BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, APRIL 10, 2017 – The plastic letters from a child’s magnetic alphabet set were arranged on the huge, metal sliding door that let you into the space. They spelled out “Plastic Image” in a playful riot of color and form.
The space was both airy and somehow seemingly ready to close in on you with a frightening electric and insinuatingly modern and smart malice aforethought that would stab you in the gut at a moments notice.
If anyone would answer the thuds made with a hammering fist on the slab of metal that allowed entry it would most likely be a person with a fierce cascade of black hair in a Clockwork Orange white jumpsuit and a smile that seemed to stretch into tomorrow.
You could enter if you were cool.
That was the thing about the first blooming of punk. It spilled over onto everything in sight like the vomit from a debutants hole after the first cotillion.
That was the one when Brad got to third base after a bottle of Boone’s Farm Annie Green Springs while some poor gurl who would soon be branded ‘slut” after listening to a battered eight track of Bob Segar’s “Night Moves’ followed by an unfortunate capper of Sloe Gin and a DQ banana split gave in to what “polite society” had planned for her.
Plastic Image was the playground and the staging area for an assault on the senseless that existed on Thayer Street and was a major part of the scene where we left off in Gurl Five.
Sherry Edwards is Gurl Six. She gave me comfort and inspiration and an insight into the odd relationship of Kitty and Steve. It must be said that to follow this story from here on out one must read Gurls 1-5.
This is like a Tolkien thingie with no trolls, wizards or heroes. Just punks. People who changed their parts of the world forever and like Bilbo, now rest comfortably, puffing a pipe and inspiring young un’s to go on remarkable adventures.
Sherry completely destroyed any idea of a woman being like a woman that Madison Avenue said being a woman should be. She was a scary adept at technology, trouble, and terms of endearment; she was beautiful, and she was proudly and demonstrably GAY.
As a testament to her amazing power and grace she had somehow managed to pull one of the first color Xerox machines in the U.S. into her loft space on the third floor of Thayer Street on the basis of a well-written notion that “Xerography” was the next art form that would change the world and this huge corporation with an international marketplace giving her a free machine would enhance their worldwide brand in ways that would go beyond simply “copying shit.”
Hence “Plastic Image,” hence a free machine from a corporation that would fire the folks who gave it to her if they only knew what we did with it.
She was also a pioneer in the use of video technology. It almost seems quaint now but, at one time, shooting video meant lugging around a huge machine that used reel-to-reel tapes tethered by a cable the size of a small child’s forearm connected to a camera that weighed more than the amount of ten prime ribs from a Shriners convention in Cucamonga in a bulk that constantly shifted on your shoulder like a speed-addled ferret.
She was a part of that unholy Ohio cabal of revolutionaries that didn’t get Birkenstocks, a Volvo, a mortgage or a subscription to the Whole Earth catalog and still believed that the only good government was one that was on the run.
They had all somehow ended up in Boston occupying about 14,000 square feet of loft space that went for .02 cents a foot because it was so rough.
There was no heat except that which old steam tunnels used by the city of Boston would billow in through 100-year-old vents like the ghost of a turn of the centuries industrial workers death throes.
They stopped billowing at six p.m. and nights were so cold your breath would freeze on your lips before you noticed that you could no longer feel the tips of your fingers.
They built rooms, toilets, kitchen areas and most importantly workspace where they did things like this.
Even if your life is full of shit to do, most of it useless, you should watch this and remember that the sixties made some amazing people who wanted to strip the world of bullshit and let true freedom prevail. Y’know, punks, not just stupid hippies.
Sherry was supportive of everyone around her. Her discerning eye and acute sense of any whiff of insincerity were as keen as those of any F.B.I. agent looking for a pinko.
Her ability to transform whatever she touched into something approaching magic was fascinating to see. For the first show that happened with the arrangements made with the band mentioned in Gurl Five.
A whole day was spent piling television sets gathered from dumps, from pawn shops and from god knows where into massive piles of cathode transmission machines.
They were wired together in an improbably Rube Goldbergian array of wires, cables, spit and polish that would frame the band with images sucked from the maw of America and transmogrified by the pure punk notion that this time the revolution could be real.
Words simply fail to describe the feeling of finally coming home, of finally being among people who could teach that which had been heretofore unteachable and seemingly unreachable. Fueled by the fever dreams of Lester Bangs and Legs McNeil a place in the world could be glimpsed.
After Kitty, Gurl Six was responsible for much of what your humble narrator would experience to this day. Very few of the gurls that make a man a man fuck that man. The measure of a real man and a true punk is that fucking is boring.
No cathode tubes were harmed during the writing of this screed.
William Bradshaw is the main character of “Mr. Norris Changes Trains” and known mostly for his assistance and acceptance of things you do not quite understand.
Punk rock music can be heard regularly on John Carlucci’s SpeedieJohn program on
Channel 21 of Little Stevens Underground Garage on Sirius XM Satellite radio.
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