Archive for the Sex Pistols Category

Countdown To Christmas – Never Mind The Baubles

Posted in 70, christmas, countdown to christmas, Punk, Sex Pistols on December 10, 2008 by planetmondo
(Or ‘Oi To The World’ to borrow a Five Centres phrase)

Given punk’s sloganeering and songbook of No Future, Boredom and Blank Generations there’s possibly more punky seasonal sing-a-longs than you’d expect…

The Damned’s ‘There Ain’t No Sanity Clause’
XTC’s ‘Thanks For Christmas’
Stiff Little Fingers ‘White Christmas’
The Stranglers Christmas EP

And of course the Sex Pistols played their final UK date, before hitting then splitting in the US, at a Huddersfield charity gig on December the 25th 1977

So good to see then that the tradition of Advent, Anarchy and God Save The Queen’s Speech is being kept alive by the good people at Punk Christmas with an online advent calender that pops out one Christmas-chestnut-newly-reworked-as-punky-nugget per day (all for free too) – where you can grab crackers like these…

Bonus points are available if you can spot which punk/new wave classic has been adapted as the template for each tune

Another Rock And Roll Christmas

Stop The Cavalry

Little Drummer Boy

A special Santa salute to Agent Cooper for the tip off about this treat.

And if you know someone who’s any sort of a Ramones (or punk) fan – here’s just the thing to drop in their bovver boots for Christmas..Jenny Lens’s photo-based eBook covering The Ramones first west coast tour of ’76 – loaded with over 100 exclusive hi-res photo’s sent straight to your inbox for just $15!!! (or 8 of your Queen’s pounds)

Get your Gabba Gabbas on it right here


Jenny Lens is the California ‘punk scene’ photographer, with a role call of spiky icons and heavy-hitters in her archives – Blondie, The Ramones, the Sex Pistols and The Clash were all caught on film by Jenny during the seventies punk explosion. Her last book ‘Punk Pioneers’ is a must have if you’re a nutter for punk like me – and at literally pocket money prices for this gallery of goodies, you really can’t pass up the Ramones digi-book.

Did you know? – A major influence on The Ramones non-stop power punk (and haircuts) are the glam-anthems of our very own Christmas stompers Slade!

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

Anarchy At The Apollo

Posted in gigs, live bands, Punk, Sex Pistols on September 3, 2008 by planetmondo

What was it like finally seeing the Sex Pistols, after 30 years of unrequited fandom? That gang of raggy rockers that blew me out of my boots , into vinyl heaven and sent me reeling towards Bowie, Eno, The Stooges, The Velvets, Roxy Music and ton of others. A group of uniquely original, influential and inspirational, ground breakers I consider as musically and culturally important as Elvis, The Beatles or Bowie. What was it like to experience them live, loud and in their original line up?
Everything I’d hoped for at twice the volume.
Johnny Rotten is a punk Pied Piper meets Mr Punch, a rock ‘n’ roll ringmaster that’s more Max Miller than Iggy Pop, and on those magical moments when the Pistols locked and loaded together – Bodies, Problems, Liar, Anarchy, Holidays In The Sun, God Save the Queen – were more lethal than a firing squad with itchy trigger fingers, and had me forgiving the occasional bum notes and forgetting the few jeery, beery bulldog boneheads and pinch faced middle aged mohicans, in an almost adolescent adrenaline rush. The Pistols are swank and swagger, pantomime and music hall, ‘Carry On’ films wrapped in rock, stock and roll out the barrell sweaty sing-a-longs and a wall of high volume, hi-deaf, heavy level wallop that atomises rock’s chest beaters, indentikit indie kids and pop pretenders . To quote the band themselves ‘God Save The Sex Pistols’.

Hereeeee’s Johnny!
Punk’s Artful Dodger – not happy with gobbers and bottle lobbers
Cook and Jones return to the scene of the crime (they nicked several mic’s and amp’s from the Hammersith Odeon, during the soundcheck for Bowie’s Ziggy’s Final Gig in ’73)

How loud? Ear bruisingly loud! Had my chest quaking and my troos shaking

Steve Jones turns 21 …. inch neck in about 2 hours.” Hammersith sings ‘Happy Birthday Dear Fatty‘- to Steve Jones (his record for pies eaten in one session is 8).

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Ringmaster

Mind the gap – stand clear of the jaws please.

The group that launched a thousand riffs.

‘Cocktail sticks’ stage right and ‘cocktail drinkers’ stage left. The band as described by Rotten.

All photo’s courtesy of Mr T.Youth

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.

The Sound Of The Suburbs

Posted in 1977, 70's, books, charity shop classics, Cover Versions, disco, Punk, Remake Remodel, retromania, Sex Pistols on July 28, 2008 by planetmondo


1977 may have been the big bang/year zero of Punk, but while the world crash, burned and turned dayglo, the UK singles and album charts stayed strictly beige, and a gallery of beards and Bri-Nylon, not bondage and black leather. It may have been anarchy and white riots in the city, but the real sound of the suburbs was glam girls with Farah flicks in disco dresses and bouffant chaps in cheesecloth and satin.

I’ve read far too many books on the UK Punk scene – three on the bounce so far this year, but none of then have the same snap, sparkle, spit and polish as Barry Cain’s 77 Sulphate Strip, which has gone straight in at number 1 in my ‘pile high club’ of rock reads.

Taking a year (1977) in the life of a Record Mirror’s initially reluctant’Punk’ reporter, 77 Sulphate Strip scrapbooks the combustion and contrast of Seditionaries Punk and ‘Sing Something Simple’ style Pop by prologuing each chapter with the best selling singles and albums for that month (there’s hardly a spikey top in sight) followed by reviews and interviews from Barry Cain’s original Record Mirror features on the Pistols, The Stranglers, The Heartbreakers, The Jam, The Damned and Demis Roussos while threading in offstage stories and anecdotes of scams, schemes, scary Dutch hells angels, dodgy raffles, girl chasing, globe trotting and living at home with mum and dad. I can’t recommend it enough. It is simply, one the finest pieces of music writing ever published.

I was too young for Punk in 1977 and could only afford Pop at pocket money prices – so why buy just one real deal single, when you can have a full albums worth of soft focus sound-alikes?

Like these taken from ‘The Best Of Top Of The Pops 77’
I Feel Love

Way Down

Hey Ho Let’s Go – click on the pic for more info

GLC Councilor Comments On Punk.

Is The Queen A Moron? Sex Pistols on the GSTQ single

Not me in the picture BTW

Never Mind The Boleros

Posted in 1977, 70's, books, Cover Versions, mark vidler, new wave, Punk, Sex Pistols on June 11, 2008 by planetmondo


I’ve just finished two excellent spiky top books on the bounce..

John Robb – ‘Punk Rock: An Oral History’

Alan Parker – ‘Sid Vicious,No One is Innocent’

Both map out the cultural earthquake shake up and chain reaction of cluster bomb bands that exploded following the big bang of punk – all documented from a ground zero perspective by bit part players and punk aristocrats.

So some contrast and compare, pre and post ’77 tracks then…

An audience recording of the Sex Pistols (who were an unsigned band at the time) live in Burton on Trent from September 24th 1976 – check out Matlock’s rubber ball basslines.
No Feelings – Live at the 76 Club

By 1978 the world really had turned dayglo, and a Spanish punk band calling themselves Los Punkrockers tried to rework NMTB blow for blow.
No Feelings – Los Punkrockers

To bring us up to date Mark Vidler’s Cher at Seditionaries bootleg remix.
No Feelings 4 Cher

And as bonus from ‘Party ‘Til You Puke’ here’s the NMTB demo version of …
No Feelings (demo)

Favourite Shirts – Blackmail Boy

Posted in 80's, clobber, Favourite Shirts, Punk, retromania, Sex Pistols on January 21, 2008 by planetmondo

Inspired by some recent rummage related posings from Davey H (vintage cassettes) and Ally (Postcard Records brochure), here’s my contibution to lovelies from the loft – the BOY mail order catalogue ‘Blackmail’.

When Seditionaries closed in 1980 to be refitted and restyled as swishy, squiggly World’s End, BOY at 153 King’s Road sold off any remaining Seditionaries stock and continued production of a few selected Westwood and McClarens designs along side it’s own BOY and Kitsch 22 togs . These are a few of the items from the 1981 2nd edition catalogue – with titles, prices and (designs by in brackets). Check out the long sleeve muslins for £8.50!! – how much do they go for on ebay now?? I had two and binned them. Whoops!

Nigel Shirt (BOY) – £18.50
Stringy Pullover(BOY) – £15
Long Sleeved Muslin (Seditionaries) – £8.50

Adam and the Ants T shirt (BOY)- £4.50

Striped Jeans and Leopard Jeans (Modzart)- £17.50


Crazy Colour – £3.50
Wraparound shades (BOY) – £3.95

And to continue the theme of New Wave nuggets here’s…..

Sex Pistols – Black Leather.mp3

A post Pistols/pre Professionals period Cook and Jones track recorded but rejected for ‘The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle’.

Adam and The Ants – Ligotage.mp3

An almost XTC’ish ‘Dirk’ era Ants track, only ever recorded as part of a John Peel Session.

X-ray Spex – The Day the World Turned Dayglo (Rough Mix).mp3

Very similar riffing to ‘Black Leather’