What is the “No Future” generation punk? What is their ideology and where does it come from? Is the essence still alive after almost 50 years of punk movement?

Young anarchist, welcome to “Skull World”! The punk movement and its « No Future » ideology is our topic for today and we are going to give you the answers you have been waiting for. 🤘

The No Future Punk is the idea that the young punk generation of the 1970s had no future. This ideology was adopted particularly by working-class youth in the US and UK. Punk music was a precursor to the movement that became socially and politically engaged in the early 1980s.

In this article we will look together at how much the punk generation shaped their time, why No Futurecounterculture brought together and evolved and where it stands in the world today. After reading this article, you will be able to see the background of the punk counterculture in the US and UK from 1965 to the present day.

Punk movement No Future

From its inception, punk has established itself as a culture whose history is almost impossible to write, not least because of the phrase “no future” taken from the lyrics of the Sex Pistols ‘ 1976 theme song “God Save the Queen.” This song by one of the most famous punk rock bands is an integral part of the punk philosophy . That is, a pessimistic attitude toward the future, which explains in part punk culture’s lack of interest in the history of the movement.

Punk was founded by youth who did not identify themselves primarily as artists but as young workers who were bored and looking for entertainment. And these young people were by no means future-oriented at the time. On the contrary, the ideologies were shaped by the “You only have one life” mentality that was already being expressed in the 1970s.

No future punk

The punk says like “Without a future”.

Punk’s founding bands played an equally important role in the formation of this ideology as did artists Richard Hell, Patti Smith and the Ramones . Richard Hell was known for his distinctive style of dress and was often seen in torn clothing, a style still used by punks today. Songs like “I Belong to The Blank Generation” whose lyrics could be understood either as an optimistic interpretation of the “possibilities” or with a cynical, pessimistic, “futureless” view that was more common in the punk rock that eventually evolved…

Patti Smith, like many other underground artists of the time, kept her style of music very simple. Many of the songs he wrote before becoming a performer were poems set to music. Patti Smith was also responsible for this negatively conceived ideology. Especially with their single “Hey Joe”, which was released in 1974. A pessimistic attitude and simplified musical lines characterize the assertion that punk and its youth have no future.

No future black and white

New York Dolls

Another important band in the history of punk rock were the  New York Dolls . While never expanding beyond their New York sphere of influence, several aspects of the band had a significant impact on the development of punk music and culture. Their music was a mix of current trends in popular music and pessimistic social commentary. 🤔

The Dolls were also known for their trashy and rebellious lyrics, expressing a sometimes negative punk bias. Many young people identified with the movement and what they were proposing with this ideology aimed at living in the moment as the future holds nothing beautiful.

New York Dolls

The Glitter Rock

Glitter Rock was a relatively short-lived movement, beginning in 1972 and ending in 1975. Still, she had an impact on the early days of punk. Also known as Glam Rock, this movement incorporates themes considered “objectionable to the general public”. 😵

As an affront to society and everything that represented the popular currents of thought of the time, glitter rock was appropriated and developed by punk rock. Heavily influenced by his specific symbols of rebellion, he acted as a bridge between the dominant culture and the extreme subculture that would become punk in the mid-1970s, presenting socially unacceptable (or at least non-dominant) ideas in the context of a music that seemed familiar.

Punk band

Pessimism at the heart of punk

One thing that united all forms of punk music was their negativity. This was the greatest contrast to the popular music heard on the radio at the time, with its upbeat and romantic themes.

These punk bands, in some cases, displayed pessimism to the point of nihilism. It was this dissatisfaction with life versus the state that produced much of the politically charged music that punk became known for. The English youth of the time (often working class) took part in groups   identified as ” youth revolts “. These groups saw a bleak future from which there was no way out. ⛔️

In 1976 economic conditions were the worst since 1940. In Britain 6.4 per cent of the population was unemployed and the pound fell to a low. The socioeconomic climate was ripe for the punk rock message, these young music fanatics were suspicious or downright angry.
Artists like Reed and Bowie weren’t afraid to incorporate social commentary into their lyrics. Punk rock as a whole, then, was defined by its close association with socialism, sporting social commentary and sympathizing with working-class unrest. The punk should become the refuge of the new generation.

Punk Revolt

Sex Pistols at the origin of « No Future

The irony, pessimism and amateurish style of this music had clear social and political implications, and British punk became as consciously “engaged” as the entertainment medium of musical art. This idea is particularly illustrated by the British band “Sex Pistols”, considered by many to be the first true punk band.

Men with a distinctly biker look, the band’s members wore all manner of clothing that would define the punk aesthetic. They have been defined as « vagabonds, misfits, punks who have only a rudimentary understanding of music ». Their first single “Anarchy in the UK” was a real breakthrough for the No Future movement . The band is best known for their concert appearances. 🎸

Five days after its release, the play “God Save the Queen” was banned by the BBC. Nonetheless, the song was enormously popular, reaching number one in almost every UK chart, including those of the BBC, which continued to play the song, cutting out “trashy” passages. The Sex Pistols’ two subsequent singles, “Pretty Vacant” and “Holiday in the Sun,” enjoyed similar popularity. This huge popularity of the album in both the UK and US, despite the refusal of many major distributors to market it, led to a nineteen-date US tour being scheduled. The punk movement with its negative ideology had started!

Sex Pistols

Punk associated with negativity

Before the mid-20th century, the term “punk” had several meanings, none of which were positive. Some of them were of a sexual nature such as: “disguised homosexual” or “long-haired rapist”. Others, such as “rowdy,” “gangsters,” or “criminals,” had violent undertones. In 1975, these labels became associated with a particular style of music and the people who listened to it. 🎼

From the beginning of its subculture, punk consciously cultivated an image of violence, deviance and obnoxiousness. This was in clear contradiction to what popular culture was offering to the youth. American advertising’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” didn’t go down well. Punk anarchismhowever, focused on the personal level. He placed the emphasis on change through education rather than revolution. It consisted in living the idea of ​​rebellion against authority.

An “us versus them” attitude has prevailed throughout the movement since its inception, due in large part to the ubiquitous angry attacks on punk music and punks themselves by the press and the general public. In fact, punks often came to the rescue of those marginalized because of their looks or political beliefs. That didn’t mean everyone was accepted, though, because it took a certain dedication to be considered true punkto apply. 🤙 People with a “punk haircut” that they e.g. B. wore them to concerts, but not when they went back to work on Mondays, were often regarded as unengaged “clowns”.

Future punk

Anti-bourgeois and capitalist movement

Due to its close association with the working class in both the UK and US, punk was anti-bourgeois and anti-capitalist from the start. In fact, the whole punk attitude combined hatred and a sense of urgency about everything related to punk culture with a keen sense of socio-political impotence, a belief that actions are inconsequential, that the betterment of society in the elusive at best and utterly pointless at worst… 🤷

Still, there was a belief in the possibility (or at least the need) of change in the punk songsapparently. Responding to the authoritarianism that emerged in the 1970s and grew stronger in the 1980s and 1990s, punk marked the last time pop music, regardless of genre or era, would have a “truly radical influence” on any segment of its audience would have. Punk was a move away from love songs towards a political and social message that’s often found in rap today.

Concert punk

The No Future concerts

Punk concerts, like much of the punk subculture , deviated enormously from the norm. While in the past there was always a space between the artist and the audience, at punk concerts this was no longer or hardly to be found. Punk concerts took place in small, crowded, low-budget spaces in notoriously troubled neighborhoods. Most artists had little or no technical training and only had very cheap and not very sophisticated equipment. The decibel level was brutally high, and the behavior of the artists and the audience was aggressive and often bordering on physical violence… 👊

The dance styles of punk reflected itreflect the atmosphere of the shows. One of the most well-known styles, the pogo, basically consists of jumping up and down semi-rhythmically. The slam (or thrash) is related to the basic pogo, which has evolved into modern-day « moshing ». In the slam dance, the pogo is taken and supplemented with elbow and knee strikes. While this may seem dangerous, there was no intent to cause harm as the dance was merely a parody of the violence that seemed pervasive in punk culture.

No Future concert