Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Punk Rock is Duane Peters Living in a Ditch


Jay climbed into Bastien’s rented Charger, and the acrid sweet and sour deodorant powder's scent clung to those cloth seats that resembled sweat pants.

The obsolete flash of the car’s design was updated to satisfy the expectations of all the simple simons who walked the land- the public in their flip flops with goatees and shinny sports shorts.

In America bad taste ruled the land. The world seemed nothing much more than some kind of experiment in energy forces in which bad decisions would be everywhere and would perpetuate. One could make more money manufacturing flip flops decorated with fake jewels, than writing poetry, make more money detailing live skin, than making paintings, make more money playing professional sports than teaching the art of reading.

Decoration was everywhere, and it was more than enough. Those visible tattoos were a new form of pollution- illustrated mental ejaculations- which selfishly only referenced themselves and gave no leeway to the shapes and contours of the body part they resided on. Jay thought about the Bauhaus and Wiener Werkstätte circles in which extraneous decoration was verboten- how it was thought as inessential and superfluous to the integrity of the object or architecture. Jay also equated decoration with the devil. The devil’s goatee- a tableaux for the unnecessary flash that the evil mind was attracted to and all the different forms of hell that facial hair expressed; beard- unaccountability, side burns- the notion of portraying false “coolness” or “slickness”, mustache- a gaudy decoration one hid behind.

Only when the face got old would it be appropriate to cover it with hair.

Jay sitting shot gun glanced off at the hills in the distance as if he was trying to look through them. He could tell he was in a nicer part of LA, because the billboards seemed more interesting- as if they could pass for contemporary art. This was the side of town where it always seemed just out of sight, there was something marvelously exciting going on. If something exciting was happening right in front of Jay, most of the time he only felt like a spectator- out of the frame. And if it was happening to him- he would be worried about the point in time when it would eventually vanish.

Bastien and Jay reached the parking lot of the convention center and Bastien still wasn’t saying anything.

They pulled far into the end edge of the garage and Jay realized he didn’t have his vendor badge.

“Hey- I don’t have my v- badge, no cash? Spot me. Christ- I don’t even want to be here. What are we doing here?”

Bastien sat in the unnerving silence of the parked car and said nothing. He was pouring bumps onto the space of his hand between his pointer and thumb. The only sound was Bastien snorting the chemical specks and while waiting for it to kick in, he just sat looking forward. Mostly with Bastien it was all fun and a party, but sometimes when sharing intimate time with him, Jay would get a glimpse of what resided underneath it all.

Bastien popped the trunk. “Grab my board out the trunk.” He said, hostile.

“If you think I’m carrying your board for you into – “

“Just to do it!” said Bastien upset, hypnotized.

Jay and Bastien walked to the entrance of the convention center and the employee working the door asked Jay and Bastien for their tickets.

“Do you know who the fuck I am?!” said Bastien, overly aggressive, as if he was a mental Angstrom away from causing trouble.

The employee with a look on his face that was equally disturbed and reserved patiently said “Wait here.” cautiously backed away and went into a security room not too far in the distance.

The employee came out with another official and pointed over to them and Jay could see the other guy nod. The employee’s boss obviously knew from sight who Bastien was- Bastien had that quality were he looked even more like himself than he did in those ads, looked like a caricature of his ad copy self, was unmistakable.

The employee walked back and from noticing his gait, Jay could tell he was going to let them in. The employee tried to give Bastien a paper wristband, but Bast walked past him and Jason, not wanting to cause static stayed behind while it took the employee forever to awkwardly pull up Jay’s blazer sleeve and fasten the band to his wrist.

Jason caught up to Bastien, still walking into the expo and by the time he reached him- he could tell he was now more “around him” than “with him”- a typical social phenomena that Jay was all too used to, a side effect for being friends someone who was famous or an M level celebrity at best.

"You want to know something? We are still in the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages — they haven't ended yet.” Said Bastien, which Jay couldn’t tell weather he was talking to him or just thinking out loud.

The Surf Expo was pulsating with pedestrians, everyone looking for the next new thing or something that epitomized the nowness of beach culture retailing. Jay could even feel himself being gawked at, and it had been a while. He was reminded of that perceptual sixth sense that came with being famous and noticed. Jay always felt shallow that he liked being recognized by strangers- it was as if since they knew who he was it had allowed him to better actualize himself. Jay was also good at giving responses that seemed likely in the heads of the ones who thought they knew him and this could be dangerous. It was all an act he actually enjoyed, didn’t mind when people came up to him and felt validated when his reputation preceded him - which was also an indicator that Jay really wasn’t that famous.

Jay could hear a Descendents song blaring from the Hurley booth- a song which twenty five years ago may have been exhilarating, but now seemed about as dangerous as a hulla hoop- that song, bought up and broken down to sell rash guards and pork pie hats. It was as if the company was more concerned with reaching the new youth generation who hadn’t heard the tired safety tunes as apposed to entertaining the old timers who had grown older and bored to death of those three whiny major chord progressions. Some punkers never tired of those tunes, though- some would coast out into middle age becoming parodies of their once hip teenage selves as if there was an expiration point where people just gave up and decided to stop even trying to be culturally relevant. Punk rock is Duane Peters living in a ditch. Punk rock is the Mickey Mouse Club. Punk rock is Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello picking their grand kids up from the mall in their General Motors convertible that looks like a futuristic hot rod, their Rod Steward hair cuts and silly bands and vulcanized crocs, faces glazed in over-dark bleached copper tans –cracks against their eyes.


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Houston, Texas
Be kind, because everyone you'll ever meet is fighting a hard battle.