Vivienne Westwood’s pointedly anti-consumerist remarks backstage at London Fashion Week after her big show were taken by some as more “dotty” remarks by the great British designer, but they didn’t seem that way to me. Yes, there is certainly a, uh, tension between showing a new collection of clothes and then telling everyone assembled not to buy them, but do you think Westwood doesn’t know that?
And besides, since when is the pure act of telling the truth, somehow dotty in the first place? Have I missed something here? The woman’s 1000% correct. She should be commended for her commitment to the future of mankind—and speaking with common sense—and not mocked.
I actually met her once about ten years ago and she was a trip. My close friend Oberon Sinclair was doing some PR work for the opening of the Westwood boutique in New York and there was a big sit down dinner for a lot of people. Westwood didn’t know a lot—if any—of the people present and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, who I attended the dinner with, gallantly and sweetly, sat down with Westwood to put her at ease. So I was along for the ride and we sat across from her for about two hours and she was a delight, if a little non-sequitur at times. (Not a judgement, just a description. People must say that about me all the time…)
One-of-a-kind designer Vivienne Westwood Sunday night presented a gorgeous collection of autumn and winter outfits at London Fashion Week, then went backstage and told reporters she hopes people stop buying her clothes.
“Stop all this consumerism,” said Westwood, the former high priestess of punk who has increasingly used her catwalk shows to spotlight her concern about climate change.
“I just tell people, stop buying clothes. Why not protect this gift of life while we have it? I don’t take the attitude that destruction is inevitable. Some of us would like to stop that and help people survive,” she said.
Below is part one of Dame Westwood’s interview on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross last year. I thought she was fucking awesome when I saw this. Part II is here. Both parts are well worth watching. When is the last time you heard a public figure speak this passionately about something?
Last week when I posted about the Wiseblood gig in 1986, I found this pretty amazing interview with Lydia Lunch conducted by my good friend, Merle Ginsberg (who you may know from Ru Paul’s Drag Race or Bravo’s Launch My Line) dating from 1983. Lydia discusses working with Jim Thirlwell, Marc Almond and Nick Cave on the short-lived Immaculate Consumptive performances and more.
Just when you think there are no new surprises coming out of the underground, something like the Taqwacore movement arrives, a fictional Islamic punk rock subculture that has become a REAL Islamic punk rock movement. Melissa Henderson writes at Brand X:
Originally imagined as a fictional world of living on the edge, Muslim punk rockers in Michael Muhammad Knight’s 2003 novel, “The Taqwacores”, Taqwacore has since evolved into an honest-to-goodness, real-life, fight-the-power scene, replete with young and charismatic activists, artists and Punk the only appropriate soundtrack to any decent rebellion.
Groups like the Chicago doom-crust band Al-Thawra and Boston-based ska-punkers the Kominas are rapidly gaining attention, as evidenced by August’s Los Angeles Times feature. Omar Majeed’s documentary about the subculture, Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, made Spin magazine’s Best Music Documentary list of 2009, and “The Taqwacores”, Eyad Zahra’s feature film adaptation of the novel, premiered this week as an official competitor at the Sundance Film Festival. (For more on that, check out the post at the LA Times 24 Frames blog).
Knight, a Rochester, N.Y., native who converted to Islam in his teens and then struggled with an inability to reconcile his faith with his inner Punk, coined the book’s title from the Arabic word “Taqwa,” which means piety or God-fearing, and hardcore, a subgenre of late-70s punk rock. The novel, which he handed out for free in parking lots before finding a publisher in 2004, resonated so strongly with young Muslims dissatisfied with traditionalists in their own communities and cliches foisted on them by outsiders that it became something of a manifesto.
READ MORE: The rise of Taqwacore: from parking lots to Park City (Brand X)
In his 60+ years on Earth, Mick Farren has worn many hats. He’s one of the founders of the “underground” press in Britain, he was the doorman at the psychedelic UFO Club (where Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine got their starts), a political activist, a well-respected science fiction novelist, a TV and media columnist, a poet, and, not least, he was the lead singer of the proto-punk band, The Deviants. His autobiography Give the Anarchist a Cigarette is an indispensable volume in any library about the ‘60s and ‘70s. In short, the man is a counterculture legend, and one of the last of the “gonzo” journalists.
Saturday night, Farren will be reading at La Luz de Jesus Gallery from his recently published anthologyZones of Chaos (which features an introduction by sci-fi great Michael Moorcock) accompanied by fellow Deviant, guitarist Andy Colquhoun.
La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2009, 6 ?
Dangerous Minds pal Michael Simmons sends word of a concert in New York this weekend to benefit Tuli Kupferberg, patron saint of bohemian New York and one of The Fugs, history’s first punk band. In his way Mr. K has challenged the world, but Michael tells it much better than I can:
The Fugs were founded by poets Tuli Kupferberg, Ed Sanders, and Ken Weaver in 1965 as a logical marriage of the three Bs—Beat (poetry), (the) Beatles, and (Lenny) Bruce. Born in 1923, Tuli billed himself as “the world’s oldest rock star” at the advanced age of 42. He’d already published Beat zines Birth and Yeah, was noted by Mailer and Allen Ginsberg for outsider behavior including the levitation of the Pentagon, and beloved by we younger hippies for his unshakeable bohemianism as captured in his rooftop striptease. (It’s interesting how repressed America was back then while now everyone gets naked on the Internet. There was a time when disrobing publicly was a political act.) Tuli wrote many of the Fugs’ biggest non-hits: “I Feel Like Homemade Shit,” “Nothing” (“Monday nothing/Tuesday nothing/Wednesday Thursday nothing”), the aching ballad “Morning Morning” (beautifully covered by Richie Havens), “CIA Man” (recently heard in the Coen Brothers Burn After Reading), and “Kill For Peace,” the greatest anti-war song of all time. The latter captured Tuli’s outrageous wit in the service of his dead serious anarcho-pacifistic loathing of war and violence.
Thr Fugs broke up in 1969 and reformed in Orwell and Reagan’s 1984. They’ve continued to record and perform live, rail against the ruthless and selfish, and sing to the heavens in support of peace, fun, sharing, and love. If none of the latter four attributes have been abundant for the last 30 years, one cannot blame the Fugs. O how they’ve tried. For those who trot out the tired clich?ɬ
Here’s a collection of photos (which are for the most part new to me) of our beloved early 80’s Los Angeles punk rock heroes by one Vincent Ramirez.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles California, living mostly in the San Fernando Valley. My first exposure to punk rock came about in the late 1970?
On December 22nd 1985 The Minutemen‘s D. Boon perished in a van accident in Arizona. I can count myself as one of their early fans, having picked up their first E.P. on the strength of it being on Black Flag’s SST label. I was thrilled to find a local band that clearly loved Gang of Four and The Pop Group, even Captain Beefheart ! I saw them as often as I could and via their infinite kindness found my teen noise punk band Debt of Nature frequently opening for them. They even gave me my first appearance on an actual vinyl record. Below is the wonderful video for “This Ain’t No Picnic” wherein the boys, rocking out at the Sepulveda Dam (!), are attacked via air by a young Ronald Reagan. Resourceful genius.