It's one of the signs of spring in Annapolis, amid the daffodils, tourists and sea gulls circling City Dock. The evenings are now balmy enough to bring out the punks.
I walked downtown the other night tobuy a bottle of wine and noticed them cruising Main Street.
One group was sitting on the pier and sharing a pack of Marlboros. A couple of guys with spiked hair and F.O.D. (a punk group, for theuninitiated) T-shirts walked toward the dock. Two girls in combat boots and black miniskirts were giggling into a phone near The Leader boutique on Conduit Street.
They all looked so young, so fresh-faced and innocent despite their crew cuts, orange hair and Sid Vicious sneers. Of course, they are. They could be the children of the first punks, the disenfranchised English youth who began voicing their angerin the 1970s at a society that offered little room for advancement. Unemployment rates were extremely high, and the doors seemed closed to the children of working-class parents.
It seems odd that, after all these years, middle-class suburban children continue to embrace the punk movement. The politics are gone, but the styles stayed prettymuch the same. The music has changed, but they still know "Anarchy in the U.K."
It makes me feel so old. I remember going with my younger brother to all-ages shows to slam dance to local punk bands. I remember thinking "Sid and Nancy" was an excellent movie. And I remember owning a lot of black clothes, including a pair of punk boots that I bought in London while I was studying abroad. I found them the other day while I was cleaning out my closet to make room for Laura Ashley dresses.
So it makes me feel nostalgic to see the punks at City Dock. They're still listening to those bands and feeling downtrodden and misunderstood and rebellious.
They have a lot more to rebel against than my brother and I did in the 1980s. The unemployment rate is pretty high again, and a lot of doors are closed, even to middle-class, college-educated youths.
Maybe that's why the punk movement is still around.