26th March: 2.00pm
Punk – Purity – Privilege
From 80s Belfast punk to contemporary Colombian folk, this talk by Gareth Gordon attempts to understand the privileges of being ‘other’ on both sides of the Atlantic.
Left scarred by an early brush with anarcho-punk in the dark days of 1980s Belfast, and its insistence on musical and ideological purity, Gareth set off on a journey to discover and question every shibboleth he could get his hands on. Yet despite a rigorous and exhaustive training to reject everything on the grounds that “it was not punk enough”, destiny relentlessly thrust privilege onto his shoulders. This journey ended up in Bogotá, where he spent the past ten years, experiencing the privileges of being an outsider in Colombian society, and having the opportunity to work first-hand with the Colombian music scene.
Upon return to Belfast, those privileges rapidly evaporated in the face of northern Irish indifference. With a brief nod to Jacques Derrida, Gareth reflects on how purity is a privilege that doesn’t stand the test of time, in the most literal sense. The most exciting (and “impure”) sounds coming out of Colombia and Latin America right now are fusions of old and new, and being open to the new, the unknown and the unknowable, is a key element of challenging the reticence to share our northern Irish home with people from other parts of the world.