I can carbon date exactly when I bought my first Sex Pistols single – Tuesday 27th February 1979 – a group of us had spent the morning clustering around Kelleys Records in Hadleigh waiting for the Tuesday new singles delivery which included the Pistols ‘Something Else’ – not a classic by any stretch, but the anticipation of owning my first piece of ‘as it happens’ punky shrapnel (with the added bonus of some explosive effing and jeffing on the b-side) still had me giddy headed and punk drunk.
Rewind a few months and I’d had no interest in snotty, shouty, sweary spiky tops until an earful from a friend’s older brother’s – it’s always the older brother – copy of NMTB got me switched on and tuned in to the ‘now wave’ of punk, with its high speed rage and rush mirroring my own hormonal hi-jinks. Hearing the Pistols properly for the first time, on a pair of Easter egg sized headphones, was a sonic seismic shift which exploded in a brain frying Everything You Know Is Wrong moment:I cut my hair, changed the way I dressed (and didn’t care what anyone thought) wanted to learn guitar and start ripping out those Sex Pistols riffs. Starsky was out Sid Vicous was in, and I signed on the studded line committed to slowly becoming a teeny punk.
‘Something Else’ was followed up with regular record buying bus trips to southend’s John Peel and punk friendly shops – Kelleys, Golden Disc, Parrot but never Projection (which was all trendy-teacher types, thirty something ex hippies in hessian jackets, corduroys, Kickers or cowboy boots) – for The Damned, Dead Kennedys, The Undertones, Crass, UK Subs and one-off wonders like The Satellites, The Victim, Honey Bane and Magic Michael.
By 1980 it was punk pilgrimages to SW3 and the King’s Road – with mum and dad -for punky togs . One year later and it was The Damned’s 5th Anniversay gig with A. N. Other friend chaperoned by his older brother (see what I mean?)
So, cue shots of fly away calendar pages and fast forward to today as I hold in my hand two pieces of paper that have got me as clucked up as Charley Bucket (now there’s a proto punk name) unwrapping Willy Wonka’s choco’ bar and finding that glint of gold.
Yes. It’s tickets to the Sex pistols. Tonight. At Hammersmith Apollo. Piley’ll be there, and I’ll be hoofing along with Tronik the boy wonder.I haven’t been this giddy and punk drunk since that misty Tuesday morning outside Kelleys Records in 1979.
Hopefully there’ll be plenty of this on the menu.
Pretty Vacant (Live 1996)
*I bought three tops from BOY (Seditionaries was being refitted as Worlds End) on this visit. Two cheesecloths – God Save The Queen and Anarchist Gang (pictured)- plus a Vive Le Rock black tee, which circumstantial evidence suggests at this point in 1980, were possibly Seditionaries over-stocks being sold off at BOY – but unfortunately all were dropped in the bin yonks ago.