The usual outrage has flared up amongst the alternative scene today as more punk stylings have found their way into the mainstream. It’s not even a specific person doing it, but a shop. An evil capitalist shop. Raziq Rauf thinks the punks should actually pipe down. It’s just a jacket, after all…
There’s been vague uproar in punk circles today and, as ever, their ire is directed at The Man. Firstly, Urban Outfitters have the temerity to sell a punk-oriented leather jacket. Sure. Secondly, and conversely, the last bastion of quality journalism, Buzzfeed have published a riveting list of pictures explaining why “punk is dead”. Sure.
The leather jacket, then. It’s got the Crass and Sex Pistols logos crudely painted on the back and it’s retailing at $375 (£225). Damn their filthy high street mitts ripping off our punk culture en masse, right? Actually, no. It’s a one-off jacket rather than being off a production line and so it was probably reclaimed from a charity shop for a tenner and so those are almost certainly ‘authentic’ hand-painted logos on the back. By a real punk. So stop ragging on how shit it looks.
And the listicle. Fuck this shit. Punks are easily identifiable. It’s a strong look and that’s why everyone wants to adopt it. It looks cool. Standing there with all your mates dressed the same? You look cool. The punk philosophy runs through all alternative music and if to be punk is to think differently and kick out the jams, then isn’t it totally counter-intuitive for there to be any kind of uniform at all? That’s for The Suits, after all. If you’ve really got a problem with uniforms, you might want to think twice about that Black Flag tattoo and Fred Perry polo that everybody else in your scene has got.
It’s a self-imposed cultural apartheid and the herd mentality manifests itself when someone different is perceived to be ambushing your space – the fear of The Other. It’s impossible to go into a metal bar in a suit – as I’ve done a couple of times recently after weddings and awards ceremonies – without one’s integrity being questioned. Luckily, an unnecessarily strong knowledge of Australian hardcore really helped shut one stupid clot up and arbitrarily listing all the Slayer albums chronologically did for the other sneering toad. The fact of the matter is that tribalism is rampant and for a community that largely prides itself on supporting its own, it can be massively and purposefully alienating.
This isn’t Lord of the Rings, where Orcs, Elves and Hobbits are all from different species and only intermingle against a common enemy. Well, politically the world is exactly like that, but we all despise and protest against war and racism, right? Anyway…
The truest punks are an ever-decreasing minority. Trust me: most of your friends are fake punks in it to look the part and be cool. How we look doesn’t have an effect on how we think. A Ramones t-shirt isn’t an indicator that someone’s cool and a suit isn’t an indicator that someone is not. It’s best for everyone if we just accept that this sub-culture has long been adopted and infiltrated and there’s nothing we can do about it but try to think a bit differently. Our mind, after all, is what truly separates us.