Thursday, May 03, 2007

Spirit of '77

Time to go back to basics. Recently I've found myself getting all nostalgic for the Spirit of '77. I mean it, maaan.

As I mentioned in my interview below, I missed the detonation of UK punk by at least a good six years and several thousand miles. Truth be told, even had I found myself at age 15 that year in Malcom & Vivienne's emporium at 430 King's Road, I would probably have been too repressed to do anything about it. But my curiosity-driven purchase of Never Mind The Bollocks some seven years later from a record store on Austin Street in Queens, NYC electrified me.

So, Dearest Friends, I offer you a gobby set of punk artefacts from the frothy days when all you needed were a few safety pins, a couple of chords, and a slug of attitude. I wasn't there, but the mark these rammy (Hi Marcy!!) tunes left on me is indelible.

Anyone fancy a pogo??

X-Ray Spex - Oh Bondage, Up Yours (buy here)
Poly Styrene was not yer typical frontwoman. Spotty and with a mouthful of braces, she belted out bratty anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist diatribes over a squalling saxophone. See it all here!

Eater - I Don't Need It (buy here or e-here)
Famous for their 14-year old drummer. Eater were the real thing - no artistic pretensions, just angry young lads with little conventional talent who got together to make a righteous racket.

Siouxsie & The Banshees - Love in a Void (try eBay for the single, but another version can be found here)
Oh yes, we all know Siouxsie the Goth Queen. But remember she came straight outta Bromley propelled by the The Pistols. This is my favourite Siouxsie track EVAH!! Check out the YouTube vid up top to see why. The mp3 is ripped from an old copy of the 1979 Polydor single, so please excuse the pops & cracks...

Alternative TV - Life (buy here or e-here)
Mark Perry founded Sniffin' Glue, the fanzine that documented the early days of UK punk. Eventually he got tired of reporting on the scene and focused instead on the band, folding in heretical elements of dub, psychedelica, and heavy metal (throw devil horns! wooot!!).

Subway Sect - Ambition (buy here or e-here)
Oh my, very different indeed. Stuart Goddard and his mates eschewed the "three-chord wonder" approach and instead served up a rich mix of parping organs and sparse strumming that presaged post-punk while punk was still in full flow. I possess this 7-inch single and it's probaby my prize piece of vinyl. I sleep with it.

Sham 69 - Borstal Breakout (buy here or e-here)
Fronted by the blue collar and politically conscious Jimy Pursey. Shame about all those skins.

Penetration - Don't Dictate (buy here)
As a band, Penetration were also-rans. But this shrill ditty can hold its own with the best of 'em. Here, have a look - just mind the beer...

Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device (buy here)
Proof that punk wasn't just for the Engerlish. The Northern Irish Troubles set to shouty lyrics and a few magic chords.


I had intended to include this track last night, but ran into technical difficulties that have since been resolved. So now I can give you:

The Nipple Erectors - Nervous Wreck (buy here)
Fronted by a gobby, sped-up, punk scenester named Shane MacGowan (yes, him of The Pogues), The Nipple Erectors started out in a peppy, punkabilly stylee . This track was the b-side to the group's 1978 single, King of the Bop.

You can see Shane and The Nips in action here back in 1980, by which time they'd added a coat of pop gloss. And if you're into trainwrecks, feel free to compare and contrast that video with this one of him being interviewed in late 2006 by two Celtic muppets on Irish TV. Ye gods!!


chandra said...


none of us know where we are going... but all of us are moving...somewhere..

lets meet up..

warm wishes


ps; your photos are excellent

Anonymous said...

hi fil!!!!

oh, aren't you glad you're not a repressed 15-year-old boy any more and that you've been able to fully embrace your rammy self?! ;-)

Mentok said...

I simply cannot get out of my head that moment where Rodge and Podge ask MacGowan "So what's your secret to healthy livin'?"

It springs on me at the worst times, like when I'm walking down the street so that I suddenly burst out laughing for no reason. People are starting to think I'm odd, and it's all your fault you creepy old bastard ;-)

ally. said...

ambition and suspect device remain two of my favourite things. stif little fingers were the first band i went to see without my mum and transformed my childhood. i was no longer a scrawny shy mess i was a punk bloomin rocker!
i never liked the kings road fashion lot though - straight jeans and slightly messy hair was punk enough for anyone in the 1977 north west.
thanks for a blinding start to the weekend, and distracting me from worrying about football for a while

Anonymous said...

Fellow GTBer who used to hang out with people with the first initials L (or E) and K,

Three cheers for the Stiff Little Fingers, whose drummer Jim Reilly went on to play wit the American band Red Rockers.

Worthy in both cases, though the RR had given up their punk thing before Reilly arrived.

Elizabeth said...

My mum looked exactly like Siouxsie Sioux when I was wee and it was very confusing for me because she WAS actually in a punky band called Barb Wire Shelia. So, for awhile, I thought my mum had released all these great records and knew Robert Smith!

Nice weekend buster, FiL. Bless the Subway Sect.

Unknown said...

Middle-aged men should not pogo. The calf muscle in my right leg has seized up. And I fear for my back when I wake up tomorrow.

Great selection of stuff my amigo.

A. B. Chairiet said...

"I possess this 7-inch single and it's probably my prize piece of vinyl. I sleep with it."

Ha...lovely image. You all snuggled up with a piece of vinyl. Unless you meant something else entirely. ;)

I hope you're well. :)
~ Ash

FiL said...

Thank you Chandra. Indeed, we are all moving... I did stop by your blogspot, and was most impressed.

Dearest Marcy, I am so glad of that, you cannot imagine!!

Dearest Mentok, I had to do something to throw you off your game. You see, your CP intros are getting way too good!! ;-)

Dearest Ally, I must say that when I had a little viddy of your Blogger profile, I left a little bit of my heart behind upon reading the "vile evils are vile evils" line. Sighhhhh...

I must admit to a great fondness for punk in all its incarnations (save those with a fascist or racist bent). The art-school mob, the leavver and bristles, the anarcho-punks, all have a spot at my table.

My Mysterious Anonymous, you do tease me so... "L (or E) and K" - pfft, my memory creaks and groans. Do I get a few questions? Is L (or E) a girl??

Dearest Liz, this is getting a bit ridiculous. I have no choice but to say (AGAIN for the MILLIONTH time), you have the coolest mum EVAH! Henceforth I will abbreviate that to YHTCME.

And yes, God bless Vic Godard and all who sail in her. Um, him.

Dearest JC, that's why you should always have a bottle of liniment handy. Actually, I never pogo these days without first putting on my truss, support hose, and an absorbent undergarment. With an "A" for "Anarchy" on the crotch.

Dearest Ash, my mind boggles. I can't quite imagine what else I could possibly do with a 7-inch record... :-0