Thursday, September 24, 2009

M--- is a Punk Rocker

(Note: the title only really works if you know that M's name has two syllables. Now you can blame me for The Ramones running through your mind all day).

Several months ago we were sitting at the breakfast table and M was singing some children's song (I don't remember which) in a sort of loud, fast, abrupt manner and I asked him if he was singing the punk rock version of the song. So of course he asked me what is punk rock, and I stumbled, not really able to come up with a definition (something about anarchy and anti-establishment something?) and the only representative band that came to me at the time was the Sex Pistols, and I really didn't want to get into that conversation, so I suggested that we have his Aunt J. send him a CD. So when we sent her a Christmas thank-you note (a bit late), M wrote on it, "I would like you to make me a punk rock CD."

My sister, the original mixed-tape queen, of course, was more than happy to comply, in spades. She sent Volume One, The Late 70's for his birthday. M declared it his favorite CD and particularly latched onto "The Passenger" by Iggy Pop, going around the house humming, "Duh nuh nuh, duh nuh nuh, duh nuh nuh." Then, when we were in Colorado, she gave him Volume Two, The Early 80's. We've only made it about three songs into the CD because M instantly fell in love with "Private Idaho" by the B-52s (and was not nearly as enthusiastic about Adam Ant's "Stand and Deliver" as I was, much to E and Z's amusement). Now I'm not entirely sure if the B-52s really qualify as punk rock...they're definitely not hard core in any case. But M listens to that song over and over and over and over and over.

Now C and I have a new way to describe M's spacey behavior--somehow this kid who chooses his own spelling words, words like "escarpment," "metamorphosis" and "isthmus," who is one grade ahead in math and at the top of that class, is completely incapable of following basic two-part directions like, "put on your pajamas and brush your teeth"--when he's wandering around, chewing on his toothbrush, forgetting what he's supposed to be doing five seconds after he's told, we say, "M, you're in your own private Idaho again." Not sure if it sinks in, but it amuses us.

The best part of M's interest in punk rock is that it drives C completely crazy. Now two things you have to understand: one, C collects old records, and two, he seems especially drawn to music that is like fingernails on the chalkboard to me: Frank Zappa, Neil Diamond, Herb Alpert, Burt Bacharach. This weekend he was playing some Metallicaey/Aerosmithy shrieky, noisy, excruciatingly irritating yuckiness. I think the real reason the punk CDs bug C, who can listen to almost any other kind of music, is that he and my sister make it a policy to by contrary to one another.

So, in the spirit of marital harmony, crank up The Clash and rock the casbah (whatever that is)!

P.S. New post up today at Capital Walks.


  1. oooh, i'm totally going to have Mitch make M a cd as well...the more punk rockers in training, the better!


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