Archive for July 16, 2008

San Francisco 1978

Posted in music, socialization with tags , , , , , , , on July 16, 2008 by darcyarts

I was constantly hearing the Sex Pistols everywhere I went my first week in San Francisco.

Like thousands of other wandering, escapist children I’d dreamed about making my way to the City by the Bay. By the time I got there I was 25 and things had changed.

The communal dream of hope and hope had been replaced by cynicism and irony.

Many a fool was in the process of falling for the tough “No Feelings” pose of punk. Fuck hippies and free love! Fuck long hair! Oh, yes, and where’s the meth?

The more pure form of this snearing pose and prose had arisen from a distaste for prog-rock super wank. Quite rightly, too. Plodding, self-absorbed musical indulgences became anathema.

John Lydon, dear boy, was DIY from the day he was born, made himself an “I hate Pink Floyd” T-shirt, wore attire made of garbage bags and refused to genuflect before Britains symbol of maternal authority, Queen Elizabeth. But he loved his own sweet mum.

Lydon was from a very poor family. He suffered from meningitis as a child and had his memory wiped clean. it will make you strange. A poor boy naturally comes to understand inequality, hypocrisy and lies.

Syd Barrett was the fuel that powered Pink Floyd. When he decided he wouldn’t play the pop star game anymore and left the group Pink Floyd built the remainder of their career imagining and writing songs about Syd’s interior world. Sorry PF fans. I agree with Lydon. I hate post-Syd Pink Floyd.



Here is my interpretation   of John Lydon. I added microscopic dots of meningitis to the background.

Prints are here at etsy

In the wake of the initial punkish revolt many a young man and woman feverishly operated under the premise that one could do it oneself. No matter what “it” was all you had to do was get the tools and begin to try your hand.

Since that time the DIY waves have spread far and wide in music, craft and art. Get the tools and start. Create and distribute your own tapes and CDs. Make your own art, clothes, knit your frickin’ brains out and sell the items to your friends, neighbors, etc. There are renegade craft fairs for just that purpose.

So the punk DIY was a rebirth of wanting to take the system (you name it) back to zero and start fresh.

DIY fiends walked the streets of San Francisco high on art and other things. They in their stripey shirts and miniskirts, fishnet stockings and short shaggy hair cuts. Suicide blondes were back and splashed with blue, green, bright red dye, boots, belts, badges and bitchy attitudes. The really rad even had . . . a tattoo or two. Don’t tell mom!

Now mom has a full sleeve and beautiful girls are kick-ass tattoo artists. I

n 1978 there were lots of bands in San Francisco: The Nuns, The Avengers, The Dils, The Mutants, The Dead Kennedys, The Screamers and Flipper.  There were lots of other lesser known bands (Please feel free to name others in comments). Neo J. Marvin was there.

And cosmic culture artists of ill repute came out the woodwork every day.

But I would get to know a  more interesting subculture there in S.F.

Luckily I found myself in the warm embrace of a segment of S.F.’s gay community.