Archive for the retromania Category

Glam Rocks – No Sleep Til Chelmsford

Posted in 80's, gigs, glam, new wave, Punk, retromania, rock on December 2, 2008 by planetmondo
Me in my Mad Max Factor/Southend R.O.C.K period
(note tasteful band logo on left arm – and missing tuner on guitar head)

In a past life I was once the guitarist for a glammy band called The Ladykillers (dreadful name, not my idea). I say glam, it was more of a post-goth, pre-grebo garagey rock ‘n’ racket affair really (a local paper once did a piece on us claiming ‘They’re Glam, They’re pop, They’re Punk’ – which sort of nails it I suppose). Based in Southend and on the scene at the same time as, and crossing paths with an early era My Life Story – we seemed to get the support slots for any visiting rocky horrors and lower league goth monsters that put a buckle booted foot into the Essex area – a few incidents from my rock date diaries include…..

Two encounters with Zodiac Mindwarp (which you can read about on page 43 of this month’s The Word)

Our second only live date, (with Mal from My Life Story helping out on bass), supporting Flesh For Lulu to a pre-health and safety elastic capacity Pink Toothbrush, where the icy tinkles and cinematic style keyboard intro was blitzed by the drum machine’s improv’ Drum and Bass meltdown.

The third gig at a local youth club on the night it was populated by German exchange students – the only ones that danced. In a moment of randomness we’d hired a dry ice machine for this gig, not a popular move with the Middle-Aged-Ladies that ran the club – the amount of puff pumped from this rent-a-gadget gave the effect of being smothered by a creeping indoor fog. Cue a stage invasion from the M-A-L’s with damp dishcloths to smother the smoke “it’s no good they can’t see a thing in the ping-pong room” or some such was the cry.

Having a gun pulled on us at Harlow. Someone fainting in Romford.
And the gig where the above pic’ was taken – supporting Ghostdance in Chelmsford (which must qualify as the least rock ‘n’ roll phrase in human history) an experience not dissimilar to playing to an audience of Autons, until the drums turned to shrapnel and went a’rolling around the stage mid-set. These were patched up gaffer tape and Meccano style, we carried on with the set and the crowd literally went wild – I’ve got a video of this gig and the audience go from musical statues to wild things in the space of two songs..

It just took a collapsing drum kit and couple of covers to defrost the good people of Chelmsford, two tunes that were regulars in our set and fairly reflective of our ‘angle’…

Iggy Pop – Funtime

Adam and The Ants – Fall In

And of course this – a show closer from the first gig to the last..

The Where Are They Now Epilogue….
(Well, the ones I know about anyway)

The Singer works in the entertainment industry

The Keyboard player is a Professor at Leicester University

Bass player number 4 – is a soundman and plays in Cult tribute band Pure Cult

Drummer number 2 – is a professional drummmer and in a T Rex tribute band Too Rex

Mark Ellen – reads part of my Zodiac Mindwarp Experience – right here at 6 mins 30 secs

Never Mind The Bollock Brothers

Posted in 80's, crocs, electronic music, halloween, new wave, Punk, retromania on October 29, 2008 by planetmondo

If you were the age to be out, about and shaking a leg (or flapping an arm) in Southend’s early 80s alt.clubs and shady places like Crocs, Chesters and The Monkey House – or whatever your regional variation was – these two tunes should be more time-trippy than test driving the TARDIS, take you right back to the dry ice-age, and have your phantom senses tasting the ‘snakebites and black‘, smelling the ‘Hard Rock‘ hairspray (or Boots green, gunky, ‘Country Born‘ setting gel), and perhaps feeling the itch of a black mohair jumper if you were ever a proto goth-monster or grebo-warrior…

The Bollock Brothers Horror Movies

I really must get the BB’s ’83 rework of the Pistols NMTB album

Red Lipstique Drac’s Back

At the time, there were shifty whispers that Red Lipstique were actually the Bollock Brothers in disco disguise.


You can see more about the Southend scene (including my live pics of The Damned, The Sweet and Lords Of The New Church – and my punk top 50) at the always excellent Southend Punk site

Charabanc Skank

Posted in Funky Friday, jackie mittoo, reggae, Remake Remodel, retromania on September 19, 2008 by planetmondo


Oh dear, works getting in the way again – so this weeks FF may be short on text but hopefully tall on tunes – anyway it gives me a great excuse to post one of the finest pieces of youtubery I’ve ever found.

‘A trip to the lights’- a homemade work of genius that’s spliced together from the hits and highlights of Beardfreaks1969’s dear old grandad’s cine films – retromatic footage of coach outings, Piccadilly trips and vintage tear ups have been reworked into a 3 minute masterpiece soundtracked with Jackie Mitoo’s ‘Juice Box’.

It’s worth noting the volume of frown free faces in the film. I really don’t think you’d get that today.

‘A trip to the lights’

Plus a double barrel from Mr Mittoo

Juice Box

Get Up and Get It

And a little snifter of something in memory of Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright..

Easy Star All-Stars – The Great Gig In the Sky

The Book Of Revelation

Posted in 1977, 70's, books, Punk, Questions and Answers, retromania, Sex Pistols on September 16, 2008 by planetmondo

The Sex Pistols last pre – Bill Grundy ‘Filth and Fury’ interview, was by Barry Cain for Record Mirror – click on the photo to supersize the original article….

If Nick Cohn’s Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom is Ye Olde Testament of Rock, the New (Wave) Testament being Jon Savage’s Englands Dreaming, then Barry Cain’s 77 Sulphate Strip is surely the Dead Sea Scrolls, revived and risen again from the russet coloured copies of his Record Mirror reports, reviews and interviews, and scrapbooked against a lip-smacking-ace-tasting-page-turning-eye-bulging micro dot-to-dot diary of the key moments, movers, groovers and shakers of 1977. The year that groups of grey-faced, straight-laced politicians and hair flare bunches of prog and pop stars went twelve rounds against a fistful of prickly punks. 365 days with more dynamics, dramatics and dualility than any year since pop records began.

After his stretch at Record Mirror, Barry went on to launch Flexipop, one the snappiest music mag’s ever published, I found a few copies in the loft recently and had forgotten how they crackle with facts, fun and features – including a genius parody of The Face’s famous ’82 ‘Hard Times’ cover – ‘Really Hard Times’ starring two turps glugging tramps which perfectly burst The Face’s snoot-nosed, yell and bellow bubble .

So some questions for Barry Cain then….

77 Sulphate Strip is one of only a handful of rock books I’ve read without any acknowledgment or nod to The Beatles – it’s like they never existed. Was this the mood at the time?
No. The Beatles meant everything to me and most my mates throughout the sixties. They were my teenage idols and helped take the sting out of those years. There’s an unsubtle homage in the names of the characters in Streatham Locarno at the beginning of Strip. I stopped dancing to The Beatles after Rubber Soul because that’s when they started inviting me back to their place – via the Pye Black Box in my bedroom – where I could listen to their darkest thoughts. They changed the way I thought, simple as that. And thank you, for your very kind words. They mean so much. Incidentally, one of the ‘Hard Times’ tramps in the picture is my dad who will be 91 this year and was, I guess, my fifth Beatle. I was an only child and my parents (my mum is 81) have had four dogs all dying tragically and leaving my mum and dad desperate and bewildered. The last one, Bobby, a cute black poodle, died a week ago in my dad’s arms, and it’s eating them both alive. I buried Bobby in my back garden alongside the previous two and that nearly fucking killed me. I felt like some canine-killing version of Fred West.

Sorry to veer off the path , it’s just worrying me right now.
Pray, continue.

How did you go from being part of a Motown loving Boot Boy and Suede head set to becoming Record Mirror journalist?
Pure genius! If you came from a council estate in London at the time, you became either a straight, a skinhead or, if you took a lot of hallucinatory drugs, a working class hippy. It got interesting when the skinheads got into hallucinatory drugs in the late sixties, but that’s another tale. It was rare to stay on at school after 16 but I went to a grammar and emerged, at 18, with two low grade A Levels. I always kept my school friends and my flats’ friends far apart. As a result, I became, around 15, two people – schoolboy and coolboy. Two heads are better than one and after a bit of luck and a lot of graft, I went from trainee court reporter to indentured journalist on a local paper to entertainments’ editor to Record Mirror. That’s a Yellowbrick Road a lot less travelled these days.

Your first meeting with Rotten reads like a snake charmer being hypnotised by the snake – have you met any other performers with a similar charisma?
Malcolm McLaren. He and Rotten both possess the ability to paint stark pictures with barrages of meticulously chosen words that give delight and hurt not. They’re in a class of their own. Joe Strummer was a little boy lost who dug his way out of his nightmare with remarkable songs and a hunk of devotion that swept me away. Paul Weller was hopelessly devoted to rue, the secret behind his genius. Hugh Cornwell and Jean Jacques-Burnel were deepsea divers in the psyche and there was nowt more challenging than a Stranglers interview. The Damned had collective charisma – they were the commie punk band. Who else? Barry White, Bob Marley, Paul McCartney? Heaps of charisma. But not a patch on Malcolm and Johnny.

In 77 the Pistols were possibly the most hated band in history. It wasn’t just the older generation or other youth movements that were anti-Punk, but politicians, musicians, record exec’s, DJs and almost everyone who wasn’t directly involved with the Pistols (or Punk) that seemed to despise them. Do you think it’s possible we’ll ever see such international outrage caused by a single rock act again?
Impossible. Music has popped its cork. It’s no longer the force of nature it was (what an old git). Outside the X Factor comfort zone, records just don’t sell that much anymore. That’s why TOTP was dumped. That’s why Smash Hits, RM, Sounds, Melody Maker all fell by the wayside. How many generations to go before music is just a bowl of cherries? Before life gets in the way? Before its portability and a few billion options make it futile, obvious, an easy lay? I give it twenty years, tops. My kids’ kids will give the odd flying fuck for a stunning song. Their kids? Different world. Different ballgame. Different tune.

For a movement that was all momentum and ‘of the moment’, Punk styles, sounds, designs and influences are still with us and everywhere from US metal to Top Shop clobber. What do you think has kept Punk (and New Wave) enduring without dating?
Punk was all about bright minds in bondage who wanted to fuck off out of old Durham Town. Sleepy time girls and the boys of summer dancing to a ’77 beat. Punk’s callous, disruptive demands – an anathema to Joe Public – could dislodge reality in exciting minds and create innovation. Originality breeds contempt and contempt breeds originality. It was a vicious circle that has continued to spin unabated like a flaming Catherine wheel shooting flames in every direction. And you didn’t need a voice like Sinatra’s to make the punters sway. Lapsed punks haunt the corridors of power.

I loved the piece about your mum and dad and the pub scene with the piano players, costermongers and comedians having a sing-a-long. Do you think the real seventies get overlooked with all the novelty nostalgia and ‘Abbafication’ of that decade?
I don’t think there ever was a real seventies. It was the itsy-bitsy-no-focus post Beatles decade kicking off with dross, glam, Philly, dross, New York disco, dross and ABBA. It welcomed punk with open arms, shook hands with high-street ska, gave birth to the New Romantics and invented Freddie Mercury. If you were in your late twenties in 1970 the next ten years meant fuck all really. You wouldn’t get it. The seventies had to be ‘Abbafied’ because the sixties were too sad.

Caining It – Barry with beard and Buzzcocks

Malcolm McLaren once said “I have brought you many things in my time” which included breaking Punk, World Music and Hip Hop, but equally there’s a trail of broken relationships and bad blood.” What’s your take on him – genius or jinx?
Genius. I mentioned in the book that Malcolm asked me to ‘ghost’ write his autobiography in 1979. I got to know him as well as anyone after countless interview sessions in my living room over a three-month period. He made me dance all night and still beg for more. He’s the Brian Clough of pop who should’ve managed England. Knowing Malcolm, I think love got in the way – he’s an incurable romantic. But we should all be thankful he turned the world dayglo.

In the book, the music press seem just as hardcore and heavy living as the bands – almost like The Sweeney with press passes rather than police badges. Were there a few juicy nuggets, tear ups and tales you couldn’t include?.
Yes.

If you could beam back to 1977 and take someone aside for a word of advice – who would it be, and what would you say?
It would be me, I’m afraid, and I’d say, ‘Don’t get married, keep your finger on your trigger and put all your money on Man Utd winning the FA Cup, Red Rum winning the Grand National and The Minstrel winning the Derby’. Oh, and to Sid Vicious I’d say, ‘Go for it’.

The Damned, The Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, The Wolfmen (Marco from The Models and Adam and The Ants new band), Carbon Silicon (Tony James and Mick Jones) have all released new albums over the last few years. Have you heard any of the original Punk players’ new songs?
I saw Hugh Cornwell play live a year or so back – great show at Scala – and downloaded his impressive Hoover Dam album, but that’s about it. I don’t listen to much music these days and when I do it tends to be through headphones attached to my laptop as I write. Usually, it’s Michael McDonald’s tribute to Motown, which is just wonderful, interspersed with Steely Dan. I’m a dude. Hey dude, don’t make it bad. Just let it out and let it in.

You were involved with Flexipop, are there any plans for an 80s sequel to 77 SS using Flexipop as source material?
Writing it now. Starts in 1978 when I resigned from Record Mirror, teamed up with then PR guru now PR mogul, Alan Edwards, running a punk PR company out of a Covent Garden squat, discovered I wasn’t cut out for a career as a publicist, became a freelance writer and spent the next two years travelling the world with rock stars, doing big, fat, hairy interviews. It ends 20 years later with the death of pop. Don’t worry, there’s not much to tell after ’84. I launched Flexipop together with my ex-partner Tim Lott (now, of course, a hugely successful novelist) in 1980, and after three bizzarre years I found myself alone, publishing mainly one shot poster mags on pop’s latest flames which I continued to do for the next decade and a half. Got myself a family, a house, a Porsche. Cost myself contacts, desire, drive. Naturally, I blamed everyone but myself for those sad losses – complacency is a cancer of the spirit. But if you catch it early, the prognosis is good. Life can be groovy again Oh, and there’s a few twists and a fucking shitload of watusis. The book should be available this time next year, if anyone has any money by then….

If you were a Record Mirror reporter in 2008 – what would get you picking up your pen and pad, and who would you be trying to interview or avoid?
The song Distant Dreamer made popular by Duffy, who rocked my boat when I saw her perform it at Glastonbury. The version by MC Almont & Butler is a work of art. Pop music at its finest. I think Leona Lewis has an incredible voice. I’d love to interview her. And Duffy. Shit, I sound like an old perve. Who else? Paul Weller, for old times’ sake; Eminem., for Pete’s sake; Alex from Big Brother, for fucksake. That’s five cracking interviews.
Never avoided an interview in my life.

And finally, are there two tunes one Pop, one Punk that sum up 1977 for you?
Anarchy In The UK and Anarchy In The UK.

Anarchy In The UK – from the Filth and Fury

Anarchy In The UK – Early version, slightly rowdier than the single, but possibly my fave take.

Anarchy In The UK (EMI rejected 7″ Single Version) with alt.solos

Anarchy In The UK – Los Punkrockers – yes it’s those crazy punko latinos again.

Beam back to summer of 77 by clicking on the pic’


77 Sulphate Strip MySpace site

Commercial Break

Posted in 60's, adverts, bowie, mod, retromania, The Who on September 9, 2008 by planetmondo


I’m flat out and frazzled with work at the mo’, (what a cheek clogging up my blogging like that), so instead of my usual cyber-babble, here’s a few words from our sponsors…

The Who – Great Shakes Ad’

Left Banke – Coke Ad’

1966 Plymouth Baraccuda Ad’
Used as the intro to The Barracudas – Summer Fun

David Bowie in Lyons Maid ‘Luv’ Ice Cream ad’
He really is in there – just have a right good peep and you’ll see him!

From Punk To Present

Posted in Favourite Shirts, gigs, new wave, Punk, retromania, Sex Pistols on September 2, 2008 by planetmondo

And this is me! Summer 1980 (aged 14) on my first shopping trip to King’s Road, Chelsea – wearing my ‘just been bought’ Anarchist Gang shirt.*.

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.

Funky Friday – "Summer is heaven in `77" *

Posted in 1977, 70's, charity shop classics, disco, film, Funky Friday, retromania, Summer sounds on August 1, 2008 by planetmondo

* ‘Celebrate Summer’ – Marc Bolan

Axe Victim says 1973 is the summer of summers. But for me, the top pop year will always be 1977. It’s an overlooked classic – and the year sound and vision went Concorde shaped and Skylab sounding – Bowie released ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ (and clonked out ‘Lust For Life’ and ‘Idiot’ as hobby projects), Giorgio and Donna gave us deep space disco, there’s Space – ‘Magic Fly’, Meco – ‘Star Wars’ and JMJ ‘Oxygene’ – see what I mean? And then you’ve got Close Encounters, ‘Calling Occupants’, Bond’s Lotus Esprit, Saturday Night Fever, Star Wars, Punk wars, the deaths of Marc Bolan and Elvis – you just don’t get designs, dynamics and dramatics like that in many other years.

My personal obsessions during the summer of 77 were…

Sharks (I saw Jaws 5 times).
Skateboards (Fibreflex boards and Kryptonic wheels were the kiddies, Skudas were cool and affordable, but Surf Flyers? That’s a no-no )
Starsky and Hutch.
Admiral football togs.(the Coventry kit being my fave)
Lord Anthony clobber (but never had a Parka)
Dayvilles Ice Cream Parlours(32 flavours)
Krazy Comic

And as I started to make the move from pick ‘n’ mix singles to adult size albums the record I wanted, really wanted – and got for Christmas was K-Tel’s blistering ‘Disco Fever’. You can enjoy the full track list here, and for MOR eye popping madness have peep at the cozy cardie coloured charts from 31 years ago – both of which are almost entirely untroubled by any punky doings.

Top 50 singles week ending 30/07/77

Top 60 albums week ending 30/07/77

So a few songs from the 1977 jukebox then…

RAH Band ‘The Crunch’ (as featured on ‘Disco Fever’)

There’s a TOTP appearance too

Bond goes disco ‘Bond 77’ (from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’)

Original trailer for ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’

Elvis ‘Way Down’ ( Alt take with added piano at the coda)

If you fancy a few more sounds from the summer of 77 hop on over to…

Track Lister for Giorgio Moroder – ‘From Here To Eternity’ (single version)
Davey H for Donna Summer – ‘I Feel Love’ (12″ version)

My selection for Book Of The year 1977 – Man Eating Sharks
Always wanted one of these G and S Fibreflex boards (and a trip to Skate City or the South Bank), but never managed to get either.