Take a deep breath, let it out slowly and celebrate this: 2020 is almost over. It’s time now to think holiday shopping, in a safe and healthy way, of course. With that in mind, the PKM elves have hand-picked some unique gift ideas for music lovers, book lovers, and anyone who doesn’t want another stupid mug with a cutesy saying on it….Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice or just prefer to spend the holidays getting drunk and avoiding people, we hope these gift ideas will hit the spot. Take another deep breath, let it out slowly, and read on.
Can we all agree that this year sucked? OK, good. One way to make it less sucky is to focus on making the upcoming holidays as happy as we can, under the present circumstances. One way to do that is to locate the perfect gifts to show those close to us how much we care.
PKM does not presume to tell you what to get those special people in your life. We will only say that if you don’t get any of the following gift suggestions, your holiday celebrations will be diminished greatly. No, just kidding. We just thought you might like a little assistance, a little nudge nudge wink wink.
We start off our suggestions with the evergreen-iest thing we can think of: The Ramones, who never go out of style.
1. The first item is/are a pair of buttons made by “LowLevel” and available on Etsy. They echo the lyrics from a classic song by the band from 1976 and definitely present a philosophical point of view:
2. Next, we offer My Ramones by Danny Fields, the legendary original manager of the Ramones and an all-time guru to the very existence of this website. Danny guided the foursome toward a record deal with Sire and, with co-manager Linda Stein, brought the band to the UK where they inspired the punk scene developing there. He was manager during the recording of arguably their three best albums, Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket to Russia [Not bad stocking stuffer gifts in their own right!]. His book, My Ramones, is a loving document of those years with the band, in photographs and words. Signed copies are available here:
3. You WILL wanna walk around with Patti Smith, though. And, with this Tee-shirt featuring the cover of her first book of poems, Seventh Heaven (1972), you can do just that.
4. Speaking of iconic T-shirts, here’s the one that Debbie Harry vaulted into that status. These shirts are designed and printed in the UK studio of Subculture Clothing Co.
5. The Hound, legendary radio deejay, is back on the air, playing “screaming rock ‘n’ roll, the kind they don’t make anymore, old R&B, hillbilly, gospel, greasy vocal groups, scratchy 45’s and 78’s.” Sit back and give him a listen while wearing the official 2020 Hound T-shirt.
6. The late, great super-chef and writer Anthony Bourdain was number 1 in our book. And now you can tell others that they are number 1 in your book with this handsomely printed T-shirt featuring the man himself.
7. This T-shirt, by Seven Sixty Apparel, goes beyond the BLM slogan, offering a tribute to the Black Panthers. Specifically, “Newton & Hampton & Howard & Cleaver & Seale.
8. What’s the second best thing to having Iggy Pop over to your house? DropD Prints answers that question with this handsome print, suitable for framing on any wall in your house.
9. Unfortunately, this year, face masks have become an essential daily item, and it’s even more essential that you carry more than one at a time, in case of emergency. (They are so easy to misplace!). Why not turn this life-saving piece of apparel into a celebration of the things that you love. Like punk concert flyers, such as these handsome neck gaiters, face coverings and mask shields created by ClutchApparel.
Now, we turn to a few of our book recommendations.
10. Set The Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties by Mike Davis and Jon Wiener
The perfect companion to this is PKM’s recent interview with Mike Davis: https://pleasekillme.com/mike-davis/
11. Who’s Your Death Hero – Richard Kern
The perfect companion for this is PKM’s recent story, “Inside Fingered: Behind the Scenes with Richard Kern”: https://pleasekillme.com/fingered-richard-kern/
12. Great Demon Kings: A Memoir of Poetry, Art, Life, Sex and Enlightenment by John Giorno
13. Michael J. Fox is cool, Canadian and a Please Kill Me fan. These are attributes that vault him to near sainthood status. He is also an inspiration to millions. We recommend No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox. And you can purchase it from an indie bookseller:
14. And, lest we forget, the book that made all of this possible makes a perfect holiday gift. We offer autographed copies of the 20th anniversary edition and the original 1996 edition:
15. Remarkably, the Paris Review has weathered the storms that have taken down many other excellent literary magazines since it was established in 1953 by Harold W. Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton. Not only weathered the storms, but still going strong right into the teeth of the winds of change. A subscription to this stellar journal would be a nice gift for the wordsmith in your life:
16. Speaking of poetry, you can celebrate that enduring artform by getting tickets to the annual Poetry Project’s New Year’s Marathon Reading Event or simply donate to keep that great organization thriving:
17. Speaking of donations, consider giving one to The Bowery Mission, an organization that has done more good in NYC over the past 150 years than any others we can think of. We can’t do better, when describing The Mission’s mission, than to borrow words from its own website: “serves homeless and hungry New Yorkers and provides services that meet their immediate needs and transforms their lives from poverty and hopelessness to hope.” Make the donation in honor of someone you love and to celebrate the street where punk was forged.
18. For your favorite Luddite, and in honor of William S. Burroughs, we suggest the following, an old-school adding machine:
19. More good deeds can be achieved by purchasing a Nina Simone tote bag, the proceeds from which go to Black Lives Matter. There are other makes and models, too:
21. Todd Alcott Graphics reimagines The Clash’s “London Calling” as an issue of a 1950s pulp detective magazine.
22. Onions are used to ward off evil spirits, aren’t they? Or is that garlic? Whatever, onions, garlics…they all look the same to us. But there’s a lot of evil we need to ward off at the end of this horrific (4) year (s). The Onion, the satiric publication, has a store that is filled with perfect onion-y, evil-banishing merch (T-shirts, coffee mugs, hoodies, tote bags, etc.). Our favorites, among the fare, is the T-shirt that reads. “YOUR FAVORITE BAND SUCKS” and another T-shirt, created by Onion’s strange cartoonist Stan Kelly, that reads, “SICKOS”.
Our favorite among the selection of coffee/tea mugs is the one that reads, “History Sighs, Repeats Itself.”
23. Speaking of cartoonists, Keith Knight has been a voice of reason since before the daze of George W. Bush. He’s selling prints of his original artwork. Our favorite is his tribute to the late great Gil Scott-Heron.
24. Tom Gauld is a cartoonist in the UK whose profile deserves to be much higher. He contributes weekly cartoons to The Guardian and to New Scientist magazine. His latest collection, Department of Mind-Blowing Theories, would, in a better world, make us all love science again. Plus, every single one of his cartoons is clever as hell.