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Punk; the new age

By Erin Lawless

The 1970s marked the rise of the punk revolution; a music genre that can be defined more by its fans style and attitude than the music itself. The popularity of the movement remained persistent throughout the end of the 1900s but was considered an almost dead art at the beginning of the 2000s.

What did it mean to be punk in the 1970s?

Throughout the genre’s early history, punk could be defined as hard rock music centred around anarchy and “sticking it to the man”. However, despite the cultures ties to political movements and promoting anti-racism, punk was considered to be a culture stereotypically dominated by “angry white males”.

Philip Morrison, 60, who lived through the rise of punk culture said: “To us punk was not just about the music. It was about who you were, what you stood for and breaking away from the norm. Punk became the ultimate way to express ourselves as young lads, we were all angry and needed a place to vent our frustration.

We became very anti-authoritarian; we were tired of having our lives dictated to by our parents…punk became an attitude. The music was just a plus.”

What does it mean to be punk in 2020?

In 2020, the punk scene has changed dramatically in terms of its target audience. Despite previously being targeted towards the “white angry male” stereotype, the genre has now moved to different cultures and across genders.  

Molly Jenkins, creator of an all-female punk band “6 times punk”, said: “It is really weird being a girl looking like me and considering myself to be punk. I used to think I couldn’t define myself in this way. I mean the genre has always been dominated by men, who probably wore tartan pants and had big Mohawks…and yet I am a five-foot blonde girl that lives in dresses and heels.

Avril Lavigne

I think the old stereotype of being punk makes it hard for some people to call themselves punk. Whether that be due to race or gender because previously we didn’t really fit in. I find it even more funny now because all the punks I know tend to be female. The whole movement is becoming inclusive to everyone. Punk is changing, now we are all angry and we are all involved.

Most importantly, I love the rise of female punk bands and how now we are being represented throughout my favourite brand of music”

Is punk really dead, or is it making a come-back?

Punk may not look exactly how it did at the beginning of its rise, but with the genre splitting off into different and popular routes it is still very much present in the music scene today.

Punk can be split into multiple genres, that involve different sounds and themes but all bask under the punk culture that started in the 1970s. These include punk rock, punk pop, punk indie, grunge, alternative rock, street punk and more.

Michelle Patterson, who studies Digital Music and Sound Arts at the university of Brighton, said “Punk was never really dead. It just fell under different categories for a long time. I think it is impossible for music movements such as punk to really die out because it leaked into so much of society. Punk have had their fingers in music, fashion and politics and although they may not be as big as they once were, this could change this 2020 with the political unrest we are now facing.”

Is this a new age for punk?

Philip said: “Definitely! I think punk is a classic genre, but it is one that was always going to change with the times.  The whole point of punk has always been to question society, politics and give a voice to everyone. I think it is amazing that more people are joining in with the culture, and I hope it continues to strive as a movement.

I think as long as people are oppressed, we need punks and people that will always question the norm. Questioning things and striking against unfair policies, political changes and society opinions is how we create change.”

Michelle added: “Punk is changing with the times, and I think we are all ready for the punk revolution to make a major come back!”

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