It’s 1977: The Sex Pistols have stolen punkrock from New York and shipped it to London.
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It’s 1977: The Sex Pistols have stolen punkrock from New York and shipped it to London. They’re changing the fashion a bit. Making it more Carnaby Street… and at the same time, more offensive. That’s the idea of punkrock, ya know?
“Piss on your ancestors,” said proto-punker Patti Smith.
Only the Brits can make piss into a fashion. And what could be more piss-making than THE NAZIS? Something rude for every occasion. Sid Vicious walks down the stairs, at a very polite concert… in a Swastika shirt.
Flash ahead to 1986: My band ARTLESS is on tour in the South. We’re just leaving West Virginia. I wear a SKREWDRIVER T-shirt given to me by one of our hosts.
“Mykel,” asks Gavin [not McInnes], “can’t you find us some more fascists to stay with? Those guys fed us well, gave us clean beds, and didn’t keep us up all night playing Crass records. Those other guys, those anarchists we usually stay with… they’re filthy. The food is awful… and they won’t let us sleep.”
Flash ahead to 1995: The anarchist festival in Toronto. I stay at the house of MRR columnist Steve Beaumont. (A decade later he’ll be a world-famous beer writer.) Also at the house are a bunch of guys I don’t know from some band I don’t know. They’re funny and friendly. I’ve never seen them before.
“What’s the story on those guys?” I ask Steve.
“Oh Mykel,” he says, “you’re in for a surprise. That’s VEGAN REICH.”
The big guy in the band wears an even bigger t-shirt with MEAT IS MURDER stenciled on the front. He’s fiddling around in his backpack.
“Got it!” he says, taking out a box of something.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“It’s tofuburger mix,” he says.
“Yuck!” I answer. “I wouldn’t eat that shit in a million years.”
“That’s what you think,” he says. “Steve, get the camera.”
And he reaches for me.
I’m out the door… sprinting across the front yard… into the next yard. I can easily outrun this big guy, I think. I think wrong.
Blam! I’m on the ground. Tackled like some football player. Another guy from the band kneels over me. I can’t see him clearly. Things are a blur. I’m face up. The guy clamps my head between his knees. He reaches over my face and squeezes my jaw, forcing my mouth open. He does not open his fly and lower his turgid tumor into my mouth. Instead, the big guy, who’s faster than he looks, has that box of Tofu Burger Mix open in his hand. He pours it into my mouth.
It’s like he’s force-feeding me sand. Awful. Grains of tasteless nothing…filling my mouth…spilling over my cheeks…clustering first around then into my ears. I’m gonna suffocate. I can’t talk…breathe… nothing. I try to shake my head…turn away from the granular invasion. The other guy’s knees keep my head just where it is.
Then it’s over.
They let go of me. And they help me stand up.
I spit out the crap. Stick my fingers into my mouth to scrape the insides of my cheek. Steve is laughing behind the camera. The Vegan Reich guys are laughing. My piss-offedness turns to laughter. It really is funny.
Flash ahead to 2003: Two years after Al Qaeda (or SOMEBODY) drove a couple planes into the World Trade Center…and one into the Pentagon.
Suddenly, all Muslims have become terrorists in the eyes of America. More than that…everyone who wears a turban…Muslim or Sikh…Christians in Ethiopia wear turbans, for Allah’s sake…all have become THE ENEMY.
The enemy? Hey: it could be like Sid Vicious in his swastika shirt… singing My Way. What could be punker in the 21st century than becoming a Muslim?