I wanna be Anarchy

I was 10 when I saw my first punk - spiked dyed hair, painted leather jacket, tight tartan trousers and Doc Marten boots halfway up the calf

I missed punk by just a couple of years, and I've regretted it ever since. Born in 1967, I was 10 when I saw my first punk - spiked dyed hair, painted leather jacket, tight tartan trousers criss-crossed with zips and Doc Marten boots halfway up the calf. To a 10-year old out shopping with his mum and still in flares it was a frightening sight.

The end of the 1970s was when my childhood leash was being loosened, and at weekends I was allowed to go unaccompanied into Liverpool city centre. It was in the centre that I saw more punks, but at the time I think I saw them more as members of an alien race rather than just local adolescents who had signed up to the latest craze. Either way they exerted a strange fascination; punks wore their rebellion (quite literally) on their sleeve, they didn't seem to care what anyone thought of them (certainly not true given they were angst-ridden teenagers) and their symbology and the ‘philosophy' they professed (mostly just for fashion's sake in truth) appealed to a young mind that was beginning to suspect that adults were full of bull.

Just about all teenagers come to the realisation that the older generation have about as little idea of navigating the world as they do. At the time it seems like a betrayal and the natural reaction is to kick out against your elders and show your anger. Teenagers at the end of the ‘70s were lucky, as punk provided them with the perfect means to do so. (My chance came a few years later with the New Romantics, but the less said the better).

Those adolescents grew up and moved on and punk disappeared. Or did it? Forty years after Johnny Rotten screamed “I am the Antichrist” into the mic while Sid Vicious pretended to play the bass next to him, punk is still around. Naturally it lives on in the memories of those who were there (see the interview with Jordi Valls on pages 22-24) but for such a fleeting movement it left indelible marks on our culture (see the report on punk-inspired films on pages 28 & 29). Its reach was also widespread. Despite the association with the British culture from which it emerged (God Save the Queen - see our fantastic front cover, or Anarchy in the UK), young people everywhere could not resist its pull, including in Catalonia (see Xavi Cot's summary of the punk scene here on page 25, or the report on punk and Catalan artists on pages 26 & 27).

Transgressive, energetic, flamboyant, rude, non-apologetic, the attractions of punk are many. It fascinated me at the time, and 40 years later I still wanna be Anarchy.

Forty years of punk Pages 22-29
In 1977, a new pop cultural phenomenon appeared that violently rejected convention through its fashion and music like no other had done before or since. Punk had arrived and, for a few short years, stuck two fingers up at the establishment as young people everywhere signed up to this extreme form of rebellion that just as suddenly disappeared. However, its influence continued in all forms of popular culture so that this year we can legitimately celebrate the 40th anniversary of its emergence. In our multi-page report on punk we talk to the people who were there and trace some of the ways it affected our culture.
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