I want to preface this entry with the knowledge that I know good and well that it is privileged and babyshit bananas to sit here and talk shit about a huge, awesome event that takes place a few short miles from where I live. I know that there are people who read this blog and live in the middle of nowhere, wishing that they could go to some big stupid ass event rather than skate in the Wal-Mart parking lot again on a Friday night (No shame. That was my teenage years, except it was Piggly Wiggly, not Wal-Mart). With that said, here we go:
The Anarchist Book Fair took place this past weekend in Oakland and I mostly went to socialize with people who I rarely see. There were good workshops and talks about Ferguson, Mexico, eviction issues, labor practices and women's leadership in anti-capitalist movements. I didn't go to any of them. I walked around through the aisles in what feels more and more like a mall. There's not a lot of trading, haggling or barter happening. It feels like capitalism at work because it is capitalism at work. I found myself talking down V Vale on the price of his full set of Search and Destroy...his legendary newspaper / zine that started in 1977. Issue #1 was newly photocopied and I couldn't bring myself to pay what he was asking. He told me that he would autograph it and I said "I don't want your autograph." I saw his face fall a little bit, but we're fucking punks. We don't have idols. I don't want anyone's fucking autograph. It means nothing to me. I walked away with my money and he kept his zines so I could come back next year and we could try this dance again...like we've been doing for the last five years.
As I was biking away, I was getting upset about pining for a past that I never passed through. Sure, those zines contain amazing history lessons and photos of things that still inspire me, but I didn't need it at that price...and that condition. Instead, I went home and spent a bunch of money on bands, distros and zines who are creating their music and art now....at much cheaper prices.
Today, I got 6 tapes in my P.O. box with more on the way. All of 'em were created in the past year by people who would not offer me an autograph, but might offer me a place to sleep if I needed it. This one is called Marty plays Marky....It's a murky back story. Two bands. You're probably familiar with them...THE CONEHEADS and LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS. Mark from the CONES covered a LUMPY and a CAL AND THE CALORIES song on a tape (which you can find here). So, Martin from LUMPY responded to it with a tape of his own, covering THE CONEHEADS, HOT BEEF and some other weird shit. It's good. The sound quality is like a garbage fart. I'm glad I'm listening to this instead of reading Search and Destroy right now.
Order stuff from small distros. Start bands. Support what's happening in your town if it's worth supporting. If it's not, make something that is worth supporting. Respect the history of what you love but don't live in it.