Friday, August 12

A city in decline, a country on the brink

I enjoyed the comments on this post at 2 Blowhards more than the article they were attached to. A lengthy submission by Benjamin Hemric outlines his memory of the decline of New York from the mid-sixties into the seventies "Taxi Driver" period. I hadn't thought or read much about how that had happened before.

Michael Blowhard himself then chips in with the following:

I moved to Manhattan in 1978. In my first couple of years here, I was mugged twice, pickpocketed twice, and attacked once. The whole place felt like "Blade Runner" -- like it was falling apart, but (from the point of view of an arty kid anyway) still had a few last grimy drops of glamor and juice to be enjoyed. Money and working people were fleeing the place. The punk scene, which I dabbled on the sidelights of, was all about dancing on the abyss, enjoying the moments before the Final Collapse.

The contemporary punk scene in the UK could surely be described in the same way. And of course, punk in the UK was initially modelled on the Ramones, Television, Patti Smyth, CBGBs and so on - a city in decline inspiring a country on the brink.