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Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers' Favorite
Punk music exploded onto the scene in the late 1970s, shocking the world with its abrasive and often discordant music, anarchistic fashion statements, and angry message of youthful protest against the existing order. The epicenter of this new movement spread from London to New York, but also took root in Los Angeles and various other urban centers. With Punk Rocker, Brenda Perlin pays tribute to the heyday of punk with a free form collection of photographs, poetry, short stories, and anecdotes. Jim Kavanagh shares memories of his old stomping grounds in New York and even touches on punk style hair care tips and etiquette notes. By contrast, Christoph Fischer chronicles his transformation from reluctant Bavarian choir boy to punk in training. Photojournalist Alison Braun, a.k.a. Mouse, remembers exploring LA's punk scene with an unlikely accomplice - her conservative dad.
Icons like David Bowie, Billy Idol, and Sid Vicious feature prominently in the fan fiction component, which comprises the three longest pieces of the collection. In the most original take on punk culture, Mark Barry revisits several key moments from the history of punk, as seen from the perspective of a leather jacket. The last pages of Punk Rocker showcase a number of rare photographs taken by Alison Braun, which includes Henry Rollins' first gig with Black Flag, as well as images of David Bowie, Social Distortion, Joey Ramone, Vice Squad, the Circle Jerks, and Biafra. With this compilation, Brenda Perlin touches on the high points and low points, sharing the nostalgia along with the underbelly of drug abuse. Punk changed the lives of young people at various levels, and to suggest that it belongs mainly to the kids with the tallest mohawks would be to deny its impact on the youth of its day, as well as the music styles of subsequent generations. The book is recommended to punk fans around the world.