Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Punk: The Early Years (2003)

(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )

Punk: The Early Years
(Music Video Distributors)

Trust the title. Not only does this sixty-minute documentary chronicle punk’s early years, it was shot during those years as well (1977 and 1978 to be precise). Caught up in the moment, the documentarians indiscriminately capture both wheat (X Ray Specs) and chaff (Generation X), sheep (the Slits) and goats (Eddie and the Hot Rods), in rare (if not necessarily spectacular) performances and rarer (if even less necessarily spectacular) interviews. Set exclusively in London, the film ignores the Ramones, Talking Heads, Television, and Blondie, all the while hinting, in interview after interview with various label honchos, at what would turn out to be both England’s and the U.S.’s second most important contribution to the music: major-label involvement (i.e., money), without which punk might’ve vanished without a trace. In short, an educational appendix to Julien Temple’s The Filth and the Fury. Rating: Three-and-a-half bollocks out of five.

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