Firstly let me warn you that this is a shameless piece of self promotion of one of my other blogs too!
I bet you thought this was going to be about Clint Eastwood‘s portrayal of Dirty Harry didn’t you? Well you’re wrong. It is about the key word from that famous Dirty Harry line though; “Do you feel lucky punk?” Did you think that the word ‘punk’ was a modern word? I certainly did. However it is in fact a very old word, indeed it is over 400 years old. It was supposedly first recorded in the 1590’s. But the Bard himself, William Shakespeare to his folks and Ms Hathaway used the term “taffety punk” in his “All’s Well That Ends Well” to describe a ‘well dressed whore’. He wrote it during 1604 and 1605, unless of course you believe the conspiracy theories in which case it was written by Philip Marlowe.
In the 1890’s the word was often used to describe a young male criminal as well as something worthless and rotten. I wonder if Mr Lydon knew that when he chose his moniker for the Sex Pistols. The first time the phrase punk rock was used was surprisingly (to me at least) in a piece written by Dave Marsh for Creem Magazine in 1971. This main body of this post also appears in my music blog ‘With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’ as it is a bit music related.