punks vs.chongs

1 10 2008

I'm still looking for old pictures from that time when it wasn't odd to see some people in trench coats or leather jackets in the middle of the day(even summertime) but temporarily this will do,for now. A bit more general, with the preppy, pastel color galore 80's Menudo kind of look than the dour European New Wave visual. It does remind me of current trendy bands though, both local and international. mismatched Chucks, skinny jeans. Ahh, the cycle in music and fashion. What goes around comes around. Scary.

Chong
both noun and adjective
An 80’s term of endearment by local punks for new wavers.

Punk1-Huh?Pupunta kang party sa Corinthians? Puro Chongs doon no!

Punk2-di bale Positive Noise yung mobile, nagpapatugtog yon ng “Damaged Goods” at “Wild in The Streets”, pwede na rin!

If Britain had Mods versus Rockers, well then, here in the fabulous 80s there was the amusing Punks versus Chongs division. It wasn’t as bad as one would imagine though and wasn’t even close to the stupidity behind the Rock versus Hip Hop call for arms in the 90s. It was just a loving, slight derogatory term placed upon people who were into New Wave by the local Johnny Rottens and the Sid Vicious’ of the day like they were better because they listened to something harder,noisier, chaotic and rebellious.

I was actually both, a hybrid. I enjoyed Circle Jerks as much as i enjoyed The Lotus Eaters but being that i’m from a different background and didn’t sport a mohawk nor wore a dog collar with rusty nails protruding, i was definitely referred to as a “chong”.

It wasn’t something bad to me nor did i take offense to it. I’m not going to deny i was more into the cool demeanor of a Tim Butler(bass player and brother of Richard-Psychedelic Furs), Martin Fry of ABC, the quirky Mark Hollis of Talk Talk and moreover, the unabashed, fey swagger of David Sylvian (Japan). Heck, at one point i even sported Phil Oakey‘s(Human League) lopsided hairdo. This sense of style appealed more to me than having to put egg yolk on my hair to make it stay up and spikey though from time to time i would be caught wearing PVC trousers,(or something close to it), something narrow and plaid or something with loads of buckles and zippers tucked in a pair of U2 or The Alarm looking boots. Not just for the weekend mind you, but more for school, partnered with the school polo uniform, shirtjack style.

However, seeing Paul Weller in a white trenchcoat, Fred Perry sport shirt with drainpipe trousers and loafers seemed to connect with me more and that’s where the “mod” posturing came about. But to most i was a “chong”.

Still, the group of mobile friends i was with then and i were probably the only ones who could get away playing Hardcore/Ska and Punk/New Wave/Post-Punk altogether. Ex. D.O.A, The English Beat ,The Fall, Dead Kennedys, Seona Dancing (Ricky Gervais) and The Fire Engines etc., side by side for a Punks not Dead party or a trench coat wearing (96 degrees in the shade), allblack,eyelinerheavy,The Cure lookalike soiree. I’ve certainly had my fair share of beer bottles whizzing by, being spat at and given the finger by groups of Punks, and all this, while playing their favorite Minor Threat song or the never fail “Sex and Violence” by The Exploited.

But yeah, still in the configuration i was a considered a “chong” and i was, for the most part. But, was i really one in the Industry “State of The Nation” sense? Check for yourselves and decide whether i was a permanent fixture at the Corinthian club house or whether i have New Wave pedigree and an indie cred… from a sample of records in my arsenal. Click HERE

While the subject’s on New Wave here’s one of the best bands from the 80s in my book. Critically acclaimed yet criminally misunderstood by most.

Yes, you heard correctly. Mark Hollis was singing live over the minus one for this simple video directed by then wonder boy Tim Pope. There is another version of this video btw. The other two, Paul Webb and Lee Harris went on to form O’rang and if i’m not mistaken Paul Webb collaborated with Beth Gibbons under Rustin Man. Sadly, Mark Hollis, after putting out a wrist slasher of a solo effort in the same vein as the last two Talk Talk albums has retired completely from the music business. He should make a comeback. Their last two albums Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock are considered by many music fans and critics alike as the progenitor of “Post Rock”.

For another excellent Talk Talk video click HERE.

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