Friday, January 25, 2008

Interiors in Anarchy
At the beginning of the new year, the New York Times Home & Garden section featured a new book titled, "Punk House: Interiors in Anarchy" (Abrams Image). Compiled and photographed by Abby Banks, the book tours readers through punk home across the United States. I haven't seen the book yet, but feel a bit conflicted about the topic and wonder who it's marketed to. I agree with the author that it's important for these homes to be documented, as they're in a constant state of flux and contain an honest history of the punk movement and those that are changing it. But I wonder if this is going to show up in Urban Outfitters within the year.

When I saw the photos I immediately thought of Mike Brodie's work, a.k.a. the Polaroid Kid. Mike travels around via train hopping and documents friends and folks he meets on the journey. His life is a bit of a fantasy to me, one that I like to dream about, but not actually act out. It's crusty punk at it's most authentic; a creative life lived outside of the cultural norms. It's a commitment I admire on one hand, but the inner goody-two shoes in me wonders about the relationship these folks have with their families, and how they shifted so far away from what we'd typically think of as a normal life.

I spent my college years hanging around punk homes, going to shows, and having travelers like Mike crash in my home as they went through town. I was by no means a punk, as I'd rather listen to Belle & Sebastian moan gracefully than hard-core bands scream at me. But I was immersed in the straight-edge scene nonetheless, through my social circle and activism. It's an interesting identity shift, to go from being a straight-edge vegan college punk to a grownup creative professional that eats organic chicken paired with local wine. In their late twenties and early thirties, many of my friends (myself included) are making that change. Sometimes it's hard to let that rebellious youth go, and then you stumble upon Brodie's work and fall in love again with the insight he brings to that life. I would love to see a book/album documenting an oral history of the people featured in his work. (all photos by Mike Brodie)

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Blogger Simon said...

I just stumbled over your blog, quite appreciating the manner in which you describe your experiences with punk culture. While the NY Times titled "Anarchy Rules: The Dishes Stay Dirty", I think its worth mentioning the beauty and respect for others that I have experienced in these circles. Wandering around on the edges of quite some different communities myself most of the time, I think I can relate to your (if I may guess) feelings of embracing it but still being not fully part of it... Anyhow, thank you for your post.

1/21/2010 7:18 PM  

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