Me as a kid
|Dixon Coulbourn: 17 May 1962 - 31 July 2005|
Me as 16-year old Halloween
Me after seeing Black Flag at The Island, 1981. Changed ma life.
Skins are in. Oi Oi Oi. Nah, I had just shaved the mohawk off. International traveler bum, not long before returning for Woodshock '86..
International traveler bum, not long before returning for Woodshock '86..
A brief history of Idle Time that I wrote for Left of the Dial (Houston 'zine), in January 2004, when LOTD ran a bunch of my photos:
I missed the Sex Pistols at Randy's Rodeo in San Antonio (January 1978). I was 15 and had just gotten my learner's permit, so I couldn't drive there. I didn't know anyone who was going. I probably wouldn't have even gotten in. I was bummed. Now why I went to see Styx the next month, at Austin's City Coliseum, is anybody's guess. It wasn't a very satisfactory consolation prize. But the Sex Pistols... that would've been a pretty scary event. I had only recently gone to my first ever rock concert, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Sex Pistols would've been quite a second.
I didn't go to a 'new wave' show until later that year, when the Talking Heads came to the Armadillo World Headquarters. It was a strange time, musically, and much has been written about it. Punk or new wave was gaining momentum and notoriety, but heavy metal and the prog monsters still ruled the day. I wasn't too picky in my early concert-going days. I liked some prog and some heavy metal.
But then I went to Raul's, Austin's notorious little punk dive near campus. That was different. That was a revelation. I could see the bands up close, instead of far away in a haze of smoke and lasers. That pretty much put an end to the big rock shows for me. I became a convert to the cult of punk rock. I'm just eternally grateful that laws were more lax then. I was in high school, had just turned 17, when I first went to Raul's. 18 was the drinking age, but it just wasn't all that strictly enforced.
I graduated from high school and, after a fun summer dedicated to punk rock and my punk rock girlfriend, I took off for college in far north Texas, an hour and half north of Dallas. I wasn't about to go to UT (The University of Texas at Austin) - I saw UT as one huge frat house. Plus it was huge. I went to tiny Austin College in Sherman - 2200 students, most of whom looked like hippies to me. I felt like I'd beamed in from the future. The punk future.
Within a week of moving into the dorm, I started a 'zine called Idle Time. It was a way to stay connected to the Austin scene... it was my love letter home. I made the long trip down I-75 and I-35 to Austin quite often, catching rides with friends or strangers or taking the Greyhound Bus, making pilgrimages to Raul's and Duke's Royal Coach Inn. But I also met the only other punk on campus - who just happened to have a car - so we'd make the much shorter trip to Dallas' Hot Klub to see touring bands like Mo-Dettes, Ultravox, and the Stranglers.
I'd been a photographer since the age of 9, I think, when my grandmother gave me an ancient box camera, a very primitive thing. I graduated from that to an Instamatic, then to a 35mm Yashica Rangefinder, and later to a Pentax K100 SLR. But I'd never taken my camera to Raul's, until I started Idle Time. I was a DIY journalist and photographer now. The first time I took my camera to Raul's was when the Psychedelic Furs came through on their first US tour, when hardly anyone had heard of them.
But from then on, I quite often had my camera at shows. I had a job to do. The Big Boys were especially supportive of my efforts; they made me feel like part of the scene, like I was contributing something. They were good that way. Very inclusive in what sometimes felt like an exclusive scene.
Idle Time was my main creative outlet. I loved cutting and pasting, the rub-on letters, typewritten or handwritten text, rubber cement, the whole DIY thing. It was sloppy and fun. I was never a perfectionist. I wish I'd been a little more careful about focus and exposure - but I didn't care then; any photo I took was just going to be photocopied anyway, so what the hell. It was just part of the collage that was Idle Time. I wasn't really thinking about the possibility of the photos being published 20 years later in a Real Magazine.