PUNK IS DEAD: MODERNITY KILLED EVERY NIGHT
Co-edited and including essays written by Richard Cabut and Andrew Gallix, this original collection of insight, analysis and conversation charts the course of punk from its underground origins, when it was an un-formed and utterly alluring near-secret – back in the garage, when the cult still had no name – through its rapid development. Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night takes in sex, style, politics and philosophy, filtered through punk experience, while believing in the ruins (of memory), to explore in depth a past whose essence is always elusive.
Significant contributors include Jon Savage (England’s Dreaming), Jonh Ingham (the journalist who wrote the very first interview with the Sex Pistols, for Sounds), Barney Hoskyns (Rock’s Backpages founder and author), Paul Gorman (Malcolm McLaren biographer), Penny Rimbaud (Crass), Dorothy Max Prior (Rema Rema, original punk), Simon Critchley (On Bowie), Nicholas Rombes (Ramones), Ted Polhemus (Streetstyle), Mark Fisher (Ghosts of my Life), Neal Brown (Tracey Emin), Tom Vague (Vague), Tony D (Ripped & Torn), Andy Blade (Eater, The Secret Life of a Punk Rocker), Simon Reynolds (Shock and Awe) and Judy Nylon (Snatch, multi-disciplinary artist).
At once cerebral and hyperactive, here is a nuanced portrait of the maverick spirit of the age. The anthology makes fabulous connections between ideas, people, events and lifestyle to illuminate our sense of punk rock, retracing and recalibrating the pattern of the culture.
Tony Drayton chatted to Richard Cabut, annotating the influential ‘Pet Puppies in Theory and Practice’ article from the second issue of Kill Your Pet Puppy published in 1980.
I have ONLY placed the original article from the original fanzine below.
Tony’s shares some personal recollections loosely based around this article to Richard Cabut, which offer a fascinating insight to Tony’s world-view and punk ‘lifestyle’ at that time, thirty seven years ago. I have NOT added those words of course.
BUY BUY BUY THE DAMNATION OF YOUR SOUL
PET PUPPIES IN THEORY AND PRACTICE:
‘Steal your future back and live it out for yourself,’ the boy mumbled, tossing slightly in the bed, he began to wake up…
I wake up tired, trying to remember the rapidly fading remnants of my tortured dream about radical anarchy.
Battle plans conceived, but only fragments remembered, I realise that today is the Sid Vicious March. I have to make plans for today. I still haven’t moved or opened my eyes — when I do I see the blonde figure beside me is still motionless. What time is it? I go back to sleep.
What’s the fucking point of marching for Sid anyway — I never thought anything he did was so important, except maybe smashing Nick Kent’s head open, throwing Kent’s glorification and fascination with violence in his face.
It would make more sense to celebrate the first Sex Pistols gig or the release of Anarchy.
And besides I can think of far better ways to commemorate than marching from Sloane Square to Hyde Park or wherever — but I’m going to go anyway because at least it’s an EVENT, maybe there’ll be some good atmosphere and unity (I’ll probably get beaten up, arrested, or both). Remember ‘Brighton’ and the Jock McDonald football match. Remember the ‘meetings’ in Hyde Park about a year ago? And yet I still manage to raise some optimism, well wouldn’t you?
My room is a total shamble, I lay in bed surveying everything, trying to decide whether to finish off my sulphate supplies before I go, or if I should even get out of bed — the blonde girl’s gone to wash her hair and various people wander in and around — vaguely I try and work out who stayed the night in Puppy Mansions before I realise I’d better get up or forever stay in bed.
Everyone seems to be cynically enthused about the March I discover, as I make the rounds of the house trying to find a brush — vive le revolution and I feel fucking awful. I’ve gone beyond the states that can be cured or at least, temporarily numbed with sulphate —anything speedy or energising I take now will transform in PARANOIA, and that I don’t need. Not today.
Last night I went to see the Swell Maps and Pink Military. Not because I really wanted to see either, but I feel it’s important to get out to gigs – keep in touch. It was sold out when we (me and Iggy/Grant) got there but after a hassle we got in because a Swell Map knew the name ‘Tony D’.
I didn’t enjoy it, even though I sold 36 copies of ‘Pet Puppy’, but at least I knew there was a party on in the squat in my road to look forward to when we got back. I didn’t stay long there although that was where the blonde came from, and I returned there on Saturday morning to rouse them for the March.
When Puppy Mansions had woken up and got itself sorted out there were six of us, four guys and two girls, ready to go — from the squat I collected four participants, three girls and a guy. Today’s Puppy Collective.
A ten strong ‘Puppy Collective’ marching boldly for Sid Vicious? No, ten people marching for their right not to care. Ten people, along with other groups of tens, fours, threes, other individuals who care enough to march for their right to not care — their right to live fast, their right to be ABLE to live fast IF THEY WANT TO.
We want the choice even if we don’t use it, that’s why we’re going to Sloane Square.
Not because some poxy junkie died trying to live up to someone else’s myth, but because we want that chance of creating our own myth, our own future. I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why but there HAS to be a way to create a future where things aren’t just ‘alright’ and where we don’t have to put up with 99% of our lives being wasted waiting for things we KNOW are only going to be second or third best, where we don’t have to be afraid to walk the street just because social failures attempt to ‘get their own back’ on a society that rejected them by beating up and robbing anything identifiable as a separate group or tribe.
We, the Puppy Collective, step beyond prescribed decent standards of dress, attitude, and behaviour. We, as punks as part of a mass punk consciousness that was shown to be still alive and inspired even today, ESPECIALLY TODAY, publicly wear outfits guaranteed to attract derision and abuse, if not open attack, not as an idle game. It is because we have a conviction that can never be destroyed by any number of abusive or physical attacks, a desire to confront people’s standards. To confront and violate their conceptions of decency, to make null and void their false judgements of right and wrong.
A desire to confront MYSELF, to draw from myself a new self.
Because it’s there. By the time we get to the King’s Road it’s half past two and we hear many distorted versions and stories of what we missed.
There’s punks wandering around in every direction, disorganised and colourful — but there’s an atmosphere you could cut with a knife, and it’s not the sort of atmosphere I want to get disorganised and colourful in. Too many skins — organised and GREY — I often wonder how scared inside you have to get, how bitter and full of hate for everything you have to get before you’re driven to such brutally ugly extremes.
The biggest enemy of a skinhead is COMPASSION, and love, and yes, understanding, but especially COMPASSION. It so negates and empties every value they feel necessary to flaunt that they have to violently crush, ruin, destroy and wipe out any trace of it especially if that trace happens to involve other people doing and enjoying everything they can’t, or are too scared to try. Like being yourself, and letting other people be themselves, understanding WHY other people need to be different from you. Like anarchy.
Peaceful anarchists say, ‘Teach them love, let them have a chance to feel compassionate.’ The Pet Puppy Survival Guide says the only lessons skinheads collectively can understand are hard, brutal ones, like a small anonymous militia seeking out their leaders (the ones who use the others by politically organising them for the leaders’ own gain) and killing them. And making fucking sure the underlings know exactly why there’s dead skins lining the streets. I mean it’s fucking war already, when we (the Puppy Collective) left the King’s Road and went straight to Hyde Park (but the diagonally opposite end from Speakers Corner) we walked right into a confrontation, one side blinded in organised hatred, and one side a loose collection of individual conviction.
As we walked along the Serpentine Lake to reach the bridge that led onto the Speakers Corner side of the park we became aware of a gathering of skins watching us. We’d swollen to about 20 (half male and half female) spread about thirty yards apart, there was about 2025 of them, all male. There was about a minute to decide whether to stand or run.
As I had been at the back of our group I moved up through, sussing out the attitude. Most weren’t aware of any impending doom, and I’d just reached the front of our parade when one or two skins started moving forward with intent.
By this time, we were almost at the bridge (or at least the front end was) and they were coming in from out right with the bridge an obvious escape route on our left, leading into the open park. The front skins started running, leading a massed attack and I take off over the bridge, with others following and in front.
They managed to get one punk on the ground, but they stop and walk off in the opposite direction from us almost immediately.
They seem to have been interested in a massed charge rather than a fight (perhaps the odds weren’t one sided enough, after all it was only two of them to every male punk) — but it’s hard to tell. It was the surprise element that fucked us, but we were ready for any further attacks as we crossed the remainder of the park.
Within minutes of us regrouping and marching off though, we’d separated into another shambling stretched out line of spikey hair and leather — but maybe that’s why ‘PUNK’ is so creative (at times), this stubbornness to avoid the security of organisation. The sterility of orderliness.
My paranoia was pushing out fever-pitched thoughts and speculations but the rest of the day was an anti-climax. At Speakers Corner — nothing.
We were three steps behind the ‘real’ march all the way thru Oxford Circus, Carnaby Street, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
All we found and met were straggling bunches telling us where they’d last seen The March vanish into the distance.
With people drifting off like flies and newcomers drifting along we met all the massed police wagons and police hostility that burst into aggression at Piccadilly Circus (just as we seemed to be creating a frail unity amongst the straggling punks following us) when they moved in and really split us apart.
Two grabbed and questioned and searched me (whilst a member of the Puppy Collective was stashing his drugs into a hole in the wall three feet away).
I told them I was on my way home, in a voice that screamed Defeat, Depression and an Apathetic Acceptance of both. Which was how I felt at the time (if I had any feelings left apart from stark, paralyzing paranoia) at half past four in the pouring rain with two police holding my arms and my feet aching from all the pointless walking.
‘Are you alright?’ No, I’m not alright, it can’t be alright, it’s not alright if you have to spend a day defending your faith, carrying your banner only to have THEM try to crucify you on it. When you allow yourself some HOPE that you’re going to gain some ground only to finish up with your back to the wall defending your already hard-fought for space, with clouds of disillusionment poisoning the very conviction you’re using as a weapon.
But we’re learning still. I’m learning to fight and why it’s okay to fight for peace, and the most important lesson of all is that you can talk and talk. Write and write, think and think, but unless you physically back it up when you’re challenged, unless you physically show you believe in your theory you’re just a hypocritical waste of time to yourself and others.
Foreword: Punk’s the Diamond in My Pocket — Judy Nylon
Introduction: Prose for Heroes — Richard Cabut and Andrew Gallix
The Boy Looked at Eurydice — Andrew Gallix
Rummaging in the Ashes: An Interview with Simon Critchley — Andrew Gallix
King Mob Echo — Tom Vague
Glam into Punk: The Transition — Barney Hoskyns
The Divining Rod and the Lost Vowel — Jonh Ingham
Malcolm’s Children — Paul Gorman talks to Richard Cabut
Boom! — Ted Polhemus
The Flyaway-Collared Shirt — Paul Gorman
SEX in the City — Dorothy Max Prior
A Letter to Jordan — Richard Cabut
Punk’s not Dead. It’s in a Coma… — Andy Blade
Ever Fallen in Love? — David Wilkinson
For Your Unpleasure — Mark Fisher
1977 — Richard Cabut
Sexy Eiffel Towers — Andrew Gallix
The End of Music — Dave and Stuart Wise
Banned From the Roxy — Penny Rimbaud
Learning to Fight — Tony Drayton talks to Richard Cabut
Unheard Melodies — Andrew Gallix
Punk Movies — Nicholas Rombe
Some Brief and Frivolous Thoughts on a Richard Hell Reading — Richard Cabut
Leaving the 21st Century — Andrew Gallix
Tales of Low-Life Losers — Bob Short
Positive Punk — Richard Cabut
1976/86 — Simon Reynolds
Camden Dreaming — Richard Cabut
Camera Squat Art Smiler — Neal Brown
Punk Etymology — Jon Savage
Join John ‘Boogie’ Tiberi at Rough Trade West, celebrating the launch of ‘Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night’, published 27th October on Zero Books.
With guest readings from Jonh Ingham (Sounds, The Spirit of 76: London Punk Witness), Neal Brown (Tesco Bombers), Tom Vague, Dorothy Max Prior (Rema Rema, Psychic TV), Tony Drayton (Ripped & Torn, Kill Your Pet Puppy), and Editors Richard Cabut and Andrew Gallix.
The legendary music journalist who wrote the very first interview with the Sex Pistols, for Sounds. Author of the essential The Spirit of 76: London Punk Witness (Anthology Editions, 2017), chronicling punk’s early gigs. Jonh’s contribution to Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night, a piece about Patti Smith, was described by Lenny Kaye as the best on-the-road-article he had ever read. With good reason.
Dorothy Max Prior
Max, as she is better known in the punk world, worked at the ICA in 1976, helping to put on the infamous Prostitution show by COUM Transmissions, as well as the Clash gig of the same year. She played drums in early incarnations of the Ants and The Monochrome Set, before forming and playing with Rema Rema, The El Trains and Psychic TV. She released a single on Industrial Records under the name Dorothy. Her extraordinary piece for this book recounts her experiences as a punk stripper in the mid-70s.
Tony D founded two influential and inspirational fanzines, Ripped & Torn in 1976 and Kill Your Pet Puppy in 1980. He traced the rise and evolution of punk into an anarchistic and positive lifestyle. In his piece for Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night, Tony has annotated his important 1980 piece ‘Pet Puppies in Theory and Practice’, giving an insight into the squatting punk scene of the time.
Neal is the author of books on Billy Childish and Tracey Emin, and wrote the introduction to Bill Drummond’s 45. A participant in the mid-70s west London squatting and music scenes (Tesco Bombers), he wrote the original sleeve notes for Joe Strummer’s 101’ers LP, Elgin Avenue Breakdown. Neal’s piece in Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night, gives a very personal insight into the self-negation that was sometimes present in punk rock.
Well-known and -respected local W11 psychogeographer. Tom published one of the first post-punk fanzines, the renowned Vague, and also wrote for Zigzag, International Times and City Limits. In his piece for the Punk is Dead anthology Tom points out the intense associations between punk and the Situationists.
John ‘Boogie’ Tiberi
Grove-based associate/tour manager/photographer of the Sex Pistols and the 101ers/early Clash – ‘It was arguably John Tiberi who helped create the punk movement when he put the 101ers as headline in a gig with the Sex Pistols as the support act.’ John’s recent exhibitions include Punk Dada Situation at the Lucca Film Festival, Italy.
Richard Cabut is the co-editor of and contributor to the anthology Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night (Zer0 Books, October 2017). His journalism has featured in the NME (pen name Richard North), ZigZag, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, The Big Issue, Time Out, etc. He was a Pushcart Prize nominee 2016 for his fiction. Richard’s plays have been performed at various theatres in London and nationwide, including the Arts Theatre, Covent Garden, London. He published the fanzine Kick, and played bass for the punk band Brigandage (album – Pretty Funny Thing – Gung Ho Records – 1985).
Friday 20 October 2017 – 6:00pm
Rough Trade West
130 Talbot Road
London W11 1JA
6.00pm Readings + Q&A
First there was a manuscript sent to me by Matthew Worley in glorious black and white.
Read by me, underlined and crossed out in equal measure by me (and no doubt a handful of others that were sent manuscripts) and by the grace of the dark arts, this manuscript with my child-like scribbles on has been transformed into a book in glorious colour.*
My hardback book is heavy enough to put through the windows of a Bentley, given the right trajectory and thrown at the correct velocity, I’ve no doubt that the softback edition can also make a dent.
I’ve already read the manuscript, so as night follows day, this book will be well worth a read.
* Text is not in colour.
NO FUTURE: PUNK / POLITICS / BRITISH YOUTH CULTURE 1976 – 1984
‘No Feelings’, ‘No Fun’, ‘No Future’.
The years 1976–84 saw punk emerge and evolve as a fashion, a musical form, an attitude and an aesthetic. Against a backdrop of social fragmentation, violence, high unemployment and socio-economic change, punk rejuvenated and re-energised British youth culture, inserting marginal voices and political ideas into pop.
Fanzines and independent labels flourished; an emphasis on doing it yourself enabled provincial scenes to form beyond London’s media glare. This was the period of Rock Against Racism and benefit gigs for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the striking miners.
Matthew Worley charts the full spectrum of punk’s cultural development from the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and Slits through the post-punk of Joy Division, the industrial culture of Throbbing Gristle and onto the 1980s diaspora of anarcho-punk, Oi! and goth.
He recaptures punk’s anarchic force as a medium through which the frustrated and the disaffected could reject, revolt and re-invent.
‘Matthew Worley manages to strike a remarkable balance between vividly evoking punk’s raucous rebellion, while also revealing how its aesthetics and politics disrupted the routines of British society. No Future is history as punk, and punk as history.’
John Street, author of Music and Politics.
‘No Future cuts through the stodgy crust of nostalgia, self-serving memoir and fan-boy facts that conceals punk and reveals the truth of youth culture in late Seventies / early Eighties Britain: the internecine battles fought over issues of sound and style were inextricably linked to the political conflicts and dilemmas of that era. Digging deep into the fanzine squabbles and music press controversies that raged across the punk community, Matthew Worley brings to keen life the urgency of a period that felt at once like an terrifying crisis-time and the dawn of a new epoch delirious with radical possibilities. Giving Anarcho and Oi! the serious attention they’ve long deserved, and analysing this tumultuous time through perspectives that range from anti-consumerist boredom and feminist personal politics to media-critique and dystopian dread, No Future is an essential read for punk scholars and punk fans alike.’
Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84 and Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy.
‘I’ve been involved with punk for most of my life but even for me it’s easy to forget how diverse the whole movement was. This book reminded me of how exciting and different it all was and how ‘real’ punk had nothing to do with the media’s myths. Look and learn my little droogs.’
Steve Ignorant, former member of the band Crass.
‘A clear and engaged account of a complex and vexed topic.’
Jon Savage, author of England’s Dreaming.
Matt Worley will be in conversation with Steve Ignorant, formerly of legendary punk band Crass.
Chair: Cathi Unsworth.
DJ set by Tim Wells.
Tuesday 17 October 2017 – 7.00pm
Rough Trade East
Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane
London E1 6QL
7.00pm – On-stage “in-conversation” + audience questions
8.00pm – Book signing + Tim Wells DJ set
9.00pm – close.