Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Interview with punk poet Annie McGann

Finally, we have an official date of book launch: April 30th, of this year. Very soon now, I will send the file to the printer and then I will have several boxes of lovely, fresh, spanking new books to share and sell. 

While you wait for the actual book, here is the newest interview in the Punk Rock Saved My Ass series, this time with London based poet, Annie McGann. You can read her poem, "We meant it man" in the anthology, and see more of her work on her MySpace page.

How do you personally define punk?

I don't. I do go camping with Edward Tudor Pole every year though, does that count?

What is NOT punk?

These questions are not punk. 

What punk song/band changed your life, and how?

We didn't seriously listen to punk bands because we were punk bands. Well, we liked The Clash but mostly we listened to reggae - then American music - Iggy, Talking Heads and Patti Smith. Fame was completely despised. No stars. No celebrities. I liked Iggy Pop and Prince Fari best. And the Slits. We often stole or borrowed their boyfriends. No punk somg or band changed my life though. Punk wasn't something you consumed. You couldn't go out and buy it. That was the point! Now kids can just go to the mall and buy their youth cult of choice off the shelf. (Did you see that episode of South Park where the Goths get pissed off with the new Vampire kids and burn the shop down?)  I heard God Save the Queen when I was 18 in 1977 and it seemed really fast but we thought the lyrics were amusing. My favourite song of theirs was Bodies but that was because Lydon's lyrics were so comical. We weren't anarchist either - that was a pose - Lydon said he was because it fitted in with his persona and rhyme scheme. We were political, anti right wing -  anti fascist - Thatcher got in on my 21st birthday. That makes you politically active.  I went out with a guy who was in Derek Jarman's film Jubiilee - I am still close friends with the guy now. I suppose he introduced me to 'punk' but mostly he was into Hank Williams (LOL Sorry. He'd hate me calling him a guy too. LOL).  He caused havoc in a restaurant we were in the other day because the young waiter kept calling us 'guys'. Once a punk always a punk. 

What has punk taught you about yourself and your life?

I am still close to my old contingent and we are growing old together. We've all been meeting up lately because we've all been turning 50. Most of them are still in bands. Now and then one of us dies but considering how much drugs we took we are all rather well. Punk isn't something I could isolate from the rest of my life. Punk isn't an outside thing. You either is or you isn't. We did feel superior in our way but then I think all young people do don't they. Every generation thinks they invented sex and drugs and music. We didn't think we invented it because we were following in the footsteps of the mods and the flappers :-)  I was based in central London though - if you were a kid in the countryside I suppose it would be different.  I left the west end in the end because the squats got taken over by fascist skinheads and they cramped everyone's lifestyle. Personally I was sick of drugs and the constant threat of violence so I got out.

What surprised you about the punk scene?

The first punks I saw were in Birmingham in the foyer of the theatre I worked in. It wss 1977. They had come to see Bob Marley play in a small hall next door. I was surprised at how they got their hair to stick up and quizzed them. They used the blocks of goo that they made coca cola out of in bars. It was before hair gel. Hair spray wasn't strong enough. Some people used liquid soap. It was a disaster if it rained :-)  

 If a person is interested in learning more about punk/DIY, what would you suggest they do?

Try and be born before 1963 or buy me a drink and I'll tell you my embarressing Joe Strummer story.

1 comment:

Désirée said...

Congratulations to your book!