Author(s): Pete Astor
To wander the streets of a bankrupt, often lawless, New York City in the early 1970's wearing a tee shirt with PLEASE KILL ME written on it was an act of arch nihilism, and one often recounted in the first reports of Richard Hell filtering into pre-punk UK. Pete Astor, an archly nihilistic teenager himself at the time, was most impressed. The fact that it emerged (after many years) that Hell himself had not worn the garment but had convinced junior band member Richard Lloyd to do so, actually fitted very well with Astor's older, wiser, and more knowing self. Here was an artist who could not only embody but also frame the punk urge; just what was needed to make one of the defining records of the era.
Having seeded and developed the essential look and character of punk since his arrival in New York in the late 1960's, Richard Hell and The Voidoids released Blank Generation in 1977. Pete Astor's portmanteau approach uses objective and subjective perspectives to articulate the meanings of the album, combining academic rigour with the reception-based subjectivities that are key to understanding our relationships to popular culture.
Celebrated UK musician and academic Pete Astor analyzes one of the seminal albums of the New York punk era from both scholarly and subjective perspectives.
Pete Astor is Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, UK. He also writes songs, sings and plays the guitar.
Preface Vision Culture Artefact Worlds Persona Texts Words Postscript