Posts Tagged ‘Sex Pistols’
“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
Johnny Rotten aka John Lydon’s closing words at the last Sex Pistols gig (watch it online) seemed apt this week when Virgin Bank announced their current line of credit cards would feature the band’s signature artwork. That Jamie Reid’s famous cut-n-paste zine-cum-Situationalist aesthetic has turned into a bit of capitalist plastic for your wallet is an irony that the Sex Pistols might never have seen coming back in 1976, when they played the “gig that changed the world.”
Recreated above in a clip from Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People, the June 4, 1976 gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall spawned the British punk movement and the post-punk movement that was soon to follow in a scant two years. For in the audience were future members of the Buzzcocks Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley (who organized the gig and opened for the Pistols); a nascent version of Joy Division; the two founders of Factory Records Martin Hannet and Tony Wilson; Mark E. Smith of The Fall, Mick Hucknall of Frantic Elevators and much later Simply Red; and a one Steven Patrick Morrissey, who would form The Smiths. (That’s Steve Coogan playing Tony Wilson in the clip, by the way.)…
More on that extraordinary evening– with audio clips of the Pistols’ performance– at “The Sex Pistols’ 1976 Manchester “Gig That Changed the World,” and the Day the Punk Era Began.”
* Jello Biafra
As we politely pogo, we might recall that it was on this ate in 2002 that Queen Elizabeth II issued her annual Honours List, on which she tapped 60-year-old Mick Jagger for a Knighthood.
Ярослав Свиридов (yasviridov on LiveJournal) has gathered an extraordinary collection of, well… noteworthy album covers.
[TotH to reader MK and to Slipped Disc]
As we true our turntables on this, Independence Day, we might recall that it was on this date in 1976– as we in the U.S. were beginning our Bi-Centennial Day celebrations– that the Clash gave their first public performance: they opened for the Sex Pistols at The Black Swan in Sheffield, England. As U2 guitarist The Edge later wrote, “This wasn’t just entertainment. It was a life-and-death thing….It was the call to wake up, get wise, get angry, get political and get noisy about it.”
In the early 80’s, a nightclub known as Klub Foot in Hammersmith, London, became the seed crystal of a musical movement that came to be known as Psychobilly. As “street anthropologist” Ted Polhemus observed,
At first glance it is hard to imagine a more unlikely combination than Punk and Rockabilly, but the Psychobillies made a virtue of such apparent incompatibility… their fusion of 1950s Americana and 1970s British Punk seemed both obvious and inevitable.
To make the connection one must forget the soft drizzle of sentimentality which in the end became all too typical of the Rockabillies (Elvis singing about Teddy Bears in Vegas) and go back to the angry, licentious snarf of their early days. From this perspective it is clear that the thumping beat, the in-your-face sexuality, the deliberate shunning of prissy sophistication and the greasy quiffs of the early Rockabillies were in tune with Punk’s gutsy spirit of raw rebellion. The Punks simply added a stylistic extremism, an assumption of gender equality and fetishistic trashiness which could not conceivably have existed in Memphis in the mid-fifties. The common denominator is rock ‘n’ roll energy in its purest form…
At one level the Psychobillies exhibited an alarming fixation with violence and wanton destruction, but this was always tempered by a wonderful, surreal sense of humour, which made you smile, even as you crossed hurriedly to the other side of the street.
The British scene, and the European umbra it generated, dimmed after the demolition of the Claredon in 1988 (but not before influencing many more main-stream Rockabillies to trade in their fancy suits for work clothes); but at about that same point, Psychobilly took root in the U.S, where it lasted through the 90s. Indeed, to this day Psychobilly delights a relatively small, but dedicated following in the U.S., Europe– and, of course, Japan.
Here, two examples; first, the marriage of Rockabilly and Punk in its purest form: Lemmy Kilmister and Johnny Ramone…
And from earlier days, one of America’s leading Psychobilly bands, Tiger Army…
As we send discreet birthday greetings to Emily Dickinson, we might recall that it was on this date in 1976 that the “British airwaves turned blue”: in an appearance on ITV’s morning show, Today, members of the Sex Pistols casually cursed…
The late Seventies re-imagined: from artist Dave Perillo (AKA montygog), a look at what might have happened if two paragons of Punk had instead gone the Hanna Barbera route…
As we contemplate the consolations of a cel out, we might send trenchant birthday wishes to two of history’s most acute observers of the human condition: Jonathan Swift, the satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet, and cleric who’s probably best remembered for Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal, was born on this date in 1667.
And Samuel Langhorne Clemens– Mark Twain– the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and its sequel, “The Great American Novel” Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was born on this date in 1835.
Swift ultimately rose to high church office, serving as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. Clemens did not.
In the late 70s, Tony Wilson— who would go on to co-found Factory Records (the seminal independent label that embodied “The Manchester Sound”) and The Hacienda (the warehouse-based club that was the birthplace of the rave)– hosted a tea-time television show called So It Goes.
A weekly arts/culture/music series, the program’s passion was emerging new pop music… which in those days meant Punk and New Wave.
The Way We Were is a Channel 4 (UK) retrospective first broadcast circa 1984.– a compilation of performances by bands performing on So It Goes– many of them making their TV debuts: Sex Pistols, Clash, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop, The Fall, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Penetration, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Tom Robinson, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, XTC and Joy Division…
[TotH to Richard Metzger and his essential Dangerous Minds for the lead to TWWW]
As we slam dance down memory lane, we might recall that it was on this date in 1976– as we in the U.S. were beginning our Bi-Centennial Day celebrations– that the Clash gave their first public performance: they opened for the Sex Pistols at The Black Swan in Sheffield, England. As U2 guitarist The Edge later wrote, “This wasn’t just entertainment. It was a life-and-death thing….It was the call to wake up, get wise, get angry, get political and get noisy about it.”
The Clash, 1976 (source)
Simon Jansen, the creator of asciimation and the inventor of (among other things) the world’s first Jet-powered Beer Cooler, has built a lovely steam-powered turntable. In the video above he demos his steam-punk player with “a punk LP. The Sex Pistols – God save the Queen (Victoria obviously).”
[TotH to Laughing Squid]
As we hear the words “come on baby, light my fire” in a fresh new way, we might recall that it was on this date in 1909 that Leo Baekeland received the first U.S. patents for a thermosetting artificial plastic which he called Bakelite (and which chemists called polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride)– the first pastic to hold its shape after heating– and gave birth to the modern plastics industry. Because of its heat-resistance and insulating capability, Bakelite was used in all sorts of electrical devices: insulators, telephones, radios… and phonographs.
Long-time (pre-blog) readers will recall the passing of Anthony H. “Tony” Wilson in 2007. In 1976, Wilson, a recent graduate of Cambridge serving as a feature reporter for Granada TV in the British Midlands, saw the Sex Pistols at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. It was, he said, “nothing short of an epiphany.”
Wilson booked the Pistols onto his weekly cultural show, So It Goes (their first appearance on TV), and over the next few years turned the program into the leading broadcast outlet for new music in the U.K.
Much of that music was percolating in Manchester; Wilson became it’s catalyst. In 1978, with a couple of friends, he started Factory Records, the seminal label that introduced such bands as Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column, Happy Mondays, James, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
But Wilson remained devoted to live performance, anxious that others should share the conversion he had experienced in 1976, He founded the Hacienda, a nightclub/performance space, where Factory acts and other leading bands of the 80s played– and where the rave was born.
Both Factory and the Hacienda faded with the decade. But Wilson remained a fixture in British culture, largely as a political commentator on the BBC and ITV.
Tony Wilson died in August 2007. Just over three years later, a memorial headstone designed collaboratively by Wilson’s long-time associates Peter Saville (the art director for Factory Records) and Ben Kelly (the designer of The Hacienda), was unveiled in The Southern Cemetery in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester.
More, at Creative Review.
As we hum “God Save the Queen,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1992 that Jesus did not appear on earth and the Rapture did not occur.
Edgar C. Whisenant, a former NASA engineer and an avid student of the Bible had predicted the Rapture would occur in 1988, between September 11 and 13. Whisenant’s predictions were taken seriously in some parts of the evangelical Christian community. Indeed, as the window approached, regular programming on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) was interrupted to provide special instructions on preparing for the Rapture.
When it didn’t materialize, Whisenant revised his estimate to 1989. When that date passed uneventfully, he returned to his sources and returned with an even more confident prediction that it would be on October 28, 1992. Subsequent predictions were for 1993, 1994, and 1997.