Monday, April 4, 2011

Please Kill Me...The Uncensored Oral History of Punk


Today in class when talking about Whitman and comparing it to that modern day punk band, I couldn't help but think of a book I read last year. It's called "Please Kill Me...The Uncensored Oral History of Punk" by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. It's a history of punk from the people who lived it, so the entire book is basically years of interviews. People like Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Richard Hell and a lot of other musicians at the time are featured.

It's a really great read. Easily one of the best books about music that I've ever read. I think it's poignant for our class when talking about romanticism, because this book romanticizes this harsh punk world making it almost seem normal, then everything just falls apart and the ugliness of the world is apparent. Thinking about it, it kind of reminds me of the transition from Romanticism to Realism. But maybe I'm just thinking way too much about this!

7 comments:

  1. Emily I think you are definitely on to something. The music of the 60's and 70's leading up to the punk movement was most definitely a "romantic" genre. When thinking of the music that came out of the 60's my mind wanders towards songs about love and totally groovy celebrations of the human race (perhaps like Whitman's celebration of America?). Punk was supposed to be back to the raw basics played hard and fast with no glamour, a form of realism. That looks like an interesting book, I will have to check it out.

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  2. These conversations are genius! And relevant! And they mention oral history, which we've discussed in class! There's also this relevant book that puts a little bit of pressure on the claims both of you are making. Thoughts?

    Finally, here's a clip of Joy Divison's "Disorder" just because.

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  3. That's really interesting! I know very little about punk in general (perhaps I should be expanding my musical tastes) but Andrew's comment makes perfect sense to me. Whenever a wave of romanticism or optimism hits America they tend to enjoy it for a while then rebel against it...the punk movement is just one example.

    I like this background...a very romantic picture of what DC is supposed to look like right now!

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  4. Instresting! I always like to link different types of arts together. When music interacts with literature, it creates chemicals : ) Music as well as literature are ways to express oneself. Definitely will check out this book.

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  5. Yes, Stephanie, the template is romantic. If it were realistic, it would include images of millions of tourists clogging the streets, sidewalks, and running paths.

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  6. This book is extremely relevant to our class discussion last week! Nice memory. I will definitely check out this book. I also don't really know that much about punk music, but the instrumentals and the vocals are much more raw and harsh-sounding to me (in a good way) than the flowery, hippie music of the '60s and '70s. Punk music of the '80s realistically reflects the social and political changes from the previous decades. Music during the Vietnam War also addresses political tensions of that era, but a lot of it was in a more optimistic, happy-go-lucky way. Why this sudden change from a romantic depiction of society to a realistic one in the arts?

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