Oh I wish I was a Punk Rocker… reflections on Pistol

I got, somewhat both to my amusement and bemusement, called a ‘Boomer’ recently by one of my staff.

OK… so I own my house outright (not that a brick veneer dump in Avondale Heights is much to boast about) and have a tidy amount put away into my superannuation, but I am no Boomer. I was born in 1969, which makes me four years too young to be that, and puts me squarely in the first third of Gen X.

But, as I hurtle at high velocity towards early retirement, it caused me to realise that for the first time in my life, all the people I supervise are younger than me, some by quite a considerable distance.

It was weird, when talking about music in the office, how some of them had never heard of some of the singers and bands I really like, such as Suzanne Vega, Kate Bush (some 30 year old remarked “Isn’t she the crazy one?”) or The Pretenders, just to name a few.

And Gen Y minstrel Sandi Thom, with her 2006 break out song ‘Oh I wish I was a punk rocker, with flowers in my hair’, totally missed the point of Punk Rock.

But to be honest, I was always a little too young for Punk Rock. I was not quite 9 when Johnny Rotten dropped the mike and ended the Sex Pistols, and I did not get around to listening to their music properly til the Covid lockdown, where I streamed their album and a few other classic underground bands (by which I mean bands which will never get played on the radio).

Some bands, like The Grateful Dead, well, you can be grateful that they do not get any airtime.

The Sex Pistols are far better than that. Angry young men who seemed to have a message. ‘Anarchy in the UK’ and ‘God Save the Queen’ are classic anthems for a point in music history.

I finished watching Pistol, Danny Boyle’s biopic six part series about the Sex Pistols, last night, and I think that for all that I did not previously know about this seminal band which flashed through the mid 1970s faster than a soccer hooligan’s sharpened pennies, he did a fantastic job of capturing their rise and inevitable fall. It is gritty, authentic, and mostly true to what happened.

I did not know that Chrissie Hynde (she who led The Pretenders) moved in the same circles as the Sex Pistols, nor that she sought to marry Steve Jones and then Johnny Rotten so as to get a working visa (a scene which, whilst probably not accurate to real life, is a classic in the series). That is true, although the casual affair with Jones in the series is not.

And whilst Johnny Rotten tried as hard as he could to prevent the making of this series, he is presented in a very positive light, with greater empathy than other band members, particularly in the third episode ‘Bodies’ (I will not spoil it for you by giving away details).

I am delighted that Kate Bush has another number one hit after so many years thanks to it being played on Stranger Things on Netflix, but I would also be delighted if, it being the 70th Jubilee of our Queen’s reign, if that song that the Sex Pistols released for her 25th Jubilee oh so long ago would also reach number one as a result of streaming TV.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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