The Past is Unwritten started off as a research blog for my MA. Now I’m done the thesis, but I still like researching music, pop culture, history, and the Edmonton music community.
I also teach a free class on The History of Punk with the Edmonton Free School. All-ages and all-welcome.
For what I wrote when I originally started the blog, see below!
This blog* is called “The Past is Unwritten” for a couple reasons. First, it’s my chance to completely ripoff the legendary Joe Strummer. He liked to say that “the future is unwritten” (and put it on the wall of high schools like in the film Grosse Point Blank). The second reason for this title is that Strummer’s saying can also be applied to the past. Anybody who has ever taken a history course (or opened a history book), knows that ideas and opinions on “what actually happened” in history is very much open to debate and interpretation. Contrary to popular belief, the “what” and the “when” are rather less important than the “how” and the “why.” New information, and people’s changing perspectives as time goes by, can lead to a more nuanced understanding of the past (or it can just lead to historical revisionism).
The intention of this blog is to help with the whole “nuanced understanding” thing, in particular with regards to the American punk/underground/alternative/independent music scene, and its social/cultural/political implications. I’m writing a thesis for my American history MA on the subject, and since it’s a topic everyone knows something about and probably has an opinion on, I figured it would be a good idea to get a blog going. Then I can steal people’s ideas and get a university degree out of it. I mean properly cite people and their ideas and give them the recognition they deserve.
So in the coming weeks and months please read faithfully (at least three times a day would probably be best) and post thoughts, comments, and ideas. And most importantly tell me when I’ve come up with something really stupid. It’s better to hear it from you than my defense committee. Hopefully when it’s all said and done, we’ve added something more to the understanding of the past, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll even have a better idea of where we’re going.**
*Please bear with me while I get this blog up and running. I have no idea what I’m doing setting this up – I don’t think I’ve even said the word “blog” out loud more than four or five times in my life before this.
**Sorry if that last sentence seemed a little cheesy, I was trying to sound profound and tie the whole “past” and “future” is “unwritten” thing into the end of the post.