I covered Obama’s visit to Southern Maine Community College today. The routine for getting in was much more of a process than it was when I covered his stop at the Portland Expo in 2010.
First us media people had to put all of our stuff up against the external wall of the building, by the press access area. A police dog (a real-life fricking K-9, you guys) barked and snarled his way through our things. He stopped for a second to bite my messenger bag which was full of three things that were not bombs: A netbook, a power adapter for said netbook and a reporter’s notebook.
The officer made some magic dog-whisperer hand gesture and grunting sound to make the German shepherd stop biting my things. Then I had to open my netbook in front of a security (Secret Service?) guy, who was wearing a flatcap like mine, except with a four-leaf clover on it, to prove that my laptop wasn’t a bomb. (SPOILER ALERT: It wasn’t).
Covering the president is awesome, you guys.
Above: That’s my view of the president from my spot on the press bleachers. He’s the tiny guy in the middle. The one at the podium who looks like he’s glowing. That’s because he was. It was crazy.
PS: Here’s the best quote of the night from the President: “The reason you all work so hard isn’t because you thought this would be a cakewalk. When you decide to support a presidential candidate named Barack Hussein Obama, you know it’s not a sure thing.”
Alex Yakovleff, as he was then and as he is now.
Not all punks stay punk forever. That’s a crucial underlying thesis of this project: While we may get jobs and abandon our spikes and sneers, the simple fact of having once been punk shapes who we are. The distant sound of distorted guitars and screaming rebellion blast into our present-day lives when we least expect it, reminding us they’re still there and they still matter.
Alex Yakovleff is a former punk who blogs about menswear at A Fistful of Style. He’s a #menswear rebel, whose “maximalist” style and tooth-and-nail devotion to thriftiness nips at the heels of the often-pricey “What to Wear” culture of men’s fashion. “Take me with a grain of salt and a whiskey back,” he tells readers.
Alex and I got together over coffee to talk about what it means to be punk and how being a punk as a teenager affected his approach to style, politics and more.
I know, I know. I made a promise and have yet to deliver. By now, you likely expected at least a few installments of Portraits of Punk and I’ve so far failed to deliver.
The slog back to the real world after my awesome holiday vacation has taken more of a toll on me than anticipated. The good news is I’ve got a few interviews lined up this weekend and hope to have the first installment up by Monday.
If all goes according to plan, the first interview subject will be an interesting, albeit unexpected, one. He’s a local Portland blogger and the only maximalist I know. That’s all I’m saying.
So please bear with me while I navigate the world of self-imposed deadlines and high expectations. I’ll do my best to make sure you’re happy you did.
I’ve gotten a great response from readers since announcing my Portraits of Punk interview series last night. I’ve received dozens of emails, tweets and facebook comments from people who want to be interviewed, or people nominating others to be interviewed. Yesterday was also the second-busiest day Journalator has ever seen, traffic-wise.
As a preview: I’ve got a lead on a guy who was tour manager for Anti-Flag and allegedly witnessed a near fistfight between Henry Rollins and Tim Armstrong. Another guy in Boston said he’s a 41-year-old nonprofit employee and self-described punk-rock lifer. An acquaintance of mine wants to talk about the intersection of radical queer culture and punk rock.
You guys are making it easy for me to stay pumped, which I’m sure will be important going forward. Thanks for your kind words, support and enthusiasm for this project, especially considering the first interview hasn’t even been posted yet.
Lastly, like I said yesterday, if you fit the bill and would like to be part of this series, let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2012, I’m going to publish a list of interviews with as many punks as I can. Here’s why: