Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Silver Tanks Of The Refinery Gleam Under The Desert Sun

If ever anyone tells you that they're interested in politics, ask them if they know what "Ghawar" is. If they've never heard of it, their opinions are not worth listening to.

The same rule applies to rock bands. Here's pretty much the only one that would have given you the correct answer.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

‘What are these things?’

They’re Gremlins, Kate. Just like Mr. Futterman said.’

Gremlins was released in 1984 right in the middle of Ronald Reagan’s eight years. Its use of puppetry and animatronics seems to preclude serious critical treatment, but it’s actually a striking lament of many of the political and cultural features of its time.

On one level this is a B-Movie about Small Town America being besieged by monster invaders. At the point at which Billy (Zach Galligan) has fed the Gremlins after midnight, setting the stage for their metamorphosis via pods, Invasion of the Body Snatchers plays on Billy’s TV while he sleeps. Stripped of any didactic McCarthyist message that those films espoused, the film seems to be merely a pastiche of these elements played up for comedy.

With Mogwai comes great responsibility. I cannot sell him at any price.

We begin with Billy’s father Rand Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) going into a Chinese shop full of bric-a-brac and curiosities, and his attention is drawn to the Mogwai. The proprietor, a prototypical vision of ancient Oriental wisdom, is adamant that he not be sold. His Grandson (dressed in traditional Chinese clothing and a Yankees cap), protests, ‘Grandfather, we need the money!” and sells Rand the Mogwai in secret.

The boy acts as a mediator between Orientalism and the West: He is privy to unique and exciting commodities not available to the Western market, and has naturalised Capitalist values to the exclusion of familial authority, selling a cautionary tale waiting to happen as a commodity against the wishes of his grandfather.

You know what? I bet every kid in America would like to have one of these. They might even replace the dog as the family pet. The Peltzer family pet. This could really be the big one.

Rand furthers this commodification: The boy sells the Mogwai in a one-off transaction, ignoring any potential consequences. Rand, upon learning that the Mogwai duplicate when exposed to water, sees endless opportunity. It is significant of the particular cautionary tale told within the film that it is at the point of generation, that is of the Mogwai as potentially a mass market commodity, that things begin to turn. Gizmo’s offshoots are malevolent or at least mischievous to begin with, and are constantly searching for the conditions in which they can metamorphose. As a one-of-a kind the Mogwai is cute and entertaining; as a reproducible commodity it tears the society depicted and its social conditions apart.

The classic cautionary tale is one of the protagonist making a bargain. This bargain then spirals out of control, often giving the opposite of what it initially promises. Gizmo is identified as a commodity in waiting, a wealth creator who turns into a wealth disruptor, a destroyer of property. That this happens by a process of metamorphosis represents a coming of age: from ideological promises of new opportunity to the reality of downturn and deterritorialisation.

It’s not a stretch to imagine Kingston Falls to be near Detroit, with the climate, post-industrialism, precarious labour: ‘My husband’s just got a new job and I’ve took up some sewing on the side, but we don’t get paid for two weeks. I was wondering, couldn’t you just hold off a couple weeks on the rent?’ says a woman with her two children. Mrs. Deagle replies: ‘Mrs. Harris, the bank and I share the same purpose. To make... money.’ Not to support a lot of... deadbeats!’

‘Rand Peltzer’s the name: Fantastic ideas for a fantastic time. I make the illogical logical.’

Rand is the kind of entrepreneur who creates reinventing-the-wheel products for household problems that weren’t there to begin with, the kind seen on TV Infomercials. Machines that crack eggs for you, fly swatters that spin like propellers, a ‘smokeless ashtray’. They rarely work. There’s a great unexpressed melancholy to the pursuit of his fortune through his inventions while his wife struggles to keep the family together. ‘Ya know you should just buy orange juice in cartons. It’s a lot easier,’ says Billy’s friend Pete upon seeing Rand’s juicer malfunction. In reality, most entrepreneurial opportunities are already foreclosed decades and centuries previously, even if Rand were a more competent inventor. There is a tragic always-already defeated aspect to this pursuit that challenges Neoliberal ideology of opportunity.

Reagan’s America, in which entrepeneurship and making one’s fortune were trumpeted, presented itself as the land of opportunity, in which everyone’s Million was to be made with hard work and a good idea. There was nothing to lose. Gremlins depicts the sharp end of this vision, in which lack of start-up capital sends families into increasing leveraging of their own economic stability, more often than not without reward.

There is another scene in which the narrative is carried by what is on the television within the film: when Billy comes home to find his mother crying, she explains, ‘Oh it’s nothing. Just a sad movie.’ It’s A Wonderful Life is playing, particularly the famous revelatory scene in which James Stewart’s George Bailey runs down the street, the point at which his depression is spirited away Scrooge-style, in which life is affirmed. After some prodding, Lynn explains that Mrs. Deagle, the patrician landlady who presumably the family owe money to has called. Bailey’s suicide attempt is motivated by financial ruin. She is cutting an onion, an unmentioned but ready alibi to explain her crying.

Look, I’m a Junior Vice President by 23. By the time I’m 25 I’m gonna have Mr. Corbin’s job. By the time I’m 30 I’ll be a millionaire. Look at you, You’re practically supporting your family. The world’s changing Peltzer, you gotta change with it. You gotta be tough.

Success in Reagan’s America is represented by Judge Reinhold’s character, a colleague of Billy’s at the bank. His positioning as a villain is achieved by Billy implying his selfishness, but Reinhold’s short contribution to the film amounts to a resistance to family exploitation. While Billy supports his family, specifically his father’s ‘living the dream’, with his work at the bank, Kate (Phoebe Cates) works nights at her family’s bar ‘So they don’t have to pay anyone a wage.’ ‘Well I think that’s swell!’ says Billy. ‘Yeah it’s real swell, if you like working for nothin’!’

Gerald represents deterritorialisation against financial entanglement with family in small-town America behind his yuppie exterior. Gerald represents the lucky few success stories in 80s America which were and are held up as systemic successes, but also renders visible the bondage which Billy and Kate unconsciously suffer. Reagan’s rhetoric ambivalently co-opted this desire of the left, to abolish to some degree bondage to the family.

This bondage is as a result of two distinct projected images their parents are in hock to; Rand’s modern striving to complete in the global market as an individual, and Kate’s father’s communitarian desire to run the sort of ‘good honest’ bar that chain businesses, the dialectical turn of economic liberalism, are doing away with. This conversation ends with Kate’s father sending her to give a table a round of drinks on the house.

These goddamn foreign cars they always freeze up on you. American machinery don’t do that, our stuff can take anything. See that plough I had it 15 years, fifteen years and it’s never given me any crap. You know why? Kentucky Harvester. It ain’t some foreign piece of crap you pick up these days, that’s a Kentucky Harvester. Damn foreign cars.

Billy and Kate’s parents represent two sides of the same coin in mid-air; that is to say in ideological play, in 1984. Mr. Futterman manifests a projection of industrial America wounded and dying at this time. He is a constant stream of embittered xenophobia, crucially always towards foreign products and not people. Later on, drunk, he explains that he took his plough for a service and is told that it has previously had replacement foreign parts put into it, invading the internal workings of his machine. This is a reference to the first meaning of Gremlin: the industrial tinkerer goblin:

Gremlins. You gotta watch out for those Gremlins cos those foreigners plant them in our machinery, stop them working .It’s the same Gremlins that brought down our planes in the big one. That’s right, World War Two. Good ol’ Double-U Double-U Aye Aye. You gotta watch out, cos they plant Gremlins in everything. In your car, in your Stereo, in those little radios you put in your ears. In your watch, they got tiny Gremlins for your Watch!

This Gremlin myth was widely distributed as the cause of Allied plane crashes. Futterman posits a microcosmic iteration of this same battle against foreign sabotage, waged within the confines of his plough, where globalised machine parts disrupt it. The Gremlins’ disruption works in reverse: Again it is only when Rand reasons that these Chinese creatures be globalised as a self-perpetuating commodity that their potential for sabotage is unleashed.

From Global (often China) to America – Industrial. From China to Global via American ideology – Consumer. The Mogwai are interpellated by Rand are a postmodern consumer product in their proposed mode of distribution through marketing. This postmodern aspect is already manifest in the Mogwais’ behaviour, what seems to make them so amenable to this mode of commodification.

Gizmo is fascinated by media; he watches television, sings along to a keyboard, he is able to understand any conversation he is privy to and react accordingly. He supersedes Barney as a pet, something Rand expresses explicitly. Gizmo is unlike any other animal and yet instantly signifies all endearing qualities: He is furry, he’s always got his best smile on, he’s preternaturally gifted at many things – can play the trumpet, drive a toy car. He even waves an American flag at one point, ‘Patriotic little fella ain’t he.’

Barney and Mr. Futterman form a corollary of obsolescence. As Industrialism gives way to Monetarism, Futterman to Gerald; tradition gives way to new, Barney to Gizmo. In the beginning of the film Billy and Barney are inseparable. Barney goes to work and hides under Billy’s desk with him. This stops abruptly and without mention after Mrs. Deagle’s threats, but this coincides with Gizmo’s introduction to the family, whereupon Barney retreats to the background, whining passively as Gizmo takes the limelight, unable to vocalise his frustration. Dogs ask for unconditional, familial love and offer little in return for entertainment compared to a Mogwai.

Suicide rates are always highest around the holidays.

An oft-cited fact, but many things come together in Gremlins to undermine the universality of Christmas. Clothed in the apolitical garments of Love, Sharing, Togetherness, Happiness, (Who would not want these things?) modern Christmas requires capital with which to participate: Money for presents. Familial normativity implied in its version of happiness. Far from a time of apolitical plenty, here Capitalism bears its teeth: where only the productive can have happiness, and opportunity for all gives way to poverty for the losers, that being the majority.

Billy betrays this exclusivity. ‘I don’t celebrate Christmas.’ ‘What are you Hindu or something?’ he says. Christmas in Gremlins functions as a return of the repressed in many guises – Billy’s narrow worldview and entrapment in a small town supporting his family, economic inability to participate ie. Unpaid rents of Peltzer family, Kate’s father accidentally dying as a result of climbing down the chimney as Santa, Futterman’s complaints brought on by the cold causing his car to stall. ‘What’s not to like? I mean it’s a lot of fun, you know,’ Billy says sheepishly when she has explained.

As the chaos is at its heights, two consecutive quotes from minor characters dredge up the ideological nature of Christmas. ‘It’s supposed to be Christmas, what the hell is goin’ on?!’ says a police officer, ‘It’s supposed to be Christmas, not Halloween!’ a radio host. It’s a time in which economic, political and psychic factors are to be spirited away its failure to actually enact this bringing the scars of those who cannot internalise capitalism’s mandatory positivity to the surface. Mrs. Deagle turns this logic on the pleading mother previously mentioned: ‘Mrs. Deagle it’s Christmas!’ ‘Well you know what to ask Santa for then, don’t you now?’ Economic factors are always present, Santa won’t pay the bills.

They’re watching Snow White... And they love it.

The reptilian Gremlins are cultural postmodernism as much as they are economic neoliberalism. The Gremlins fulfil their role as traditional disruptors of machinery by wiring Mrs. Deagle’s stairlift to fire her out of the top floor window, wire traffic lights to show green on both so that cars crash, drive Mr. Footerman’s plough into his house. But placed into 1980s America, they develop the role of a postmodern disruptor: always play-acting as they destroy, as Christmas Carollers at Mrs. Deagle’s, as singing drunks at the bar. One gets a short dance montage dressed in leg warmers, finishing with some breakdancing; In the cinema, they make a mess but don’t outright destroy it, they fill the seats and a group get into the projector room and put on Snow White for them. They react with glee, and crucially, already know the tune to ‘Hi Ho’ and sing along with it.

E.T. as a character is similarly post-modern: putting on a flannel shirt to get drunk, watching TV all the time, but his postmodern acts are a device used to endear him to the characters and the audience to set up melodrama later on. Gremlins is a melancholic story in which characters quietly carry their psychic baggage around, only emerging to the surface when small town America’s fears of the new world order manifest themselves in the antagonists.

The Gremlins’ actions are stylized in the Bakhtinian sense of the word: always carrying a previous generic voice. They are not merely some atavistic demonic force of destruction. They critique as they go by inhabiting human actions familiar to the viewer. Their progression from machinery to household media forms (playing records, watching films) shows them to be a kind of ideological mirror in which they critique via play the defining characteristics of the epoch in which they find themselves.
Presumably we are led to believe that Mr. Futterman is correct, that Gremlins really did tamper with World War Two planes. Awakened for the first time in decades, they set to work on machinery once more. They quickly catch on, observe a new age where factories and industrial products have given way to consumer goods, household appliances, cinemas, toy stores etc. and reset their sights on disrupting this new focal point.

Mythical disruptors have always existed: Gods disrupting ancient harvests, Medieval Goblins, Industrial Gremlins, and the Postmodern Gremlins of this film. They mimic and mirror the time in which they find themselves, a grand continuation. They are the same species, represented differently in each era they arrive in. Gremlins is a postmodern fairy tale in the Brothers Grimm mould, and not just for the arbitrary rules which bring their reptilian selves into being.
You do with Mogwai, what your society does with all of nature’s gifts. You do not understand. You are not ready.

In the end though, the invasion is contained, the Chinese man takes Gizmo back again with a few lecturing words on the West’s lack of respect, restraint. All is undone. The lesson is learned. The cultural and economic conditions ongoing through the film, however, do not leave with it. Its story is entirely self-contained. For a brief moment in which the monsters are at large they interplay and mirror economic conditions. When they leave, nothing outside of the Gremlins’ moment is resolved: Mr. Futterman is still as embittered and now has his plough mysteriously crashing through his house to fuel his ranting. The Peltzer family is no better off. Mrs. Deagle is dead, the bank is destroyed, but these changes are easily foreclosed. The state of play is returned to almost exactly the point at which it began, minus some superficial destruction.

In its self-contained moment, though, the film is properly carnivalesque. Hierarchy is abolished for a short period, revealing in stark light the conditions which it briefly leaves.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


"From its inception in February 1985 until April of that same year, Scarboro played the part of Mark Fowler in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. The actor did not respond well to the sudden fame the role brought him, and later became very concerned when the writers decided that the character of Mark should become a racist.

Things came to a head one day when the script called for a scene where Mark was to deliver racist abuse to Paul J. Medford's character, Kelvin Carpenter. Scarboro firmly refused to play the scene. After this it was decided he should leave the show. His character was abruptly written out of the storyline: one morning his family arose to discover he had secretly moved away during the night. Mark was not seen nor heard from for several months.

In December 1985 Scarboro briefly returned to the series in a special storyline where Mark was reunited with his parents. His parents had travelled to visit him in Southend-on-Sea where he had settled with an older woman who had children from an earlier relationship.

Scarboro subsequently returned for brief return stints in 1986 and 1987, but never returned to the series on a permanent or on-going basis. Scarboro's last appearance in the series was on Christmas Day, 1987."

"Elements of the UK tabloid press reported that Scarboro had been fired from the show for turning up late for filming and being uncooperative on set. Away from the series Scarboro initiated libel proceedings after several national papers published inaccurate stories about his private life, but the press continued to pursue him and his family. The News of the World discovered that Scarboro was in a psychiatric unit, and published photographs of the place. Scarboro subsequently left the unit because he could no longer get adequate treatment, and inaccurate stories about his condition were being published.

He committed suicide in 1988 by throwing himself from Beachy Head. A documentary on his life was produced by the BBC in 1988 titled My Brother David and was presented by his brother Simon. His parents left the country soon after their son's death.

The role of Mark Fowler was subsequently taken by Todd Carty in 1990 and continued in EastEnders as a regular character until 2003."

Monday, 4 July 2011

This Is New Zealand - American Edition

Who is the bloke in the dark suit sitting opposite Bob Muldoon?

The two leaders eye each other. They smile wryly, but do not speak. A large china vase could fall on their heads at any moment.

There is no caption, but the photograph must have been taken in June of 1981, when New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon visited the United States, six months into Reagan’s presidency. Muldoon himself was to be re-elected later that year and receive the mandate to further his ‘Think Big’ response to the international energy crisis just as the price of oil reached an all time high. New Zealand needed American technology and capital for its infrastructure investments, and this is likely to have featured in the talks.

The photograph itself is less straightforward to read. The exchange of smiles is more guarded than it is cordial, and one is drawn to the differences: of physical stance, sartorial, of demeanour. Muldoon, ten years Reagan’s junior, looks the elder statesman; Reagan, the brasher one. But there is no mistaking which leader and whose country is the more powerful.

In 1982, the image was featured in the introduction of a book that documented and promoted the economic ties between the two nations. This one.

I’ve covered books like this one before – including one in this very series – but it bears repeating that you generally cannot buy them, but only receive them as gifts, typically in the context of a business trip or a trade fair. When as in this case they promote national interests, as opposed to a single company or industry sector, they never fail to establish an interesting and often telling ideological background. Making the case for why it is a good idea to trade with your country always requires that its national character be described first, along with the country’s principal attractions. So the promotional book ends up resembling an odd kind of tourist guide or history book, whose overarching message is: we can do business together.

And so the country’s social and historical backgrounder may include mention not only of its political stability, but also of the fact that it has never defaulted on a loan. Social conflict will be downplayed and unionism left unmentioned, while anything that suggests ideological commonality without prejudice to the business environment will likely be emphasised. Hence for instance the extensive section on the army museum at Waiouru, where we learn amongst other things that
probably no other nation has been so remote [as New Zealand] from world events, yet so involved in international wars and warfare.

Diorama with New Zealand soldiers in Korea at the Amy Museum in Waiouru

At Waiouru, where ‘war is not glorified’, but rather presented as ‘accurate record’, experientially, the museum is kept nonetheless ‘at an even 19° Celsius and the humidity at 50%’. This is ostensibly to preserve the artefacts, but the idea of the air-conditioned battlefield fits within the sanitisation of society and the economy operated by this book for the purpose of packaging New Zealand for foreign consumption. Thus for instance the contribution of the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Meat Company begins as follows:

The word slaughterhouse conjures up a rather gruesome image, but step into the processing department of a New Zealand meatworks and you'll be surprised at what you see.

In spite of the chains of carcasses being processed and readied for export, the pervasive atmosphere is a clinical whiteness: white caps, white washable aprons, white rubber overboots, white butchers' uniforms, tiles around the walls and flex stainless steel hand basins, stainless steel sterilisers for washing knives at 80°Centigrade after each processing operation.

In a country that exports meat to EEC and American markets, and whose inhabitants are among the most enthusiastic meat consumers in the world, hygiene is to be a number one priority. The whiteness and gleaming stainless steel ensure that the highest standards are maintained — standards that will satisfy countries who buy New Zealand meat.

What counts here is the image as much as the substance: the function of the whiteness and the gleaming stainless steel is as much to produce the correct perception amongst consumers as to ensure actual hygiene.

This clean, white image is a subtext to many of the books’ contributions, in which industry produces prosperity without any adverse effects on the wider society or the environment. With hindsight we may recoil especially at the entry paid for by Union Carbide, boasting the company’s pervasive yet understated presence in almost every sector of the New Zealand economy, including of course pest control in agriculture. But long before its own mother of all disasters, the Gulf oil spill, another company was at the forefront of this kind of obfuscation.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

The contribution by the New Zealand subsidiary of BP is the one that best articulates the view of globalisation espoused by the book, of capital flows in the service of industry and industry in the service of society, of transnational corporations whose local presence is always sensitive to the indigenous culture and its needs, whose interests are always consonant with if not secondary to those of the host nation. ‘A company that would employ New Zealanders to the maximum extent and generally identify itself with the country it serves’ – this was BP New Zealand, a corporation ostensibly not in the business of selling oil but of promoting alternative energies and conservation. Between 1978 and 1980, BP New Zealand sponsored a conservation award, a public relations idea so inspired that it was turned into a global affair by its British HQ. The artwork on the award itself, inspired by Māori mythology and motifs, offers an exemplary image of the oil company that goes beyond petroleum and harnesses the sun itself,

while BP executive David Kendall, unique amongst the book’s contributors, appears in a family picture that is the epitome of clean and white.

In reality BP New Zealand’s business is an example of the puzzling diversification that characterises the mega-conglomerates of late stage capitalism, and includes a foray in ‘the promising field of salmon farming’. However outside of BP, Pfizer and Union Carbide, the roll of contributors/advertisers to the American Edition comprises companies that are decidedly less eclectic – such as Amalgamated Marketing Limited, exporters of beef, orange roughy and bull semen – or stick to a single knitting: growers, manufacturers, traders or insurers of things, companies that our grandmothers would recognise.Compared to the Asian Edition – which was produced by the same publisher four years later, in the thick of the first round of neoliberal reforms under Roger Douglas – the domestic economy and its nexus of international trade as depicted by the American Edition appear therefore almost quaint, with finance and informatics playing a conspicuously subdued role. This, in spite of my copy of the book coming with the compliments of NCR (NZ), the local division of an American company that was poised to benefit from the taking over of banking and investment functions by digital networks, but that at this point could not even visualise the coming revolution except by slapping a circuit board onto a night time cityscape.

Nowhere else does this book appear more outdated than in that single image. But on a personal level this is also the New Zealand before my time, of my childhood lived elsewhere, a country that I cannot experience except through books and in conversation. Only I’ve found that people don’t talk about it very much, and when they do it is often to recall its drabness, its lack of sophistication and choice.

I regret to say that the American Edition does little to refute this image. It begins by enticing the reader to tour the country on a flaming beige Honda.

And proceeds through a series of dubious fashion statements and worrying portents of the prevailing food culture.

The recipe for toasted chicken requires that blue eye shadow be worn at all times.

Whether or not this apparent lack of style, this all too easily stereotyped Eastern Bloc-like patina (I swear there is an actual paragraph in praise of Ladas) was implicated in contemporary ideas about one’s proper place in society, and conversely whether the reforms that rewrote the social contract in the latter part of the eighties also propelled the country forward in terms of its taste for fashion, cuisine and the arts, as well as making it more tolerant of difference generally, is an interesting question, and on this count too people’s answers tend to vary. In the American Edition it all comes together, rather fittingly, in the section on the then recently inaugurated new seat of Government, the Beehive. This, unlike its Australian counterpart, is located in the centre of the capital, to be close to the people, and its interiors are designed to suit by order of the very ministry that was the guarantor of full employment.

New Zealand is an egalitarian society and the Beehive's decor reflects this. With the single exception of the ministerial area, the different dining rooms are furnished almost identically, conveying an atmosphere of equality deliberately aimed at by the design team from the Ministry of Works and Development.

Within this brief, what counts as sophistication is the three, count them, three shades of brown used in the carpeting (‘the coordinated colour scheme creates a restful, earthy effect reminiscent of the land on which the economy of this essentially farming nation rests’), or the fact that in the occasion of state banquets – when Canterbury lamb invariably ends up on the menu – the chef at Bellamy’s will ‘let his imagination run riot’ by serving it with something other than mint sauce.

I am rather incongruously fond of this New Zealand I never got to know, in spite of its obvious shortcomings, and remain very much interested in the question of how we can reclaim its egalitarian ethos and some of its attendant social policy goals without also restoring the conservatism that marked the Muldoon years, or the lack of vegetarian options and good coffee. But wholesale nostalgia is obviously misplaced, and the American Edition reminds us why when it gestures at those egalitarian aspirations to mask the lack of social and political imagination that preluded to the neoliberal turn.

There is one final thing to note: the American Edition may be the only illustrated book about New Zealand in history not to include the image of a rugby field. It’s not even that sports are wholly absent – lawn bowls, mountaineering and sailing are amongst those featured. Perhaps it’s that to speak of rugby in 1982 without mentioning the Springbok Tour of ‘81 would have been awkward, and the authors wanted to avoid the association. I can only speculate. Be that as it may, what makes books of this sort valuable documents of their time are also the omissions, wilful or otherwise. It’s not the history is wholly absent, it’s that it’s selectively recalled. It’s history in the service of industry and commerce. And that’s far from the least interesting kind.

This Is New Zealand - American Edition. Sheffield House: Wellington, 1982.

Also in this series:
This Is New Zealand - Asian Edition
Reshaping the Invisible

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Junkyard Band

Just to continue the go-go tip, and because it's still as awesome as it was in 1987. I recall it was on the budget-price Def Jam Sampler Vol. 1, which introduced a lot of British kids to hip-hop. Despite sharing space with Public Enemy, LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys all in their prime, it was the best track on it. Made by kids aged 8-13 from the Barry Farm Housing Project, Washington DC; with toys, trash and common household items. Considering that and its urgent, hard-hitting lyrics, you can't get more 'punk' than that...