What is Deviation Street a deviation from ?
The roots of punk according to many sources aren’t in deviation as such at all, more in a derivation of known’s, guitars, drums, vocals, chords, riffs and the 3 minute format. What makes The Clash, The Ramones and Richard Hell and the Voidoids any different in reality from The Byrds, Odetta Holmes and Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps?
In terms of the individual person, was Punk anymore ground breaking or liberating than being in a Skiffle band for example?
According to R. D. Cohen, Folk Music: the Basics (CRC Press, 2006), an amazing 30,000 to 50,000 Skiffle groups existed in the UK in the late 1950’s did punk ever reach those amazing heights?
Also was Punk really as accessible to the working classes as everyone thought? With Skiffle, no electric guitars, amps, leads and access to power were needed, just a comb & paper, a tea chest bass and a kazoo and you had a band, no one had to know a single chords let alone three
Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing, even on a street named Deviation, many routes can turn into a dead end and the retracing of fondly remembered journey’s tend to end in the sink estates of reality.
The real beauty of Punk wasn’t in its superficial differences with what had gone before or what existed at the time but in its moments of true integrity, its moments of real connectives to a generation who like all generations longed for something of their own.
Art whenever and however it comes about, if it has truth at its heart, will always be life enhancing, life affirming, life changing, be it Punk, Post Modern, Pop, Art Povera or Purism.
Words Andrew Harris
Images Brian Gibson