Category Archives: new wave


A 2nd visit to Chesterfield this year to a new venue recently opened called The Avenue, previously a Rileys Snooker centre (so I was told). The first “proper ” concert i went to was The Tom Robinson Band back in 1978 they where supported by tonight’s band Stiff Little Fingers, billed as a 40th anniversary tour it was a first time ever in Chesterfield for the mighty SLF,the last time I saw them was maybe 5/6 years ago at the plug in Sheffield and overall I’ve seen them 6/7 times over the last 39 years (f**kin ell!) My first time at this venue and I was impressed, fairly wide stage so plenty of opportunities to stand near the front, a balcony looking down at the stage was quite crowded so you had options of which view you could have, huge downside was the bar, at least 10 deep with 4 people serving, 25 minutes before we got served so my mate and I got 2 pints each, maybe the fact that this was probably the first big band they had put on and never expected it to be this busy, so hopefully they get that sorted for this cracking venue.

Jake burns, Ali McMordie on bass, Ian McMallun on guitar and Steve Grantley on drums came bounding on stage and quickly straight into “breakout” minus his singing as it was so distorted “straw Dogs” followed and sound corrected and Mr burns could now be heard quite clearly, dressed in a polka dot shirt and looking rather portly I may add! “Fade away” followed and a quick breather as jake  introduced the next song “my dark places” what I like about jake burns is he always explains his songs, about the backgrounds to them and how he came to write them.

“Safe as houses” “nobody’s hero” “at the edge” followed next then a real oldie in “barbed wire love” and “roots ” then a newish (well this century ) “Strummerville” Jakes tribute to the legend Joe strummer, who was instrumental in the Fingers first footsteps on the punk scene.

The heat is turned up as early classics are played “wasted life” “tin soldiers” and the classic “suspect device ” one of my all time favourite punk records, play it at full blast and hear the anger in his voice, jake burns was well and  truly pissed off with his lot back in 1977, and that’s your lot! We missed the encores due to running for the last bus back to sheffield ( tight gits) but a cracking show none the less, this was no going through the motions, no nostalgia circuit performance, it still means a lot and the songs mean a hell of a lot to this band whether they are last century or this century the Fingers are still as important today as they were back in the days when they came full throttle at you courtesy of John Peel. 


Straw Dogs
Fade away
My dark places
Safe as houses
Nobody’s hero
At the edge
Barbed wire love
Guilty as sin
Roots, radical
We were young
Wasted life
Tin soldiers
Suspect Device
Johnny was
Gotta getaway
Alternative ulster 



My usual bandcamp band hunt brought me to searching tags with “old punk ” and ” Sheffield” and luckily for me these sheffield  scallywags popped up begging to be played and bought! Brought to the world by the “kids of the Lughole ” label, the Lughole being a small practice/small gig room next to one of the dodgist Ale houses in Sheffield on a back Street in the city centre, General Public EP is 4 slices of pure punk, straight out of 1977, extremely loud, catchy Riffs, a short sharp statement of no frills no nonsense 100% punk rock.

Less than 6 minutes long this ep released in may 2016 on limited edition vinyl features the following 4 tracks

1.. General Public 



4..Under Threat

I think this may be there 3rd release, maybe the 2nd vinyl issue, I strongly recommend  giving the “No Salvation” single a listen to if you can get the vinyl format, otherwise there’s a free download via there bandcamp page. Here’s a band I will be keeping a beady eye on in 2017 and hopefully get to see them live, if your penchant is for old style punk this is the band to watch! 





Ever Touring, Ever Recording, A Return Visit to Sheffield From the evergreen and youthful, everyone’s favourite punk rocking  pensioner,  Charlie Harper and his partners in crime rock and roll and Holsten Pils, Alvin Gibbs, Jamie Oliver and lead guitar  hero and cat lover (Fatso) Jet Storm,  so a quick return to the seven hills this time promoting  Ziezo there 26th album and of course the final letter in the alphabet,  last year’s Yellow Leader was a cracker and as sure as Eggs are Eggs Ziezo follows in the same vein, Loud, soulful, tunes aplenty, infectious Riffs supplied by jet, all kept in time by powerhouse drumming and thunderous bass lines, topped off with a singer putting his life, heart and soul into, well the icing on the punk rocker cake,  tonight it wasn’t any different, in the flesh there’s no crumbs or slices served up, it was the whole frigging cake!
With over 26 albums and countless singles, Ep’s and one-offs there’s a huge back catalogue to choose from, some of your favourite tunes ain’t going to get played! Missing tonight was Alvin Gibbs unfortunately his father had suddenly passed away, so a more then capable stand in was john (didn’t hear his surname ) So we got treated to some old favourites, Rockers, Countdown , Down On The Farm, Live in a Car, Stranglehold, New York State Police.


and then a quick break for Charlie to ask if anyone could play the bass lines to Warhead!   Show resumes once bass lines had been passed on! My totally unreliable memory is now in overdrive as I’ve forgotten what else was played! An hour long set and they are gone leaving the assembled  crowd of punks young and old shouting for more, of which we are duly obliged with a cracking CID, Short and sweet, punk ethics  35 years on, or is it just charlies age?



As a kid I never went far at all,probably the farthest I went was wales on some  ill  fated holiday which lasted for all of 3 days,it probably took us the same amount of time to get there in my dad’s Morris Minor,laden down with 4 people,food and clothing it was never going to be troubling speed cameras or achieving maximum speed limits, in fact I’m sure we got overtaken by a car pulling a caravan,there was always a rather large tailback of traffic whenever my parents ventured out in this slow moving embarassing excuse for a car, oh and it rained,and rained and rained, and we came home and went to good old Chapel St Leonard’s, where it also rained. So March 1980 and again the head of the school youth club organized a day trip to London,  at the age of 16 this was going to be the furthest I had ever been without my parents,and there was always an ulterior motive with howard,he was a big united fan, with them playing at southend this was his plan,2+2  did make 4 and his plan was to drop this various assortment of punks,teds,mods rockers and skinheads in the centre of London for a day of sight seeing, museums, art galleries and culture,whilst he shot off to  Sunny Southend, it turned out to be More like getting chased around London by skinheads,getting ripped off on the kings road,spending most of our money peeping thru letterboxes at rough as fuck slappers showing a bit of tit and getting chased out of various ‘adult themed’ shops in Soho,getting lost on the underground, crap beer and coming home with nowt apart from a dodgy Carnaby Street sticker.
The day started out full of expectations, destinations where going to be carnaby street and the kings road,we all agreed we where coming home laden down with Ben Sherman’s, Fred Perry’s, proper sta prest, hard to find  records, back in Sheffield we where going to be the ‘Ace Faces’ but the skinheads of London had other ideas,  we stuck out like a sore thumb,  just there for the taking, or so our baldheaded cockney cousins thought.


Saturday morning,We all piled into this dodgy looking Comma mini bus,the type with no front end as such, with the engine between the front seats,a noisy uncomfortable bus obviously built to induce all types of back and leg pains on even the shortest journeys, a suspension that every time it hit a bump everyone left there seats and hit there heads on the ceiling, in time you could anticipate it,and just like joining a skipping rope you got into the rhythm before making your move, “right lads,pick you back up here at 6” as we spilled out on to the streets of London “carnaby street is just down there” says Howard pointing across to a narrow street as he pulled out in front of an oncoming bus ,and with a wave and a wanker sign to us, and a reply of a mass “fuck off holmesy ” he was gone, A former resident of  London, H had taught in a couple of schools and had given our chosen leader for the day Craig, various scribbled information on bits of paper, Chosen as Craig was a year older then us, street wise and could handle himself, Howards info was only used when we got lost ,or landed ourselves in shit,which was most of the day as it turned out.

In 1980 this part of London was quite different from how it is now, Soho was even more so, parts of London that are extremely desirable now,back then they where very dodgy, Carnaby street was way past its swinging hip sixties place to be, little alley’s and courts away from the main street where very  lonely and  frightening places, it wasn’t the place it is now,  we make our way to Carnaby and we have been in a couple of shops and a young kid about 12/13 asks the time and once he gets an answer he floats off,the  next shop we are in, the same kid walks in with 2 older kids, looks at us and walks out, “that’s  3rd shop he’s followed us into” says Craig, whilst we have been floating about, Craig has had one eye on what’s happening around us,whilst we are all fucking around and being as loud as possible,next shop 4/5  older lads come in, all Skinheads, the leader/main man picks out Craig ” we will leave you alone if you give us £5″ (lot of dough back then ) ” have a think about it” and they walk out, there’s 8 of us, Craig ain’t having none of it ” they can fuck off, if we give him money,they will all want money ” now Craigs a teddy boy,leather jacket,quiff the lot, and the skins have him as our “leader” so potentially he’s on a kicking, the plan, if we had one as such was we all leg it out on to regents street, and whatever we do we all stick together and head in the same direction, there might be 5/6 skinheads outside,then again there might be 15/20, we walk out and the skins are on the opposite side of Carnaby,  On your marks go!  On our toes and we are off! I’m that quick I overtake Linford Christie, well if he was there i would have,we are hammering it down carnaby with shoppers moving out of our way as quick as they can with a bunch of skinheads chasing, who ever was at the back launches a bin at there front man and smack in the face he’s down, we are catapulted out on to a busy street and manage to disappear rather quick into a wimpy and a quick head count and all present and correct.
We sit there and get our breath back, there’s a tube station across the road we brave it and venture out and down into subterranean London, somehow after studing a map of the underground,and none of us knowing which is north,and which is south,we ask someone to point us in the right direction for the kings road,only for us to get on the wrong train!


we finally make it to the Kings Road,which at the time was the fashionable place to shop for clothes, No skinheads, No marauding ‘Gore blimey guv’ cockenees this time,  as we where about to find out it was the shop assistants who where after robbing us this time,Johnsons was the shop for all things mod at the time and they had some really great button down shirts, myself and john picked out some great checked shirts and asked the price “£4 son” wow bargain to a 16 year old mad on clothes! So I picked 3 shirts out and went to the counter with a rather grubby ten pound note and a load of silver,guy checked them in “£36 please”  “what? You mean £12 they are £4 each?” ” no Sonny £12 each” so we have jumped from £4 to £12 on a shirt that clearly has a £4 price tag on, “wrong price on them” is the answer we get back, so I ain’t paying it and neither is john,so Craig wades in  explaining that the guy has said £4, he replies he can charge what he wants so “either take it our leave it” so my answer is “fuck off”.
An argument ensued and I’m sure someone kicked something over in the shop, hence the assistant chasing us out of the shop. We have been in London 2 hours and have spent most of that time getting chased,this is fastly turning into the day Kirk Douglas was having in the film ” Falling Down” only it’s London town rather then Los Angeles,I’m sure there was some washed up film director sat in the last chance saloon desperate for an idea and he spies us lot charging round London looking like a collective of Frank Spencer’s trying to find the Frank Spencer Convention, anyway i can also remember we went in  a huge second hand clothing shop it was full of 50s/60s  american clothing, really great college jackets and vintage Levis,it may have been Flip or Acme Attractions,there was some really great clothes shops around the kings road at that time, we decide to find the nearest pub,in we walk  and with it still being early we have it to ourselves, none of us are legally old enough to drink,so the oldest lads who obviously have the most experience of “getting served” go to the bar, lager’s all round and we settle in, we are just about to have another and the landlord comes across, ” supp up lads,none of you are old enough to drink”  Craig has a go back at him telling him that  he is,and again a few choice words are exchanged but the landlord stuck his brakes on and was having none of it, ‘out you fucking go’.
Now where? We end up in Trafalgar square sat on the lions after we have messed about in some cheap gift shop,another visit to a wimpy, there’s no chippys whatsoever, London Calling?  You can fucking have it! we end up back in Soho, sex shops all over the place, and we dare each other to go in one, finally we all go in and there’s a scruffy bloke behind the counter who just looks up at us and Carries on whatever he was doing, there’s a few older men flicking thru mags, I’m totally gobsmacked,lost for words, I’m used to spending Saturdays in record shops or Harringtons,or at my mates house playing records, I’m surrounded by shelves full of magazines displaying naked women,fat women, thin women, women in leather, women tied up, old women, young  women, blokes in leather touching each other up, I’m that fucking Nieve, that I’m wondering why The Village People seem quite popular in a certain  section of this shop, I just thought they where in fancy dress, now I know! we all dare each other to flick thru a mag,not sure who picked one up but suddenly we all pushing each other out the way to have a look and we are giggling and making out we have seen it all before.


” OK lads, you are either buying or if you’re not its £10 to look ” that shuts us up and we make our excuses quicker then when we left Carnaby street 5 hours earlier, we end up in another shop, this time it shows films!  There’s small cubicles and the idea is you go in and sit down shut the door and start feeding money into a coin slot and the porno film starts up and its projected over your head and on to the door, of course me and john get it completely wrong and we stand with our backs to the door whilst the film is projected onto our chests!  Huge grumbles of ” it’s fucking crap this” and various obscenities and then we realise what we are doing wrong,only by this time we have shovelled loads of coins into the slot, once the film gets to a good part it starts shutting down so you have to shovel more money in,  seasoned regulars skilled in the art of using one hand whilst the other hand is engaged elsewhere in the trouser department area would have a little stack of coins at the ready to be fed in so as not to be fumbling about and finding the film shutting down just as they reach the “point of no return” and it all goes “Tits up ” to coin a phrase.
So after a while we get bored of this and end up in  another shop, this time with what’s called a “peep show” again more feeding money into a box, we are in a room with a hexagonal box in the middle and as far as I can remember there was a revolving floor inside it with a woman on it and you viewed it through a slot the size of a letterbox which opened and closed depending on how much money you put in, we are all looking thru these slots and someone gets brave and shouts ” show us your muff” so she teases us by pulling her trolley’s to one side, then a shout of “let’s see your tits” and the bra comes off,  then it all goes downhill rather fast when someone shouts ” that dirty fuckers having a wank” which is aimed at a bloke over the other side who’s facial expressions can clearly be seen through the viewing slot, he’s now the centre of attention and realises all eyes are on him, he shouts something and the slot closes and he’s gone, 30 seconds later there’s banging on the doors and we are being ejected rather quickly from yet another Establishment.
We are now wondering where to go as pick up time is fast approaching, we are wandering around Soho slowly but surely drawing attention to ourselves, we need to make our way back to our pick up point,which isn’t far away, every time ive watched the film Warriors it always reminds me off this day out!  “Let’s go back to carnaby street”  is suggested and on viewing our map its just around the corner, surely the gang from earlier can’t be there now,so we go for it and its safe! Its early evening and its quite full and looks safe so we end our day passing thru and settle in a pub and wait for holmesy, we get served with no trouble and relax for the first time that day and eventually the mini bus pulls up across the road, as we leave the pub the unluckiest skinhead in London happens to come round a corner and walks straight into us, his face is a picture as a fist lands bang in the middle of his nose and he wobbles and drops to the pavement ,to this day i don’t know who’s fist it was but a cracking punch! We all run down the centre of the road dodging traffic and dive in the bus just as half a dozen skinheads appear to help there fallen comrade.” Come on Howard let’s go” we are all shouting and laughing as we slip into the evening London traffic, all up at the windows giving the pursuing skinheads the rods and various obscenities, poor Howard he’s not got a clue what’s going off, we escape London town and head slowly north back to Sheffield empty handed,skint,knackered, and with mixed feelings about London
I’ve been to London loads of times since and I always remember this first trip,as at 16 I was crossing that line from school to work, boy to man and entering into the real world, I went again in 1985 with a girlfriend and the London I had been chased around was very different or was it just that I was older and making my way in the world?
One thing I did learn from this outing, and I got it from Craig,was that even to this day I’m always aware of what’s happening around me watching my back ,so to speak I’m always taking note and observing where I am and what others  are doing its come in handy over the years!
I love Soho, its the place to head for every time we go, Bar Italia, Princi’s on wardour street, Ronnie Scotts, loads of bars,restaurants, theatre Land, Covent garden,and Chinatown all within walking distance!!! Go and have a long weekend there!


First gig I ever went to was The Push playing in the drama Hall at school . It was Organised By ex English teacher and the current school youth club leader and all round Top Bloke Howard Holmes, The Push, where a 5 piece new wave/punk band who where probably more Pub Rock then PUNK Rock with shades of Nick Lowe, Graham Parker and The 101ers Rather then Punk Rock premier league outfits like the Clash, Pistols and The Damned. My school at the time had a great drama Hall with rather a large stage and having hosted various plays and assembly’s was now playing hosts to snarling spitting punk rockers with the menacing threat of violence, chaos and destruction imminent.
Posters where put up around the school and my new punk buddies just couldn’t wait, it was to be our first gig ,we knew nothing about this band at all as our musical knowledge didn’t extend as yet to the local scene.
The night came and we paid our 50p entrance at the door and made our way in, there was a few older kids in from school and some 6th formers, plus a few older punks and various waifs and strays and some local lowedges teddy boys which we found rather strange! Now I’m not sure if there was a support band on, some say there was, some say there wasnt, but The Push bounced onstage and yes! I’m at the front having it in large portions, I’m bouncing around and giving it everything, then the music stopped, Ray Ashcroft the singer (the soon to be famous actor ) has stopped singing and has spotted the Teds in the audience and has launched into a rather heated exchange of words, “get these fuckers out” as he launched himself at them, the Teds had a go back and we where treated to handbags, threats of “see you outside” and opinions regarding each others musical tastes “your bands shite”and “fuck off elvis”
Order soon resumes and we are treated to soon to be “classics” such as  ‘Can’t Stop Maureen’ the obligatory attempt at reggae with ‘Front-Room Revolution’ ‘gloria’ which I think every band covered back then and finishing with the soon to be released single ‘Cambridge Stomp’ pop pickers and on to world domination, or not!
Off course this was 1978 and here we are 38 years later in 2016 and my copy of said single is worth £8 according to eBay or discogs, it’s the memory off my first gig that will stop with me as long as my memory holds out.

So what happened to The Push I hear you ask? Main man and leader Ray Ashcroft quit the band after a tour supporting XTC when he got to play the part of Ringo Starr in “The Birth of the Beatles” Film and he went on appear in The Bill, Emmerdale and Coronation Street, Rock and Rolls loss and TVs Gain!!!!




The first records I bought where in the spring and summer of 1977, David Bowie’s sound and vision single and Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Fanfare For The Common Man,  slowly I got hooked on the new punk sounds that where now appearing on our TVs,  Radio’s and the nations press,I started discovering radio and although it was limited as to what was being played I slowly became a follower of radio one’s Saturday rock show and later I discovered a life changing late night show and in glorious stereo,namely the John Peel Show,(more to follow)
The Saturday rock show was as its title suggests a rock show, however slowly but surely punk and new wave records slowly starting appearing, here I heard The Clash for the first time,with  White Riot in BBC session mode getting a serious playing, XTC and the stranglers also  seemed popular, A record that really stuck out for me that was played a lot was Dr Feelgoods Roxette, great big bass guitar, wilkos scratchy rhythm guitar riffs and blasting harmonica, this record had everything.
Over the coming months I bought singles and albums, dinner money saved all week and off to town on Saturday to buy records, up until this time I was all football, all my school mates where the same,anything else was not entertained, slowly I saw less and less of my mates as I spent more time listening to records and reading the music papers about all these great new bands and great music, at times I thought I was the only person in school who liked punk music, of course there was the  rockers with there denim jackets covered in led Zeppelin and status quo patches but not for me was any of that!


The First ever album I bought was  The Jam This Is The Modern World, Quickly followed by The Ramones Rocket to Russia, followed by  Ian Dury New Boots And Panties, then I got a bit Daring and went all pub
and bought Graham Parker And The Rumour Stick To Me, Various singles as well, The Jam The Modern World, The Stranglers Peaches, Sex Pistols, Pretty Vacant, I then back tracked and bought all the first punk singles such as the Damned New Rose, The Clash White Riot, Complete Control,Generation X My Generation, Grip by the stranglers, early  Elvis Costello singles such as Alison, Less then Zero and Watching the detectives, I discovered The Buzzcocks,  and The Saints purely by flicking through every single in the punk section in virgin records, there just seemed to be great records coming out every week, and as a 13 year I had limited money!  I was steadily building up a nice record collection and adding all the time to  it, somehow I discovered that Debenhams had a music section and would have boxes full of ex chart singles and  records that hadnt sold all at really low prices, over the next few months I regularly plundered this goldmine of vinyl with great success.
The life changing event from this period of my life happened as most things do, purely by accident, Christmas 1977 and I’m up late and as far as I can remember I was flicking through the channel’s on the music centre and I came upon The Lurkers Shadow, clear as a bell in glorious FM Stereo, wondering what it was I sat and listened until the record ended and the voice of the DJ appeared singing the praises of the record and then introducing another punk record in some kind of top 50 that I was certain had never appeared on Top Of The Pops! What I had found was the John Peel Show and his festive 50, I stuck a Tape in pressed record and for the next 10 years or so I was hooked, over the next 2/3 days I wished the fingers on the clock around to 10.o’clock and armed with cassette tapes I recorded just about every record peely played.
To Be Continued!!!!