What the hell did I know about music or art or politics? Next to nothing, but damn if the older kids did. Jocelyn, Dave, Myself, and Jane would huddle in a windowed corner most mornings before class. Usually the conversation veered erratically from topic to topic, a mere marvel in itself given that all of us were a bunch of teenagers awake before 7:30 am. As the youngest out of the group I did a lot more listening than contributing. Jane and Jocelyn had these wild, adult-like opinions and seemed to know quite a bit about quite a lot. As did Dave, but he was a helluva lot funnier than I could have ever hoped to be and jokes were about the only thing I could have brought to that corner. So again, I kept quiet and absorbed.
Of all that we talked about, music — specifically punk music — was a frequent topic. As an angsty sophomore still dragging his virginity around as awkwardly as his baby fat, punk music fit like a glove. Or studded belt. You get the idea. Naturally as that kind of kid, I fell headlong into all the clichés and trappings that came with punk music. Which is not to say I was entirely alone in wearing my interests on my sleeve. Jocelyn had dreadlocks, Dave was pierced to the hilt, and Jane’s pink hair was visible from space. My curly hair forced into spikes fit right in. At least in looks.
Through our several conversations I started to get a better grasp on what “punk” was really about. The hair, patches, artwork — it all looked “cool” but many of these great bands and records had something to say as well. Thankfully I had Jane to corroborate the information I was digesting.
Once more, as a suburban kid masquerading as something much edgier and moodier, I had not yet been exposed to the real evils of the world that take place behind the shiny veneer most of us know as the status quo. Then I heard an Anti-Flag song about police brutality. And then another, and another. The facts and numbers in the lyrics blew my overly waxed hair back. I would take my questions to our little hovel of a corner at school. Jane would not only confirm what I heard but would also drop additional knowledge bombs on me.
Now in my wily, youthful state, such new information would have driven me to riot — much like all those songs suggested I do. Yet, I saw how my friends handled it. Especially Jane. She took action the way the smart do — they become proactive. Jane talked and listened and informed. She offered counter opinions and asked objective questions. She had an info-blog before I even knew what one was and closed her messages with a call to arms, challenging people to “derail”.
Jane is a true blue (pink) and as I write this I feel confident that few if any would dispute it. Her determination and unwavering ways were the punkest attributes any of us could have hoped to possess. Fifteen years later, where the belts have broke and the hair’s much cleaner, I think it proves what really mattered remained. Then again, what the hell do I know? Jane would’ve said it better.