August 12th, 2008

Dance Of Days – Two Decades of Punk in the Nations Capital – Mark Andersen & Mark Jenkins

Posted in bücher by Dolf

Soft Skull Press Inc., 107 Norfolk Street, New York, NY 10002/Publisher’s Group West/ www.


It takes some time to read thru these over 400 pages, but the „Mark’s“ cover 20 years of punk in Washington DC – and they do it it very closly. So closly you wonder if they had the idea of doing this book from day one off beeing in the scene, having paper and pen ready all the time to write down words years ago, to have them ready using the quotes years later when working on the book. No matter how it was done, it is done very good, very detailed, you can tell the author was not some standby journalist writing about things he was watching, it is done by someone who is involved.

Which can be good, but also bad. In this case it is mostly good, since you are getting the full picture of what was going on, you learn to understand certain happenings better seeing the connection leading to them. You also find out that the DC punk community was/is almost a community in the community. There is probably no other scene in a city that has so many – almost kindergarten, long friendships going in the punk scene together and staying there for over 20 years, still beeing active or creative.

Obviously you read alot about Minor Threat, Ian McKaye and Fugazi, but it it not the main focus, since you find also erverything out about all the other bands coming from the capital. It must be said, a intense volume of research (or collecting information over all the years) has been done with a satisfying result in the end. It does not get boring to read (well, maybe a bunch of pages in the end, when the authors speak about the „after Nirvana“ time for punk), it is easy to read with all the paragraphs.

Compared to the „American Hardcore“ book it is also written on a higher intellectual level – at least in this book there is many more words that I’m not familliar with, then in Blush’s writing. This does not distract from reading on, even without checking the dictionary all the time. It would be nonsense to go into details of „what“ the book writes about, since you have to find that out for yourself reading it. It can be said that it workes with alot of quotes, some oral history but also alot of writing by the authors, which is easy since they have been part of the scene.

Here and there I find a bit too much of a „glorification“ of certain persons/bands/moments, that seem to me just blown up to make it look like „real“ history. But that is alright, you can say things in different ways. What is maybe my biggest critic is that the authors are always very diplomatic with DC people when they turn out to be a bunch of dicks, but part of the family (you can call it family, if you like, you can also call it gang or elitist in-crowd- if you are negative about it).

Gladly, one can tell if people do wrong (also here, as in the other book, it is obvious that the Bad Brains did alot of wrongs – for their behaviour they should have been boycottet since earlier on!). It is no surprise to see that some of todays „stars“ fucked up alot when they started out, because they were just a bunch of kids. Or developed as time went by from bratty (sometimes spoiled) kids to what they are nowadays – not always for their own good.

It was also good to see that, that in the begining of DC punk/hardcore, there was so much other stuff going on, that is not written in the „American Hardcore“ book. Alot of(that positive stuff) what made me feel I have something in common with the scene there, and even more with the people in it. So, I stronly recommend this book for everybody who wants to learn where alot of things are coming from (I quote: „At this gig, McKaye rejected a new label. Thrasher, a slick skater magazine, had dubbed the city’s new punk sound „emo-core“.

Although the singer called this „the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard of“, the name would stick.“ that kids was in 1986!), in order to understand why are some things today the way they are. Also for anybody who is intersted in the DC scene/music and it’s background. I should add there is also a bunch of photos/flyer art for illustration. I’m glad I read the book. It made me think that I really hope if anybody does something alike for over here, or even all of Europe they know what the fuck they are talking about. (dolf)

20.- $

ISBN 1-887128-49-2

[Trust # 93 April 2003]

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