Punk politics

Since I am the only person in this newspaper — and, possibly, the world — who has been a member of a punk rock band while simultaneously advising a prime minister, my editors believe I am uniquely qualified to columnize about the latest controversy to batter the sterling reputation of the Harper Government.

“You’re in that ridiculous punk band which has a name we can’t even publish in our family-friendly newspaper,” said my editors, wearing Sun standard-issue sleeveless tops and six-inch pumps. “And you were a willing accomplice to the socialistic, secular humanist tyranny of the Chretien dynasty.

So we order you to write about this evil Vancouver punk band that has upset poor James Moore. Failure will result in being subjected to continuous exposure to Theo Caldwell interviews of Jeb Bush.”

Aye aye, said I. One opinion column coming up.

Here’s the skinny, for the uninformed: A not-bad, spiky-headed combo from B.C., Living With Lions, has put out a record with a naughty title, Holy S—. The album’s cover has been done up to resemble a Holy Bible, and the liner notes depict what looks like poop ascending to what looks like heaven. The waxing is subtitled “The Poo Testament,” which made me laugh out loud.

As the Sun’s expert on the important interface between punk rock and politics, I can solemnly advise that punk bands — and, in fact, most rock and roll bands — have been cheerfully mocking organized religion since Jesus was a little feller. For said bands, the jackpot arrives when your transparently obvious efforts to scandalize someone actually result in some prude being scandalized, thereby facilitating massive album sales.

Enter the prude of this little morality tale, Heritage Minister James Moore. Now, I personally like Moore, even if he is a dirty rotten Tory. In the past, I found that Moore was a pretty easy-going fellow, with a sense of humour and an appreciation of the arts — characteristics that made Moore stand out among the grim Philistines who populate the Harper regime.

The controversial part wasn’t Living With Lion’s album title, or the multiple poo references. The controversy was Moore’s department gave money to an organization, which in turn gave Living With Lion’s record label some dough to put out Holy S—.

Moore had a, um, s— fit when he learned that 13,000 Canadian tax dollars had been used to offend the delicate sensibilities of, er, my editors and the federal cabinet. He has accordingly ordered the usual inquiry, probe, investigation, blah blah blah. Living With Lion’s record sales, in the interim, will go through the proverbial roof.

The real scandal, here, is not that Moore helped fund “The Poo Testament” (I just laughed again, I’m sorry). The scandal is that Living With Lions, a punk band, took the money in the first place.

As my colleague and fellow punk aficionado Brian Lilley has previously written, no self-respecting punk band should ever, ever take anything from government.

Punks, you see, are generally unenthusiastic about governments (viz., Murder the Government by NOFX). They do not like rules or rulemakers (viz., Anarchy in the U.K. by the Sex Pistols). To violate punk’s do-it-yourself ethos, and accept baubles from one’s oppressors, is to commit the greatest of the punk sins. Living With Lions should hang their grimy, safety-pinned heads in shame.

James Moore, meanwhile, should take a frigging Valium. As a goodwill gesture, I plan to invite him to our band’s next album release party.

If we’re lucky, he’ll show up and be outraged by us!


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