Blink 182 and that band that Hilary Duff's boyfriend is in are not punk, for crying out loud. But it's what shopping mall America thinks of as punk, so it's an uphill battle to try to prove otherwise. God Save the Queen, however -- a collection of vintage punk performances from the likes of the Buzzcocks, U.K. Subs, Germs, Generation X, Iggy & the Stooges and many others -- is potent ammunition for representing the real.
There are several amazing moments that illustrate punk's wide-screen approach when it comes to tone and mood. When the Toy Dolls perform their whimsical cult hit "Nellie the Elephant," it seems miles away from the confrontational vibes of the Exploited's "Fuck the USA." But it's the brilliant orange Mohawk of the latter's frontman that will forever be punk's visual signature.
There are some interviews sprinkled in, though not too many -- the performances themselves really speak for the scene. But those that are here are definitely entertaining, especially when a modern-day Johnny Thunders fields questions about sobriety; a smooth, young Billy Idol primps his spiky hairdo; and X-Ray Spex vixen Poly Styrene explains the pornographic origins of her band's name. This DVD's title is slightly misleading, though, since the subject matter includes American punk purveyors like the Ramones and Dead Kennedys and isn't a total Anglophilic trip. But that aside, here's a creative way to avoid mosh pit bruises and random spit: Pogo at home with this creative armchair's guide/tribute to an enduring musical genre. It's also perfect for those who define punk by today's teeny-bopper bands with asymmetric haircuts and thumping guitars; give them a gob of this in their eyes instead of the bubble gum.