[TypicalGirls] defying conventional appearances
Steven Ericsson Zenith
steven at semeiosis.com
Mon Sep 26 02:19:42 EDT 2005
PJ Harvey is "punk-blues" - I heard this description or saw it in some
literature associated with her gigs here recently - and I think it is a
sound characterization of her work.
Siousxe-Soux's 1980's FACE cover and spread are definitive examples of
how the punk movement influenced media and commercial art - whenever I
see modern commercial spreads I always think back to those FACE spreads
and how almost everything afterwards tried to emulate them. In many
ways they were works of art in their own right.
As to their impact and the impact of punk culture in general - I guess
the obvious response is to say that mainstream art was relatively
unaffected. Warhol had been there and done that with the Velvet
Underground. Lou Reed (who was a key part of the Velvet Underground)
It may be the case that one can point to Basquiat in the art world - but
I wouldn't - since I think that Basquiat was not punk, he was a man of
his time but clearly from the New York school of contemporary art, in
some sense inevitable - influenced more by Robert Rauschenberg and
Willem de Kooning than John Rotten.
The Sex Pistols were not inevitable from my point of view - they took me
by suprise, at least :-)
The Sex Pistols got their 15 minutes - but it is Siouxsie and Budgie
that became an immortal force for the generation and continue today to
be as fresh and innovative as they ever were. The first edition of The
Creatures in the early 1990 was a stunning example of the reall driving
force of innovation in Punk. Few compare.
rara boom wrote:
> This discussion is so so very interesting. It's great to see an
> autonomous discussion space working so effectively. Wow, I never
> considered PJ Harvey as "punk", what do you mean by the reference
> "blue punk". By the way, how cool are the slits?! if you haven't heard
> them before check out myspace and look up the slits in the music section.
> It's strange I seem to be working backwards here... I am in a band and
> we make music and didn't even realise it was kind of punk and draws
> parallels with some of the bands that have been mentioned in this
> discussion forum. I wonder if these revolutionary womens' punk bands
> set out with an intent to fit a anti-society all-grrl punk band image
> or if that's what they fell into cause it was what they were
> passionate about? What do you think?
> The link between punk and music and art is definately so so strong.
> However, what about artists like Andy Warhol? Appropriation in all
> forms seems to be a very familiar exploration trail for all types of
> punks. There is also (like everything else) global trends with punk
> too. I am a bit of an enthusiast of the japanese punks ("fruits")
> these days. Their clothes are so nice and they are hot hot hot!
> However, I was speaking to someone who had been to Japan (where I am
> dying to go!) and they mentioned that the cultural and social
> sensibilities in east and west Japan are completely different. You're
> probably focusing on the western based punk era anyway...
> Thanks so much to the kind people who are posting the MP3s at the
> moment too!! Really wicked xx Sarah
> */Steven Ericsson Zenith <steven at semeiosis.com>/* wrote:
> Dear Larry and list,
> The impression I have - and please correct me if I am wrong - is
> that the Punk movement was essentially a movement of the
> working-classes. Whereas the people you mention here are all
> people of the upper class.
> I find the comparison between Dadaism and Punk an interesting
> one. But I feel the dynamic is very different - the forces
> against which the movements rebelled have a very different character.
> I admit that in 1979 I did not appreciate that dynamic - which was
> mainly an anti-intellectual male macho movement ... then Siousxie
> branched out and I was sold.
> I think generally that male Punk never did leave the old gender
> stereo types. As witness by McClaren's exploitation of the
> early-teen sex in Bow Wow Wow. But then McClaren was an upper
> class public-schoolboy twit as I recall.
> That first year had all the old gender roles despite the bin-bags
> and extreme make up. I think women in Punk led in England by
> Siousxie - came into their own in the following years as a
> distinct movement as they increasing found new ways to use Punk as
> a platform - Culminating in the mainstream acceptance of Toyah.
> The transformation of women in music was even more significant
> than the social impact. But it seems to me that the female
> movements dynamics are orthogonal and more intelligent than the
> blunt unthinking male banging of the head against the wall.
> Siousxie and the Banshees gender blend as the New Romantics come
> of age - and I think it is Bowie's bisexual/asexual influence in
> England that responds to Punk in the most significant way for the
> male gender (in that it was widely influential).
> Ultimately, in the mainstream, Japan and the Adam Ant reinstate
> the "pretty boy" and Culture Club end up being a caricature parody
> or farce of the gender blend.
> But I think that, despite Bowie's consistent pressure upon gender
> through out the 1970s it was the female punk movement as a
> subculture, intelligently exploiting the anti-intellectual male
> macho Punk movement as a platform that had the most profound
> social and musical influence.
> Leading all the way to my current favorite punk-blue girl - PJ
> Harvey :-)
> With respect,
> Larry-bob wrote:
>>Maybe it's being kinda Greil Marcus to conflate Dada with Punk,
>>but I would cite Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven as a proto-feminist
>>proto-punk who pioneered extreme dress style half a century before the
>>Her Leigh Bowery-esque looks included wearing a coal scuttle on her
>>head as a bonnet and pasting postage stamps on her cheeks.
>>There is much more material on her now than than was once available,
>>including books. There also has been at least one stage play based
>>on her life.
>>Photo of Elsa:
>>Irene Gammel, Baroness Elsa. Gender, Dada, and Everyday Modernity.
>>A Cultural Biography. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002
>>Paul Hjartarson, Tracy Kulba, eds. The Politics of Cultural Mediation.
>>Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven and Felix Paul Greve. Edmonton:
>>The University of Alberta Press, 2003.
>>Also worth mentioning is Marya Delvard, the German kabaret star who performed
>>at such venues as "Elf Scharfrichter" (Eleven Executioners) and whose
>>look, circa 1901, prefigured goth --
>>See Lisa Appignanesi's book "Cabaret -- the first 100 years"
>>TypicalGirls mailing list
>>TypicalGirls at lists.ibiblio.org
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