Punk Suburbs

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008 by Kostis Kourelis
For this post, I’ll cheat and direct you to another blog that contains some brilliant comments on Punk Archaeology. Ordinarily William Caraher’s “The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World” is devoted to archaeological topics (methodological, theoretical, and other), providing an additional insight into the activities at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, where Bill is currently Carpenter Professor. Although written in Athens, this blog also addresses the regional complexities of North Dakota, where Bill teaches when he’s not on-leave. So, I’m thrilled to have distracted Bill towards yet another of his interdisciplinary interests. Without further ado, please visit, “Punk Archaeology: Some Preliminary Thoughts.”

You’ll find some wonderful theoretical insights and an urban complement that I had inadvertently ignored, namely the suburb. Having bought into punk’s own urban mythology, I’ve failed to appreciate the suburban origins of the music; as Bill points out, Garage Rock is by definition suburban. Perhaps I’m also avoiding the scene’s most contemporary phase, residing almost exclusively in mall merchandising. I still have not made up my mind whether I like mall-punk (Green Day, Rancid, Offspring). Or simply, I’ve had my nose buried in British bibliography. I’m deeply humbled by my cyber conversation with Bill across the waters. This is truly the first proof I’ve ever received that blogging can have practical intellectual value, helping towards a more communal form of brainstorming.

Since this very posting is outwardly directive, I include some indispensable secondary literature. This is by no means exhaustive, but includes the most enduring general histories that I have read.

Azerrad, Michael. 2001. Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, Boston, New York and London

Hebdige, Dick. 1979. Subculture: The Meaning of Style, London. (2nd edition, 2005)

Marcus, Greil. 1989. Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, Cambridge,Mass.

McNeil, Legs, and Gilliam McCain. 1996. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk,New York. (New edition, 2006)

Savage, Jon. 1992. England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock and Beyond, New York.

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