Home > Chapters > 4 – Yea Though I Walk Through The Valley Of Pop I Shall Fear Not Punk

4 – Yea Though I Walk Through The Valley Of Pop I Shall Fear Not Punk

Unbeknown to me, momentous things were afoot during the early parts of ’76 that carried on through the sweltering summer months. I do remember it being very hot around that time, but according to Wikipedia it was actually the hottest summer in the UK since records began, with temperatures well into the eighties for most of June and July and, for 15 consecutive days it was over ninety degrees F. Hot! And as England cooked, a new breed of music which had been simmering since early in the year, reached a boiling point and exploded on an unsuspecting public.

Under the management of my saviour, Mr. Malcolm Mclaren, The Sex Pistols began their rise to notoriety with a series of gigs that usually ended in a fracas of mayhem,  violence and destruction. Their first major gig was as support act to Eddie and the Hotrods, which ended in the aforementioned chaos. The journalistic review of this gig was the inspiration behind the formation of another band, The Buzzcocks, by two guys who traveled from Bolton to track the Pistols down. The Sex Pistols built up a hardcore following, including such names as Billy Idol, Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin or, as they were dubbed, the Bromley Contingent. They began touring bigger venues such as the Marquee and the Nashville but were soon banned from both of these. Early July saw them headlining gigs supported by the newly formed Clash and the Damned. Joe Strummer of the Clash had been the singer in a band at one of their earlier pub venues and seen something prophetic in their performance. He saw the coming of punk, in the guise of the Sex Pistols. On July 20th they performed their anthem tune for the first time, Anarchy In The UK.

Meanwhile, back in the zone, I was happily engrossed in the cuteness of Kiki Dee duetting with Elton John as they knocked Demis Roussos off the number 1 spot with Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. I was still in pop purgatory. But on the bright side, possibly inspired by Ms. Dee, I had started to notice the attraction that girls had. Well, one in particular.. another denizen of the TA flats and younger sister of one of my two friends. She went by the name of Fiona and I think she had ginger hair. The relationship was sweet but never got past the holding hands stage. I think what killed it was when I learnt she did a paper round at stupid o’clock every morning and expected me to accompany her. I managed it once and that was enough. The heatwave and long drought finally broke in the September, just in time for the return to school. ABBA’s Dancing Queen gyrated its way up the charts as the rain fell and fell, and the Sex Pistols began a tour of Britain. In October it still rained. Pussycat toppled ABBA with Mississippi and on the 8th EMI signed the Pistols to a two year contract. Anarchy In The UK was released as a single in late November, not long after Chicago’s impassioned blackmail of If You Leave Me Now chased Pussycat off the top spot.

December 1st and one of the most defining moments in British TV, and music’s, history was witnessed by many outraged viewers. The Sex Pistols, and some of the Bromley Contingent, were invited to appear on the live TV evening show ‘Today’ on Thames TV, hosted by Bill Grundy. Goaded by the host who claimed to be drunk, and after a somewhat lewd exchange with Siouxsie Sioux, the guests were encouraged to say something outrageous. The words sod, bastard, fucker and fucking were said in consecutive sentences by Steve Jones. On live TV. The Upright Public were apoplectic and next morning the whole school was buzzing with it. I was suitably shocked and impressed in all the right places when hearing it being retold numerous times by those that had actually watched it.

My days in purgatory were numbered. Punk hadn’t been born. It had been ripped, screaming and cursing from the hearts of disillusioned youth and it was going to be my lifeline.

Categories: Chapters
  1. May 17, 2011 at 20:51

    Certainly a turning point. It must have been really something to be a kid at ground zero where that was happening.

    • May 19, 2011 at 21:15

      Hell yes it was…formative years and all that..wouldn’t have missed it for the world 🙂

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