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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Will


It's a common story to be a teenager, and make your cultural transition, but not really change. It's an especially common thing when you decide to be a punk, or a hardcore kid. In many ways, the punk and hardcore thing is a parallel world - the look is a bit different, the music is kind of harder, but generally people think and act like they did before their lifestyle changed. The common complaint where we're from is that there are a lot of "jocks" in hardcore bands. It's something I'm sure cuts across every subculture - it's easy to change the way you look and the kind of music you listen to, but it's hard to change the way you are inside, how you relate to life, and treat other people. That's why it always seems weird when we'll meet a punk kid who is training to become a cop - it's weird, but it really isn't, because for the most part what we're involved in for most people is just something they are doing while they are young, and don't have the intention of taking any sort of lesson from being punk. Which is fine too.

I had a really normal upbringing - I played baseball and hockey, collected hockey cards, sometimes thought about what it mean to be nice to people, but mostly had a non-proliferation pact with life - I didn't throw life any curve-balls, and it life didn't throw any back at me. I became a punk because I liked the way it sounded, not because I grew up on the streets, so there was no great urgency in the gradual lifestyle choices I was starting to make. When you start listening to hardcore, if you do it for long enough, there's a few decisions you'll inevitably come up against - being vegetarian and being straight edge. It often doesn't really go much further than that. After that, it depends on the people you have around you to help you consider breaking things down even more, and confronting the larger issues.

When I was still only listening to Youth Of Today and the first Victory Style CD, me and a friend started to volunteer at Who's Emma, an important place that's been mentioned here a few times. It was here where we started to come up against some of the greater issues and questions in life and to really start to understand what it meant to be part of a real progressive subculture. We met anarchists, homeless people, natives, womens rights activists, old people, anti-psych activists, unionists, gay people, people that listened to different types of music, people that wanted to destroy all technology. But most importantly, we met people that were able to incorporate a bit of everything into cohesive and impressive personalities, and we could sense that it was those people who were demonstrating how life was meant to be lived, and that it was those types of people you talked about when you said stuff like "Community leader".

Will Munro was one of those people, and he died today. I met Will in 1998 or 1999 at Who's Emma. He was a straight edge punk who was also gay, which blew my mind. He carried with him such a grinning confidence that I didn't have to wonder for even a second if being straight edge but also gay was something that made sense. He listened to hardcore music like me, but also dance and electro music, which is something I didn't understand. Over the course a summer , I'd gone from someone who only wanted to listen and talk about punk bands to hanging out at like the first 10 Vaseline's, Will's gay disco parties. To me, Will was one of the people who most helped break down in my mind those internal divisions it's so easy to give in to. I've always felt like Toronto was the perfect place for us to grow and develop as a band, because there is such a blurring of these lines, because of people like Will. RIP.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this is quite depressing. You're a good writer, though.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Hank Detroit said...

That was an excellent tribute to yr friend. Being a hardcore kid (and gay also) in the 80s wasn't easy (and it still isn't now in some ways). I can relate to this story, and I'm glad he had such an impact on you.

6:59 PM  
Blogger clawsandteeth said...

best post ive read on here in a long time. cant imagine listening to negative fx on the way to a police academy. cant imagine wanting to be a cop on any level.

1:53 AM  
Blogger David said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post. It's definitely making me think through those years for me. Will sounds like a wonderful person. I'm glad you knew him.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Pier-Eric Chamberland said...

Great writing. This deserves to be inside a book. Or on a tombstone, as an epitaph. Man it's so good I'll read it a few more times to catch the essence better. thanks.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Ian Mac said...

This is very moving, and also a great tribute to you guys' music and ethos. As an old guy (in his 40s) who loved punk in its early years in the UK, and has gone through a lot since, I'm happy to say that discovering Fucked Up in the last few years has made me feel completely energised and I've a huge respect for your music - but more than that I've always felt at your gigs that there's a great atmosphere of just letting people be what they want to be. That doesn't happen a lot (witness the pathetic macho yob mentality of our 'beloved' Oasis). Thanks for such a heartfelt tribute. See you in London in August xx

3:49 PM  
Blogger Ian Mac said...

And of course neglected to say that it's never crossed my mind that I can't be gay and adore your music too!

3:51 PM  
Blogger LSD said...

Ian Mac,

I understand just where you're coming from and feel the same way except I was more into the Happy Mondays than punk. I also feel young now since I won't be 40 for another 4 months - I'll kick your walking stick away in London.

5:50 PM  
Blogger LSD said...

Oh yes and RIP Will, it sounds like you were one of the best, I hope you don't mind having your obituary turned into an old git's thread.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Pink Eye said...

Will would have been stoked.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

very moving.
sorry for your lost guys and sorry more for my manners. but will look hot. RIP.




it is not the right place but will write it anyway (since u mention strait edge). i dreamed few times lately that im giving to damian rimming on stage.
(and one day i will come out with the zine of gay porno dreams i have with u all).

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^ so stoked.

12:46 AM  
Blogger HiddenWorld said...

Please dont.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the blurb about will. he was such a sweetie. i kind of can't believe he's gone. he touched so many people's lives in such strong ways. so many hurting hearts.

by the way, in the photo with him is another artist named Paul. P.

-daryl vocat

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