Like Punk Never Happened
by Oz Hardwick

Let my inspiration flow: a vinyl incantation
spun in bedrooms lined with books, walls weighted
with bright prints –- Hawkwind, Hillage, Grateful Dead –-
charts of dreams beyond school walls, and smoke
breathing itself in jasmine incense and candleglow.

I folded burning summers behind me, patched my jeans
with rainbow threads, shrugged on my grandfather’s coat,
manned stands in the concrete city winter, restless
for change, for truth, for life, for all I didn’t know
I needed, searching for the spark, for love, for a light in the sky.

And in midnight basement coffee bars, I played pinball
with words, thrilling to the flash and clatter, the judder of connection,
high scores rung against graffitied walls, flipping
meanings with purple tie-dye fingers, with lips
open to the spirit of the age, tasting the moment forever.

NOTE: Italicised phrases are from tracks released by the artists mentioned in the third line during 1977, the year in which I was 17.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Taken using the timer on the first film I ran through my first SLR. Leaning on the back of a chair, with the camera on the table (no tripod yet) in our living room. I’d just started a one-year O-level course in photography on Saturday mornings.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I turned 17 in January 1977, which in the UK is remembered as the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and punk rock. Neither of these things had much of an impact on me, down on the south-west coast, a world away from either pomp or cool. My frames of reference were cosmic rock and folk, speculative fiction, burgeoning environmentalism, legends of Dartmoor, and the Furry Freak Brothers: guiding stars that, when all’s said and done, haven’t served me too badly.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oz Hardwick is a poet, photographer, music journalist, and occasional musician, based in York. He has published countless poems internationally, in journals and anthologies, as well as having work performed in musical settings and as part of art and film collaborations. His sixth poetry collection, probably called The House of Ghosts and Mirrors, will definitely be published by Valley Press in 2017, and he is co-author, with Amina Alyal, of the Saboteur-shortlisted Close as Second Skins (IDP, 2015). In a perfect world, Oz would be bassist in a Belgian space-rock band, but the world is far from perfect. Find out more at ozhardwick.co.uk.