Friday, 22 March 2013

The Clive Continuum

“Punk Rock”   
(see also: "Awards""Festivals" "Demos" "Respect" "Side Projects"  "Lyrics"  "Touring")

People say to me "Clive' (they say) 'you are a 65 year old man, isn't it time you knocked the old punk thing on the head? You've paid your dues, no one could have given more than you. Isn't it time you gave it a rest?"

This is mainly my wife, when she wants me to do the washing up. Or my pal, Lobley, when he's trying to persuade me to go on a fishing trip with him. I think he always hoped retirement would mean we could spend quality time together, not arguing about bass solos and brass arrangements.

But it's not something you can switch off. And besides, fishing can be punk. It's just not punk right now.

Because Punk is something that continuously evolves. And that's why I have continuously evolved. Most artists can't deal with that responsibility. They'd rather get a tattoo of a Chinese proverb and a spiky haircut and everyone knows the Chinese are the least Punk Rock nation on Earth.

It was Punk when John Lydon went on Celebrity Jungle People. It was Punk when he walked out. It was Punk when he did the butter advert. It was Punk he only did one advert then walked away, at the height of his fame as the face of butter. Can you honestly say you'd leave that behind?

And it was Punk when I combined Rockabilly Scat with Waltz-time Deathcore at the tail end of my Imperial Clubland phase. It was Punk when I went crawling back with a set of Sinatra standards. And here I am, twenty seven years later, performing a guerrilla gig every single day of the month when I should supposedly be doing chores or working like a chump, like what you do.

The only type of Obvious Punk I can stand is when the band is having a laugh. Punk is meant to have a sense of humour, of the absurd. It's these serious 'I am going to change the world' punks who are pathetic. You think the same three chords and some messy hair and a bit of shouting will change things? You're as bad as these pop stars.

They think they are rebels like Damon Albarn. Cult Robin Hood figures, who want to rob from the rich and give to themselves. Well I earnt my money pal, as well as my Punk Rock credentials, so don't steal from me. They'd think it was Punk to rob a bank, from ‘the man’, that kind of thing. They are wrong. A true Punk would storm the bank, waving a sawn off shotgun in their faces, grab all the cash they could carry, and then blow their own brains out. That'd show ‘em. These fashion punks don't have the backbone.

I feel like I'm shouting at a wall a lot of the time. This writings on a blog wall is the new way of that and it's just no good. People tweeter a joke they hear and think they are Michael Barrymore. I try and spread the real truth - not the ‘nod-wink, ha look at that’ reality most people prefer - and it gets me nowhere. I would be better off actually just shouting at a wall. Maybe people would pay attention to me then, instead of just walking past, eating their Greg’s sausage and bean pies.

I think Wakefield is the problem. So many people just bothered about wallowing in squalor, pretending they are living in some kind of Euro-Hippy squat. "Everything sucks!" Pretending they choose to be poor and helpless and that. Dressing scruffy is some silly code to them, "I'm part of the gang, I was rejected by society too." Yeah, because you are faulty goods, pal. If Punk is forced on you by circumstance, it's not Punk. Punk has to be a choice.

This is why I've been getting out to new places; Ossett, Purston Jaglin, Middlesbrough - to force this new choice on people. But it's tiring. I'll die like I lived - young and at the peak of my game. I'll never stop pushing things forward. But it'd be nice to know the spirit would be kept alive when I'm gone. Oh it'd be great to be out there with my pal, fishing the week away, or spring cleaning with Mrs Smith without a care in the world. But until these kids begin to even scratch the surface of understanding what Punk really is, I'm sad to say it feels like there really is no future. No future for you. No future for me.

Clive Smith

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