Tyler Sonnichsen

Mar 29, 2021

Capitals of Punk

DC, Paris, and Circulation in the Urban Underground

Palgrave MacMillan 2019

This one's personal.

Tyler Sonnichsen's Capitals of Punk: DC, Paris, and Circulation in the Urban Underground (Palgrave, 2019) was an amazing book for me to read and speak with its author about. While I am always fascinated by the different approaches to and thematic areas covered by the books I explore for the podcast, this one took me back to my years as a Montreal teenager, cutting my own hair, sewing my own dresses/skirts, and running around town after the loudest, fastest (sometimes angriest) music I could find. And it brings the stories of some of my favourite sounds from that era (and since) together with my love of and fascination for France and French culture. That's never happened before for me on the podcast. 

Capitals of Punk looks at the movement -between France and the United States, Paris and DC- of music, people, a broader (sub)cultural phenomenon that included writing, art, ideas, an ethos for creating and living. Drawing on interviews and the extensive archives kept by musicians, promoters, and fans on both sides of the Atlantic, the book traces how the underground music scenes of these two capital cities learned from and influenced each other. A musical geography that illuminates a counterculture across spaces and times, the book will appeal to punks young and old (!), and to anyone interested in the varieties of French and American music and urban history.

Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and its empire. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email (panchasi@sfu.ca).

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Roxanne Panchasi

Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and its empire. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email (panchasi@sfu.ca).

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