In 2001, I visited Euskadi, also known as the Basque region which is kinda, sorta part of Spain but don’t say you are in Spain if you happen to find yourself there because the locals will either give you a super long history lesson or a dirty look. In Bilbao, the city most known for Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, a citywide anarcho-punk conference was taking place. We didn’t know exactly where it was happening, we just followed the crusties and their dogs to various locations. The local anarcho-punks were quite friendly and freely shared their cheap wine and coca-cola concoctions i.e. kalimochos with us as we hung out waiting for the workshops to begin.
One of the gigs was taking place at a squat at the edge of town. A girl on the street pointed us in the general direction. We hopped on a train, saw a guy carrying some anarchist zines and asked if we could follow him. As we walked through a quaint little neighborhood, the zine guy asked an old man who was hanging his laundry out the window if he knew where the “punk squat” was and the old man without hesitation said “The kids are down that way.” My mouth dropped open, this would never happen here! Then the zine guy introduced us to some South American punk guy who it was assumed we’d have stuff in common with because: We were both from the Americas? Both mestizos? Who knows? But the S.A. punk was a nice guy.
At the squat, there were more kalimochos to be had. There were all kinds of tables offering various sorts of things like zines, CDs, t-shirts. One stall was a woman selling homemade postcards with scenes of riots and other insurrectionary images, like the one above. I bought this one cause they were smashing up a cash register. But I swear, for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what country “Argelia” was, duh.
I got in a lenthy conversation with a heavy metal communist guy with long blond hair, or at least it was an attempt at conversation because the Basque Castellano was a bit difficult for me to understand. He was a collective member of the squat and was telling me all about their private bar which I listened to in wide-eyed amazement. You mean, it’s a squat and a bar? Fucken Europeans have all the fun, hrrrmph! Next thing I know, there’s a Korean newscaster and cameraman asking me if I’m really from California. Yup, you read that right. What was a Korean news show doing at a edge-of-town squat for an anarcho-punk show, you might ask? Well, earlier I’d seen them wandering around Bilbao and from what I heard later, they came across the colorful bunch of punks (2001 was the year 1977 came back in style for European squatting scene) and thought, hey these people will make a good story for our Korean morning show! So like us, they followed the crusty rainbow across the city and through the subway to the big old squat which at one time had been some kinda airplane hanger. Someone told them we came all the way from California for the conference (which wasn’t exactly true) and since I spoke English, they interviewed me. (I wonder if I ever made it onto Good Morning Korea?) Then later the music started. I had my postcard, a belly full of kalimocho and one anarchist/communist debate in broken Spanish under my belt. It was a good night.
I could go on in really revealing and embarrassing ways about how much I love Love and Rockets. Wait, I think I already have. Lately, I’ve been re-reading the Locas series which can be found in two humongous anthologies recently re-issued. I’m almost done with Locas II and I’m reminded as to how influential the comics were in my early life. Quite honestly, I can’t even say they were influential as they felt much more documentary, as in my life often seemed to be reflected in the stories to the point where I wasn’t even shocked when I’d read almost word for word conversations I’d have in real life being said by the characters in the book. Re-reading the books now is almost like a source of comfort, the kinda life I have is so rarely reflected in the media spectacle that there is something to seeing one’s own experiences, including insecurities, being expressed by characters who have some commonalities. Commonalities…! They are CHICANA PUNKS FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, who lived in-between cultures, were superstitious, fell in love hopelessly (even with cholos), had crazy drunken street adventures, doubted themselves (for all the above reasons) and still managed to try and stay punk even when they weren’t anymore! I have way more commonalities with these things than I should publicly admit on this blog. See, I told you I couldn’t help but going on. Thank you Jaime Hernandez for bringing out the beauty of our everyday lives!
I met the Hernandez Bros. once at Golden Apple quite some time ago and tried to tell them in my gushing way some of what I just wrote. They answered “Yeah, it’s cause we peek in your window at night.” And at the time I sorta felt like they were mocking me which left me a bit confused. Also because Gilbert told me with what almost seemed like sarcasm that he was married to “a gringa.” And I remember thinking “What does that matter?” Maybe now, I would’ve understood what was happening but at the time, I was a too-cool-for-school twenty year old who thought she was meeting some kind of heroes and was sad to find, well, they weren’t. It was a very good lesson for me and later, helped me appreciate their work even more.
So if you’re looking for something awesome to read and start the new year off with, pick up Locas and Locas II. You can even check them out from the library but they’re nice to have around, so when you and your friends are having some funny or interesting conversation and you’re like wait, this seems familiar, and then be like, oh yeah Maggie said the same thing. My favorite is the one above, Maggie trying to explain how influential punk was in her life and in the end, just shrugs her shoulders and says “I can’t explain it.”
The Art of Jaime Hernandez by Todd Hignite just came out last year and it’s a gorgeous book filled with color strips, drawings, punk flyers (Nardcore!) and photos of Jaime and his brothers. The text is a bit hard-to-read and I wish there would have been more of Jaime’s direct quotes in the book but the book is, afterall, focused on Jaime’s personal drawing style which is universally recognized for it’s innovativeness and originality. Another great book to read in 2011!
Like this list really matters, right? I have maybe five or six readers of this blog? And if you’re like some of my friends (good friends, I tell you, lifelong friends…) you might tell me “You think I have the time or patience to watch all those videos you post?”
I spend hours away from things like the television, telephone, books, the growing pile of needless, accumulated objects that seem to gravitate to the household in unexpected ways, I ignore these things, so that I might spend my time listening for new and fresh music. I do this for myself but also to fulfill my lifelong goal of anarchist mutual aid, and also because a good friend of mine taught me the beauty of generosity and the satisfaction of potlatch something I’ve tried to expand into all different areas of life.
So that’s kinda how I think of this blog, as a potlatch of music and other assorted interests. If it’s not reciprocated, recognized or acknowledged, I’ll keep doing it because somewhere among this big jumbled mess of Youtube videos, there might be something you’ve never heard before or something you heard once and forgot or something you’d like to hear again. Thanks to all who have shared their music and interests with me!
::::FAVORITES OF 2010::::
Best New Songs
Primary 1 feat. Nina Persson – The Blues
original post here.
Mock & Toof with Pollyester – Farewell To Wendo
original post here.
Best Global Dance
Arabella, Dance Queen of the Mahala
original post here.
The Secret Disco posts were so much fun to do but required lots of research and editing, two tasks that used up lots of non-job time, the kinda time I prefer to use to socialize and be with other people. I have priorities. Perhaps I will finish the series, perhaps not.
Pigbag-Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag
“Papa’s Got a New Pigbag was one of the most awesome experimental post-punk, funk, dance-floor hit songs of the early 80s.” From the post: Secret Disco: Y Records
New Order – Confusion
“Here it is, The Funhouse danceclub, a small moment of disco/freestyle history captured in an obscure New Order video. There are glimpses of Jellybean in his clownface DJ booth and producer of Confusion, Arthur Baker. Baker was also a well-known engineer of all those elecro beats. The sneaky party girls were real Funhouse clubbers named Mama Juice and Eva.” Secret Disco: The Funhouse
Healthy people flee contact with the diseased. This rule applies to almost everyone. Hans Reiter was an exception. He feared neither the healthy nor the diseased. He never got bored. He was always eager to help and he greatly valued the notion – so vague, so malleable, so warped – of friendship. The diseased, anyway, are more interesting than the healthy. The words of the diseased, even those who can mange only a murmur, carry more weight than those of the healthy. Then, too, all healthy people will in the future know disease. That sense of time, ah, the diseased man’s sense of time, what treasure hidden in a desert cave. Then, too, the diseased truly bite, whereas the healthy pretend to bite but really only snap at the air. Then, too, then, too, then, too.
Deaths of birds and fish en masse stir end-times theories
Bizarre reports of washed-up fish and downed birds have many people scratching their heads, and jumping to conclusions.
When the term “dead fish” became a top Google search Wednesday, soaring past the likes of Lindsay Lohan and leaving Justin Bieber in its scaly wake, it looked as if the end were near.
That’s what everyone was saying, anyway.
After millions of tiny fish went belly up in Chesapeake Bay this week, much of the populace immediately dismissed the official scientific explanation (the water was just too darn cold). What made more sense, they reasoned?