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'’I ain’t better than you, I just think different,, - Substantial
Doing this on twitch ! 30 minutes
I sometimes feel that the fandom doesn’t give England’s love for punk/rock music much justice. Some authors usually write about this human AU in which Arthur wants to be a rockstar and some others plainly avoid the topic whatsoever. Which is a pity because I actually believe the whole character has a deep punk reference, specially regarding appearence (might expand on this in another post but basically, for me, England seems like some random bushy browed anime 70s punk guy who suddenly has to put on a suit and attend world meetings, which is both fascinating and hilarious).
So I thought maybe we could dive a bit into very general punk history and then I’d like to share with you some hc regarding England’s involvement with punk culture in general (if you just want to read the hcs just scroll down to the last paragraph with the bullet ponts).
My experience in punk stuff is actually that I’m kind of a metalhead lol. Metalheads and punks had and probably still have a deeply-rooted rivalry. However, punk influenced metal a lot, and metal also influenced punk. So I stumbled upon many punk facts while browsing about my favorite metal bands.
Take this as historical hetalia... but counterculture historical hetalia :D (which is something we need more in the fandom, btw, I know military history is cool but its also cool how humans expressed themselves through art, fashion and music when they felt the pressure of authority and the frustration of society).
Let’s return a bit in time and remember the 60s. The 60s were this blessed time in which people tried to defeat the establishment with peace and love. The hippie movement is from this decade and it influenced a lot on how people thought and behaved. In terms of counterculture, I must say this is a fascinating time in history (I recently discovered psychodelic science and its so incredible what was being talked back then).
Anyways, although a lot of young people were into this discourse of love and peace, some weren’t really that happy about it. In Europe, the post-war situation was sad and a lot of young people either were jobless or had the shittiest jobs you could imagine. Politics were also depressing. This was the origin not only for punk but also for other genres of heavy music, such as metal: People who didn’t want to be all happy and peaceful and had the need to express their frustration and anger, shouting about how society was fucked up. They needed an outlet.
Origins of punk
The origins of punk music are actually not quite clear. In fact, the US and the UK both claim that punk music was born in their country. Funnily enough, my country also claims to be the origin of punk (I’ll leave this mini-doc for you. Sadly, I don’t think this is a correct claim, mainly because their music was in spanish and I doubt that major punk bands took them as reference. Its a cool band tho).
I have to side with americans on this: The arguments for the american origins of punk are quite solid. The Ramones were the first actual punk band out there. They were active since 1974. Their music had all the elements of punk and, chronologically, they were the first ones performing this type of sound.
However, they didn’t have the aesthetic. That actually was a british invention. American punk had still leather jackets, jeans and sneakers. British punk? Well, remember all those ripped pants and shirts you commonly associate with punk? Yes, those were the Sex Pistols all along. They were the ones introducing the attitude and the style. The Pistols had some insane performances and a huge shock-value that can’t be found in early american punk. So you can safely say that your image of what a punk is is based mainly on the Pistols (also, for singing anti-authoritarian lyrics, they actually were managed by some dude who had a fashion shop. So yeah...).
Punk attitude or philosophy or whatever
The reason why I addressed the rockstar thing at the start of the post is because I find it curious. Punk is characterized by the whole Do It Yourself attitude and breaking with the establishment. Anarchism in punk is scandalizing people since there is no authority whatsoever. There wasn’t really any deep philosophy behind all of this, nor any political movement. Punk has nothing to do with a formal anarchist philosophy (which actually exists and has nothing to do with disorder). However, punk is characterized by the anti-establihsment lyrics. Remember, this is all about scandalizing people (which sometimes took great lengths). Presentations from british punk bands were also quite wild those days. They involved a lot of insults, spitting and, of course, pogo.
So, it is obvious that there is this deep concern about turning into a sellout, a pretty common fear in any underground scene. Authenticity was encouraged. Aspiring rockstars really didn’t have much mercy in the community so to speak, at least in this specific period.
I would also like to add how punk had other aspects beside the music. For example, fanzines were pretty popular in the punk scene in the 70s and a great way to engage with what was going on with bands and music. I remember also this interview of this band in which they remembered how a very high guy decided to recite his poem while the band was playing. So, yeah, literature, illustration, fashion and other stuff were involved in the punk scene too.
British punk was also characterized by a very nihilistic attitude and a total disregard for previous influences. 1977, a song by The Clash, stated:
No Elvis, Beatles, or the Rolling Stones!
Now, for the important stuff: The music. Punk music is all about being simple. Punk musicians aren’t really known for their virtuosity in their instruments, something that actually inspired musicians from a lot of heavy bands later. In fact, the famous Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols never could learn how to play the bass. So the band disconnected his instrument from the amplifier and he only had to pretend to play. The guy actually tried to learn how to play bass but music wasn’t exactly his talent. He had tons of punk attitude though, and that was the reason why his band didn’t kick him out.
Vocals are usually shouted, the rythm is fast and the riffs are quite simple. In fact, there is this famous publication on a 1976 british fanzine that stated:
This is a chord
This is another
This is a third
Now form a band
HWS England and the 70s punk scene and onwards
Thanks to his immortality, it is obvious that England had to experience the 70s in all their glory (what a lucky bastard). Was he there? Hell yes. As I explained before in some of my hc posts, nations represent the population more than their Government, so I really believe that England felt the frustration from that post-wwii decade and he probably also felt pissed about this. Working for the Government must have felt really frustrating during those years.
In the past, he probably would have tried to take his ship and sail the seas or whatever, but that was not possible in the modern era. I guess that’s how he discovered punk.
Now, rock existed in England before punk. I mean, the Beatles, duh. So Arthur wouldn’t have been completely ignorant about rock music in general. Contrary to popular belief I don’t imagine him being that much of a beatlemaniac though. Sure he likes them, but the music didn’t resonated with him as much. But boy, that first time he heard the Pink Fairies in 1971 (Yes, this was an actual band, a proto-punk band)? Yeah, he could relate more to that.
More detailed stuff here:
Pubs were crucial for the development of punk music. They were these spaces in which bands could play, a venue to discover new music. Yes, Arthur must have been a regular in a lot of these pubs.
Fanzines probably fascinated Arthur as an outlet for his own writings and silly drawings. He probably created a cringey pseudonym and collaborated with a lot of them.
Its canon that England likes to critic american movies, and, taking from there, I think he’s the type of guy that has an opinion for everything. So I can imagine him also writing about what bands he enjoyed and what bands sucked.
Yeah, I can also see him being drunk and just reciting a poem while some rock band played behind.
With some ability, and a lil bit of tricks, Arthur could escape normal Government activities and perform with punk bands at nights. People were so into the music that he had no problem passing by.
Some cover art in CDs show Enlgland with a guitar and a bass (yes, not many people remember the bass cover art). So he probably plays both guitar and bass. He also probably plays the drums. Of course, he’s no virtuoso and he only knows the most basic stuff in those three instruments. I can see him being into songwriting tho.
Guitar: Definetely a Telecaster
Bass: Fender P-bass and I can also see him having a Rickenbacker 4001
All these instruments are full with stickers. Punk instruments look really cool btw. (I wish my bass could look like those I see in certain punk bands)
England’s probably the kind of guy that doesn’t cut his strings at the head of his guitar.
He can actually play guitar/bass and sing at the same time.
England plays bass with a pick (what an asshole, we bassists know picks are not allowed)
Contrary to popular belief, I can see England appreciating good rock music from other countries and supporting them. He probably insists that punk music was born in the UK though.
1977: The Queen was going to celebrate her silver jubilee. And England had no problem with this. He really had none... but he HAD to be in that boat trip with the Sex Pistols. There’s no way he was going to miss that. He later had to explain his abscence that day to his Government officials (Btw, my hc for England’s relationship with his monarchy is “It’s complicated”. I can explain this later. Just remember that he was really pissed those days)
I can see Arthur in general being really involved with the scene. A lot of the stuff they were making actually matches with his canon interests and even personality. So he probably enjoyed those days and felt quite at home. I can even say that, for a long time, he hadn’t felt that kind of connection with his own people.
Although I can see England being attracted by the nihilism in the scene, I think his romanticism protects him from embracing it fully.
England had to live a double-life during this era. Not that it was new for him.
Arthur was pierced several times by some random, drunk teenagers. He doesn’t remember who tho. He was also drunk. Obviously his piercings close really fast, unless he has a permanent jewel in there.
I can actually see England expanding his music taste. Although punk is in his heart, it wouldn’t be strange for me that he’s overall a rock nerd and enjoys other genres, specially those with fast drum beats and heavy riffs. So I can see him having some metal favorites too, having a certain taste for prog rock and even digging into hardcore.
I’m still unsure if England would have been a massive Pistols fan as fanfics usually portray him. I mean, maybe? I would say he is definetely into acts such as the Pink Fairies (I mean, c’mon, its perfect). The Clash and the Damned probably also have a place in his heart.
After the punk scene dried out (the 80s weren’t that great for punk music although it was the birth of even heavier forms of music based on punk), England also was eager about the new genres flourishing during these times based on punk. Acts like folk punk might have had an appeal for him. He’s also fond of the punk-ish bands from the 90s like Green Day.
“Punk will never die!” shouted England while stage diving in some random small concert. He likes to support new bands these days.
The most fascinating thing, maybe in a more poetic sense, is that England’s immortality probably also helps him to keep up a punk spirit as much as his nationhood allows him, instead of aging poorly and angry like a lot of punk musicians... I mean, he aged poorly, but for other reasons lmao.
198k - ft. @NickelusF
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