“PUNK: Chaos to Couture” opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this Thursday

book cover - chaos to coutureThe Metropolitan Museum of Art's new book, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, is an LP-sized tome, so I suppose it makes sense I'm listening to The Roxy London WC2, an LP that compiles many of the early punk bands performing live in their native environment. The LP's a deluxe reissue on Earmark, with 180-gram vinyl, a PVC protective sleeve, and all manner of accoutrements. It's dressing up something that was most likely originally kicked around, beaten up, scratched, and treated poorly in all manner of extras befitting proper art, rather than something tossed together to entertain and shock -- much in the same way that the fashion presented here uses high-end fabric to recreate or hearken to something once made in a rush before heading out for the night. The exhibition, Chaos to Couture, opens this Thursday, May 9, at the Met. The exhibition looks to "examine punk's impact on high fashion from the movement's birth in the early 1970s through its continuing influence today." The accompanying book presents in dramatic visual terms exactly how closely prêt-à-porter fashion can take its influence from the punk styles of the late '70s. In addition to striking imagery (such as a cackling punk painted up like something from Pagliacci opposite a model wearing 2012 Versacci), Chaos to Couture makes use of white space (although, really, it's black space -- and how appropriately nihilistic is that?) to great effect. The sheer amount of ink gives the book a heady, hefty scent, which veritably wafts off the pages when you first lay the book open. [caption id="attachment_16662" align="alignright" width="300"] Left: Sid Vicious, 1977. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph © Dennis Morris - all rights reserved
Right: Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), 2011. Vogue, March 2011. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by David Sims.[/caption]The written essays which presage the visual one are from punk luminaries. You've Jon Savage, author of England's Dreaming, focused and precise on how Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood lifted New York punk's style, vis-a-vis Richard Hell, and their t-shirts became part of the London style. Much has been made of how much the "You're gonna wake up one morning and know which side of the bed you've been lying on!" shirt became part of the Clash's aesthetic early on, and it nicely sums up the SEX shop's goal of creating a sort of "cultural putsch." Speaking of Hell, in his essay, he engages in a bit of restrained, modest boasting. He acknowledges that he came up with the t-shirt and safety pins look, as well as the spiky, mad haircut, but certainly gives credit to McLaren and Westwood for taking "those styles much further." He describes it as a calculated approach to things which others had done casually, and that really describes all of punk, doesn't it? While punk seems an odd choice for what is, essentially, a coffee table book, the essays make this invaluable reading for any fan of fashion or the genre, and the imagery really brings to home the way London punks really had an idea of how to shock that makes the studded leather jacket and mohawk of so many modern punks seem positively tame. More information about PUNK: Chaos to Couture can be found on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website.

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book-cover-englands-dreaming-tapesJon Savage's England's Dreaming is pretty much the Erythromycin Egg Uterine Wall Fertility Pregnancy, book on punk rock. Considering Savage started work on the book just ten years after punk first appeared, he was able to get interviews with the musicians, producers, club owners, and assorted hangers-on like the Bromley Contingent while their memories were relatively fresh. Also, quite a few of the folks interviewed are now either gone from this Earth or unable to be contacted.

Now, 200mg Erythromycin Egg Uterine Wall Fertility Pregnancy, roughly 20 years since he dropped England's Dreaming on the public, Savage has returned to the topic with The England's Dreaming Tapes. Subtitled as "The Essential Companion" to England's Dreaming, it follows the path of Totally Wired, presenting the transcribed interviews of the folks with whom the author spoke for a prior book.

Upon reflection, it seems a little lazy, Erythromycin Egg Uterine Wall Fertility Pregnancy. I mean, this is valuable historical material, 1000mg Erythromycin Egg Uterine Wall Fertility Pregnancy, but I can't help but see this as a way to fulfill part of a publishing contract without having to do much new writing. There's an amazing amount of overlap here, as well. It doesn't seem that Savage, despite claims in the introduction, has edited "for reasons of space, repetition, and the book's internal logic." Certain stories (how SEX came to be, the Sex Pistols on the Grundy show, Erythromycin Egg Uterine Wall Fertility Pregnancy us, et al) are retold by so many people that the reader finds themselves jumping about in the book, trying to avoid having to re-read it once more.

The second segment of interviews, entitled "New York," offers the best untold stories of how punk gestated in the United States, and how it ended up making its way across the pond to England. Erythromycin Egg Uterine Wall Fertility Pregnancy, "The North-West," with its tales from Manchester, is worth reading, if for no other reason than it's filled with stories that haven't been told to the point of absurdity (with the exception of Tony Wilson and yet another run-through of the Factory Records tale). "The Propaghandists" is the story of the journalists and photographers who covered the scene in its infancy, 150mg Erythromycin Egg Uterine Wall Fertility Pregnancy, and provides the most cogent analysis of how punk didn't just form instantly after a couple of performances by American artists (Patti Smith, the Ramones), but was instead slowly gestating in the form of pub-rock acts like Dr. Feelgood and the 101'ers.

I almost felt ashamed being bored at points, as entertained as I was by prior Savage works like the excellent Teenage. Reading a book with "Jon Savage" on the cover and being held with anything less than rapt attention just doesn't seem right. However, The University of Minnesota Press has put out an exhaustive 700-page tome that will undoubtedly be the source for many a term paper, 750mg Erythromycin Egg Uterine Wall Fertility Pregnancy, and an invaluable resource for music writers such as myself, but is by no means an example of Savage's intriguing writing style. His ability to provide in-depth analysis of myriad sources and still remain immanently readable is at no point on display here.

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book-cover-kids-of-the-black-holeIn his book Kids of the Black Hole: Punk Rock In Postsuburban California Retin A Micro Opposing Views, , Dewar MacLeod brings together elements of Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me and Teenage by Jon Savage to argue that as well as being an aesthetic of youth culture, punk is art, not just music.

Kids of the Black Hole tarces the evolution of SoCal punk from the art-damaged rock of the Germs and the power-pop championed by Bomp's Greg Shaw to the hardcore that the region became known for. It's an artful examination and looks just as closely at the societal implications of sprawl and the growth of the suburbs as it does at the "scene."

Sadly, MacLeod's book ends abruptly, Retin A Micro Opposing Views ebay, with an analysis of Black Flag and then a wrap-up, with those who followed given lip service. 40mg Retin A Micro Opposing Views, The slim tome does an excellent job of charting the rise of SoCal punk, but stops right before OC and SoCal becomes the sound of punk. Green Day, Blink 182, Retin A Micro Opposing Views mexico, Epitaph, Kung Fu, Retin A Micro Opposing Views coupon, et al defined the sound of punk to a new generation of kids, and their absence from Kids of the Black Hole means that it's not as complete as the book could have been.

It's a damned shame that the analysis of postsuburban life and the "four walls / home as fortress" idea wasn't further explored into the modern era. The rise of MySpace and the signing of bands to contracts that hadn't ever played a single show would have provided an interesting cap to a story that started with bands playing live shows before they ever practiced a lick, Retin A Micro Opposing Views overseas.

Dewar MacLeod's Kids of the Black Hole: Punk Rock In Postsuburban California is due out this November from the University of Oklahoma Press.

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