It's dead stupid. Get over it.

Punk shits me. Especially the dogmatic little dweebs that insist it’s a British creation. Super-especially the talking rectums with monkey-see-monkey-do eyebrow piercings (which I always have to fight temptation to grab and twist) and Green Day t-shirts today that insist in proclaiming it’s “not dead!”

Even if you do place some tiny bit of credence in the British perspective on this matter, it was dead by 1977, everything since is just marketing. *FLOOMPH* – like a firework factory fire, it burned very brightly and very, very briefly. And was a wonderful thing, while it lasted.

In actuality it was a much broader cultural explosion fueled by the general social despairs of the times – in Britain particularly, as the entire country was falling to pieces whilst the proletariat was being distracted by the bread and circuses of the Royal Silver Jubilee, a crisis which eventually resulted in Thatcherism as radical remedy, compounding everyone’s despair. There were a LOT of pissed off people. This was also the birth place of the industrial scene, best exemplified by Throbbing Gristle.

At the fringes of those times there also arose a different breed of performer, usually soloists, that can only be described as bards – poet minstrels – who vented their rage with words rather than noise1, best known probably John Cooper Clarke, one angry, angry bastard. But no one captured the bleakness of the times better, I think, than Patrik Fitzgerald.

I stumbled this gem today from Fitzgerald, and it’s one of my all time favourite things2. A blackly Cynical response in 1981 to the newly anointed Maggie Thatcher, who was at that point only beginning her Master Plan to dismantle the entire British social fabric. Very similar to what many parts of the world are experiencing now, so as apt an anthem for our times. Minimalism rarely sounds this good. So enjoy. Or don’t.

Animal Mentality

It’s only being given time to think that creates boredom
I could be better off some other way
Don’t give the opportunity to think to me, it’s not worthwhile
Just take that opportunity away
Just give me things to do, nothing to think about or look at
I’ll work until my body breaks
I’ll live a life as long as or as short as you’ll require me too
A life as long as those things take to do
Just, [just give me animal mentality, just give me animal’s mentality]*4
Then i’ll get by, ok? ok??
I don’t know why you educated me, i knew you hated me
It’s only sadism – your favourite game
Teach people vaguely how to walk, then chop their legs away,
Then laugh at them becase they’re lame
It’s only being given time to think that creates boredom
I think about it and decide that i am free
But freedom’s just like boredom – nothing worthwhile to fight for
Then just give me animal mentality
Then i’ll get by
[just give me animal mentality, just give me animal’s mentality]*3
Then we’ll all get by, ok? ok.
Animal mentality.

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1 – It is this legacy that lesser populist ideologues like Bill Bragg came to trade on. As always, the hard work is done, the path is laid and they follow on and cash in. Much as buffoons like Becky Watson and PZ Myers have done with atheism. Nothing new, just a horde of ready made chumps only catching up on what happened a decade ago sitting there ready to exploit.

2 – From the Tonight EP. Yes, I have it on real vinyl. This video version is ever so slightly different to what’s on the EP – I have no idea where it is from.

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