Punk Rock As Community Development

There were no jobs in Boston then–this was before nearly twenty-five years of nonstop economic growth changed the face of the city . . . Boston was different then. Everything was gritty and worn. There was broken glass everywhere. The sidewalks outside every bar were stained with vomit. There were no yuppies. Boylston Street was abandoned at night. Punk rock still had a chance.

I’m currently reading a very interesting book: Fenway 1912 by Glenn Stout. A book about the Red Sox’ first year in Fenway Park that is also an historical study of urban development, class and religious strife and architecture. But what has really struck me was the above quote from the preface, about the author’s pilgrimage to Boston as a post-grad in the early 1980’s.

His sentiment mirrors my objections to all the development schemes that seek to attract the “creative class” by investing in things this class supposedly needs: posh shops, trendy eateries and the obligatory coffee houses. If this class is so fucking creative, why don’t they create their own culture?

The ethos of punk was DIY–do it yourself. It didn’t matter how it sounded. It mattered that it was authentic. It mattered that you tried. We could use a little bit of that now.


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