Last night I took my daughter-in-law to a Sydney Writer’s Festival event featuring Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman and Tara Moss. As we waited in line for the theatre to open the young lady in front of us looked at me, and said
‘You don’t look like an Amanda Palmer fan.’
Well, what the Hell does a fan look like at these events?
Am I too old, too straight, too conservative to be a fan? Fucked if I know, I certainly had more life experience than most of the crowd, and arrived casually well dressed but so what? I grew up in the Seventies, and Punk played an important part in my development through the idea we do not have to conform to every social norm or expectation to be a part of society.
Alright I never quite bought into the anarchist level of Punk, and joining the military at 17 meant I accepted a certain level of conformity in my life. But I didn’t need a uniform to be a Punk, it is an attitude, one I applied liberally within the military to champion ideas outside the mainstream.
In standard psychological testing I have an unusually high score in the fantasy areas. Whilst the other results are consistent with typical outcomes for military leaders, fantasy is usually quite low amongst my colleagues.
I discussed this outcome with the psychologist, and I told him about my love of art, science fiction and my generally geeky/punk outlook on life. He did not see it as a negative, just one of those outliers that occasionally pop up in standardised testing.
Personally I take great pride in my ability to see things differently to my peers, friends and family even if I ultimately choose to support a conservative position. My Punk attitude means I focus on outcomes rather than how I look during development of an idea or working to complete a project.
Western society, maybe society in general, is quick to corral people into groups; conservatives, liberals, punks, bums, heroes and a thousand other labels. I rarely find any of them adequately describe an individual let alone any group of people.
I have an increasingly diverse group of sometimes conflicting and competing ideals, concepts and values. My dress and grooming habits evolve but rarely do they reflect my level of love or dedication to a movement, artist or idea. I’m just a bloke who likes a varied and eclectic range of things, and this makes me happy. It’s just me, and I don’t need a uniform to be me.