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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Punk vs chaos magic

Punk as a visceral experience vs chaos magic as primarily intellectual? Just
a thought.- Phil Hine via e-mail http://www.philhine.org.uk/

Interesting thought. In response to me wondering why, although I wrote far more on chaos magic than punk, punk still haunts me in a way chaos magic doesn't.

Punk was more of a visceral experience, as I have tried to express here, I responded to punk as an intense physical energy. Punk zapped me. (Hit me baby one more time as Britany S. said) Visceral "felt in one's inner organs" Yes.
Chaos magic - yeah, more intellectual, more of a head trip - overlapping for me with discovering postmodernism as a set of ideas. Or maybe... http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/vivw/hd_vivw.htm which says in context of Vivienne Westwood/ punk

"A Nightmare of Interchangeable Surfaces"11

The definition of postmodern is elusive, but its connection to punk ideology and style appears intrinsic:

On the one hand, to designate oneself as "post" anything, is to admit a certain exhaustion, diminution or decay. Someone who inhabits a post-culture is a late comer to a party … Belatedness may also imply a certain dependence, for the post-culture cannot even define itself in any free-standing way, but is condemned to the parasitic prolongation of some vanished cultural achievement.12

Many scholars see this incessant atavism, this self-referential bricolage, as precisely what defines the postmodern, a term frequently used to describe the designs of Vivienne Westwood and punk fashion in general. The do-it-yourself attitude of punk styling was a unique product of a particular sociocultural history after which, during the 1980s and '90s, global style continued to evolve along the same aesthetic trajectory. Other elements that have recently been associated with the postmodern mode include clothing and imagery that appear dirty, ripped, scarred, shocking, spectacular, cruel, traumatized, sick, or alienating13—all of these were qualities actively sought by Vivienne Westwood and the punks of the 1970s.

Postmodernism = No Future

Punk was both a product and a victim of late capitalism. As the most quickly digested of all previous youth subcultures, it came to fruition and fell victim to mass marketing in less than three years.14 Since then, punk has never entirely gone out of style.

...as if like some kinda kundalini it hit me viscerally, base of spine, and then worked its way up into my brain. But as it did so the energy, the raw power, was 'stepped-down' (as in electrical transmission systems), becoming less and less intense. Can the process be reversed? Could you start with chaos magic and work back to something as intense as punk?

It almost happened. Amongst my jumbled memories circa 1993 is an IOT meeting where the idea for a 'Chaos Road Show' was proposed, but rejected. Rejected (by Nick Hall?) since it would lack 'quality control' - encourage lots of people with no idea about cm to get involved and so 'dilute the current'.

With punk the option of keeping the scene to a small group of initiates got blown apart (if it was ever possible anyway) by the Grundy interview which turned punk into tabloid fodder - but also gave it a huge kick up the arse. CM never got that popular cultural energy. Never hit folk-devil moral panic status.

Wonder what difference this failure (or success) has made?


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