Rebellion 2015 day 1
I don’t look like a punk, so perhaps I am not a real punk in the sense of living and looking the part. Yet punk has had a profound impact on the way I see the world, and even on the decisions that I make. If I am not a punk…punk and punks are a source of fascination to me.
So here I am back in the strange and wonderful place called Blackpool…in a sense the perfect place for the gathering of the disciples of punk.
Two acts today define what punk means to me: T.V. Smith and Andy Higgins.
T.V. Smith proves that songs that sounded brilliant, exciting, meaningful and insightful in 1977 are still just as vibrant and relevant today. Smith’s energy and enthusiasm make him the perfect statesman for punk with a message: think for yourself…and just do it!
Andy Higgins delivered a passionate performance on the acoustic stage that will have given Pavarotti little cause to concern in the vocal stakes. He may never win Britain’s got Talent yet Andy asks pertinent questions about how things work….why power is concentrated in certain hands, and what that means for all of us. Andy ran a very creditable campaign in the last general election in England: he doesn’t. Just talk and sing about the concentration of power, he rolls up his sleeves and gets involved. That is perfect punk to me.
Musically Neville Staple delivered a wonderful and joyful set of reggae, ska and Specials songs. The mass singalong in the big booming ballroom showed what a vibrant community sprang up with punk and its exciting offspring, post-punk.
And post-punk received another injection of power and passion with hardcore from the US, and tonight Sick of it All reminded me of how exciting hardcore was when I first heard it in suburban Dublin.
Elsewhere, David Schall delivered a really evocative about growing up punk and going to see bands like Theatre of Hate. It says something about punk that memories of gigs almost 40 years ago now inspire people to get up, do something, make art, and have fun.
And that is what punk is all about.