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When a young boy was found murdered above a Yonge Street massage parlour in the summer of 1977, the city reeled in media-stoked horror, and the city’s reputation as anodyne, upright “Toronto the Good” took a major hit.
But when a quartet of unsavory female punks whose band name was a menstrual play on words dared to shout out a few uncomfortable truths about the tragedy with their single “Shoeshine Boy,” the reaction was almost as if they’d killed the boy themselves.
There were women in a few of Toronto’s first wave punk bands, but while the B-Girls were cute and kitschy, The Curse were nasty and confrontational, and if being in an all-girl band wasn’t marginal enough, “Shoeshine Boy” made them media pariahs, with a statement that was a lot braver than wearing safety pins and picking fights at shows.