The Osmotic Telegraph – Lenox Rant

Hardcore was certainly named right; although it flew way below the radar it had some of the most rabid and devoted adherents of any subculture I was ever part of.  Members somehow managed to find and stay in touch with each other across the country, and even around the world, and we did it without pc’s, cell phones, blackberries, or any of that other gimcrack junk which later turned to landfill.  Cells communicated via fliers, posters, newspaper ads, non-commercial radio, word-of-mouth and handmade ‘zines.  Adobe Pagemaker?  Fuck that.  Back then a pagemaker was your hand and some scissors.  This network was like the songlines of Australian Aborigines; just as clans beat out messages that thrummed from Mungindi to Wollongong,  we had Osmotic Telegraph lines running from Manasquan to Wantagh.  That’s how a Montreal band like Cancerous Growth could play some buttfuck like Richmond Furnace, Virginia and still have every punk within 50 miles show up.  I had a schoolmate named Alan who put out a semi-regular 4-page ‘zine called SKAM!, so named because its main purpose was to allow Alan to score journalist credentials and not have to pay for tickets to shows.  He even toyed with the idea of naming his ‘zine “Get Into Clubs Free,” but realized that would be pushing his luck.  Deviousness aside,  the obscure listings in Alan’s mag and others of its ilk were a blessing; where else to find out where Ism or The Nihilistics would be playing next?  The only distribution SKAM! got was Alan passing it out by hand, but it worked.  There was a diffuse antiauthoritarian network working its way into high schools and colleges, even suburban ones.   We didn’t worry about satellite wars or power failures because we didn’t need that kind of power.  But then we shut all the escape hatches, couldn’t find a way out, imploded, and the lines went dead silent.  It’s time for those of you who never knew about it, or were too young, to relearn what you never knew in the first place and revive the Osmotic Telegraph.

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