Not all of us have become intimately involved with one of the various subcultures that’s associated with the world of music.Á‚ But it’s a rare breed who hasn’t found himself captivated by a member of one of these subcultures.Á‚ Our adolescence is often characterized by a desperate struggle for identity, and there’s something irresistible about a person who is secure enough – if not necessarily original enough – to have gone “all in” on a subculture and the image and accessories that accompany it. One of the Popdose writers, who prefers to remain anonymous, was kind enough to share his own tale of having his eye caught by denim, dyed hair, and the glitter of body piercings.Á‚ His story begins after the jump…
I was at some YMCA, Rec Center, Hall, Community Center punk rock show. This was about 1989 or 1990. Something. That was the night I first saw Neurosis. They were actually the only band I remembered. Probably the only band worth remembering. (I took home their “Abberation” 7″ that night. Awesome.)
Anyway, there she was, one of only like four girls in that small room full of skater kids, posers, gutter punks from downtown, and wide eyed kids like me trying to look jaded and tough.
“Tilt your head slightly to one side. Squint up your eyes a little bit. Yeah, that’s the disparaging look you should always have on your face when your friends aren’t around,” my friend Dean had taught me.
She had Manic Panic Fire Engine red hair. There was a black bandanna pushing it back. Tiny broken ends of dye-damaged straw-colored hair sprung up from under it. She had big gaudy earrings that dangled to her neck.
She was wearing a white Dead Kennedys shirt with a big black hair dye stain on the shoulder. I think she was wearing a short skirt with fishnets and boots, but I could be mistaken.
In her full and pouty lips was one small silver stud. She had a homemade tattoo of an ankh on her forearm and an Anarchy Symbol, etched with a needle and ink where the thumb meets the rest of the hand.
I was a fat kid in a Misfits t-shirt and that’s probably all you need know.
Being too chickenshit to ask her for her number, I happened to know one of her friends in a round about fashion. He was in a band and so whenever they would rehearse, I would be there. I was their biggest hanger-on ever. Hanging out in their garage, at their parties, at their skateboard ramp, hoping that the red haired girl would one day show up.
Whenever I asked one of the guys about her, I always got the same response. “She’s pretty cool.”
Finally, the day came. I was walking up to the house and she was just pulling up in her big ol’ Chevy Valiant or Plymoth Eagle – I don’t remember – and she was weeping. Crying profusely. It was because her roomate kicked her out, or her cat died, or something similarly traumatic had happened. She was looking for one of her friends, but decided to let me come along and listen to her vent.
We sat in the parking lot at Tower Records and I smoked my first Clove cigarette while she told me the whole story. She smelled like cigarettes and incense and pot and beer. It was the best smell ever.
Somehow, that clove cigarette gave me a rush of courage. I placed a hand on her fishnetted leg and said something like “You’re so awesome. I feel like I can really talk to you. I understand you. I think you could understand me too.” Or some shit like that.
Instead of the brilliant kiss I thought we were going to share, she said suddenly, “You’d look really good in eyeliner.”
So I let her put eyeliner on me. We drove to Santa Cruz to score drugs and ran into a bunch of scary-at-the-time Deathrock guys. They looked like they were in their 40s. She was good friends with them and she totally ditched me to go hang out with them.
I wandered around post Loma Prieta earthquake Santa Cruz and called my friend to pick me up. He He took one look at my smeared eyeliner and I never heard the end of it.
Met up with the red haired girl later. Her hair was black now – still dyed – and she was living in San Francisco. Turns out, she never liked boys anyway.
Bad Manners – “Skinhead Love Affair”
Dead Milkmen – “Punk Rock Girl”
Last week, Nick Drake knocked off the Marcels as “Pink Moon” won with 60% of the votes.Á‚ Join us next week for a pair of rhetorical questions, as posed by Morrissey and the Smiths.