Today we have another superb book about straight-edge movement on our pages. X: Straight Edge And Radical Sobriety is a second book about the straight edge movement by Gabriel Kuhn and an appropriate continuation of Sober Living For The Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge, And Radical Politics. Perhaps ten years passed between releasing these two books, but Gabrial Kuhn felt the urge to delve even deeper into the matter. Therefore, X: Straight Edge And Radical Sobriety follows the same premise as Sober Living For The Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge, And Radical Politics, and that’s exploring the overlaps between straight edge and radical politics. However, the author points out that radical activism isn’t mandatory for living your life clean. He also points out the distinction between these books during the introduction, so look at this book as the following, upgraded volume of Sober Living For The Revolution: Hardcore Punk, Straight Edge, And Radical Politics.
Although Gabriel Kuhn follows the same formula for this volume, he picked up different activists who contributed to this book. He separated X: Straight Edge And Radical Sobriety is six sections: artists, collectives, scene report, special interest, debate, and recovery. The “artists” section carries the interviews with Martin Sorrondeguy, Eva Genie Hall, July Salazar, Keegan Kuhn, xFirstWorldProblemx, Kaila Stone, Tweety, Khai Aziz, xMontagx, Mark X Miller, GAEA, Eat My Fear, Jara Pohjonen, and UltraMantisBlack. Each interview comes with an interesting title, so even if you don’t have time to read the entire book, I am pretty sure some of these topics will spark your interest. The “collectives” section brings interviews with Julian Vadala, SXE FCSP, Warzone Distro, Jens Wingren, Staffan Snitting, Stockholm Straight Edge, Karin Holmgren, and essays by Frans Ari Prasetyo, Midwest Straight Edge Antifa, Gabriel Kuhn, Sergey, Ruslan, Vitalik, Anton, and Evgeny. Even after these two sections, you can tell there are many more contributors than in the previous book. Each one delves deep into the matter and discusses or explains the connection between straight edge, anarchism, antifascism, LGBT, POC, the music scene, etc. It’s such an incredible read, but there’s even more.
The third section is pretty much self-explanatory. These are not only scene reports but also direct criticism of exclusivity, violence, and substance abuse on hardcore punk shows written by Jen Twigg, Ane V., Laura Synthesis, and Elina. The “special interest” section goes even more philosophical, but it also touches the themes like zine making, and design and explains different approaches to straight edge lifestyle. Everything is presented through interviews with Francis Stewart (Straight Edge And Religion), Kat (The Joys Of Zine-Making), Jan Tolva (Straight Edge And Design), and Jon Active (Sober But Not Straight Edge). The “debate” and “recovery” sections deliver a set of brilliant essays about everything you ever needed to know about straight-edge lifestyle and its co-relation with anarchism, antifascism, vegan lifestyle, and many other movements.
Perhaps this book may seem too radical to some readers. After all, straight edge is a way of living that demands sole dedication to the cause, and it’s interesting how it pairs with other radical non-political and political movements. X: Straight Edge And Radical Sobriety is a must-read even for those who’re into clean living for years because it showcases many interesting viewpoints by some of the most dedicated activists on the scene. X: Straight Edge And Radical Sobriety is available in printed and digital form on the PM Press website, or you can purchase it via Earth Island Books.