Distinguishing most gutterpunks is their blatant disregard for personal hygiene. They develop a sense of pride about how dirty and smelly they gradually become, and they enjoy swapping tales of their many experiences with disease, infection and parasite infestation. The personal pride they attach to their filth is evidenced, by among other things, "crab races," in which they race their crab lice against the crab lice of fellow gutterpunks.
Gutterpunks usually live in "squats," or abandoned buildings that they furnish for themselves. Hygiene is as much a non-issue in the squats as it is in the clothes of the gutterpunks themselves. Usually squats are filled with debris, reek of feces and urine and are infested with numerous varieties of human parasites.
The fact that the word "gutterpunk" includes the term "punk" can be somewhat misleading in as much as gutterpunks may not necessarily prefer punk rock music. Many prefer metal, rap, or even techno. The world view of gutterpunks, however, is usually anti-authoritarian and anarchistic, much like punk rockers generally.
Since gutterpunks rarely have any more possessions than they can carry, they attach great value to their clothes, jewelry and personal body alterations. They wear the same clothes for weeks on end without ever changing them, gradually decorating them with found metal objects, patches, spray paint and drawings. They are often seen sporting a wide variety of piercings and tattoos, sometimes even some facial tattoos. Their hair is usually cut in an anti-establishment fashion. Mohawks are popular, as are dreadlocks. Since many gutterpunks have suffered recently from body lice, they are often seen with shaved heads as well.
Gutterpunks usually come from dysfunctional white middle class homes. Most gutterpunks are intelligent, resourceful, and independent-minded. I do not know what the long-term prospects for gutterpunks are, but it seems likely that they remain permanently on the fringe of society.
Gutter Punks - the movie
(Photo by Ted Baldwin, 3rd Coast Digital Films, Inc.)
Note from photographer:
These two kids were just into New Orleans from Florida, posing as gp's for the adventure. We saw one about ten days later, strolling through the French Quarter on a date, not punked out at all. (The right one) (note the high quality tread on the boots - not worn at all. He had about a thousand beer tabs on a chain.) We suspect Daddy's credit card was in there somewhere.
Note from photographer: