“I’ve got the medicine you need
I’ve got the power, I’ve got the speed
I’ll find out how to stop your clock
We sure ain’t talking Doctor Spock
Hear me talking, Doctor Rock”
But, in the same song, they concluded “Pay me, pay me / I ain’t no doctor of philosophy.” Well, dear Lemmy, it appears instead I am on the way to be. On the last 8th of May, my candidature as an extreme music anthropologist of Malaysia and Singapore has been approved. This will be my day-job for the next 2 years and a half.
The panel itself would have made Lemmy change his mind about academics: Dr. Emma Baulch, author of “Making Scenes:Reggae, Punk, and Death Metal in 1990s Bali” reached us digitally from Bali, while David Ensminger, author of “Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation” , connected from Houston, Texas. My other two supervisors, Dr. Yeoh Seng Guan and Dr. Julian CH Lee, particpated respectively in the flesh in Kuala Lumpur, and on the phone from Melbourne. The panel was chaired by Dr. Marco Buente, head of the research unit at Monash School of Arts and Social Sciences, Kuala Lumpur, from Germany. Quite an international cast of characters, concluded by me, the quirky Italian.
What to say: I have been confirmed, and I got some good comments on my PhD research project, tentatively titled “Heavy metal and punk: the music and the culture in Malaysia and Singapore”. I am quite happy about this. And I’m also very much relieved, as I “forced” myself to complete an early candidature confirmation in 6 months (instead of the usual 10 to 12) in order to start fieldwork as soon as possible and hit the road once again. Those old habits never go away, it seems. For the next 10 months, in fact, look for me around one of these two countries – video camera and audio recorder in hand, notebook and pen in the backpack – trying to give justice to an academically overlooked popular music reality of Southeast Asia. I feel thrilled and empowered at the same time by such an investment.
Dr. Rock Ian Fraser Kilmister, I am sure that next time we cross paths, you will recognize my value as a PhD.