fed: Columbia's subversive newspaper
info | issues | contact
From the Man Issue (Feb 2000):

"Blood was gushing from my face"
In this very special issue of the Fed: Amy's nose will never be the same
Amy Phillips

You may have seen me walking around campus the past few weeks not quite looking like myself. I didn't get a haircut, I'm not pregnant, and yes I have lost weight, thank you very much. More importantly, though, my nose is broken. For a while I looked like one of those anti-domestic violence posters on the subway, complete with purple rings under my eyes from the healing process. There is a sizable bump, and my schnozz is forever leaning slightly to the left. Was I in a bar brawl?

Did my roommate finally decide that she'd had enough of my wild late-night shenanigans? No. My nose was a casualty of punk rock. I don't usually get beaten down at music shows. Up until this point, the worst thing that had ever happened to me at a show was that time in eighth grade when I lost one of the lenses of my eyeglasses in the pit at a Foo Fighters concert and stumbled about half-blind for most of the night. However, I have long since outgrown my moshing days and now prefer to stand to the side and dance with my friends. So, when I walked in to the West End that night for the Anti-Heros show, I didn't expect to end up in the Emergency Room at St. Luke's.

First and foremost, I would like to make it clear that I was not assaulted or attacked, as some people thought. It was an accident, but one which could have been easily avoided. Before the Anti-Heros' set, as the room began to fill up, I had moved to the back of the room, next to the bar. As the band started to play, a bunch of large, burly guys decided that their way of showing their appreciation for the music was going to be charging head first into the crowd at full speed. This had been going on for a good half an hour or so when one guy slammed so hard into the pack that the momentum forced everybody backwards, and I was smashed between a wall and the person's head in front of me. According to the laws of physics, something had to give, and that something was my poor nose.

At first I was irate, and I screamed expletives through bloody tissues at the crowd as my friends helped me make my way out of the bar. Later, as I waited for CAVA, I realized that I couldn't place the blame completely on the asshole skinheads. It really was an accident. They have every right to express themselves, and if this is an effective way to get out their pent-up aggressions, and the only manner in which they can fully enjoy the music, then so be it. I still have the right to disagree and disapprove. A broken nose is not cool; I don't care how many times someone tells me I look 'tough'. And a rhinoplastey is definitely not punk rock.

What originally attracted me to punk rock can be summarized by a lyric to an old Patti Smith song, 'Outside of society / That's where I wanna be.' I always knew that I didn't quite fit in with most other people my age; I always hoped for something more than the television had to offer. Punk made me realize that I didn't have to look like those girls in Seventeen magazine, that I didn't have to pretend to be friends with people I hated. There were other people out there who questioned conventional ways of thinking; there were other people out there like me. I could maintain my own individuality and be respected for it. If anything was missing from the Anti-Heros show, it was respect. That sense of community, of the bringing together of the alienated, is what I believe punk is all about. It is not a fashion show or a popularity contest; it is the very antithesis of those things. Neither is it about hurting other people or breaking their noses. But, hey, I should stop complaining. How many people get to go to the hospital in pleather pants?

Have something to say? Email the Fed