying to play Negative Approach songs, but the truth is I missed confidence from these players. Feeling awkward and shy wasn’t what they wanted. And the simplicity of punk always satisfies you with the joy of getting what you wanted. Cause you are able to get it yourself if you try. But as a good friend of mine said, some bands are just too into the vibe of doing band stuffs than trying to write good songs and being a truly good band. If you wanna get satisfied by others you can be disappointed, while if you are reaching for your own acceptance you will never be fully let down.
To say again, establishments are terrible. Just go to Germany and I swear you will get bored of anti-fascism. Cause we are always anti-something and it makes everything easy. The problem is somehow this. Most of us define ourselves by what we are not doing, so I see more awful pictures of tortured animals than awesome photos of delicious food made out of veggies. We are heroes by not doing things. So we stopped doing things. You are good by not being racists, by not looking on women as a weaker sex, by not supporting countless ignominious companies.
Rebellion has become something we can adopt. And it gives you nothing ‘cause you are just an opposite and not an alternative. And this gives you nothing. It’s like a reunion show. Maybe it’s good or magical—like seeing Hot Snakes was magical—but a reunion show never gives more than a more lively presentation of some songs of a disbanded group. It tells you nothing about what is happening right now, shows no connection to what you are doing right now. Establishment makes you stop being yourself. That’s why punk should never be fully established. And even by me saying this—thou shalt not do — it really means that you shouldn't believe me.
Cause what I’m bored of is the theater all of us are playing when we forget about ourselves. It’s when we start to tell others how to do their own punk. Cause I believe in this. There is no such thing as punk in general. There is no agenda punk should do, it’s not like something that could be defined by a purpose of what we have to achieve or something that is depending on the people who are in it. Or it does depend on the people in it but then we should just accept whatever that is. Cause whatever it is we are making it that way. And in that we are there—you as well as I. So stop saying how it should be, who should do it and all this shit. People are sad cause it’s no longer a threat? Really? Then make it be one. Don’t wait on others. Don’t be upset and paralyzed because everyone around you is doing it their way which is different than yours. And what the fuck will happen if something is different then what you do? I’ve started my zines, my bands, my blogs because I did not like what others were doing and I just knew that if I make them on my own it will be good, cause I know I will like it.
But I have never questioned the right of existence of lame things. I could tell the majority of the world that Ceremony sucks ass, that they are a bad band who are punk only for kids who exclusively listen to hardcore. Hardcore with caps lock. Hardcore with contracts and hotel rooms and baggy clothes and gymnastic moves. But I trust the members of Ceremony that they are doing whatever they like to do and I trust their listeners that maybe they know they could listen to better bands but they have chose to listen to crap instead. Because it’s just enough for them. Just because music isn’t for everyone doesn’t mean whoever doesn’t have a minimum of enthusiasm to be late for dates or work because there’s still one more song I should listen to, that they shouldn’t be allowed to listen to music at all. Or punk music either. Just like how gay marriage won’t break up our parents pact of eternal love, lame people won’t destroy our punk either. I know this myself because I spent too much fucking time bragging about what is shit instead of making an alternative. Nothing has changed and I still like good things and want to do good things even if forgetting myself and being a critic is easier.
And what if people will think what I’m doing is crap? Well I won’t care ‘cause I like what I’m doing so much that I don’t need others’ acceptance. I hate people begging for respect. Do something you can respect and maybe people who think the same or be able to spot real things will respect you. But mostly old guys are addicted to young kids’ respect. And they don’t get it cause they stopped doing awesome things decades ago. But just because something is said ten years ago it won’t make it truer due to the fact it’s older. The Bible is something like that and we don’t wanna be Christians. Cause even scientologists are more up to date than old crucifix lovers.
It’s not an unnatural thing to be bummed out by others. And it’s even more natural to just stop caring. We are punx and we are extraordinary. I’m tired of this. I’m also tired of people seeing punk as something that is up to the punks who are doing it. The punks who are around us. Yeah maybe a scene is what people are making it, but there is always smaller parts that makes the scene. And that’s your punk.
Sometimes we act like this is a ship and from wherever a new wind comes we are fucked. But we are swimming in the ocean. Don’t be afraid of being alone. Cause being alone means you are being yourself and if you can be yourself people might just like who you are—not just where you are and who you know.
I know for a fact that there is nothing better than walking alone at night in abandoned neighborhoods when the weather is foggy and wet and you just listen to the best music that is noisy but still beautiful. Cause everything is beautiful when it’s played by eternal kids and heard through headphones while the freezing air tries to break you. I got so psyked one autumn night listening to Void and the Libyans I got goose bumps and I just wanted to stay out on the streets, walk a million miles alone until the sun came up. Or when I went to have a relationship-reconciliation-speak and was listening to Sonskull on the bus and couldn’t really believe anything could be better heared. My lonely twelve hour train ride back home from Germany blasting The Men’s second LP for 4 hours straight and forgetting about all my annoying travelmates. Or last night walking in a foggy forest to Universal Order of Armageddon and been amazed by how beautiful some of their guitar parts are.But this is music. Strength in solitude comes when you just have thoughts that you gather together by only you, or when you are losing yourself in a crowd just focusing on how and what you feel. These things. Dancing like you don’t care. Or dancing because you care and wanna show them. Please always care and do things you feel like you want to do. I know it sounds too typical. But it also feels fucking good which is not a too typical a feeling in this existence. And see I’m doing it again now. Forgetting myself and telling you what to do. Anarchists never say please come closer. They believe people are standing wherever they want to stand and they don’t wanna tell others what to do. When you are in love you just don’t care about what others do cause they can’t change your happiness. When you are in love you are just capable and willing to do anything. When you are in love you’re just able to be yourself without the need to make excuses. This is punk love and I know it won’t dump me.