I meant to mention this a while back - maybe even before the event actually happened so that some of my friends might attend if they wanted - but last Monday, September 10, I was part of a panel discussion on the past, present and future of punk rock.
I know, I know, it's all been said 20 or 30 years ago, and if you really wanted to rehash the question, you'd just head over to the PPMB, but hey, it's hard to turn down an invitation where you can talk at length about your opinions and people not only won't interrupt you, they'll actually applaud when you've finished. Try getting that kind of reaction out of your average barroom conversation.
My fellow panelists were Liz Nord, who's done a documentary film on the Israeli punk scene featuring, among others, the band Useless ID, who I'd actually met a few years back when they first visited the US, Jon Vafiadis, better known as Jonny Whoa Oh of up and coming indie conglomerate Whoa Oh Records, and the legendary Danny Fields, renowned for his associations with the Ramones, MC5 and Stooges among other things.
Danny was the "moderator," though there was little moderate about his approach. He expressed befuddlement about the current state of punk rock ("How do you find out about these shows and bands?" he asked at one point), but happily told stories of adventures stretching back to the 1950s, only some of which were directly related to punk rock, but most of which - including those about his years hanging with the Warhol crowd - were fascinating.
He was a bit reluctant to relinquish the microphone to the other panelists. At one point, an audience member prefaced a query about why '77 punk got so much more attention than its later incarnations by saying, "This is for Larry," only to have Danny go on rambling discursively about talking dirty with Andy Warhol and follow it up with, "Next question." But I was happy to let him take the lead; I'm not sure I would have been a good moderator, not being a particularly moderate person by nature.
Anyway, apparently there are videos of this (thanks to the assiduous efforts of JoeIII) and some bits may or may not have made their way onto YouTube. And, I've just discovered, someone over at The Film Panel Note Taker has gone to the trouble of taking notes on the discussion and posting them on his/her blog. It's a very truncated version, and not that true to how we actually sounded, but you get the general flavor of things. So if you're curious about the past, present and future of punk rock, you're welcome to have a look.