I’m against it.
Well, most of the time, that’s how it feels. I suppose it is true that we all need some community—even those of us who claim to be outsiders. For many of us, it’s not a claim. It’s a fact. We are outsiders to everything you support with your day-to-day actions.
I’m against it.
Well, most of it, at least. It doesn’t mean I hate you. In fact, I love you from a distance. Not in a stalker way, but in a respectful; live your life over there, and I’ll live mine here way.
So, outside of family, my community was something I found through arts, specifically punk music. Outsiders with a similar worldview aggressively spit on the flags of people who cling to pride for a feeling of purpose—a purpose based on the accomplishments of others. When I hear people talk of pride, I wonder what they are proud of—usurpers of the work of others.
Once again, I found myself in a congregation; this time, it was in the heart of Guelph, in a cathedral they have called Jimmy Jazz, harkening to the memory of that holy figure, Joe Strummer.
It is probably based on a perspective I had to achieve after being involved for many years, so this theory may be false, but it feels like the worshippers in the punk rock community are members of a congregation of equals. Unfortunately, I may also be making that statement from my place of privilege as a cis, white male; however, I’d like to see it become a truth.
I’m not much of a fan of machismo in the art I love, so I love diverse crowds and performers, and the line between the two has always blurred in the punk community I feel a part of. Artists, audience members, promoters, and media –are intermingled, and the ideas coming out of these gatherings could change the world for the better.
When I step outside the door to Jimmy Jazz, and the cold embrace of the world grips me, I lose some of that optimism. Still, when I spend time worshiping at the altar of noise and viewpoints alternative to the norm, I believe there is power in the people, and we can fuck that shit I am against right up.
Your doubt that music and art can make a positive difference in the world, well, I’m against it.
The first two bands that played were new to me, fresh with vibrant energy and a healthy disregard for their instruments. Guelph Ontario’s Mercy and London’s Lovers smashed the sound out in a spirited manner valuing performance over commodities.
The overall sound left much to be desired when it came time for the uninitiated to decipher the lyrical content, but I did hear talk of peace punk being tossed around. I am used to this label attached to anarcho-punk bands like CRASS or, in Canada, the mind-blowing yet obscure, One Blood from Toronto.
Mercy and Lovers were coming from a new perspective and deserve further investigation.
The service concluded with a sonic sermon by MVLL CRIMES, who, for the all-too-brief time they stood on the portion of floor deemed the stage controlled the room. Hmmm, did they control the room as equals? Have I already destroyed my “congregation of equals” theory? No. I don’t think so. The audience is equally vital in the energy of the moment created when Patrick, Laurie, and Evan start the sound wave that allows Jillian’s bellow to crash against everything she wants to raise her voice against.
Then as abruptly as the MVLL CRIMES communiqué began, it halts. No encore.
It’s time to return home to the conservative Midwestern Ontario stronghold surrounding my house.
I’m against it.
Lounging comfortably in a Jimmy Jazz urinal, it’s Marty Younge, one of the most exciting people I have had the chance to meet. She has some thought-provoking stories to tell, and I hope to help share some of them on Wood-stein.ca and the Woodstein Media Podcast in the future.
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