At the same time as I was bringing the anarcho-narrative project to life, I was also involved in editing an academic work dealing with the anarcho- punk scene of the 1980s. I had sent out a ‘call for chapters’ – very much like I had done for Tales From the Punkside4 – but this time in a more ‘academic’ manner, and was getting ready to sort through proposals, putting together those submissions that would make a good academic volume. Afterwards I was to email those whose submissions were ‘successful’, outlining specific word-count, what style of font they should use (and of course what size), what referencing each author should use and what kind of date we are looking to receive first drafts. After reading and editing these first drafts I was to return them to the author to make necessary changes, and ask them to submit again at another deadline. Then, with a final reading, the volume would be sent off to an academic publisher, and the process would start all over again. Although necessary, this process seemed to detract from the subject matter somewhat, indeed adding further to the abstract stance of each chapter. Ideas had to be backed up by academic texts for instance, and methodology had to be deconstructed. And words such as, say ‘deconstructed’, had to be used to give the volume a sense of academicism.
I am certainly not condemning the academic process, I am after all an ‘academic’, but it seemed to me that the academic rigour of editing and submitting in this way somehow diluted the very essence of the subject matter we were dealing with. In fact, subject matter was almost relegated to second place behind academic hierarchies; of ‘I know more than you do’ debates and doctoral ‘fisticuffs’ behind the bike-sheds after school. And so, I decided to do something different. The academics would often have their say, but what about the many tales that I have heard from my punk friends and peer group, the many mischievous shenanigans that so many of my cohort had ‘got up to’, and the many scrapes and near-misses that these individuals had encountered? Where was the everyday, the ‘normal’ in these academic accounts? If academia was sometimes more concerned with theories and long words than deciphering the day-by- day comings and goings of those who defined themselves as ‘punk’, what about the individuals who felt no need to apply convoluted academic theories or debates to justify subcultural membership? It almost feels as if the academic has to encroach on the everyday, not allowing these tales any autonomy; to not let them sit on their own, for what they are, without interpretation or analysis. Yet, if I wanted to move away from the academic side of writing and editing, I also wanted to acknowledge other influences that made a real impact on me as I was growing up as a young punk. As well as annoying the hell out of my mum by playing Extreme Noise Terror at full blast, I also loved reading books that were deemed ‘punk fiction’, such as Gobbing , Pogoing and Gratuitous Bad Language (1996), an anthology of punk short stories edited by Robert Dellar, Seaton Point (1998), a novel written by seven authors (Robert Dellar, Ted Curtis, Martin Cooper, Rob Colson, Lucy Williams, Mally Mallinson and Emma McElwee) and Simon Strong’s A259 Multiplex Bomb Outrage (1995). These books, alongside the writings of Stewart Home and the poetry of Andy T portrayed a punk scene that seemed, ironically, more ‘real’, even though they were