The Punk Art of Failure: The Mekons and Ideology


- Halberstam: queer art of failure as a “method for imagining, not some fantasy of an elsewhere, but existing alternatives to hegemonic systems” (89).

- To my mind, The Mekons have the same project: By existing in the music world with a small cult following for over 35 years without ever succeeding in breaking into the mainstream, the band (perhaps inadvertently) demonstrates a way of making art within capitalism without ever letting capitalism undermine the art. Finding optimism in bleak politics. 

- Model for enduring artistic success achieved through aesthetic principles, political endurance, and a liberal dose of genuine, accidental failure.

- The simple fact that they know they’ll never make a living from their punk music and continue getting together to make it regardless, with the values they began with still intact, can itself be read as a kind of resistant utopian project. Crudely put: they do it because they love the art and the politics and each other; real money isn't even on the table. 

- The way they fail can be framed as an ideological success. Let's give a Mekon the last word:

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