Hands down, the best visual overview of what punks look like, at least in the US right now, is a tumblr called Punks I’d Like To Fuck. I think the tumblr started as a “look at the hot punk boy” photo blog, but it’s become basically a celebration of everyone’s beauty. And it shows us as we really are: we wear color sometimes, we wear spikes sometimes. We don’t honestly have mohawks that often. We’ve got crass symbols on the backs of our flannels.
My friend here in Italy told me yesterday that punk wasn’t a subculture. Steampunk, gothpunk, anarchopunk, cyberpunk, folkpunk… these are subcultures. But punk is a way of living and a way of looking at the world. You don’t gotta listen to crust to be a crusty, you don’t gotta listen to punk to be a punk.
I remember walking with a friend of mine on a mountain in Tucson, a reasonably clean-cut anarchist more interested in Terry Pratchett books and ukuleles than kropotkin or Distopia. In a perfect world, we discussed, we wouldn’t look out of place being friends. And in our culture, the whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-it culture that I call punk, we didn’t and don’t.
Another friend of mine told me once: “you know what I love about punks? Let’s say you decided you wanted to wear a lion suit every day. The first day you come hang out, everyone is going to make fun of you. After that, you’re just the kid who wears a lion suit.”
I get culture shock sometimes. It’s as likely to be around goths as it is around clean-cut folks. Sometimes I realize, after a few hours or a few weeks, that even if I hung out with some group all the time, I’d clearly be different. That I smell funny, or that the way I dress makes them uncomfortable. That my goth clothes aren’t black enough or my fancy words ain’t fancy enough.
We’re the proudly rejected. Punks are the kids who decided that they were cool even if no one else did.
Hell yeah, up the fucking punks.