Wednesday, 23 March 2016

London's Burning

Having unzipped a huge duffel bag, I threw a handful of CDs into the black abyss. A girl looked on, incredulous. Getting rid of it all. It was so sweet.

By that point, my music collection was vast and I had to go several rounds to complete the job. I was determined not to get too sentimental even though something quivered inside when I reached for Live At Leeds. "Heaven And Hell". "A Quick One While He's Away". "Magic Bus". Cost me a tenner back in 2003. But... enough is enough. I'm done with music. I'm done with the material side of it. All my CDs were supposed to end up at the parents' house of the girl who looked on. Incredulously.

All very surreal. In fact, one of the most surreal episodes of my student years. And it only came back to me a couple of days ago when I read that Joe Corré is planning to publicly burn his entire collection of punk memorabilia (records, clothes, etc.) worth five million pounds. On the 26th of November, 2016. On the 40th anniversary of "Anarchy In The UK".

Watch it, John Lydon. Watch it and weep. Weep your guts out. Because this is the best thing to happen to punk since late 70s.

1976 could only happen once, and the farther we get away from it, the harder it is do anything that would bring it back. London Punk doesn't stand a chance. It's as bland and irrelevant as a Sex Pistols reunion. As depressing as a Ramones box set. Heritage culture is anti-art, it's pissing on history. Honestly, I don't care how much money Joe Corré has. I care that he has a point.

So in Camden, in late November, punk is going down in flames. I hope it is, for everyone's sake. In a world where art is getting digital and people are getting materialistic, it's the kind of kiss-off it deserves. You applaud the artist who drowns his masterpiece before it can reach the kitchen wall in the country house of a chubby art collector. 

Back in 2009, the reasons for getting rid of my music collection may have been different. The more I think about it, however, the more I realise that I got it right. I may have been acting on an impulse, on a sheer whim, but there's art that dies on the shelf.