In his critical essays Morning Yet on Creation Day, Chinua Achebe calls 'art for art sake' "just another piece of deodorised dog shit." The Nigerian writer believes in the didactic purpose of art, that art must produce and in turn be produced within a moral framework.
True to didactic purposes, Nepal's punk scene holds fast to a socio-political agenda, quickly gaining ground in a more or less subversive and unconventional manner.
A preeminent band in the underground circuit (unnamed for the sake of keeping mainstreamers at bay) performed to a throng of listeners two weeks ago at Upstairs Jazz in Lazimpat, where if maximum occupancy were enforced the show would have been barred. But this is Nepal.
Like with most good things, no publicity was necessary; word of mouth was the band's viral promoter. According to its 'herstory', the self-styled anarcho punk group was launched in 2000 and has since organised do-it-yourself (DIY) gigs across Europe, Nepal and Southeast Asia. The group members play charade in alter-ego bands of similar genres of ska, punk and reggae.
Beyond extemporaneous shows and collaborations, the band has operated a radical bookstore since 2004, dispersing materials on DIY sustainable living, feminism, queer theory and anarchism. Angered texts and lyrics chime on the need for a feminist, sub-altern gaze on patriarchal normativity. And the music is upbeat and captivating or as a fan described it, "kickass."
During the show spectators were so entranced that at one point the band requested the front rows to refrain from stomping, for fear that the floorboards would cave in.
When the set was over, the lead vocalist's blunt response upheld the band's punk credibility: "We don't do interviews."
For more go to Moksh, Jhamel, Friday at 8.30pm. Bring Rs 200.