Hey gang. Remember the other day when we were talking about our show on New Year's Eve at 285 Kent? Yeah, that was a blast, except for the part about a lot of people losing their coats! It was originally believed to be the work of some burglar, you know, one of those bad apples that ruins the scene for everyone, but now it seems that the threat to yr warmth might be even closer to home! Right under our noses, as it were.
I received word from Todd P, the fellow who organized the show, that despite all these rumors of coat plundering, there remain a great surplus of unclaimed outerwear still at 285 Kent. Don't believe me? Behold this picture, and know the truth:
Is one of these yr coat? Is it possible that you thought it was stolen but maybe you went a little too far with the hooch and probably couldn't find yr nose let alone yr jacket? I am not judging you, but could it be so? Even though many of you judged Todd P or the DIY punk scene which maybe you think he represents, mercy will be shown unto you - this Friday, January 7th, there will be an "open house" at 285 Kent between 5:30 and 7:30 PM for anyone who lost their coat/jacket/sweater/gloves/whatever to come and claim them. That should close the issue once and for all, no?
There are a lot of lessons here, I feel. For starters, people getting drunk, doing something stupid, and then trying to pass the blame onto someone else - is there a more tired story than that? Come on, folks, this is 2011. That weak shit isn't going to cut it anymore! I know how it is - on New Year's Eve, everyone feels like they have a license to kill (their brain), and man, they've got Four Loko, and this could be the last chance to drink it, and wow, it is pretty loud and dark in here, isn't it, and hey, where's my coat anyway? Shit, is it really three in the morning? Okay, fine, that's yr prerogative. When that doesn't work out for you, though, it is a shitty move indeed to turn around and try and pin all the blame on Todd P, who sticks his neck out on the reg so that everyone can have a good time that is good for you, and has taught a whole generation of NYC punks how to do the same.
Todd P is a great American. He offers his punters levels of freedom that more traditional NYC promoters wouldn't dare or dream. Ticket prices are always extremely reasonable, ditto drink prices, all ages are always welcome (standing up against an obviously discriminatory practice that few seem to be at all concerned with), and people are generally made to feel that they can be themselves and act accordingly. Maybe you feel this manifests itself most apparently in practices like indoor smoking and beer smuggling, but what it represents is important. He, and those who follow his example, invite us to participate in a grand experiment, to be a part of a community, even if only for an evening, where it is believed that we don't necessarily need a bunch of rules and regulations, that a night of music can be more than an opportunity to sell marked-up alcohol, that old-fashioned capitalist infrastructure is not necessary or even advisable for rock and roll. What people fail to recognize a lot of the time, it seems to me, is that with this freedom comes a lot of responsibility! If people are assholes, then an asshole with more freedom is a bigger problem than one with less. If a person can practice responsibility and accountability, however, then granting them greater freedom can be a beautiful and wondrous thing, especially when punk rock is involved, with draws all of its strength from that freedom and the power of which I need not explain to you. I guess the system that Todd P and his acolytes offer us a stake in is just the same as any other system - it will be as good or as a bad as those who chose to participate in it. If we continue to approach the scene with our usual sense of entitlement, then we will continue to fail to recognize that we are accountable for its success or failure and it will just be a failure.
You see what I am getting at here? I feel like I could articulate myself a little better, but I don't want to start talking in circles either. I will assume you guys get my drift - basically, don't talk shit about Todd P or anybody else who creates this opportunities for us to get together and celebrate punk and all of its freedoms, but rather show yr gratitude for the trust and respect they afford you by deserving it and taking pride in yr contribution to the scene! This need be nothing more than a conscientious concert-goer who looks after his or her business and the business of their friends and doesn't start running at the mouth behind the warm anonymity of the internet when things fail to go their way. I hate sounding like some grumpy old dad, but fuck, man - this is a good deal we have got here. Let's not mess it up!