Friday, October 13, 2006
Direct Action (the Squamish Five), the Vancouver scene, and Punk
(Photo credit: an ongoing eBay auction for the original DOA benefit single for Direct Action, featuring a cover of Gerry Hannah's "Fuck You." It's item number 250038758210, if y'wanna bid! I remember having this single and playing it time and again; I was 15, and both fascinated and scared by the mood of political tension in Vancouver at the time).
I've been working on this feature interview on the Subhumans, and in preparation for interviewing Gerry Hannah, got to reading Ann Hansen's book Direct Action, and really doing research on the history and arrest of the group (who I knew by the media name, back in the day, the Squamish Five -- click the link for an archive of articles on them). It's a chapter of Vancouver/Canadian history that fascinates me, and to that end, I've visited the CBC archives in Toronto, interviewed filmmaker Reg Harkema (whose upcoming feature, Monkey Warfare, deals - sort of - with the Five), and interviewed or talked with many people involved with the Five in some way or other. I hung out with filmmaker Glen Sanford (a clip from his documentary on Gerry, Useless, is viewable here, tho' I would recommend ordering the film directly from Glen at glenette at shaw dot ca). I sent emails to Warren Kinsella and Chris Walter (who had interviewed Kinsella for the Nerve Magazine -- click Warren's name for that, it's a must-read). I talked to Subhumans members Mike Graham, Jon Card, Brian Goble, and of course, Gerry Hannah himself (more later on where that particular article will be published), and interviewed the security guard who was injured at Litton, Terry Chikowski -- tho' it took me some time to get up the nerve to do that. (Though I didn't have much luck engaging Mr. Kinsella in dialogue, he made the point that no look at the subject matter would be complete without talking to Chikowski, which, really, I think is true). What I'd be wondering, tho' - if anyone actually reads this and is interested - is what people made of the impact of the arrest of Direct Action back in the day, on punk and on punk political activism? How did people react to the fact that people were hurt? - because I know I kinda just swept that detail under the carpet and sung along with "Burn it Down." Any stories of how people were affected or how they reacted would be most interesting, be it Vancouver-based or otherwise... I've started a related discussion on the Nomeansno board that has gotten some interesting responses. Feel free to post your thoughts here; I'd be very curious.
See th' Vancouverites out there at tonight's Subhumans gig...