Straight Edge Interview Project- Romy- 22 Lyon France

Tell us about you? What do you do for a living? Do you have any pets, hobbies, pet projects? 

I’m working in a library at the moment! I have a huge interest in politic, I love reading about social sciences and I’m a swimmer. I adore traditional tattoo but also more punk tattoos too. I have a dog and a cat at my parent’s, and I will probably adopt some dogs in a near-future 😀 I love going to shows and I used to help to organize shows in Paris, I can wait to do it again in Lyon! Going out with friends and eat some fat vegan food is an everyday hobby Ahah! With some friends, we made a zine last year called “Time is now”. And I try to promote an antifascist vision of straight edge with our collective call “xBASEx”.

Can you tell me more about xBASEX? Is there a link ?

XBASEx stand up for Base Antifascist Straight Edge. We promote a sober and antifascist way of life. Some fascists tried to associate the sxe with them so it’s a duty to remind that sxe always been on the left wings of politic. We also politicized the straight edge in an radical antifascist way.You can find us on Instagram and facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/baseXantifa https://www.instagram.com/basexantifa/

Favorite straight edge (or non-straight edge) bands? If you have links, please provide them!

My favorite sxe bands are Class War, One step closer, RedBait and Shelter. My favorite non-sxe bands are Bikini Kill, Crass, and Result of choice to name some of my fav.

What is your definition of straight edge?

Wow, big question! To me being sxe is a commitment to refusing drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, and all the culture behind it. It’s also a political act (sober for the revolution) and an anti-capitalist state of mind. About the 3rd X (no sex without feeling and relation) personally I don’t really see it as something that really is inside the definition of sxe. To me, sxe is about being sober and reject drug culture. But at a more personal stage, I do apply the 3rd X into my way of living. In fact, I don’t really like being seen as an object or use people Ahah

How is not drinking a political act?

Straight edge is a political act to me and this is the view we share with xbasex. We think that alcohol destroys people and family. Especially when you are from the middle or lower class it’s harder to get out of it. Alcohol is linked to social misery, capitalism, and being drunk accentuated even more the sexist behavior of men. And finally as a militant being sober help keeping a discipline.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

At shows mostly! And it’s very flourishing in France at the moment in Paris and in Lyon!

Tell us a little more about your local scene? Are there any bands you
think our readers should get to know?

The hxc scene is flourishing in Lyon at the moment. My friend Guillaume have now a label call Youth Authority Record ( https://www.instagram.com/youthauthorityrecords/?hl=fr). And there is so many amazing bands like Iron Defiency in Lyon for exemple (https://www.instagram.com/irondeficiencyhc/?hl=fr ).

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what’s your thoughts on this?

To me, straight edge is linked to punk hardcore culture cause Minor Threat popularizes it. So if you don’t belong in the punk hxc culture it makes no sense to me to call yourself straight edge. Instead, I would use the term like sober or radically sober. Or revolutionary sobriety if you are into politics.

I’ve heard the term radically sober, before, do you feel that it carries
that same commitment as straight edge?

To me no, the term sober doesn’t really include the commitment that the straight edge carries. There is no such thing as breaking your edge when you’re sober I believe!

I’ve been straight edge since the mid-nineties, and it may just be that
my idea of straight edge is antiquated, but, I’ve always viewed it as a
lifetime commitment. Yet, I have had several interviewees who have a
much more lax view. They allow themselves the option to have the
occasional drink, or say they try not to drink, or simply leave the door
open to not be straight edge in the future. How do you view your
commitment to straight edge?

Ahah no I don’t think your idea of straight edge is antiquated! I also think that Straight Edge is a life commitment and I don’t allow myself an occasional drink. To me this is the meaning of sxe, to be radical and having a lax view isn’t straight edge in my opinion.

What are some funny/common misconceptions people have about you being straight edge?

Hmm, people sometimes think it’s a sect, that it’s too extreme, or are like “what is this new thing you’re into again?”. I feel, like veganism, people feel attacked when you tell them that you are sober, and they start to explain to you that they “don’t drink that much” even if you haven’t asked them anything Ahah.

Is your diet influenced or informed by your choice to be straight edge i.e. organic, antibiotic infused meat, genetically modified foods, vegan, vegetarian?

I’m vegan since 2016 so becoming straight edge came after, in 2018. To me Sxe and veganism go together, since Youth of today Ahah, you can’t ignore it. When I went vegan I had to check which alcohol was vegan or not, same for a cigarette, most of them are tested on an animal so… Veganism was the first step before being sxe for me ahah!

What’s your straight edge story? Was there a key moment that made you realize straight edge is the way you want to live your life? How old were you? How did you find out about straight edge, was there someone in the community that introduced you, or were you introduced to it through people/bands, etc? What drew you to it?

I learn about straight edge when I was a teenage punk who found Minor Threat on youtube Ahah. I immediately admit that theoretically, they were right. It took me years of almost everyday drinking and a year of taking hard drugs to realize how much I needed straight edge in my life. I made the decision of going sxe when I was 20, the first year was extremely hard. Now I’m 22, it’s been 2 years and I’m extremely proud of my decision.

Do you consider yourself an activist? What is/are your cause(s), and how have you been working to advance them?

Yes, I consider myself an activist, I started with veganism and feminism. After I realize how everything was linked together and I started being active in antifascist and communist groups.

What, if anything, keeps you committed to the straight edge lifestyle?

I know I need to be sxe at a personal level for my stability and mental health. And now it’s just how I live, so it’s only when I’m in front of people who aren’t sober that I get to think about it.

How is/was it hard to be around people who are drinking?

It used to be really hard like it was impossible to be around people who drink. Now I can do it but only if it’s occasional, and some days are harder than others

What do you do for stress relief instead of drinking/drugs, tips for peer pressure?

Personally, it’s singing, doing some sport, activism, dogs, friends and also watching silly series helps a lot sometimes!

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

It make me really angry cause I see people getting drunk in bar while we can’t organize shows yet. Bars and shows are dangerous in the same way for the virus so it make no sense, but it’s okay, we will survive I guess.

Have you ever considered breaking edge? What were the circumstances, and what changed your mind?

No, I never considered breaking my edge but at the beginning being surrounded by people who drink was hard, hopefully, it doesn’t happen that much anymore!

Have you ever stopped being edge for a period of time, and if so why? Did you regret doing so? What brought you back? If you hav

e come back, how do you view your commitment (i.e. for life, for now)?

I never stopped being sxe!

Has your family and social life been negatively or positively impacted? Have you faced or are you facing any specific challenges because of your lifestyle choices? If your family/friends are unsupportive, how do you deal?

My social life has been sooo positively impacted by being straight edge. I meet the best persons since then and it’s the best friendships I ever had !

If you are single, have you found it difficult to date?

Hm yeah, it reduces the spectrum again. But by frequenting the hxc scene and political groups I meet more and more people who are sober!

Some straight edge women/girls I have talked to have told me that they feel isolated and that they find it difficult to relate to people outside of the straight edge scene. Is this something you can relate to?

I don’t have this difficulty cause I mostly hang out with people from the hardcore scene and most of them are sxe too!

How do you explain your lifestyle to others outside of the scene? Do you find it difficult? What’s your elevator pitch?

If I have people in front of me who are truly interested I will tell them about it. If this is people who are not in the punk hxc scene I see no need of talking about sxe or Minor Threat, I will talk about sobriety as a political act and how it’s interesting on a personal level. But in some cases, when this is people how clearly don’t care about it, are not interested in understanding, I will not waste my time.

Do you feel the straight edge community has done enough to advance gender/race/social issues?

The straight edge community hasn’t done enough to advance gender, race, and social issues even if it’s still better than some part of society. The problem remains that at shows, for example, people are for most of them, white dude. I think the hxc scene talks too much about how racism or sexism is bad but never do a concrete action against racism and sexism (for the most part). And I’m done with hearing “yeah but there is not that much band with girls and/or POC” okay yes true, but some bands are and I feel that not enough effort are made to make a true difference.

Is the scene as inclusive as it likes to think it is? Do you think there’s work to be done? If so, what would you like to see change?

The scene is not as inclusive as it seems like, there is a lot of work to be done! We want more girls on stage, more girls in the pit, more girls doing things in the scene. That’s why it’s so important as a concert organizer to book bands with girls, so make a feminist speech on the scene, listen to what girls have to say, including girls in a zine (writing the zine but also in the content itself). But also as girls, we have to trust ourselves cause we can do it too. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and it’s okay to want to do some project with girls only.

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Written by kellysisterhood
Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org
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