July 21, 2020:

We all went Punk and New Wave overnight.

It wasn't trendiness. Far from it. Most American kids in 1977 despised The Sex Pistols, had never heard The Ramones, and thought Elvis Costello was gay. They were all about The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Musics which were homogenized, generic, polished, self-indulgent, and heavily marketed.

The new musics spoke to us because they were rougher, less glamorous, more streetwise. This was especially true of the British Punks, some of whom clearly actually meant it. There was a renewed ethic of rebellion which immediately caught my attention.

I bought "God Save the Queen" at an indie import records store on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach after calling all over town to ask if anyone had any Sex Pistols. Only they did. The record was astonishing. Rough, raw, confrontational. All the things Fleetwood Mac could never be.

We loved The Pistols, The Ramones, Lene Lovich, Romeo Void, The Germs. Some of us, not me so much but many of the others, loved Blondie, The Talking Heads, the B-52s: the poppy-er side of New Wave.

Our peers at the University detested these musics along with all other forms of change and loudly let us know. One day after some Johnston students had organized Punk and New Wave campus dances someone from the reactionary side of Colton Avenue put up a sign in the Commons: "You've had Punk Night. You've had New Wave Night. Now it's time for ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHT!!" A deliberate, obvious, and overt challenge to all forms of progress.