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Forums > Social Discussion > I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair

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DrBoo
BRONZE Member since Oct 2005

DrBoo

I invented the decaffinated coffee table.
Location: Cornwall, United Kingdom

Total posts: 453
Posted:OK. This may end up being moved to chat, depending how far we go with it...let's see.

Has anyone heard the song "I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair"? It's by a Scottish lass called Sandi Thom, I believe.
The lyrics go like this:
 Written by:

(chorus)
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair
In 77 and 69 revolution was in the air
I was born too late to a world that doesnt care
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair

When the head of state didnt play guitar,
Not everybody drove a car,
When music really mattered and radio was king,
When accountants didnt have control
And the media couldnt buy your soul
And computers were still scary and we didnt know everything

Chorus

When popstars still remained a myth
And ignorance could still be bliss
And when God Save the Queen she turned a whiter shade of pale
When my mom and dad were in their teen
and anarchy was still a dream
and the only way to stay in touch was a letter in the mail

Chorus

When record shops were on top
and vinyl was all that they stocked
and the super info highway was still drifting out in space
kids were wearing hand me downs,
and playing games meant kick arounds
and footballers still had long hair and dirt across their face

Chorus

I was born too late to a world that doesnt care
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair




So, is she being ironic? Or clever in a different way? Do you think she just doesn't know that punks didn't have flowers in their hair (just lots of hairspray)?
Does the world really not care as much as it did in 77 and 69? Do we have less effective anarchy now? Or no anarchy at all?

I like to think that she's referring to the idea that both hippies and punks were revolutionaries/anarchists (I think that is self-explanatory, but others I have spoken to disagree) and she'd like to be either as there is nothing to offer in that respect in the current era.
Is she right?

I mean, obviously she forgets about the institutionlised racism, sexism, some really bad music (not all, before people shout at me!), strikes etc etc that punctuated the years she refers to. Is she naively idealistic?
Was it really better when the "head of state" (by which we assume she means Blair, not the Queen) didn't play the guitar? Does it make any difference that he does?

Who else here would like to be a punkrocker with flowers in their hair? peace mad peace


Boo x

I intend to live forever - so far, so good.

If it costs "a penny for your thoughts", but people give you their "two-pence worth", who is getting the extra penny?

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JauntyJames
SILVER Member since Dec 2004

JauntyJames

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Hampshire College, MA, USA

Total posts: 3533
Posted:I'm going to go with naive idealism. There's got to be a special term for people who are nostalgic for eras in which they weren't born, because there's loads of them. People believe what they want to, and there's not a thing that can be done about it. We can't force them to go back and live in the 70's, althought if we could that'd be SO COOL! It'd mean there would be less anoying people around to clutter up the place. On the other hand, they might breed back in time and there'd be even more people, who we would then also have to send back in time. Oh, what a paradox!

-James

"How do you know if you're happy or sad without a mask? Or angry? Or ready for dessert?"

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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK)

Total posts: 5967
Posted:Meh.

Apathy...

rolleyes


Getting to the other side smile

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monserat
SILVER Member since Apr 2006

monserat

My flabber is gasted
Location: waaaay south of heaven, United...

Total posts: 737
Posted:I thought it was a pretty powerful image when I first heard it. Not sure I can articulate why though. Maybe its about the idea that punks and hippies were both shocking to the establishment and 'ordinary' people in 77 and 69, but now a lot of that innocence (computers were scary etc) that meant people were shocked has been lost and replaced by a cynicism, or even indifference, which means that anyone trying to be a punk or a hippie now is largely ignored or dismissed. Anarchy isn't new anymore so its harder to make a statement than it was in 69 or 77, even if you're a punk rocker with a flower in your hair!

Chaos is the natural state of the universe

Some days I'm the pigeon, some days I'm the statue.

honourary militant margerine ninJAH

If it wasn't for displacement activity I wouldn't get half as much done

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Seye
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK

Total posts: 1261
Posted:Personally I think this is just another cash in on the current romanticism of everything 'retro'.
I dont think she has a clue really.
It actually reminds me of Alanis Morrisette - Ironic, another track that entirely missed its own point.

The general populus have never cared. Hippies / punks and other social movements were never mainstream. People tend to remember it as being much larger than it actually was because it had a longer lasting effect than the other trite social and musical movements of the time.

Now there is a much larger anarchic movement that takes thousends of different forms.

Runs off to subvert some corporate logo's...
wink


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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Total posts: 4145
Posted:1969 - Woodstock
1977 - Sex Pistols release "Never mind the [censored] - here's the sex pistols"

Probably THE top moments of Hippyism and Punkrock, if you have to put them down to one year biggrin

Oh, and if it reminds me of Alanis Morissette, then more of "hand in my pocket" - never liked that one! Too many completely made-up contrasts just to put contrast in a song wink


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear,...

Total posts: 4693
Posted:this looks like it could turn into a "can we really change anything" thread.

i think it could be just a desire for people to be more active and passionate about what they do.

*runs away*


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:if you think the height of punk is the sex pistols then theres something very wrong

id rather go on that holiday in cambodia or kick out some jams


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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DrBoo
BRONZE Member since Oct 2005

DrBoo

I invented the decaffinated coffee table.
Location: Cornwall, United Kingdom

Total posts: 453
Posted: Written by: simta


id rather go on that holiday in cambodia or kick out some jams



ubblol very good!

But yes. As with Mr Majestik I prefer to think of this as a potential lack of passion/active thread, rather than can we change anything thread. Or are they not part of the same thing?


Boo x

I intend to live forever - so far, so good.

If it costs "a penny for your thoughts", but people give you their "two-pence worth", who is getting the extra penny?

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted: Written by: DrBoo


But yes. As with Mr Majestik I prefer to think of this as a potential lack of passion/active thread, rather than can we change anything thread. Or are they not part of the same thing?



there's a fair few (and a lot of english) punk that sings about nothing more than going down the pub and getting pissed...

I think there's something in that for all of us eek ubblol


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UCOF
SILVER Member since Apr 2002

UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: , United Kingdom

Total posts: 15414
Posted:But thats an English tradition! eek

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol, New Zealand

Total posts: 493
Posted: Written by:

there's a fair few (and a lot of english) punk that sings about nothing more than going down the pub and getting pissed...




and a sh*tload of punk about enacting social change.

Its interesting that the songwriter would rather have been a punk in 77 though... The punk movement had bugger all influence on US politics in the seventies. On the other hand the 2004 US election saw the Rock Against Bush movement, started by Fat Mike of SoCal punk stalwarts NOFX... It was probably the biggest united campaign to come out of rock music and radical politics sinced rock against racism (if anyone mentions Geldof and saving africans by privatising african public services I'll hunt you down and kill you). There was a similar hip-hop movement which ran alongside RAB...

Its largely in opposition to the repoliticization of heavy rock music over the last few years that Major labels have put such a push on Emo and for similar reasons Gangsta Rap - when people are too busy whinging about themselves (broken heart, or being the biggest baddest capitalist going etc) they're less likely to become political activists.

So I'd go with the songwriter is ignorant of contemporary social struggles... The battle of Seattle, the World (and regional) Social Forums, Indymedia, Rock Against Bush etc.

Unfortunately the song's exposure means that people with no knowledge of these movements will most likely take it as evidence that they no longer exist, that there is no alternative to integrated world capitalism. Which is exactly what you'd expect the corporations that run the music industry to say. Bastards.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
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Posted:dream................umm....the music INDUSTRY is a capitalist endeavour.

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Birgit
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Total posts: 4145
Posted:the fixation on 77 is in my opinion by someone who knows as much or less about punk than I do and thought it would be fancy to have some dates mentioned in the song he/she wrote for someone who probably wasn't even alive then ubblol

The one quote I've heard from someone who actually WAS at Woodstock in 69 was along the lines of "It was muddy, there were too many people, and the sound was [censored]." Same thing there I guess wink


"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Seb


Seb

Penguin of Mass Destruction and Tricky Bugger to the court of Claire the Askew
Location: Check behind you.

Total posts: 643
Posted: Written by: Mr Majestik


dream................umm....the music INDUSTRY is a capitalist endeavour.



Well...yes, he was saying so, and that's why those with a not so vested interest in that system that's so very prevalent here and now (big music companies very much amongst this number) are pushing the agenda.

It's a disempowered little ditty for sure, looking at the lyrics, but I like it, even though it seems the writer's got little idea that there are still people tryting to fix up the world. This thread's certainly inspiring enough, being caught in a town on the closest island we've got to Antarctica and most of the time not knowing where to look I rather easily fall into unawareness of anything useful and nonmainstream going on politically unless it gets big enough to make the papers or I get pointed at it through more independant avenues, and I bet there are lots in just as ignorant situations. Moreso, even, with some. Getting attention yanked at things like DIY politics looks rather worthwhile.

 Written by: DrBoo

I like to think that she's referring to the idea that both hippies and punks were revolutionaries/anarchists

I'd say so, and with the bit about Blair's guitar bit, that could have to do with the apparent selling out of that one. He used to be a peace activist, one of us! Now he's actually bought into a war, and I do mean bought. I'm not even being governed by his lot and I feel betrayed.


Chucks nuns
Property of mynci and blu_valley, and proud of it.

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NOn


activist for HoPper liberation.
Location: ffidrac

Total posts: 1643
Posted:i really want to reply to this post, but i'm not sure from which angle i should take it... i don't know what i really think about the song, as i haven't actually heard the tune... I imagine it's something along the lines of folky, guitar strumming, video of disillusioned looking young female wandering through meadows/shopping malls? from the lyrics... i don't think she's being ironic at all, it sounds like an attempt to express aforestated disillusionment about living in a globally consumerist culture (A.K.A post-modernism/post post modernism/information age/oh... there was a really good one that's often used to describe douglas couplands books....)

Anyway... thing is about post-modernism, if you want a cultural theory definition, is that it's style quite often makes references to different eras, and we can probably say that the beginning of postmodernism is around the late 70's to early 80s.... before that, generally speaking, was the age of modernism, futurism, and especially in america streamlining, which aimed for sleek, clean fast futuristic, industrial, therefore hippies would have been quite a shocking contrast to the prevailing modernist paradigm.... as would have been punks, especially once the world got used to hippies... So yes, it would have been radical shocking, and yes it's get's stuck in the collective memories of people, the media, and does anyone remember all the bad stuff really? well no, probably not....

Now... everything just blended together, consumerism lets you be who you want to be whilst making you be who the corporations want you to be, but the idea is there, that you can become anything, you can change your personality from day to day, there are no longer such distinct camps... yet, the people who were part of those movements are still alive, they are still current, they make programmes about how great it was and show them to all the young people growing up now and say to them, look how great it was, this anarchy this revolution... It's become a nostalgic era, a mythical time created via the public conciousness where everything seemed positive and upbeat, even though teenagers still had the same crappy problems, the governments continued to do crappy things, that bit's not part of the public memory. So if you are born into the eighties (oh wonderful decade of yuppyism) and grow up in the nineties (yay, grumpy britpop thugs) isn't it any wonder that you are going to think, well wait a minute, why are we having such a rubbish time, when back in the 60s and 70s it was amazing? I've gone on a very long and rambling route of thoughtage here, i think it's young people getting pissed off that they're not having as much fun as they're parents did. It's going nothing to do with current politics, it's possible that she is well aware of many of current actions, but doesn't feel like any of it's making any progress, there's now too much media that it gets absorbed, whereas thing like massive protests in washington, bed-ins and the sexpistols are revived on a pracitcally yearly basis..... She wants to be a punkrocker with flowers in her hair, because she wants to be noticed and that's a pretty hard thing to do, when all magazines want to know about is where you bought your shoes, or whether you went out with your skirt tucked in your knickers, it's means nothing, because you have to be original to stand out, and nothing is original anymore, given the postmodern paradigm which makes a practsie of referencing everything else....

i'm not sure this really stands up as an argument in court, it's more of a disorientated rummaging of the brain cupboard, so there will be holes, and all the cultural theory mumbo jumbo, it's worth reading, even if you don't believe in it, and it gives you handy names for things that otherwise wouldn't have any smile

on a possibly more sturctured note, my parents are of the 1970s hippy ilk having both been in the early 20s at the time, and i asked my mum what was really so great about the summer of '69, she said she remembers it well and had a great summer, but mainly because it was hot, it was also the first year of woodstock and i get the impression from her there was just a positive happy summer vibe more than anything... now who would want nasty things like the vietnam war getting in the way of all the peace and love? I jsut skimmed through this article which is about the history of the antiwar movement in the US actually, but i notcied some interesting sections about difference of opinion between young and older citizens and some potential reasons as to why the movement began to emerge at that time... although i guess that's kind of off topic... ok, i'm going to stop now, i'm completely rambling along as my brain works, just one more point back on topic....

so regarding all of the above, i think it's possible that this songwriter is you're classic post-modernist young person, disillusioned and wanting to do something about it, but a/ how do you express that, except in terms of what you know? there is a suspiscion that being a punk rocker or a hippy meant somethng more, and people relate to that because of the nostalgia and b/ maybe she's only concerned with improving the world on a superficial level or c/ merely presenting the image that she is deep thoughtful and emotional, and that she just wants SOMEONE TO LISTEN!!!! in summary..... *sigh, unpacks box labelled "EMOs, maybe you could change the world if you spent less time whinging" and packs her in* (no offence intended, for all i know i might actually like her music if i heard it...)

N.B. perhaps of relevance to the subject would be Neil Young's new album, with the opening line "let's impeach the president" with which he had to bypass the record company and release it on his own label... but obviously he has more practise at this sort of thing....


Aurinko freedom agreement reached 10th Sept 2006

if it makes no sense that's because it's NOn-sense.

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear,...

Total posts: 4693
Posted: Written by: Non

so regarding all of the above, i think it's possible that this songwriter is you're classic post-modernist young person, disillusioned and wanting to do something about it, but a/ how do you express that, except in terms of what you know? there is a suspiscion that being a punk rocker or a hippy meant somethng more, and people relate to that because of the nostalgia and b/ maybe she's only concerned with improving the world on a superficial level or c/ merely presenting the image that she is deep thoughtful and emotional, and that she just wants SOMEONE TO LISTEN!!!! in summary..... *sigh, unpacks box labelled "EMOs, maybe you could change the world if you spent less time whinging" and packs her in* (no offence intended, for all i know i might actually like her music if i heard it...)




*claps* i concur.


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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GeoffonTour04
SILVER Member since Nov 2005

enthusiast
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

Total posts: 360
Posted:It's an awful song and it beat gnarls barkley to his 10 week number 1 record (deserved, crazy was an awesome song) because of all the stupid little greasy hippy girls running round at the moment.

grr


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Tinks
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

Tinks

foxyninjatwinkletoes
Location: London/Brighton, Wales (UK)

Total posts: 177
Posted:I love the song, and I aspire to being a punk rocker with flowers in my hair, although more hippie than punk in all fairness.
I think there's something timeless about that kind of shunning the mainstream, whether you're an ancient greek radical philosopher, a druid living in romanised england or indeed a victim of the free love flower power generation. Or like most of us here a disillusioned outcast of the google generation.
Its all about trying to find peronal freedom to be in a world that demands conformity. So I think the essence of the song is a beautiful thing, even if the author is a superficial little girl who wants to sound cool and has no idea what she's talking about.
There is something pure and innocent, naive even, about it, but at the end of the day its more important to be different on the inside than on the outside.
Keep on rocking in the free world
Love
Tinks xx


May the wind always be at your back and the sun always upon your face, and the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars

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GeoffonTour04
SILVER Member since Nov 2005

enthusiast
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

Total posts: 360
Posted:Ironically, despite aspirations of non conformism, you're exactly the target audience the song was aimed at by a record company marketing exec, and thefore falling into the hands of the corporate machine. Or something.

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Tinks
SILVER Member since Jun 2006

Tinks

foxyninjatwinkletoes
Location: London/Brighton, Wales (UK)

Total posts: 177
Posted:oh dear, hadn't thought of that,
must work harder in my non-conformity classes.
But i didn't buy it so they can try to steal my soul but they shall never have my money (think that should be the other way around....)


May the wind always be at your back and the sun always upon your face, and the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars

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