Packham the Punk!

Posted on February 7, 2020

Fishing around for something to watch on TV last night, I discovered a documentary about Chris Packham and his love of punk rock. It was called Chris Packham: Forever Punk.

In a time of vicious populism and post truth politics, it was heartening to see a documentary about a genuine bloke. A man who used punk rock as a vehicle to help him through a troubled youth and hasn’t forgotten it.

The Battle for Biodiversity

Of course, because we are living in populist times, Packham takes a lot of shit, especially from media outlets like The Telegraph, as well as the more unsavoury landowners out there. These are the type of thugs who nail birds to Packham’s front door in a bid to frighten him off. It doesn’t.

Biodiversity and the protection of indigenous birds is not something many landowners (especially those who own the large-scale pheasant shoots) are bothered about; so, Packham is a nuisance. He exposes the ‘Countryside Alliance’ and they don’t like it. They want people to believe they love the countryside, not smash it up.

The great thing about Packham is he isn’t scared of bullies. He just doesn’t hold back. Maybe it is related to his Asperger’s diagnosis but the abuse he gets is, to him, water off the back of an indigenous duck. Punk has given he a ‘Fuck’em’ attitude and I admire that.

Punk for Misfits

His description of how punk inspired him and saved him from a life as a suicidal misfit, is a story of how music can define a person. Punk was an inspiration for misfits who could not conform to the establishment. How great is it that music has helped young people evolve into creative individuals?

Packham is a self-confessed oddball, but I would rather spend time in his company than these populist bores who are all the rage on the internet. Halfwits like Piers Morgan and Julia Hartley-Brewer, who think they are clever by retweeting abusive memes about a sixteen-year-old girl who is worried about the state of the planet.

Packham’s love of punk music wasn’t a nauseous passing phase adopted by a trendy art student with rich parents. Punk captivated him, inspired him and allowed him the inspiration to build a career. His collection of records, posters and clothes (many he has kept since a boy) is another aspect of complex mind. It is a mind that is on a spectrum that could never have performed in a standard state school.

As someone who struggled with the one-dimensional nature of the education system, Packham’s story is an inspiration to me. I guess it is even more of an inspiration to autistic people and the parents of autistic children who have complex but brilliant minds.

I sincerely hope he keeps annoying the morons who are intent on wrecking biodiversity.

Chris Packham: Forever Punk can be seen on iPlayer

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