In high school, I wanted so badly to be a punk — but I was a little too late and a little too located-in-Nebraska. Even so, I wore the safety pins in my head, connected with punks online, took on the DIY ethic, carried out bizarre projects (traveling lawn gnome! Performance art in the form of anonymous letters!) and learned just one dance: the pogo.
Then I grew up. Went to college. Grew my hair out. Got a job. And bought a house. What a fucking sellout!
But I promise you: it’s possible to keep punk close to the heart at home, even when you don’t live in a punk house. Or maybe this is just me trying to deny I’ve been a poser all along. Whatever: I’ve got a few ideas on getting punk as fuuuck at home.
DIY or DIE
I took a break from DIY after college because for a while, everything I made looked shabby and I was striving to be a Young Professional. When I realized I just needed more practice — that no one is born being awesome at making everything — it was a revelation. I again took up the hammer and the wood glue and attacked projects with a new vengeance.
Now, our house defaults to, “Can I make it/fix it/make do without it?” Even more than that, we are all about gathering lifehacks to make the house run smoothly, cheaply, and as intentionally as possible.
Take on vagabonds
Punks love the exchange of ideas. We love arguing, debating, and being self-righteous ideologues — but we also genuinely enjoy learning from other people who seem worth paying attention to.
More people mean more ideas, and more ideas mean more projects, and more projects mean more people… and so on. It’s easy to take on these punk-lite approximations of the punk house, all-squatters-welcome ideals:
- AirBNB and Couchsurfing. Get a little trusting and welcome strangers into your space. It’s fascinating.
- Take on a roommate. If you’ve got the space, make more of your home’s footprint by adding a new face. Married? So what!?
Mainly, it’s important that homes don’t become a static place of blahhhhh. People need to mix, to pass on ideas — teach them to the younger generation or share them between each other, or everyone goes stale.
Shrug off the status quo
Punk’s focus on living an examined life can be exhausting. What do you mean I can’t buy this vintage desk for $2 from a rummage sale because the proceeds benefit the establishment of the Lutheran church?? No I didn’t know lipstick can contain whale blubber!
There are so many punk subcultures — just about as many punk subcultures as there are punks. Vegetarians, straight edge, skaters, feminists, anarchists. Punk varieties all have in common a disdain for conformity and that unexamined life.
The crux of this is: a punk never stops learning. I know: lots of people never stop learning — but too many others leave school, get a job, and zone out. So punk it up. Read all of the internet. Learn about philosophers, old and new. Watch movies that spark your mind. Don’t eschew the media, but don’t stop questioning what you see, either.
Now see, my husband sees his side of the house as being influenced by rock and roll — all damn the man, save the empire, and MUSIC IS THE WEAPON. So I’m curious: how do your homes reflect your cultural influences? Did Mary Poppins play a role in how you shape your surroundings? Or maybe it was a TV show like Blossom. Extoll! In the comments.