The Null Device

Punk knitting

The Guardian fires off a robust rhodomontade at the phenomenon of knitting as a staple of alternative culture.
We've gone from screaming for anarchy, rocking against racism, storming the US Embassy and picketing recruiting offices, tuning in and dropping out and rutting like pigs on Viagra to taking up the favourite hobby of senile old grannies everywhere and declaring it radical. Which was hilarious for about five seconds about five years ago.
Nonetheless, the truth must be stated. Germaine Greer didn't articulate her disgust with women's oppression by knitting a lavender and yellow toilet-roll holder. Dr Martin Luther King Jr didn't say: "I have a dream ... set of place mats that I crocheted using a pattern I got from a magazine." Jimi Hendrix didn't take to the stage at Woodstock wearing a nice orange and puce cardigan (with a reindeer on it) that he made using a job-lot of wool he got at a jumble sale. And Sid Vicious didn't crotchet his own stupid mock-Tibetan hippy-dippy ear-flapped bobble hats. And neither should you. If you need a hobby, take up spitting.
They have a point, if one regards punk-as-macho-destructive-nihilism and ignores the DIY aspect of punk and post-punk alternative cultures. (Wasn't it Lydia Lunch who said that the problem with punk rock is the "rock" thing, i.e., that beneath the obvious stylistic novelty, it's still the same regressively macho alpha-male proving-ground as the greaser rock of two decades earlier?)

There are 4 comments on "Punk knitting":

Posted by: datakid Sat Jun 14 23:29:32 2008

That's what I don't understand. Sure, raising knitting onto some pedestal as "the new radical" is ridiculous, but it doesn't actually deviate that much from the idea of a DIY culture. In fact, it sits fairly well with DIY. I would think that, if anything, some journalists for some hipster rag have made knitting the new black, which gives similar journalists the perfect opportunity x years later to declare it non-functional radically. Puh-lease. On top of which, GG, Dr MJK, JH and SV may have been radical pinups of their time, but they are now weapons of the ruling classes and have little to offer radicals of today apart from a lesson in history.

Posted by: dj Sun Jun 15 05:17:50 2008

I pretty much agree with dk. Sid Vicious was about as politically radical as Margaret Thatcher.

Posted by: datakid Sun Jun 15 12:23:11 2008

Who we must remember _was_ politically radical - just not from a leftist perspective. In her day. Kind of fades into dull with GWB and JWH on the scene though.

Posted by: acb Sun Jun 15 12:58:40 2008

Andrew Marr, in his History of Modern Britain, refers to Thatcher's programme as the "British Revolution".

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