Being called a “Part Time Punk” was one of the greatest insults possible – imagine being told that despite all your teenage sneering, homemade Damned badges and prized 7 inch singles, that you just weren’t Punk enough. The horror.
In 1978 the band TV Personalities led by Dan Treacy released the song “Part Time Punks” as the lead track on the “Where is Bill Grundy Now?” EP, and the phrase stuck.
“Walkin’ down the Kings Road, I see so many faces
They come from many places, They come down for the day
They walk around together, And try and look trendy
I think it’s a shame, That they all look the same”
Although “Part Time Punks” was sneeringly aimed at weekend visitors to London’s Kings Road, once heard, it seemed just as relevant to describe our small town local trendies, or even people at school. Given that we were barely even teenagers ourselves in 1978, that we spent at least 7 hours a day at school, were rarely allowed out on a school night, and had never been to either the Kings Road or a Punk gig, then we were probably more accurately described as not really proper punks at all or at the very best zero hour contract punks, or possibly even, just children.
Our Part Time Punks were people at school who would claim to love Siouxsie and the Banshees, and to prove their point would sing “Hong Kong Garden” so approximately, it was indistinguishable from the theme to the cartoon series “Hong Kong Phooey”. It showed that they they hadn’t really listened to it. Part-timers. These people did not feel as Punk as we did, we were in it for the long haul, therefore by default we were more Punk than them. Disguised in school uniforms, but us proper full-timers had punked up our pencil cases and lab coats, in fact any surface on which you might find biro scratched words, like “Anarchy”, “GenX” or “No More Heroes”. That’s how you could tell the full timers.