Punk Rock, Girls There’s just something about listening to 70s punk music at my desk at a volume just soft enough so that I don’t bother my coworkers that fills me with an intense infusion of cognitive dissonance. Playing this music and yet still being able to hear people chatting about reports and problems with Microsoft Word is probably stripping it out of its element and putting it right into the Lion’s Den--like if we found out that Reagan loved to crank the Ramones when no one else was in the Oval Office or something.
I don’t have a lot of punk music. I was never part of the scene due to my inexposure to it and tendency towards more melodic music. When I was a young malcontent, grunge was big and I listened to that instead, and so my punk exposure didn’t come until I was in my late 20s.
Also, my interest in music was part of a different type of social seeking than many punk music fans. Punk gets a lot of credit for building a scene, a place where punks and misfits can be part of a group of like-minded people, whereas as a kid I looked for music to be a part of culture as a whole. Part of my early growth was trying to figure out all the things that adults should know about. The idea of a canon-- the things you have to know to get all the things that other people are talking about--was important to me, because talking to people didn’t come naturally to me and so I wanted to understand what was important to other people so that they wouldn’t dislike me for not understanding or caring about them.
And but so I’ve been listening to “California Uber Alles” a lot this weekend--for obvious reasons--and, as a result, the “No Thanks! The 70s Punk Revolution” compilation CD that has it on there, and moving on to other things. I’m still into the more melodic stuff these days; if I can’t find the hook, I’m probably not going to listen to it again. But that still leaves a bunch of songs: probably all the pop hits that true punk fans disdain, like “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?)” or “Teenage Kicks” or “Punk Rock Girl” or anything by The Clash.
I’m not hardcore, but sometimes, I like to listen to it. I just wish I could turn up the volume above a whisper and not bother my coworkers. Ahh, the perils of working in an office with girls in the 20s who went to Ivy League Colleges.