Not long ago, the concepts of individuality and self-expression were largely unfamiliar to the Chinese people. Over the past thirty years that’s changed, largely thanks to the introduction of international culture, which catapulted the country’s own breakneck artistic evolution. There is still a lot of ground to cover though, and China’s socio-political environment is fertile soil for punk rock – a genre born of anti-authoritarian rebellion in the UK over forty years ago.
Last year, Beijing’s Punk Festival celebrated a decade of raucous music, challenging ideologies and exciting hairstyles. With sponsors like iconic-punk-boot-makers, Dr. Martens, this celebration isn’t the one-band underground concert it once was. These days, the festival aims to include a plethora of sub-genres, showcasing everything from gritty old school fare to more polished ska and rockabilly.
We visited punk rock noodle shop, Noodle In, to meet with Beijing Punk Festival organiser, Wu Chong, and get perspective on the festival and on what twenty-first century punk rock means in contemporary Beijing.
Noodle In – Beijing’s punk rock noodle bar
Xiaojingchang Hutong, 81 Gulou Dong Dajie
Name in Chinese: 吃面
Words and photos by Zoetica Ebb