That Punk would one day be the object of nostalgia would have been anathema to the sweaty, blood-spattered denizens of a late 1970's slam pit. Punk was about irreverence and irrelevance, in direct opposition to two of the core tenets of nostalgia. Still, with two new movies on punk icons hitting the screen, it's hard to deny there is some fond reminiscing going on.
The first, the documentary Let Fury Have the Hour, just reeks of nostalgia. As Bill Green, at make the logo bigger notes, it seems to miss the point that there was no point. It runs the risk of seeing meaning that simply wasn't there. Punk was never about changing the world, it was about changing your world.
The new Ian Dury biopic, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll seems to be more in the spirit of the times.
For a genre intent on breaking the rules, could there be a better front man than a 35-year-old cripple? Is there a better disguise for bitterness than humor? The brilliance of Dury's subversion is that most of it was subliminal. You had to listen between the lines.
I hope to see both films. I really want to like both, but suspect the Dury pic will do a better job of capturing the moment. The danger in looking back at popular culture is that you'll over analyze it. You risk seeing things in a context that did not exist at the time. Let Fury Have the Hour promises a lot of people saying what punk meant to them. The problem is, if you look at put and come away with any deep meaning, you're totally missing the point.