Punk’s raptures are mystical.

Simon Critchley

Learning to Eat Time with One’s Ears

Veröffentlicht am 17.08.2021

Philology often seems concerned with tracing origins and identifying true sources as a way of sweeping away the penumbrae of cultural ornamentation and exfoliating the accumulated dead skin of the past that hardens into decadence, at once institutional and intellectual. Its spirit is Lutheran, or Nietzschean, which amounts to the same thing when you think about it a little. So can it be with punk, which is usually reduced to a series of flattened clichés about bondage trousers, dyed hair or the alleged political relevance of drywank bands like The Clash. For those uninterested in such banalities, I urge you to read Julian Cope’s Krautrock Sampler, which was published in 1995 and has been out of print since 1996. The non-availability of this book appears to be a calculated act on Cope’s part, as he was fed up with wan-faced legions of muso-blokes endlessly pointing out his errors and omissions. But it can be found and easily downloaded in our fab new digital world. Cope argues that Krautrock, namely the music that began to emanate spectacularly out of WEST Germany with a mad intensity in the late 1960s and early 70s, is Ur-Punk, primal punk, punk as eating snot off your mate’s face, Magick punk, Gnostic punk.

If you don’t know who Julian Cope is, then you are hopeless, and I strongly suggest that you stop reading at this point. He shares much with his namesake Julian of Norwich, the most theologically profound of the Medieval mystics, who rewrites the Christian narrative of redemption by transfiguring the concept of sin, which she found inexplicable: ‘When I looked into God, I did not see sin.’ But where Julian of Norwich experienced the first ‘Shewing’ or Revelation looking on a crucifix that began to bleed as she was at the point of dying, Julian Cope experienced such Revelation laying in a caravan in Tamworth in Staffordshire in 1972 listening to ‘Hallogallo’ by Neu! on the John Peel Show on the BBC. This makes perfect sense to me. I experienced something similar lying on the settee in Letchworth Garden City a couple of years later. Many, many thousands of others had analogous experiences. Here music triggers the energy of religious conversion. Suddenly, the world and your place in it shifts and everything opens up in a different way, forever. World de-worlds and a vast creative nothingness seizes the back of your...

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Simon Critchley

Simon Critchley

ist ein britischer Philosoph. Er ist Professor für Philosophie an der New School for Social Research in New York und Teilzeitprofessor an der University of Essex. Seit 2010 unterrichtet er außerdem an der European Graduate School in Saas-Fee und ist zudem Gastprofessor an der Universität Sydney (AUS) und der University of Notre Dame (USA). Zwischen 1998 und 2004 war er Programmleiter am Collège International de Philosophie in Paris.

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