age 12-14: a playlist

REPOST with updates:
In a burst of self-revelatory earnestness I will begin by admitting that until very recently I didn't listen to music that often. I'm not sure why. Many people come home at the end of a day and reflexively turn on the stereo (or load the files), I turn on the tv or look at my email in silence. Occasionally I'd get in a phase where I'd check out some new jangly, folky noodlings online... but then that passed. But lately I've been thinking about songs I haven't heard in years...

There was a certain span of time–junior high/high school–when music was more than important to me, it was desperately
critical. It was one of the first ways I found to define myself. From the day I brought a Sex Pistols fan magazine with me to 7th grade English class I discovered I was not like everybody else. Not in a “shocking” Heather Has Two Mommies way, or in an obvious Black Boy way, but, in that Bay City Rollers moment of a tiny private school in an upper middle class neighborhood in a stultifying outer borough, I felt undeniably 'other'. I may not have looked all that different (this was before I cut my hair and discovered black, a go-to color for the next 25 years or so) but this studious only child of two teachers from Queens identified with rebellion in Thatcherite England! I understood 'the dole' and 'council housing' — literally, if not socio-economically. I wanted spikey hair and bondage pants and Doc Martens. Even if I hadn't been completely at a loss as to where one would find bondage pants in Forest Hills in 1979, they would likely have caused a problem with the dress code at my school. America didn't understand me! and Queens was beyond the borders of civilization. I didn't belong here. I developed a barely concealed disdain for, and dismay at, all that was around me.
I cherish that and carry it with me to this day.

I spent a while unearthing the songs that meant something when
I was (I am convinced) the only kid in Kew Gardens, Queens, listening to, in no particular order:

Wire Dot Dash  (audio only)
I utterly fell in love with this singer's voice

Sex Pistols Sod Save the Queen
Rotten was a brilliantly drawn character–
feral, Dickensian. I never got tired of him.

Sex Pistols Holidays in the Sun
Trying to find really decent footage of them is like looking for videos of Big Foot.
Live in Dallas 1978.

Stiff Little Fingers Alternative Ulster
Never got into the band, just loved this song. Music to kick chairs by. 
Gang of Four Damaged Goods
   (audio only)
Essence Rare
is better but I couldn't find a clip. Though they're British, their sound, in retrospect, reminds me of NY art scene music.

Clash Tommy Gun (audio only)

this is where I came in-- second album. Then I got the first, both US and UK versions. I stopped with London Calling.

The Undertones Jimmy, Jimmy 
I saw them when they opened for the Clash at the Palladium, when this cover photo was taken. Impressed? I had to go with my 20-something year old cousin as a chaperone because nobody I knew was interested...

Undertones Jump Boys (audio only)


roadrunner said...

hi angela,

like the picture of your former self.
you look much younger now.

thanks for the music links (and memories).


Carol said...

The generation gap gapes.

Onward & sideways,


Doug said...

I love:

..."I cherish that and carry it with me to this day."

No wonder we're friends!


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