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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, February 05, 2007

Punk Love

I said I'd post a link to my article on photographer Susie Horgan and her book Punk Love, about the early days of the Washington DC punk scene. So here it is. Included are interviews with punk icons Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins and a slide show of some of Horgan's pictures. The slide show didn't work on my work computer. Let me know if you have the same problem. I'll alert our online folks. Either way, enjoy.

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  • Excellent article and great slide show. I'd love to see you linking to more of your stories. I enjoy your writing so much.

    By Blogger Dayngr, at 1:53 PM  

  • Great article! Loved the slideshow. Now I have to get the book. I just remembered that I saw Fugazi here (I think it was at the Cameo?) a million years ago. Seeing these pics makes me nostalgic for the old days on Miami Beach, hanging at Washington Square, The Kitchen and Club Beirut. *sigh*

    By Blogger Balou, at 2:03 PM  

  • Wow. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'll check out the link you provided here, sounds cool. Anyway. Keep up the good work!

    By Blogger Lucas Pederson, at 2:15 PM  

  • I see there is no mention of the DC institution of Bad Brainz in the article. How typically myopic. Memories of an AU student who was a scene rookie and didn't look beyond her boss for inspiration. Again, the true multiculturalism of the scene is overlooked by this "punk" biographer. Through her story I feel like I'm watching the Jetsons or Seinfeld--stories about a place that is actually very diverse but is homogenized by the author's limitations. This reads like a story on Iraq political factions as dictated by Saddam Hussein.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 2:35 PM  

  • It's neat how some incidental photos could turn into a book of that sort.

    I like Rollins he does a great standup comedy show. He tells great stories.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 2:59 PM  

  • Dayngr and Balou, thank you.

    Lucas, no worries. I enjoyed what I read on your blog too.

    BD, what are you smoking? Not everything you read has a read-between-the-lines requirement. Sometimes there's nothing to read between the lines. Go buy, or rent, or check-out-from-the-library this book before knocking it and its author. You purport to know so much about how news is compiled and delivered and yet you give these over-thought knocks on that news delivery without first considering the simple things: there's never enough space to cover every aspect of any cultural phenomenon. This is a newspaper, not a book. If I had had 100 column inches of space and not the 35 or so that ended up with I would have written about everything thing else I could find related to that corner of the DC punk scene. Face it, my friend, sometimes at ain't as deep as you want to make it.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 3:04 PM  

  • Hi James, geez, it sure seems like a lot of folks in Florida have blogs. Dave Barry is funny but I don't look at his blog, have a couple of his books though.

    Thanks for your comment, my trailer is a 1961, if you watch my progress as I re-to it maybe it will give you a few ideas for when you do yours.

    Take care pal.

    By Blogger BBC, at 3:25 PM  

  • Hammer, it was a cool coincidence.

    BBC, I'll try to keep track of your trailer rehab progress.

    And BD, one more thing. If you would look at the book you would find images of all sorts of people from that part of DC's punk scene who were NOT Rollins or MacKaye. Some of them fans, some of them other artists. Not so myopic a view when you see all the other pictures.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 3:45 PM  

  • James, I'll read the article when I get a chance today.

    Love the criticism. How does she know you're not of the punk scene?

    I believe--in a very grownup kind of way--the lady just called you a "poseur."

    As if.

    By Blogger Matt, at 4:25 PM  

  • Thanks for goin' off on me there JB!

    I know the book contains other images--I acknowledged the diversity present in the few images that were presented as part of the story. But it's up to you, not me, to ask the photographer what influence Black punk rock artists had on the scene and to explain whether her book gives them ample space. A book on DC punks isn't real to a lot of former fringe punks like myself if it does not contain a serious section devoted to the Brainz. To focus on DC punk without adding them in is like doing a story on old school NY hip-hop and leaving out the influence white people like Debbie Harry, Chuck Ahern, Rick Rubin, or Beastie Boys had on the movement. When you leave a discussion of race in the DC punk scene out of your story by not posing the question, it makes me wonder. The fact that race may not have mattered in DC is important because the scene was pretty racist everywhere outside of major urban centers. I hope the omission was because the paper wanted to keep the story vanilla about a reformed punk who now has kids and publishes nice photos--"Isn't she so nice and normal?"

    As for how mainstream publications work--I'm well aware of the intricacies of for profit publications and their limitations. Let me just say this--Letters to the editor would not work as well at influencing content as my blog responses to you. In my dream world, you and Hiaasen take over the editorial staff, do a make-over and redevote the paper to meaningful causes, such as rooting out public corruption (a 24-7-365 gig in Dade County), raising public awareness about neglected children, underfunded programs, greedy politicians and even greedier businessmen. You guys do a little more of this now that McClatchy took you over, but it's never enough as long as Paris Hilton or K-Fed get an ounce of ink because a coffee stain is more valuable than a story about them.

    There was a time when your paper was a vanguard in this state and other publications looked to you for the scoop--my problem is I remember it and how good it felt to be on the right side--y'know--for the people, not the profits, for the truth, not the spin.

    I realize your news outlet does currently give meaningful items coverage on your front page, but I still remember your paper when it was in it's heyday and the term "Fourth Estate" meant more than your publisher's home here in Miami. Nobody is Woodward and Berstein anymore and the Washington Post or NY Times no longer matter, but that don't mean I won't keep pushing for meaningful information presented by a trusted source for its own sake.

    You can have the soapbox back now, so please don't let them block me from responding.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 6:20 PM  

  • BD, I appreciate the diversity that was born of the punk scene. And I appreciate your desire to see that part of punk history come out. But you know enough about news to know that not every article can cover every aspect of a particular topic. For example, when I covered crime and reported on a homicide I couldn't use every story about murder to examine the national homicide rate and explore the huge variety of reasons that people kill. Sometimes that story had to be about just that story.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 6:57 PM  

  • Your writing captured her perfectly, she sounds like an intriguing person. It's interesting that she didn't go the route of taking a bunch of photography classes and instead focused on her gut.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 9:27 AM  

  • Excellent story! Loved the closing quotes from MacKaye, too, including the reference to Sunday tea.

    Watching the slideshow was quite a trip, too. I could hardly recognize Rollins. So strange to see so many young faces...

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 11:32 AM  

  • Queen, ThirdWorst, thank you both, very much.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:53 PM  

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