Losing my job at 48 somehow led me back to the punk rock band I’d failed to embrace in middle school.
My go to song which I play loud enough to make my iPad warn me about hearing damage is The Pixies: “Where is my mind”. Been laid off twice because I was “too gay”! so ‘choke on Satan’s cock’ particularly resonated. Happy to be retired and never going back.
Great read! I started listening to angry music in my mid-50s—bands like Sleaford Mods and Amyl and the Sniffers really resonate now. Still figuring out why, as a 60-year-old, semi-retired, turtleneck-and-fleece-vest-wearing woman living in rural New Hampshire. I drove a 2 hours down to Boston a couple of weeks ago to see Amy Taylor scream and jump nonstop. It was glorious and cathartic.
This is so great for half a dozen reasons. He doesn’t know it but Henry Rollins has been my boyfriend for so many decades. 🤘
“As I boxed up my work laptop to mail back, I considered decorating it with a hissing possum sticker that included the words “Eat Trash Hail Satan.” Laughed out loud. Also ‘choke on Satans cock!’ lol. At first I was picturing you blasting BF as you painted your home, like all those college painters in my youth with their splattered shorts, long haired shirtless days, radio tinny and loud through the neighborhood. I am guessing maybe you had a more dignified earbud in place for your therapeutic painting sessions but I appreciated hearing about them! Such a good piece, thank you. Sari, your headnote deleting comments made me feel for you. The behind-the-scenes must get a little squirrely. Good time tending this space for all of us! 🏽👯👏
I love this.
About a month ago, I was in London with one of my mates (we hover slightly below and above 60) and we went to the Electric Ballroom in Camden to see The Blue Aeroplanes, the legendary art- rock-punk band of our youth.
Any concerns we had about looking too posh to be hanging around in a club in Camden dissipated quickly: we were, however, in a minority as neither of us wore Dockers, a bum bag or backpack, a plaid shirt or a hoodie. As my mate said, “What was once art punk is now Dad Rock.” We split ourselves laughing, then danced till our cashmere was all sweaty.
Great story! I don’t know the band (and I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s), but I left a tech job to do clean energy communications at age 52. It can be done! Best wishes!
I related to this as a 51 year old, broke single Mom working 2 part time jobs and living in FL. Yes, the land DeSantis claims is a capitalist utopia, an endless bag of goodies filled with “freedom”, when in fact, it is a paper bag filled with dog shit, set on fire, our government running away gleefully after ringing the bell, with many Floridians stomping on it, too late wondering what happened to their subscriptions to “a better life.”
I am menopausal, fed up, and was let go from a company I worked for 10 years ( me and 300 others in US) back in 2020 as a result of streamlining to save company from bankruptcy. I’ve been trying different things- remote from home, part time gigs, and I have two neurodivergent young adult sons I also have to parent, be available to get to high school and job training. A lot of us were dropped from Medicaid in FL, so I have no real insurance and the marketplace is expensive. I have anger, but I also have two souls I am still raising and love very much, so I use music A LOT to help vent my anger. I rediscovered some punk and some heavy metal I blew off in my younger days, and it is cathartic to scream or punch a bag for a workout while it’s blasting. Also, my goth and emo records hold a different resonance with me- grief, sorrow for different things now.
But, I am 51, so I also meditate on the feelings, then practice letting the shit go every day. Rage is exhausting and unhelpful for long term change. It feeds bitterness, then depression and that cycle is its own prison. And musically, I listen more now to other genres and with more appreciation- I am falling in love with some country and folk artists, because it hits differently now. Hopefully we expand musically and artistically a bit more as we get older- instead of contracting into the same shell.
Thanks for writing this- also fun fact, saw Henry Rollins band at 1st Lollapalooza years ago, along with Jane’s Addiction and Siouxsie. Never got to see Black Flag though.
What an excellent read. And the first of my day! I also was fired from my job, on the phone, though I got to keep the laptop!! 😂all day all in a day though and but I carried fury with me for much too long. So this piece spoke to me on more ways than one (or two). Thank you so much Sari for bringing us yet another great read.
I am so glad you mentioned Bad Brains. I grew up with punk, too, and always appreciated how BB's members all being trained as classical jazz musicians set them apart from so many of their contemporaries. As much as their race, which is what most folks focus on. All the great punk guys I grew up around who stuck it out and deepened their musicianship over time became fantastic humans, and both Bad Brains and Black Flag are great examples of that.
After many a night dancing on church steps outside of Fugazi shows because I was a 13-year old girl and smart enough not to throw myself into a mosh pit with grown men throwing elbows, as another example, I met Ian McKaye ten years ago at an event here in Ithaca where I live. He was such a lovely guy. A middle-aged dad, very accessible. But still so insightful about structures of power and culture. Punk is an ethos as much as anything, I think, and it sounds like you're living it Aaron. Good luck with your job search! Your writing is grand.
Disagree with the subheader. I’d say that, as a 57-year-old who’s seen the BF bars on many of my peers’ social networking pages, that middle age is *exactly* the time to crank some classic punk in a most undignified manner. Black Flag in particular has aged well, as has Minor Threat. Both de-emphasized Reagan-era politics in favor of observation and emotion. I can still put on Out of Step or Damaged today and they have a lot to say to me:
As lifelong punker who broke up with punk briefly, l loved this so much!!!
Fascinating read. So interesting to get insight into music I know nothing about.
One of my favorite things to do is to preview the embroidery of “Rise Above” on preppy tote bags (and then never buy them because who doesn’t have enough tote bags?). Still looking for the best font, anyway. I’ve been laid off twice (but never remotely!) and I totally support this endeavor.
Truly enjoyable and thoughtful essay, Aaron. I can relate as a marketer and a fan of music that it seems others have given up on. (Imagine my surprise when at a reunion with my punk college roommates in our early 40s, it seemed I -- the one who never hit up hardcore shows at Pyramid Club -- was the one still enjoying harder music.) Best wishes for your job search.
I really dig this!
Signed, an elder millennial normie-looking sorta punk
THE EVERLOVIN' BEST!!!