Thursday, 13 June 2013

Words we get from Greek: 3 - anarchy

Anarchy, from the Greek meaning no government. A strange word because it holds several, quite opposing, meanings. For some it means an absence of government because humanity has found a way of living harmoniously without the need to be governed. For other people anarchy means chaos and lawlessness and has a definite whiff of terrorism about it.

I don't know where the anarchy symbol of the capital A almost contained within a circle came from, but you do see it in all sorts of places - even here in this blog. Thus:

For me, the word anarchy is inextricably linked with my teenage years and those masters of getting up people's noses, the Sex Pistols. Here in my tiny home in Greece, where we do not have anywhere near enough room, I have somehow found space for a carrier bag full of old singles, yes, those black vinyl things, about seven inches across with an A and a B side, and in among all the weird and wonderful stuff I bought all those years ago is Anarchy In The U.K. by the Sex Pistols. The single was released in 1976 on EMI records, from whom the Sex Pistols soon parted company, and the B side is called I Wanna Be Me. I'm not sure the Pistols were exactly making a political statement with Anarchy, but for a spotty yoof as I was then it was a great single to bellow along to.

Punk rather got nipped in the bud as record companies realised there was money to be made from bunches of spiky-haired dorks shrieking and battering guitars and drums within an inch of their lives. It all became very corporate, but just for a little while punk music seemed to suggest that if you wanted to do something you didn't need the approval of Megabucks Records, you just went out and did it. And somehow that reminds me of the anarchists' dream of a harmonious society in which government is abolished because it is unnecessary. Ah well, you've got to have your dreams.

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