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Scene Points: S-E-X Pistols

 by Chelsea Ide  published on Thursday, September 15, 2005

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England's the Sex Pistols pioneered a wave of gritty, brash, raw music in the 1970s. The Pistols were the most confrontational, nihilistic band the masses had ever seen. Thank God I encountered them the same year I learned the functional meaning of nihilistic. My introduction to unapologetic punk didn't happen when Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols hit stores in 1977. Nope. I wasn't even born. Luckily for me, all the punk kids became record executives and rock writers, and magically it was re-released into the grubby hands of those teenagers looking for something.

What was I looking for? Love, damn it. My first love was the only punk rock kid in town. Our town was the kind of small town where when people asked who my boyfriend was, I could say "the guy with the mohawk," and they immediately knew who I was talking about. Sure, people listened to common punk rock and might be seen at an Against All Authority show, but they weren't dressing like it. Chris did. He had a spiked mohawk, which changed colors daily (imagine a member of the Casualties at age 16). He wore red plaid bondage pants and a Dead Kennedys shirt nearly every day of his life. And I loved him. He's the one I have to thank for introducing me to the punk rock created before I was born -- I mean really introducing me. Before him I only knew names, not purposes and passions.

Chris always had Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols sitting next to the CD player, but we never listened to it. I remember the day he popped it in, though, and each subsequent time we listened to the album. The first time Chris and I listened to Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols together, we lost our virginities. Yep. Sex to the Sex Pistols, nearly six years later and I still think that's kind of funny.

We were on an old blue couch making out, letting the dirty Brits spurt obscenities in the background. It wasn't until right before the seventh song, "Seventeen," began that we started fumbling to take our pants off in the dark. It seems poignant now, since both he and I were a year younger than 17 (OK, we had both just turned 16). Admittedly, three songs later when we hit "Pretty Vacant" I was just that. It hurt and I ended up staring at the ceiling wondering when things would end and why my friends thought this was so amazing.

The Sex Pistols were there with me when I made a giant leap toward becoming an adult. Never Mind the Bollocks embraced me into the dirty world of sex, punk rock and a "Fuck you if you don't like it" attitude (not sure if my mom would thank them for that last part).

Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols became "our" album, even though we never really acknowledged it. Still, every time I hear "Holidays in the Sun" I think of Chris hovering over me, his Dead Kennedys shirt lying on the floor, muttering about how my bra's hook-and-eye closure was surely a Puritanical device designed to stop men from seeing women's breasts. He'd huff "fascists," and magically the hook would come undone. I suppose that's the one thing we learned from the Sex Pistols - when other forms of problem solving don't work, just call people fascists. You sound angry, determined and, if you're lucky (unlike Pistols bassist Sid Vicious), slightly intelligent.

Reach the reporter at chelsea.ide@asu.edu.



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