‘Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious…’

Yesterday after work I went to the anarchist book fair at my old uni in East London, or rather I met up with some friends from back home who had been at the book fair and went straight to the pub. I had been interested to go to the actual book fair, one discussion they went to about gender, sex, sexuality and anarchism sounded like it would have been awesome, but the pub is always good.

It was really nice to catch up in person with one of my best friends, but the main thing about last night that was good was standing around and mostly listening to the anarchists talk, most of the people I talked to all belonged to one message board, which I sort of do, and have decided/ been urged to start going on again, and of course they all assumed I was an anarchist too. What with not being, and for most of the time being the only girl I felt pretty much an outsider, but that was ok as it was interesting just listening to people talking. However, I did get to talk to a guy who recommended me a few queer/feminist groups in London to look into, when I said about how cut off from the kind of politics that I feel connected to. Anything that leads to me getting to know some more interesting people will be good, especially considering how lacking in intellectual stimulation most of my life is at the moment.

The other thing hat came out of yesterday is the fact that I really need to work out what my politics actually are, in some areas I know what I think and I can be very vehement about it, but when it comes to general politics I really am not sure, I know I’m a feminist, but I while I vaguely think of myself as liberal I don’t know how well my views fit into that, or even what my views on so many issues are. And then there are issues where my views totally fit with most leftist views, not surprising considering some of the people I’m very good friends with. It’d be far too easy to pass myself off as apolitical, I’m not though, not really, I just don’t pay any attention to most politics, and to be honest most politics bores me, but my opinions on queer or feminist politics are obviously informed by my general political views, it’s just like I have to work backwards to them.

Performativity, punk and politics

Yet again I found myself in the middle of a gig, when I should only be concentrating on the band, going ‘I need to write an essay’ and trying to remember all I can about performativity and Judith Butler. On thursday night I went to see Random Hand, Voodoo Glow Skulls and Leftöver Crack, which bought all my mixed feeling about performativity and watching punk bands together into one confusing issue.

Basically, I identify as feminist, anti-racist, pro-choice and queer, so the fact that Leftöver Crack are explicitly anti-sexist, racist and homophobic, anti- breeding and pro-choice has to be a plus point in thier favour, though the fact that they make amazing, interesting music is the real reason that I like them. However, I also sort of think of myself as a pacifist, and as liberal and vaguely leftist, but not as socialist or anarchist, and there is one issue that occurs in Leftöver Crack’s music, as well as that in other bands that I definatly don’t agree with, the extreme anti-police sentiment.

I’m sure for lots of people this wouldn’t be an issue, but not only can I not help analysing song lyrics, I also can’t help applying performativity to my actions, so, when I was in the pit singing along to Gang Control, ‘fuck the police, they’re gang control’, I was expressing violent anti-police feeling, whether I believed the words I was saying or not. It was an uncomfortable feeling, especially as I can’t deny the importance of that kind of communal expression of belief, because I totally teared up when the lead singer talked about hypocerasy in the music scene, and I meant every single word when I was singing along to Gay Rude Boys Unite. To an outisder I was passionatly singing along to two songs, they could not have known my mixed feelings, and if course it gets better, because performativity is all about the importance of repeated actions, and the number of times I have seen Sonic Boom Six and sung along to Piggy In the Middle, and so expressing, again, strong anti-police feelings that I don’t think I actually share, but fulfilling the conditions of the performative action, and I do believe that language changes things, word-acts can be as valid as physical acts.

This leaves me in an uncomfortable position, my love of the music of Leftöver Crack and Star Fucking Hipsters, and most of their beliefs, isn’t enough to outweigh my dislike of one branch of their expressions, as the rampant misogyny of Imperial Lesiure was. However, I don’t advocate the killing of police officers, in no way do I agree with that. I think this relates to the gap between the singer and the narrator of a song that I always end up writing about, perhaps I need to theorise some sort of parrallel gap for the audience of a song, but at the moment I can’t help but the very acts of singing and dancing along to a song validates it, and implicits to the world that you agree with the feeling expressed by it. This sort of theory about music seems to be shaping up to be my life’s work, I could at least write a dissertation for my MA on it, if not for a PHD, if I ever get as far as doing one.

Until then, there was one thing I noticed the morning after the gig (apart from the fact I really did appear to have scraped half the skin off my elbow and it was leaking yellow stuff), the tshirt I bought, the Gay Rude Boys Unite one, of course, advocates true unity, among others ‘gay, straight or trans’, I’ve never seen another band acknowledge the problem of transphobia, let alone use a gender-neautral pronoun for that matter, it appears that to hear other people really express believe in the opinions that I hold I need to venture further into what I always think of as ‘proper punk’, and be aware that more extreme beliefs in one area are likely to mean more exptreme beliefs in another area as well.

A delay

My Big D and the Kid’s Table essay has been delayed, because I found out the other day that they’ve just released a new album, which it doesn’t seem right not to include. So, it’s on its way to my house, and I’ll edit what I’ve done so far accordingly, after I’ve listened to it. I’m incredibly pleased about a new album because it means something else – touring! Last time Big D came to England I saw them twice, hopefully I’ll be doing so again, they’re an amazing live band so I’ve very excited. I just hope I don’t have to wait till some time next year for them to come over, I’m not even considering the possibility that they won’t.

To stop this being a bit of a nothing post, have some links. Scans_daily, previously a LiveJournal community, is now over at InsaneJournal,with slightly modified rules but the same mix of new and old comic scans, it’s one of the sites that I check every day. I’ve also been spending a lot of time reading The New Gay, amagazine site with a rather different take on queer culture, it seems geared towards people not in the ‘scene’ so to speak, and is really interesting, including articles about indie music, ballet and of course ‘ask a straight guy’. To pair that is Autosaddle, also a magazine format, but aimed at gay girls, with a definate feminist bent, a possibly rather obsessive love for The L Word and lots of photo galleries.