What Is Punk?
A sound? An image? Dead?
Over the past few weeks I've been hit with two advertisements on Facebook listing the newcomers in Irish punk. Both linked main stream media.
On occassion of seeing each ad, I flew into a rage.
How dare they label these people punk? How dare they ignore the many bands who've slaved for years and not garnered as much as a “how'ya?” from the mainstream media?
It's well known that these publications actually charge bands (read; their management, label, parents) for this type of 'exposure'. Magazines that once invested in the industry they claim to love through sending journalists to gigs and they in turn listening to thousands of demos, mailed in by budding young artists have morphed into little more than Google Ads.
Much like Google Ads, the vast majority of humanity gloss over articles from the main stream outlets as they've learnt to expect watered down banality. These organisations once served to both bring the music to the fans and the fans to the artists. What was a curated process driven by the energy of music fans who happened to be journalists, is now clickbait driven by greed.
Grand. The main stream sucks. Old news.
I can't criticise the bands. They're the only part of the equation that are still putting any effort into this. In fact, I like some of the bands that were listed. I just can't abide people who've never given a shit about Irish punks, labelling bands that have somewhere between very little and no affiliation with the irish punk scene(s) as punks. It's a punch in the face to the many, many people who've kept multiple factions of the punk scene(s) here going strong for decades through everything from running gigs, practise spaces and record labels to trapsing the world on the DIY punk scene, playing to empty rooms for less than the price of that day's petrol. It's lazy journalism matching an image or a sound to a genre.
Punk will never work for them because it doesn't have a 1 to 1 relationship with any static list of traits.
Punk is defined by what it's not: – It's not the sound your parents want to hear coming from your room. But what does that sound like? – It's not the clothes your school's dress code deems acceptable. But what does that look like? – It's not the attitude that will allow society continue in the trajectory it has adopted through years of greed-driven 'progress'. But what way does that person live their day to day?
The problem with that list is that in order to find a band that starts to fall into the anti-categories it details, you actually have to know the band. Mainstream music media is far too busy counting ad clicks to be bothering with actual humans.