After The Jam, The Clash and The Sex pistols, I had what I would call my next best/favourite bands rotating on a regular basis, they where forever coming and going depending on who was touring and releasing records.
999 where always my 4th/5th band often going head to head with either Uk subs, The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks, The Skids, the Ramones, an ever changing love affair if you like.
I loved 999 from the very first time I heard and saw them, they had it all, a great image ( no stylists ), i loved the bright shirts, the skinny jeans the sharp haircuts, the posing they all looked right together, perfect pieces in a perfect jigsaw, and off course the fucking great tunes!
First time I heard them I fell hook, line and sinker for them even before “Me and my desire” had reached its halfway point on the John Peel Show. It was in glorious stereo and one of the C60 tapes that i would always record the John Peel show with was then rewinded to play what I had just listened to rather loudly, I was making sure that I liked what I had just heard, if not it was a case of simply recording over it ,And I certainly did like what I had just heard!!
Again dinner money saved up and I was off to town hunting down the latest 999 release, I had been told of a small record shop called Revolution Records in the castle market area of Sheffield Town Centre, way back then this area was a daunting place to venture into especially for a 13/14 year old on there own, it was a hang out for glue sniffers, skinheads, and the usual troublemakers intent on inflicting physical harm , or robbing anyone who had a punky haircut or levis with less of a turn up then themselves or rips in them or there hair slightly longer, in plain English a different Youth Tribe or Cult!
So I risked it early one Saturday morning as I hopped, skipped and jumped up the steps leading to the gallery, avoiding the “pavement pizzas ” and puddles of piss left behind from the previous night and the usual glue bags left by the “sniffers ” I made my way along the gallery and into revolution records, the front windows and doors of the shop where completely covered in album and single covers, inside was quite small with all four sides crammed with racks of albums and cassettes, the walls were covered in posters promoting the latest releases and tours, the incredibly small counter had boards of badges and various fanzines stacked up on each side of it, which I’m sure ended up on the floor once the shop got full, which won’t have taken many people to fill!
There was a couple of punks hanging around the tiny counter chatting to the owner, on spotting this tall gangly nervous shy teenager (moi! )entering the shop, he stopped talking to them and cheerfully said hello to me, clearly seeing my nervousness ,and obviously knowing I had never ventured into this high rise aladdin’s cave of 7 and 12 inch vinyl, spikey haircuts and leather biker jackets, he pointed out where everything was and explained his system of singles buying, with the shop crammed full of racks of albums, the singles where all wrote on the wall above the racks ,the list started above the counter and continued clockwise around the shop, with various listings having a line through them, meaning sold out, different colour writing and different styles of handwriting ranging from rather neat to “fuck this for a game of soldiers, I can’t be bothered ” it was a rather novel way of buying records and as I became a regular customer it got hilarious when the end of the list got above the door, at times there would be an assortment of punks, mods and inbetweeners hanging around outside telling new arrivals the shop was full when really it was a couple of customers stood in front of the door checking out the new releases.
I’m stood craning my neck working my way along the endless lists of singles, my mouth steadily watering at all the records that where available to buy, some bands I knew and new names to me such as The Drones,The Boys, Chelsea, Suburban Studs, London, all mentally filed away for future reference, And then, there it was! 999 “Me and my desire” but hang on “Nasty Nasty ” as well! What’s it to be? I’ve got enough money for one single and now I’m faced with a huge dilemma, I ponder and ponder and although I’ve not heard Nasty Nasty do I take a chance on buying it or stick to what I came for? At the side of each record is a number which you just ask for at the counter, the owner disappeared and came back with “Me and my desire” placing it on the counter I picked it up and studied the bright picture cover and a huge smile lit my face up, “that ok? Come thru here and listen to these if you like” the owner told me rather then asked, he placed a couple of records on the shop stereo and handed me some headphones, seeing my delight at my purchase he had stuck some more 999 on the stereo for me, big thumbs up from him and it’s next on my list of “To Buy”
I’m out of the shop quick as a flash with a vice like grip on my new purchase, I’m running for the bus home guarding my goods like it’s the Crown jewels, I’m willing the bus to go quicker and for there to be no passengers to stop and pick up, the last few stops seem like an eternity but finally I’m on the home straight and in the front door, I head straight to the kitchen and place my 7 inches of black vinyl on the music Centre and the sound of 999 comes hurtling out, I’m definitely hooked!!!
Paul Weller back in 1977 outside Revolution Records
TO BE CONTINUED! !
ALL PHOTOS TAKEN AT SHEFFIELD CORPORATION MAY 2016