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July 08, 2002

holidays in the sun

the shovel, the spade, the lawnmower, the clippers. me and my four friends set out to make a dent in the jungle that surrounds the home sweet home.

of course, i was sure the neighbors (the ones whose noses are bent in permanent appreciation of the sky) wondered what was going on. no permanent fixture on the homestead, is this amateur gardener of this amateur garden (or, as stated, jungle, more like). in pants, dark shirt, 80 degree Fahrenheit, right?)+ cloudless weather, i dig dig dig.

the punk rock gardener. how silly. thoughts of the weekend previous on my mind. being called “punked out” by a friend or two. preposterous. anarchy in the flower bed? weeds aren’t dead? stupid, stupid.

would a punk garden? that’s where this is going. would any good old (or new, or new-old or .. you get the idea) Spirit of 77 punk allow themselves to be found in a garden? their army boots getting ground in the dirt, mohawks tipped down as they dig away - would this be punk? or would this be bourgeois? would this be too “mainsteam” for the true punk rocker?

the “true punk rocker” and the Spirit of 77 punk i cited are, of course, not one and the same. they can be, may be, but often are not. the true punk doesn’t necessarily find the need to look punk, since they already know they are punk. i know this has all been discussed before, by other people, in other places, but it bears repeating for the sake of this entry.

there is this perception of punk, and there is the actuality of punk. the look vs. the lifestyle, as it were.

yes, i know that punk was a fashion that became a movement. i know about Sex and all that. but, looking at the status of being punk, divorced from the act of looking punk, there are two different ideologies at work here.

in my mind, the act of being punk is the art of being practical. not in terms of personal stylistic expression - what is practical for one person (backless heels, for example) may not be practical for another. but if the style chosen as “your” style is truly suited to “you”, then that’s fine. and, in fact, i’d like to stop talking about style now anyway. style is not what it’s about. the argument will never make any progress so long as we have to keep running around the issue, the yesbutwhatifs, and every minor variation on the point. if it suits you, that’s fine. but just because you dress up a lawyer with a mohawk and a leather coat, he is not punk (just the same as putting a punk in a suit doesn’t make him a square). ok?

the only reason fashion comes into play is because of these “punked out” comments, and the idea that i may, indeed, appear to be more punk than i intend. fair enough.

but when it comes to the question of gardening vs. being punk, i would have to say that gardening is, indeed, 100% punk rock.

when you garden, you are presented with a set of rules and circumstances that are very much outside of your control. the rules of the garden are the rules of nature. they are a substitute for the rules we live by in society every day. just as our cultures dictate (to a certain extent) our beliefs, so our climates dictate what we can and cannot grow. if you have rocky soil, if you have a lot of direct sunlight, if you live in one of the most segregated cities in America or your city is beset with financial troubles, there are things you are going to be unable to do - both in your garden and in your life. yet to work in these circumstances to affect a change that is meaningful and significant to you and your project is the purpose of your struggle - whether it be with The Man or those damn Weeds.

when you’re presented with a situation you don’t like, you have two options: lie down and cry or do something about it. to me, the practical thing to do is to do something about it. even if you think you can’t. even if you don’t at first. to take control of your destiny is at the heart of being punk. and by gardening, you are taking control of a situation that is bad (weeds, chaos) under a certain set of circumstances (sun positioning, soil conditions, existing plantlife, limited time/resources) and effecting a change. that is punk rock to me.

so, i continue to weed.

posted at 04:33 PM | find it forever

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