Last year, DM told you about a marvelous children’s book called What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock. In that post I mused a bit at how odd it was, given that punk has been identifiably a thing for roughly 40 years, that there weren’t more books explaining that musical/cultural/fashion phenomenon to kids—there are, after all, members of early punk bands who now have grandchildren, and there’ve long been punk band onesies for the offspring (sorry) of the conspicuously hip.
Well, it looks like something IS stirring in those waters after all, because now there’s the wonderful What Is Punk? published by Akashic, the imprint owned by former Soulside/GVSB bassist Johnny Temple. Akashic became widely known among normals a few years back for the amazing kid lit parody Go the Fuck to Sleep, and have been in the pages of DM before for their publication of The Jesus Lizard Book and David Yow’s Copycat. While What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock was co-written by a child development specialist and focused on DIY culture and rebellion against capitalist norms, “What is Punk?” is a different beast altogether, a whimsical primer on that movement’s early history written in verse by Eric Morse, a writer and publicist who in the oughts founded Trampoline House magazine.
Once upon a time,
there was a deafening roar,
that awakened the people,
like never before.
With their eyes open wide
they shouted in fear,
“What new sound is this?”
and covered their ears.
IT WAS PUNK.
But the fine job Morse did in simplifying the origins of punk into iambs is actually kind of dwarfed by the terrific Play-Doh sculptures that illustrate the book. Those were crafted by Anny Yi, whose animated video for Tijuana Panthers was some of the most fun shit you didn’t see last summer. Just watch it. I’ll wait.
In addition to marvelous clay figures of seminal figures like the Sex Pistols and Ramones (her Tumblr is named “Hey Ho Let’s Doh,” so she’s clearly a fan), Yi also created tableaux of the Clash, the facade of CBGB, and most wonderfully, Iggy Pop’s famous 1970 crowd-surfing stunt. Clicking on an image spawns a readable enlargement.
Images: Eric Morse and Anny Yi, courtesy of Akashic Books
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Cat Scratch Jesus Lizard: David Yow channels his inner B. Kliban
David Yow talks to Dangerous Minds about ‘The Jesus Lizard: Book’
’What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock’ is a real children’s book that actually exists