Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Loud Fast Rules...

So I have been doing some serious thinking about punk rock lately...
The thing is, I sort of grew up with it, still listen to it, and try to maintain something of that ethos in this bar/restaurant enterprise. Putting a finger on how, or even why, that does or should manifest itself in our work is a bit tricky. I might be setting some little traps for myself, but what the hell, wouldn't be the first time.
I started in this industry in high school, about 20 years ago, washing dishes for a little cash. I would spend my little fortune every two weeks on guitar strings, 45's, copies of Maximum Rock and Roll (still alive and kicking http://www.maximumrocknroll.com ) and the occasional pack of Pall Mall's. I am pretty sure a great many careers started in much the same manner.
I still get a charge listening to those records, looking at the posters, remembering the shows, and the sense of community that came with it.
Really, it's not all that different being so involved in the restaurant or bar scene. There are venues, a written discourse, fans and fanatics. There are iconoclasts and icons, boy bands and garage bands etc...
So what does 'punk' mean to a restaurant? Where is the analog?
Punk isn't always pretty (ask anyone who ever stood near the stage at a Jesus Lizard show), but it is a spectacle, an experience. I can say the first time I ate a slimy, live sea urchin, right out of its spiny shell, with just a little olive oil and lemon was nearly as much a revelation as the first time I put a Ramones cassette on in my bedroom.
Punk has an urgency, like something to say or do that can't wait. One, two, three, four.
Punk has an attitude, it's a bit snotty, not afraid to throw up the middle finger. Of course, I would not advocate flipping "the bird" to a patron. I do advocate being a bit provocative, of doing it "your way", and being flexible if not completely indifferent to rules and conventions.
Finally, DO IT YOURSELF...
If you can't find something, or buy something, make it. Enough said.
I'd like to find more of that spirit. 
Anybody got thoughts?

1 comment:

urban mermaid said...

to me punk is also about walking your own road. if everyone else (in this situation, in a bar) is ordering beer & you want spirits, so be it.

for me, as a patron, it's an expectation that not only is there always good music at the alembic, but that there's also something different & new available to try. it might not always be to my taste, but it's a variation of the norm, a sideways glance at what is traditional.

the other aspect of punk to me is taking the traditional and making it new. i think of the clothing designers that were at the start of the punk movement like alexander mcqueen and vivienne westwood who took things like tartan fabric, highly traditional, and remade it into a bold fashion statement. it seems to me that you often take something, pull apart the raw components and reconstruct.

and heck yeah! maximum rock & roll!