Black Wednesday, Teenage Punk, & the Social Introvert
Long before there was American Horror Story: Coven, my Punk friends in high school and I had a silly little ritual every week – Black Wednesday.
When I say long before, I really mean this – I’m talking the late 1980’s. We were Goth way before it was trendy and there was such a thing as Hot Topic.
The funny thing about this day was that, aside from Wednesday’s, we almost always wore black to school – every shade of black from pitch black to washed-too-much-faded-out black.
Black concert t-shirts featuring The Cure, Depeche Mode, INXS, Sex Pistols, and other assorted Punk and Post-Punk bands were almost always the main outfit staple for most of us.
My favorite item of black clothing was my London Fog trench coat, much to my mother’s chagrin. I wore that trench coat all the time and everywhere I went – even in the midst of one of the hottest summers of my youth in 1988. That was dedication.
Back then, you could wear a trench coat without being scoffed at or accused of being a teenage domestic terrorist.
There was no such thing as school shootings like Columbine.
A few of my group even owned a copy of The Anarchists Cookbook, but we never intended on using it. It was a symbol of our teenage punk rock rebellion.
We practiced healthy anarchy.
The eighties were a time of innocence for teens compared to today.
Just imagine if school faculty found out a group of students planned on wearing black on Wednesday’s in today’s schools… the media would have a field day.
The worst connotation I received from wearing black clothes and having my style of Punk going on was that I was labeled a druggie.
Sadly, that label came from a member of my school faculty I had come to trust. Just because I was a troubled youth with a messed up family life didn’t mean I was into drugs.
Music was and still is, my one true solace and respite from the madness of the world.
I am constantly taken back to the summers of 1988 and 89 when I want to recall a simpler and happier time in my life. Those were the first days I truly embraced who I was inside and it reflected on the outside.
The Punk and Post-Punk music and culture resonated strongly within, deep into the core of my being – it helped me to express myself.
While I was very social with my friends, I was still very much an introvert and managed to keep a lot of things to myself. My sometimes outspoken belligerence, while it truly was my passionate side coming out into the open, was also a front to keep others out.
To this day, only a select few know the “real me”.
When I see people who knew me as a teenager, the one thing I almost always hear is, “Wow, you haven’t changed a bit!”
I used to take offense at this comment because I have grown so much over the years; in my mind, I would get defensive and pissed off and have to fake a smile to the person who just spoke those words to me.
What did they know about my struggles? How dare they say something so condescending to me! They don’t know about the hell I went through to get where I am now. Defensive overreaction on my part.
Today it’s a different story.
When I hear those words from those who knew me “back in the day”, I honestly smile, because it is true: I am still a rebellious, creative and eccentric woman – I still fully embrace my weird and unique style in every single way I can.
Every once in a while I still have my Wednesday Black Celebrations, reminiscing of a time when all I had to worry about was what shade of black to wear and which cassette tapes I would pack up for my daily travels.
Days like this, I like to crank my Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses or The Cure – Disintegration CDs in the car, smile and thank the heavens above I found my home within the Post-Punk culture (and that I have fabulous taste in music!) and most of all – that I am still true to myself in all that I do.
- Black Celebration – Depeche Mode
- Fascination Street – The Cure
- She’s in Parties – Bauhaus
- Peek a Boo – Siouxsie & the Banshees
- What You Need – INXS
- Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
- Beds are Burning – Midnight Oil
- Orange Crush – R.E.M.
- Rock Lobster – B-52’s
- Let Me Go – Heaven 17
- Boy – Book of Love
- Motion of Love – Gene Loves Jezebel
- The Great Commandment – Camouflage
- Cold Sweat – Sugarcubes
- Disappointed – PiL
- Ball of Confusion – Love & Rockets
- Heartbreak Beat – Psychedelic Furs
- A Million Miles – The Plimsouls
- Sex (I’m A) – Berlin
- My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor) – Dead or Alive
- Seven Seas – Echo and The Bunnymen
- There is a Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
- Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
- Under The Milky Way – The Church
- Send Me An Angel (89) – Real Life
- New Year’s Day – U2
- Down in the Park – Tubeway Army
- Alone Again Or – The Damned
- Revenge – Ministry
- Love Removal Machine – The Cult
- Never Let Me Down Again – Depeche Mode