By Jaime Weinman - Monday, January 14, 2013 - 0 Comments
This probably should have been a weekend post if anything, but I wasn’t able to post that weekend, so here it is: after Jack Klugman died, I looked for the infamous Quincy episode “Next Stop, Nowhere,” where the good doctor and his only somewhat age-inappropriate girlfriend (Anita Gillette) take on the menace of punk rock. Airing in the last season of the show, when it had de-emphasized mysteries in favor of preachiness, this one became instantly legendary as the purest example of TV’s inability to deal with youth culture. “The Quincy Punk” became a term for a fake Hollywood-ized version of a punk.
The episode is on Netflix in the U.S., but not, I think, in Canada, so here’s an upload of the episode I found on the Vimeo website; it was recorded in the UK and is therefore a little sped-up, but that just makes it easier to appreciate the speed with which “that violence-oriented punk rock music” can take an innocent girl like Melora Hardin and ruin her life.
I once heard a theory that this episode was sort of an attempt to diversify the issues being dealt with on the show: a bit like Asner on Lou Grant, Klugman had gotten a reputation for making his show one of the last bastions of liberal causes in a TV industry that had run screaming away from such causes. In this theory, an anti-youth, anti-rock episode might have been a way to prove the show wasn’t so out of step with the culture after all. But I’m more inclined to think that the bashing of these kids today and their music (“Why listen to music that makes ya hate when you can listen to music that makes ya love?”) is all of a piece with the usual formula where Klugman becomes outraged by something and won’t stop talking about it until everyone agrees with him.
By Michael Barclay - Friday, October 26, 2012 at 9:50 AM - 0 Comments
Book by Sam Sutherland
The world does not need another book about punk rock, full of self-righteous mythmaking, railing against mainstream culture and grossly exaggerating the importance of a three-chord song played with youthful fury in 1977. What the world does need, however, is this particular book. Canadian music of any genre rarely gets mythologized; rarer still is it done as well as it is here. Sam Sutherland strikes the balance between an enthusiastic fanboy, a meticulous researcher and a masterful magazine writer; each of his chapters conveys maximum information in minimum time—with plenty of vomit, violence, electrocution and decidedly dangerous characters to fuel the narrative—and dispels the myth of a conformist Canada drowning in dreadfully dull culture.
Sutherland also does what so many Canadian cultural histories fail to do: document scenes in every province without coming across as tokenistic. You think it was hard to be a punk in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver in the ’70s? Try Edmonton or Fredericton or Meat Cove, N.S.; those stories are often more entertaining for their sheer absurdity. The country’s biggest punk names (D.O.A., Pointed Sticks, Teenage Head, Viletones) all get their due, but they’re never the whole story; Sutherland also points readers toward other essential books to flesh out the narrative, such as Liz Worth’s Treat Me Like Dirt. Now-unlikely players like k.d. lang’s manager, Larry Wanagas, and Liberal party attack dog Warren Kinsella are also paid respect.
Far too many rock books cop out with oral histories; Sutherland plays up his strength as a storyteller without ever seeming desperate to impress with academic analogies. Even if you’re a reader who will never track down the music discussed here, even if you’re tired of hearing 50-year-old rounders at the bar waxing nostalgic about their punk-rock past, Perfect Youth is still a fascinating read about making something out of absolutely nothing. It’s a crucial contribution to our cultural history.