Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Time Machines and private viewings

One thing that always annoys me is when I'm thumbing through a fashion magazine and I see the model wearing something I like,so I look over to the product list, and the item is identified as "vintage" or "model's own"- meaning, you can't find it. Likewise, I get annoyed when I read some blog and it's all about food that the blogger cooks using ingredients I cannot purchase, or all about live performances that already took place, and they're not touring here. I think you get the idea. So, the last thing I want to do is pass along that frustration, which is the tightrope I walk for this blog. I want to talk about my "singular culture" in Tom Barman's words, but I want to stick with the parts that are accessible to others, easily.  I'm not going to make it seem like work, because this isn't , but I want some usefulness out of it
So, I saw two versions of the same film today. First, I noticed on  my Prime TV subscription on my Roku that they had  "Clockwork Orange County" which is basically a re-working of  Urban Struggle: The battle of the Cuckoo's Nest  with added, more modern footage, so, you'd think that's the better, more accessible version. Not true. Legally, it's harder to see it than the 1981 Urban Struggle, which, if you follow the link, you can see it on Daily Motion, right now. It also has the advantage of being a slightly more pure document- there's no nostalgia trip added on, with a bunch of guys like me, remembering when they were guys like you see in Urban Struggle. There's something artsy about digitally smeared sepia-toned black and white interviews and live performances of Punk Rockers from Los Angeles. Of course, for me, there's the added layer that I used to go to the Cuckoo's Nest, and these are the people I grew up wanting to lead me. But, taking away the "model's own" elements, it's still a worthwhile way to spend 40 minutes. If nothing else, it effectively captures the young, male and alienated milieu that was hardcore Los Angeles. I think they did yet another version that I haven't seen, but, all these things- these nostalgic talking heads are a dime a dozen- what's unique is who they were back then, and Urban Struggle is nothing but that. It's amazing to me- nobody would hear punk kids like me, back then, and it seems they still don't. They'd prefer to hear from those teens and punks now that they're middle aged and recalcitrant - and those same middle aged former punks don't seem to want to hear from their vital, young selves, either. That's what makes a document like Urban Struggle more important-These are messages from subcultures who never got a chance. Now, that there's nothing truly coherent nor articulate to be said is not really the point. When faced with an existential threat, the most important part is simply to be. And make no mistake, to be a punk teenager in 1980 Los Angeles was to be under existential threat.
So, even if it's a bit obscure, there's the line for me- bringing a bit of my "singular culture" into the public view.

No comments:

Post a Comment