Saturday, 10 November 2007

ENGLAND'S FINEST BACK AGAIN

ENGLAND'S DREAMING
Oh God save history.God save your mad parade.Oh Lord God have mercy,all crimes are paid
When there's no future,how can there be sin.We're the flowers in the dustbin.We're the poison in your human machine.We're the future, your future.

Fans of The Sex Pistols can look forward to a new DVD release titled "Never Mind The Sex Pistols which will contain interviews with band members and influential commentators on the UK punk scene. There's also a flurry of activity on the vinyl front, with a re-release of one certain classic title from a long, long time ago.





















28th October, 1977 saw the release of possibly the most eagerly awaited album ever to come out of England.






"Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols" soon reached number 1 in the UK album charts, combining a glorious wall of sound with Johnny Rotten's venomous vocals . I'd been eagerly awaiting this release ever since the day I turned on the radio, heard "Anarchy In The UK" for the first time, and wondered what the hell had hit me. Happily, the album did not disappoint. Along with "Anarchy" and 3 more singles ("God Save The Queen", "Pretty Vacant" and "Holiday In The Sun"), we were treated to a further 8 tracks, including "Bodies", "No Feelings" and that vicious closing track "EMI". This was what we'd been waiting for. Going to gigs and buying records had been a joyless experience for some time, but it took something like this to wake us up. Seeing the likes of Budgie, Man, Curved Air and other minor-league bands got me into a rut, and I didn't even realise just how desperate things were until punk smashed things up and got us all actually thinking and questioning. Soon, there would be exciting new record releases every single week, with bands such as 999, X Ray Spex, The Banshees and The Clash recording vital vinyl and treading the boards every night of the week. Of course, the media here did their best to break the spirit, but The Pistols, and manipulative manager Malcolm Maclaren, just kept on going with some truly great music and outrageous publicity stunts: A brilliant marketing campaign for their "God Save The Queen" single (released to coincide with her Jubilee helped propel the record to number 2 in the UK charts, and we all know it would have been number 1 save for some blatantly obvious chart rigging); the infamous gig on a boat on the River Thames; the incident on Bill Grundy's show when the band were encouraged to use obscene language, and all the furore with record labels... brilliant marketing but all this added grist to the mill of those who claimed the band were all hype and no substance. Well, the records proved them wrong and now, on the 3oth anniversary of this classic album's release, "Never Mind The Bollocks" has once again hit record shelves, accompanied by those 4 singles. The original line-up is also touring again, with 5 gigs in London, 1 in Manchester and 1 in Glasgow. Unfortunately, work and financial commitments make it impossible for me to attend but I'll be there in spirit. One of the biggest disappointments of my gig-going career is that I never got to see The Pistols live, thanks mainly to Derby City Council. On 4th December 1976, The Sex Pistols were booked to play at the Kings Hall, Derby. For £1.50, ticket holders could see The Pistols, The Clash, The Damned and Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers. Sad to say, the gig was called off as Derby City Council insisted on The Pistols playing a pre-concert set which would be vetted by council members before they would give the green light. Rotten and co refused, and we all got refunds. So, a 19 date tour was whittled down to just 3 gigs with towns and cities in the UK banning The Pistols from playing. Subsequent secret gigs went ahead under the pseudonym 'Spots' (Sex Pistols On Tour). Years later, I was lucky enough to see Public Image Ltd live in nearby Nottingham, where a great set was crowned by a blistering version of "Anarchy In The UK"; a memorable night and still the weirdest concert atmosphere I've ever encountered (the house lights were kept on for the duration of the gig due to fears of violence between rival groups of fans). Now, years later, Lydon/Rotten is back . Just like that magnificent album, he refuses to go away and I hope he sticks around for a long time to come.









4 comments:

  1. Lydon has disappointed me a lot, but perhaps my expectations of him were always too high...still no matter what, this man was responsible for a handful of the greatest albums ever made (BOLLOCKS and METAL BOX chief among them) and for that he will always be a hero to me...how amazing that you were there at the time...The music that came out of that period from the Pisols to The Clash and The Raincoats to The Slits will live forever...great stuff...

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  2. Great to see The Slits and The Raincoats mentioned. The Slits (with Budgie on drums) delivered one of the best gigs I've seen. Also got to see The Raincoats at an old theatre that used to play host to the likes of Joy Division and Stiff Little Fingers amongst others. I'd agree with you that Lydon hasn't always lived up to expectations, but his place in history is assured. Thanks as always for your comments and support.

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  3. God,
    I love The Slits and Raincoats...that is so incredible you got to see them...honestly (and this is no refection on The Pistols and Clash) I find myself listening to the those two groups these days more than any other British punk band from the period...anyway, great memories...

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  4. I actually heard 'Fairytale In The Supermarket' on the radio a few months ago. As you say, the music will live forever.

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