August 14, 2013

God's Consolation Prize


When I was a sophomore, I already listened to a couple punk bands, but I still refused to admit to myself that I actually liked punk. Saying that I liked the thing itself and that I related to it and all that was something that a straight A student who got violent stomach cramps at the thought of breaking a rule shouldn't even consider. I didn't really like punk. There were just some cool songs, that was all.

Then my soon-to-be best friend showed up at my locker holding a stack of CDs tied up with a pink ribbon one morning.
"What are those?" I asked. 
"They're for you," she said, sticking them in with the crap on the top shelf of my locker. "They were my eighth grade graduation gift. They're a bunch of mix CDs that are like the history of alternative music." I don't even remember what my eighth grade graduation gift was, but it was definitely not as cool as that.
"Why are you giving them to me?"
"So you can rip them and listen to them. I think you'll like them."

And that was how I ended up with The CDs. There are six of them and they are, indeed, a history of alternative music. They were put together by a family friend of hers who worked in a record store. To help pick the bands, she asked her coworkers and her friends what music got them through high school.

I was really excited to listen to them, so I decided to start on the first one right after I'd gotten it ripped and finished entering in the track names and artists. The family friend wrote in messy round cursive that made me fuck up some of the band names and song titles. I've figured out what ones are wrong by now, but I refuse to fix them. The first song on this first CD was Blank Generation by Richard Hell & the Voivods (my misreading of Voidoids). 

The second the song came together and Richard Hell himself started singing/yelling the words, my mind was blown. I knew that whatever this twisted swing chaos was, I fucking loved it and I needed more of it. And that's how this song finally made me realize that I wasn't just making an exception for a few bands- it was really punk music itself I loved, as weird and inappropriate as that was for a quiet Catholic schoolgirl.

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