Thursday, 29 October 2009

Hallowe'en: Strangest Day of the Punk Rock Calendar
a cat gilds the lily

by Miss Justine Brown

Well, I do declare (below: Dracula [Chuck Biscuits] holds mrs tami thirlwell-nicol in his clutches [Bev Davies])

Hallowe'en was the most unsettling night in the punk rock calendar. Why? Well, for one thing, all year long we were assailed by JOCK NIFTIES (see Miss Brown's last post) in Camaros who would drive by screaming at us. One of their favourite taunts went like this: "Hallowe'en is OVER!" Nice one. But for one starry night each year, Hallowe'en was not over, and no-one would reproach punk rockers for wearing hairstyles better suited to parrots, and outfits which suggested undertakers losing it after one too many Bloody Marys at the Vegas conference (black suits in disarray, white shirts hanging free, ties askew...).

Inevitably there was a gig to attend, and the audience swelled by several hundred. What shall we do on Hallowe'en, Troy? Why, get dressed up as punk rockers and go see D.O.A. at the Oddfellows Hall, of course--even though we hate them and all their followers. So there they were, easily detectable in their "punk" get-ups. Sometimes they even wore, say, a rainbow afro wig. Any old weird thing would do. Most of them just turned up in their usual elephant flares and hockey hair, with a few safety pins and black eyeliner-- perhaps even an old tie-- as their costume.

To be a real punk and not a poser you had to be unable to camouflage yourself on Monday morning. You had to make yourself unemployable, in short, because almost no-one would hire someone with short purple hair.

Now Miss Brown knew she had really become a punk when she was failed to to look conventionally presentable even when it really mattered-- like on the occasion of a big family wedding. She tried, but nothing worked! Miss Brown normally enjoys puttin' on the ritz, but you can see the misery in her eyes and bearing in the snapshots on that occasion. With her poor grandmother's help she had picked out a yellow shirt dress (to match her bleached yellow hair), white panty hose, and, the most spine-chilling of all, a pair of white vinyl old-lady slip-on shoes. The kind that come folded up in a transparent plastic purse! She looked like someone who had been yarded out of the loony bin on a day-pass for this important family event. (Not so far from the truth, really.) That is what I mean when I say in earlier posts that there was nothing for us to buy, not even in the whole Hudson's Bay department store. Nothing! Miss Brown could have gone to a vintage store like Cabbages and Kinks (which unfortunately burnt down a few years ago) for a 50s prom dress, let us say, but Grandma was not going to come along and foot the bill at some bizarro vintage store.

But I digress. At those Hallowe'en gigs we were the languid experts, in our element while the posers struggled to fit in. Interestingly, some of them were converted on those nights and came back the next weekend with lawn-mower haircuts. They had found their circle at last-- a big bunch of people who had also been outcast at school.

The following day was bad, though. That's when the Camaros would roar by, some wag hanging out the passenger window and  screaming triumphantly: "Hey! Goof! Hallowe'en was YESTERDAY !!"

Now, I cannot leave you without a word about products. As autumn intensifies and winter looms, I have seen my mortifying sunspots disappear with help from, as I mentioned in my last post, Olay's fantabulous ProX SPF 30 day cream. I think it time to change creams with the seasons, so I am using Dr. Nick Lowe's offering. What's that, you say? You didn't know that Nick Lowe had traded music for dermatology? I thought EVERYONE knew that. Ho ho. Anyway, Dr. Lowe's line of ten or so items is being distributed by Boots, my favourite pharmacy on earth, not the least because they do exclusive products with interesting people. Bliss founder Marcia Kilgore's delicious Soap and Glory line --of which more later-- is another example. Boots the Chemist is a UK chain, but much of their stuff available worldwide--and online of course at

Dr Nick Lowe's recently amped-up The Secret is Out SPF 15 Lifting Day Cream has got it all: a pretty frosted blue glass container, sunscreen which blocks UV A and B rays (very important), a lovely consistency, and a cornucopia of anti-aging ingredients like pomegranate, raspberry, melon and ferulic acid. It's perfect for cooler climes-- creamy without being greasy, with a mild scent and just the right kind of protection and nourishment. Also available online at

next Friday: the alluring mrs. tami thirlwell-nicol presents "Cosmetic Counterculture"                               

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