Punk flyers of their place in time are instantly recognisable. Chewed, dog-eared A-size scrap encrusted in spilt beer, mysterious boot print and obligatory flakes of yellow selotape can easily be told apart by their content. In general, something can be dated accurately to within 3 years at a fleeting glance!! Access to materials and technology, whether Copydex or Quark Xpress, has determined final appearance as much as the questionable talents and attention span of the author. Everyone who's served a sentence playing crap music in smelly toilets and watched their mates do the same seems to have at one point hoarded these scraps well beyond their date of purpose. Where dates, line-ups and artwork evoke incidents and experiences lost in a haze of time, life and Guinness, then there's surely a case to be made that these are prompt notes to the faulty hard drive that is the human brain... snap-shots of good experiences, bad experiences and small details you're not quite sure why you remember after all these years!
The flyers in this volume spawned from a sole purpose - To advertise punk bands on a zero budget. From the earliest examples here to those dated '99 onwards that were aided by computer text instead of letraset or hand lettering, the common bond is that they could only ever have been posters for punk bands. This glaringly obvious detail is their one mechanical success. They were all about unrefined art, a handful of your friend's bands making it up as they went along, booking some awful venue, a couple of punts for photocopying, Selotape, a bucket of paste, vigilance and the cover of night. And although it was a disposable medium ( apart from the couple of screen prints moonlighted during a FAS course ), a good deal of scrawling time went into making them look unlike anything else that might be Selotaped to a record shop wall, dog, lamp post or pasted in some disgusting urine soaked corner of the city. Often, if these were definitely to be flyposted around the city, more effort would be put into their execution. It was like a public gallery. There was even a plan to choose a couple of locations and paste up rows of these without the gig details - a cheap and nasty exhibition of sorts - but this idea along with the activity of covert flyposting in general was swiftly sidelined when the Dublin City Council started sending storm-troopers out to gigs to issue on-the-spot fines at some point in the late 90's. Then came CCTV which left no dark street unobserved!!!
Directly after the event, these small artworks suddenly found themselves redundant and resided in folders for years. Occasionally, images were recycled or requested for other purposes.. record sleeves, fanzines etc, but ultimately, their lifespan was all too brief - with the exception a number of bedrooms and toilet walls of rented houses around the city where a couple of impressive collections of these grew like some manner of fungus. These were often only discovered during parties. Very flattering! What is curious about a gathering of images like this is the strange details that they reconstitute - Not only the obvious " ...good gig, bad gig, wasn't there, don't remember this even though I played at it... " stuff, but the small gems that personalised everything - Friendships with other people in bands you may not otherwise have met, posters that promoters objected to and chopped up ( use your imagination!! ), the awful Bad Influence gig where everyone watched 2 girls punch the shit out of each other at the back of the venue while the band played ( Mero had it on video!! ), The Steam Pig having to book gigs as Satellite Town because the promoter had heard it was a troublesome skinhead band (!!!) - and many other incidentals that would be incriminating, indulgent, utterly boring and backward gazing to blabber on about.
For many years now, with DIY culture filtered far and wide into the independent mainstream, flyposters in general have come to mean something different. It is very rare that they are hand drawn specifically for the gig. They're either put together in an hour with DTP software and taken to a fast-print shop or ( for larger bands ) they're laborously crafted professional multi-colour screenprints produced in numbered limited runs as a collectable commodity rather than a tool to actually advertise an event ( or non-event!! ). There is fault in neither. They serve their place in the greater masterplan to perfection and carve out their own individual personalities, but are a very different aesthetic to that which is represented here. This is by no means what ALL punk flyers looked like in Dublin in this period of time. It is merely a selection from one of many production desks of such covert fodder, displaying a certain raw cohesion between the images and the dispossessed attitude of many of the advertised bands.
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