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Reignition of Punk Appreciation: Professionally Worthless

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Reignition of Punk Appreciation: Professionally Worthless

Andrew Ryan

I went to see a gig at the Northcote Social Club, a regular night called Monday Night Mass; a few bands played and it was good. I assessed the music in my head but nothing was too lasting, but I clapped and I tapped my feet and moved my legs and everything. I highly recommend Terrible Truths to anyone who likes up-beat guitar and bass and drum tunes; although they are a little samey after a while, the vibe is pretty great and one of the band members is one of those people that you can’t take your eyes off when she’s roaming around the stage.

The stage is a funny thing; what you do, how you behave, when you’re on stage, it’s funny. I recently watched a film called Farewell My Concubine, which is a Chinese story of two actors who work in the opera. It is epic and beautiful, and over the twelve hours it took me to watch this three hour film, I thought about the actors I’ve known over the years, especially because one of those actors was recently able to show the world the trailer for the horror film she was involved in. It was a good trailer. She has a nice voice, and a good face, and it was interesting to see and hear her screaming on a screen before I’ve seen her do IRL.

Farewell My Concubine told me that during the Manchu dynasty in China, actors were given a lot of respect, mostly if they were masters. Stars. Their training was brutal, not just because of the fact that acrobatics were all tied up with learning the lines and the songs. Actors gotta be told what to do, but they also gotta have the freedom to express their vision of what a character should/could be. Training isn’t nearly as brutal now as it used to be, what with Human Rights and OH&S etc, but one could say that the process of auditioning and being turned down over and over is a brutal one. Fuck that shit. It sounds terrible, possibly worse than having your writing rejected over and over. But a lot of people do it because acting is what they love. Same with writing. Every human needs a skill, and you may as well love the one you choose.

/ / / /

One of the bands that played were exactly what I was in the mood for, what I was hoping for when I decided to go, something I’ve been missing in a live context for aaaaages. It was a mostly fast punk thing, I can’t remember their name – I will find out later and post it on my twitter account maybe – all the boys wearing a black t-shirt uniform, but put them in a shirt and suit pants and you wouldn’t be able to pick them from yr regular young bank teller in the city, at least from where I was standing right at the back of the crowd. I wonder if any bank tellers play in punk bands? Maybe these guys are that thing. Their visual steeze made them seem more professional. They were tight too, mostly very tight, so that helped. I like it when bands look professional, in a relaxed kind of way. Professional. What does that even mean?

It means: “engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur”.

Punk (in informal Northern American English) means worthless.

Professional looking punks. It sort of doesn’t make sense. I don’t think it’s possible, unless you look at it like… either the main income comes from their creative expression of these things, but that doesn’t work because as soon as they’re selling art of any kind they’re no longer technically worthless so making majority of your income from that art instantly makes that art no longer truthful, and then it looses its validity and then its meaning so maybe becomes worthless again ohhhh goddddd… or they are totally unemployable and are on the dole. I’d say that is a truer definition.

~

It’s strange to see a gig at which no one I know is playing. It hasn’t happened much in the last few years, but I like it. It’s inspiring, in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. Watching strangers play music I kinda mostly enjoy makes me want to make sounds on my own guitar that make walls crumble. If I could make the walls of my last bedroom crumble with my guitar reverb though multiple amps, I think I could legit die happy. I really want to do that one-day. Maybe that’s all I’ve been searching for, the answer to my last few weeks of hopelessness: a reigniting of punk appreciation. Makes sense; my sense of worthlessness has been very much reignited, especially thanks to my interactions with the mental healthcare system. Maybe I’ll write a damning article about that for something.

/ / /

I moved house the other day, to a place I’ll be in for no more than three months. The front and back doors are never locked. There are buckets in the shower. There is brown wallpaper in my bedroom, and it is peeling. I saw a little mouse running around in the kitchen, near the bin and in the cupboard, which has a faded hand-written sign on each of the doors asking in different ways for said doors to be kept closed. The kitchen is confusing. Turning on the oven was hard. The light hanging from the ceiling does not work and the coffee is kept pretty far from the coffee plunger.

Whenever I have opened my new bedroom window, at least three black flies buzz right on in. There is a vine growing outside my window, and when I walked past it this afternoon, a swarm of those black fuckers zipped from it to gather around my head. I shoo-ed them away, caught myself feeling disgusted. What is it that is disgusting about flies? Their attachment to rotting meat? Their sound? Their connotation with disease and pestilence?

Sometimes I feel like a fly when I am aimlessly wandering around the room, or the house, or the garden – just looking at things, just thinking about stuff, most of it not very happy. Maybe that is why I was disgusted by those flies: they can be viewed as worthless little things. They remind me of myself, the professional punk. I guess it’s time to pick up guitar again and try to rattle my own bones with it. Thanks Monday Night Mass *thumbs up