Monday, 9 June 2014

Punk Spirituality (Part 3)

Malcolm McLaren's Cash From Chaos

by Kolyn Amor

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 1
A definition of chaos (theory): “When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.” Edward Lorenz
Sounds a bit ‘punk’…
What’s ‘punk’? 
A dictionary definition:

“Something or someone worthless or unimportant
a young ruffian; hoodlum
an inexperienced youth
a young male partner of a homosexual
an apprentice, especially in the building trades
a boy (prison slang).”

Take your pick!

Meanwhile, a long time ago, in a city far, far away…

“On 6th November 1975, in support of a pub rock group called ‘Bazooka Joe’, ‘The Sex Pistols’ performed several cover songs at St Martin’s College, London. According to observers, they were unexceptional musically aside from being extremely loud. Before the Pistols could play the few original songs they had written to date, Bazooka Joe pulled the plugs as they saw their gear being trashed. A brief physical altercation between members of the two bands took place on stage.
Steve Jones declared, ‘Actually we're not into music. We're into chaos’ (February 1976)”.
By the way, the bassist in ‘Bazooka Joe’ was some guy called Stuart Goddard… Ring any bells?
No? Well, he went on to change his name to Adam (his first wife changed hers to Eve) Ant. 

More of him later...

Meanwhile, something’s started in the true capital of chaos with the 24 hour party people…
“On June 4th 1976, ‘The Sex Pistols’ played Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall to a small room of people. It was one of their first gigs outside London” (the lesser pre made mall - not that I’m a biased, bitter Northerner!) “Like the saying about the first Velvet Underground LP, nearly everyone in the audience that night went on to have a cultural impact on Britain (and beyond).
“A band emerged. The guy who took centre stage took the mike, took your mind. A swagger to make John Wayne look a pussy.” (I know that feeling having had a certain piece of body modification recently!) “A sneer so dismissive of everyone and everything, of God and civilisation in just one pair of twisted lips.” Anger is an energy after all and you always hurt the ones you love…
“That place was real life; that place was the clearing in the undergrowth where meaning and elucidation live…” 
“And God said: ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.” 
Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 3

God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform... The Ultimate Performer?

“But they knew nothing - they just knew their world would never be the same again. A past obliterated and No Future.”
Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and The End (possibly the best track by ‘The Doors’):
“This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end”

(Don’t forget The Beginning as well).

“There to greet us was Malcolm McLaren, dressed head to toe in black leather – leather jacket, leather trousers and leather boots – with a shock of bright-orange hair, a manic grin and the air of a circus ringmaster; though there was hardly anyone else around… Look at the photographs of the gig and you can see that everybody in the audience was dressed the same way, like a Top of the Pops audience. There were no punks yet. So Malcolm – he looked like an alien to us…”
Ever felt stranger than feeling like a stranger in a familiar place? I suspect Jesus felt a bit ‘E.T.’ in that way - wanting to just phone home, even though He could’ve clicked His long fingers at any point, but He’s too loved up.
“We just stood there, stock still… Absolutely, utterly, gobsmacked.”
The day I met God I got carried away.
“Back on Manchester’s inscrutable streets I find a tatty leaflet stuck on a Peter Street lamppost telling me that the Sex Pistols will play the Lesser Free Trade Hall. They are not the saviours of culture, but the destruction of it – which suits me quite perfectly…”
Chaos. Anger. Destruction.
Flipside/B-side (you used to be able to do that with a long lost article called ‘a record’):
Creation. Love. Order.
I promised to return to Adam - the Ant rather than the first man, but maybe there’s a connection somewhere. You decide.
He wrote a song - in an angry punky way. You might find it challenging. You might find it blasphemous. You might find it liberating.

That sounds a bit like my faith…

“Day I met god
 I got so carried away
 Day I met god
 I got so carried away
 Not with the vision
 But the streaks in his hair
 Not with religion
 But the size of his knob

 The day I met god
 The day I met god
 It was pissing with rain
 And we went

 Day I met god
 I got so carried away
 Day I met god
 I got so carried away
 Not with the vision
 But the streaks in his hair
 Not with the vicars
 Or the nuns or the priests

 The day I met god
 The day I met god, the day I met the big boy
 It was pissing with rain
 And we went

 And the herald angels sang
 Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
 Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh....

 We were coming back in the van
 From Milan
 And I saw God
 Right there.”

Cash from chaos? Write your own cheque!

(But sign it: ‘God’)

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