Radio Quarantine -A 3 Dans Les WC – 1978 / 1980

Sometimes you just have to go weird, and this collection of singles from A 3 Dans Les WC is at off-beat to say the least. I’ve not heard a lot of French punk from this era, but from what I have heard I would have thought this would be more along a more playful pop vein. There are a lot of pop influences, from off-kilter Serge Gainsbourg melodies to groovy, strip-bar go-go music, but’s it’s pretty much straight ahead punk rock. And yes, this is another time when I wish I spoke French, or at least understood a bit more. These are bangers and would probably be better if it weren’t for the language barrier. Still… And it looks like they recorded regularly through about 1986 or 1987, and are still active in some way now, at least active in re-selling the music. Their website and Bandcamp pages are up to date. That’s always good to see. I don’t want to believe that the entire punk scene aged and/or died or ended up in cubicle jobs. PUGz… Punks Until Graduation.

Cool also that there’s a sort of No-Wave vibe here, not unlike a lot of what was going on in New York by the early 80s. New York, London, Paris, Munich… sister cities in a lot of ways, at least insofar as the art world goes and all cultural differences aside.

A feeling of deja vu here with the music and the overall tone of the morning… It seems like yesterday morning I was semi-lamenting the passing of March like an express train and now we’re nearing the end of April. Time is a strange animal that way. It moves at its own pace despite what you do to distract it.

I spent a good part of the weekend, not feeling especially well, but busy with skimming through a couple decades of writing and various musings. There were some poignant moments, like tracing the trajectory of Donald Trump through 2013 to 2016 moving toward the presidency. It was more tracing the trajectory of the startling rise of open racism, both in random attacks on people, and of course on policy. Seeing the ideas themselves gain traction as his candidacy gained traction. There were any number of points where the right strategy from the opposition might have slowed it, but it all seemed inevitable. There was half a century of unresolved issues and conversations we weren’t willing to have about the very existence of this river of hatred running beneath everything. Liberals and the left marked every progressive step as a sign that every goal would carry the rest through its momentum and that we really didn’t need to take further action. Like everything was fixed and would heal on its own and in that respect our laziness and fear of having the confrontations enabled the extreme Right to join the mainstream right and develop this cannonball of stupidity.

Reading further back through the false sense of optimism at seeing Obama (who was never all that progressive to begin with) in the White House. A handful of landmark court cases. Lots of memes to keep us chuckling.

It was an interesting exercise and of course there were volumes of windy, horrible musings on my own life and the world, blah, blah, blah. It’s embarrassing that so much of that was out there on a blog since about 2007. I’m still pondering whether it should all just be erased without downloading, but that’s the big question of the digital footprint we all leave. Nothing I’ve said could keep me from getting a job that i would even want, but at the same time, does it belong out in the world? Perhaps if some of it were in a completed and published memoir but why give it away free? Why expose my soft, white underbelly without compensation? Mind you, I’m laughing at myself here. i’ve downloaded most of what I see as valuable now and i will probably erase 2007 to the beginning of 2019 just for the hell of it. It’s outgrown its value now. Reading back through it has been valuable. What hasn’t been downloaded is mostly silliness and performative humor and such.

I may feel the same about What Rough Beast after a time also, but we’ll see.

Back to the work week for now. There is this album though. I’m listening through it for the fourth time and there is so much in it. There are so many twisted up pop hooks. Every song sounds familiar with direct connections to so much 70s and 80s pop, and yet it really sounds like none of that television era, variety show stuff. They’ve really created something special with this collection. Were it in English and maybe marketed better it would be all over North America… add some quirky early-MTV style videos and all. I’m not saying they would have had award-winning pop hits but it’s still hard to say what exactly it was that kept them from crossing over to England and the U.S. Maybe they just didn’t want to. It’s not fair to say that every musical artist wants to be a pop star.


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