Wednesday, July 05, 2006

satan's tilt-a-whirl


Greeting and a happy post-Independence Day to you all.

Woke up this morning with a song in my head. Kind of strange when that happens, isn't it? I hadn't heard said song in, oh, maybe more than a year (maybe more than five years actually) and yet, there it was, dumped out of some dusty file cabinet in my brain and into consciousness just as I was waking up. I had to share.

"Disappointed" by Public Image Ltd.

Oh Johnny.

I think this song was my first exposure to Mr. Lydon back in 1989 during some episode of 120 Minutes (!), and I have to say, it was not a performance that befit a so-called punk rock icon. Oh sure, it's a great song built on giddily decade-appropriate synths, and Lydon's voice is in strong with talk of being "a really sad person." The good ol' Sex Pistol menace wasn't quite present, replaced with a car salesman goofiness, which went nicely with some good ol' Sex Pistol mugging for the camera, a camera which had the thankless job of absorbing every inch of Johnny's oversized Seussian green suit and polka dot tie. It didn't matter, I rushed out and bought the disappointing in its own right "9" from my local Wherehouse (packaged in the decadent paper longbox, thank you very much). I'd further explore PiL and the Sex Pistols later.

Anyway, I can't be entirely sure where this song came from this morning, but I did have the pleasure of my iPod spitting out the far superior "Rise" yesterday, which I'll also share later. There the punk-to-postpunk lineage seems much more obvious. Still a catchy song with it's Irish blessing chorus, but then there's that manic chant of "Anger is an energy!", a chant that finally rubs Johnny's throat raw as the song fades out. Take that with having watched this corpse-fellating documentary on the New York and London punk scenes, featuring copious shots of a sneering Johnny Rotten and an indifferent Joey Ramone and presto!--"Disappointed," somehow.

The movie certainly inspired the song in my head. There was Jim Jarmusch like a spectacular silverback rooster, giving his grainy two cents. So was a pasty and bloated Siouxie Sioux, reclined in a chair still in black S&M mesh. And then there was a wierdly Hawaiian shirt-clad Captain Sensible from the Damned, all uniformly agreeing what a special time it was, indeed, and how lucky they were to be there and to tell us poor buggers born too late how wonderful it was and will never be again.

It was fascinating, sure, but they sounded for all the world just like the Bob Dylan radio documentary I'd heard earlier that day saying the same basic thing of the '60s. You know, that self-important decade the poorly named 'punks' sought to destroy. In at least the 30 minutes I gave this IFC program (whose name in its own right is kind of gross) all but a few sounded just as nostalgic as the sad ol' hippie boomers before them.

Maybe we're all strapped that ride. Every generation had it better and was so much more interesting than the one following (wait until the sequel Punk: The Flannel Years or Punk: The Coachella Years). I hope not. Anger is an energy.

"Rise," by Public Image Ltd.

3 Comments:

At 1:56 PM, Blogger briana said...

Yikes that song brings back memories... I didn't even click on the link and already it's stuck in MY head too. I've had worse.

Did you catch any of the flix at the rockumentary festival at RedCat downtown last weekend? Muy bitchin'.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger chris said...

Hiya Briana -- Yeah PiL definitely has that way about them. It may be Johnny's gentle little voice...I definitely only listen in moderation.

No! I didn't even know about the rockumentary fest. I'm really slipping. Did you go? What kind of stuff was screened?

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger briana said...

I feel the same way about Gang of Four.

The RedCat fest was AMAZING. In between BBQs we caught the Roky Erickson doc and the Monks doc - I actually met and ended up hanging ouut with Dave Day (the banjo player). If he wasn't 70 & married I would be in looooove.

Showings I missed included the classic "We Jam Econo" (Minutemen), a history of Tuscon rock (Giant Sand, Supersuckers, Calexico, etc...), The Gun Club and a Long Gone John bio. My sweetie worked on We Jam Econo so I've sat through it a couple times but it would have been fun to see with all the fans and wanna bes. There's never enough D. Boone in the world, sadly.

If you want, send me your email addy to briana007 at gmail and I will add you to my rock n' roll happenings/kareoke massacre distribution list.

 

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