Punks or Pensioners?

Never forget – The classic 1970s pensioner recoiled at the sight of our Punk Girl “ex-military boots” (they weren’t “ladylike”) and our ripped t-shirts (only good for the duster bag), and as much as they were horrified by that “foul mouthed group of yobs” on their beloved Bill Grundy Show. If they would have just looked a tiny bit closer and not believed everything that they had read in the tabloids quite so much, they would have also been horrified to have found that we had more in common than either of us thought. Fashion-wise, as an alternative to leather bikers jackets, the “Granny” jacket, that could be bought quite easily from charity shops in the late 70s became de regueur punk girl wear. Jackets from the 1950s or sometimes earlier, tailored coats with velvet collars, mohair fabrics, or dog-tooth checks, with furry cuffs. Admittedly, punk girls would wear them purposely too tight or too loose, bedecked with badges, worn over band t-shirts, with ski pants and Dr Martens boots, whereas actual old ladies generally chose the rain-hood, surgical stockings, scowl and shopping trolley look. So, related in a distant cousin kind of way, but this wasn’t the only area of common ground.
Punk rock as a youth culture was also as frugal as any pensioner, we had rejected expensive things, we mocked the modern consumer society, and just like a pack of teenage pensioners we adapted, we made do and mended things, we knitted mohair jumpers with oversize needles, we altered clothes, and we made fanzines and flyers cut up from discarded newspapers and magazines. There was a sort of Blitz Spirit to punk, a “them” and “us”, and a refusal to cave in or back down.
Old people also shared our love of military wear, although were generally less enthusiastic about the fact that we’d acquired ours from the local surplus store and then customised it with studs and patches – rather than actually having to fight in a World War and live on rations for 5 years.
Pretty soon we’ll all be real punk rock pensioners.

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