There is a dominant narrative about punk. Here it is in a nutshell: “Real” punk happened in 1977. It was on the wane in 1978. London, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco were the most important places. Punk died in 1979. Hardcore then lasted from 1980-1982. Then Nirvana and Green Day. In those tight brackets, thousands upon thousands of pages have been written.
There is some helpful history of punk in there, but it isn’t the alpha and omega. It isn’t the beginning and end. Yet that history’s being told and sold over and over again, at a big cost.
Those who control that dominant punk narrative actively push other narratives back and down. The price? A rich, vibrant talk about punk that’s happening “out of time,” (the past forty years) “out of place,” (from the American Midwest to Asia), out of popularity and devoid of hero worship is sorely missing in print. Enter Kevin Dunn. His book Global Punk: Resistance and Rebellion in Everyday Life does ultimate service to the title and subtitle. Kevin traveled the world (Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in 2014 for example) and talked to “regular” punks: their philosophies, their actions.
It’s an eye-opening examination of a largely misrepresented lifestyle that spins on alternative axes of meritocracy, equality, and egalitarianism. One of the recurring themes is that present-tense punk—and not just music, but the entire communities that it creates—continues to be a powerful, empowering, valid, vibrant way of life long after the initial explosions.
So, if you’re looking for a potentially new and enriching way to approach punk instead of self-congratulating myth building, give this podcast a listen.
If you like the talk and want to dive deeper, please consider buying Kevin’s book directly from Razorcake. We have it at an affordable price, courtesy of Kevin.
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