Vancouver Punk Collection


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About the Collection

"A brief noisy movement which still reverberates" is how the New York Times (12 June 2008) described Punk, a movement which was much more than music or clothes; it supported and promoted various social political causes -- the environment, women's rights, opposition to racism.

The Collection holds approximately 1200 posters (800 are digitized), 100 CDs/LPs/45s, several periodicals, some pictures, various pieces of ephemera and a genealogy of the Vancouver Punk bands. This Collection will provide an opportunity for further research.

Introduction to the Collection by Ken Lester, Former DOA Manager

It was way back in another millennium, a long time ago in Vancouver, Canada, when the failure to procure an adequate cell phone was not a major social crime. There was no mySpace, no one had ever heard of Facebook, and the whole idea of SecondLife was a weak Science Fiction plot.

In those days, in Vancouver, everything was done analog, in your face, by actual messed up humans, using the streets, their bodies, art and loud music as public protests and political advertisements. Talk minus Action equalled Zero.

The 300 posters, artefacts and ephemera uploaded here represent a small portion of a feral, underground, frequently outlaw, grassroots creative outburst that began over 30 years ago; the flotsam and jetsam of an explosive ongoing episode.

Each item in this collection is a time frame of a specific event and the wild personalities that created it – young people confronting a world spinning out of kilter, going nowhere fast. The issues in play and pressing then are all worse today. In this, the pieces of Vancouver’s cultural heritage gathered here seem less like nostalgia and more like prophecy.

The material uploaded today is the beginning and hopefully the continuing documentation of a local hardcore scene that for more than a moment achieved pop culture hegemony in Vancouver.

Bring Back the Future.

--Ken Lester