by Cassandra Vincent
Though it started in 2016 as part of the 40 year celebration of punk rock, The W in London is still offering their Anarch-Tea with punk inspired sweets and style. Yet another way to share what you love over a cuppa. Check out their site here: http://www.wlondon.co.uk/afternoon-tea
As this is a tea blog written by an entertainer this is a great opportunity to share appreciation for some of the music and style that has inspired me to create, connect and explore. I discovered goth and punk music in two separate moments as a teenager. They were artistically and personally transformative moments that have had a lasting effect on me as an artist.
Now I don’t know what the punk scene was really like for those who were at the vanguard of what has since been referred to as a ‘movement’ in music. I’m not going to romanticize a time and experience I didn't live. I can only speculate and read the stories of those who were there. But I have a visceral response to some of the music and style – I just instantly felt I could relate. After all the desire for individual expression, youth angst, economic challenge and marginalizing did not only exist in the 1970s.
An artistic platform that unites people having a similar experience is a powerful thing. To me one of the greatest aspects of any art form is that it gives the opportunity to connect – ideas as well as people. And punk continues to do this decades after its genesis.
My favourite band associated with the early years of punk is The Damned. I love their sense of humour and intense energy. I have enjoyed all of their albums individually and as a story of their evolution. I also admire that they always seemed to be a band of individuals. They didn’t look like clones of one another but each person had definitive style and I think that came through the music.
Each incarnation of the band resulted in a shift in their sound. There is nothing wrong with signature sound, but I would expect a band that has been around for 40 years would want to continue to explore what they can do. I am so glad they have.
Singer Dave Vanian has been an inspiration of classy vintage/horror style (seen by many as a goth pioneer) and unique sound to me. His instantly recognizable voice, like a sharp blade hiding in a velvet sheath, has the ability to produce a fierce shout and an ethereal lullaby. Marvelous!
The other long-standing member in the current line-up, Captain Sensible, brings a child-like mischievousness and bird-flipping attitude to this day. These two along with the massively fast and aggressive drum style of Rat Scabies and song-writing brilliance of guitarist Brian James were part of the wave that slapped the music world hard enough for it to take notice.
The various incarnations of the band that followed continued to make an entertaining music story on subjects from club life to politics to reflections on the art of others while incorporating musical influences that extended beyond punk without ever losing that soul. It looks like we may even have a new album from them soon! [UPDATE - new album Evil Spirits !]
Punk is a part of our musical history. It deserves to be celebrated, not as a way to freeze it in time or to own it but to recognize the inspiration it gave and still gives to the generations that continue to discover it.
I feel that tea, like music, is a part of the joy of culture. Tea is for all - music is for all - to be experienced and shared in whatever way brings you joy. Hats off to the W for celebrating punk and afternoon tea together. Maybe it will inspire your next tea party.
Just be careful –moshing with hot beverages is dangerous business.
The Go Deeper details:
The Damned is touring this spring! Check out their schedule here: http://www.officialdamned.com/tour/
For more on London’s celebration of 40 years of punk: http://punk.london/gob/
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