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.
My dark places
Safe as houses
At the edge
Barbed wire love
Guilty as sin
We were young
As usual our bible of the time,The NME (New Musical Express) announced a Jam tour and as usual my mates and I got our heads together and decided to do a few dates mainly to venues we hadn’t been to before, as luck would have it i was due some holidays from work, tickets all sorted by the usual SAE And Cheque method, no booking fees back in those days! As I had 2 weeks off work i made the most of it and went to a few gigs on this tour and saw a few other bands as well.
1981 is a hell of a long time ago 36 years if we are going to be precise and my recollections of these times are hazy to say the least, however they where good times.Apart from getting the tickets, which was easy it was how do we get there? None of us could drive yet so it was going to be the train, I was 17 and this was the first time I had ever been on a train, along with my 2 best mates at the time jimmy and John we where joined with andy a mate from work, Andy was a year or so older then us and was a good lad who loved his music and was a big Stranglers and joy division fan, I’m glad to say I’m still mates with him 36 years later, I reckon jimmy booked the train as he was good at that sort of thing, if it had been left to me we would have ended up in Inverness or somewhere.
Somehow we had got to discussing getting to Skegness a few weeks before and what I can remember was one of the lads reckoned he could ride a bike to Skegness rather than use the train, Steve was a bit of a lad, always stage diving at gigs, mad as a hatter, but a great lad who again loved his music,and over the years he learnt to play both bass and lead guitar pretty well and played in quite a few bands, but sheffield to Skegness on a bike? It’s a long way even in a car, I’m sure he borrowed some standard bike no gears at all, my memory is telling me it was a kids bike which would be about right for Steve, I seem to recall he set off on the Thursday and basically just pointed his bike in the direction of Lincolnshire and fair play to him on doing it as I didn’t have a clue in which direction Skegness was.Saturday morning and we are on the platform at Sheffield Midland station waiting for our train, I’m nervous, I’ve never been on a train before and I’ve got a thousand and one things running through my head, will we be on the right train? Will it crash? Does it go fast? John is winding me up even more, he can’t believe I’ve never been on a train, at 17 I had never ventured anywhere, my parents never took me anywhere, anytime soon I’m going to clip John, he’s my best mate but he’s pushing his luck! Our train pulls up and there’s a few more assorted mods and Herbert’s boarding the train so it eases my worry of getting on the wrong train, there’s a gap between the train and platform of around 4 inch so I take a running jump and leap across this bottomless void and I land halfway across the carriage I turn and look around and my mates are falling about laughing at me along with most of the people in the carriage, “you where lucky there Pete, none of us have a rope to pull you back up if you had fallen thru that 4 inch gap” jimmy tells me as he wipes the tears from his eyes, I shuffle down the train taking it all in, I’m looking in the various cabins as I make my way down the carriage,in those days most of the carriages had a long corridor with cabins off to one side that sitted 6 or 8 people unlike today where most train carriages are open with seats facing both ways. We settle down and the train leaves and after a while I wonder why the train is going backwards, it’s then that I realise I’m sitting with my back to the engine, I’m just about to say something about it but decide not to purely as more piss taking will ensue, we pull in at various stations and various shady characters get on all looking like they are heading to the same destination as us.We get talking to some lads from Mansfield and we all swap stories of bands we’ve seen and different jam concerts we’ve been to, cans of beer duly arrive and our carriage party is in full swing .We pull into Boston station and change trains for Skegness, it was a mixture of mods, skinheads, punks and families all going to skegvegas for there own variation of the bucket and spade tour, we eventually arrive at skeggy train station and we make our way up into the town centre, now I’m not sure if we had booked a B&B but we end up in one on the corner where the clock tower is,and bang across the road from the seafront and the pavilion, huge added bonus of a pub next door as well!
We are all in the same room and there’s 2 single beds and 1 double and I cop for the double with andy, John and jimmy snigger at us and try there hardest to wind myself and Andy up with gay jokes etc,which are duly noted and filed away until my moment comes. A quick wash and brush up and change of clothes and we are in the chippy next to the pub, this is what we came for, there’s hundreds of jam fans and mods mulling around, there’s small groups of scooters arriving laden down with overnight bags and tents strapped to luggage racks, the pub below us has its patio doors open and “tubestation” is blasting out,we sit on the wall outside chips in one hand, lager in the other,the jam in the background, does life get any better than this? (I was only 17!!) We got chatting to some lads from Lincoln who had hung around the pavilion whilst the band’s equipment was being set up and they are going back over later for the sound check so we decided to do the same, I always hung around for the soundchecks when I was a teenager, I wagged school a lot around the ages of 14-16 I just loved that hanging around and watching bands soundcheck, hopefully getting to chat to the bands, all the times I got in I never encountered any nastiness from bands and roadies to fans who at times could get in the way, bands where on that level with fans, punk rock got rid of all that “aloofness ” We decide to have a wander around and go across to the pavilion and see what’s happening, this is where my memory starts to play tricks on me and I’m struggling to put things in order, we made the soundcheck and also copped for a brucey bonus as we bumped into Rick Buckler in a bar on what remained of Skegness pier, like the “chicken and egg” scenario I’m unsure if we went to the soundcheck first and bumped into rick later, or the other way round?
Common sense would tell me any musician would soundcheck first then go for a beer later, we played the state of the art video games (rather badly in my case) pinball machines (rather good in my case) lost money on the slots and bumped into rick! Along with a few more jam fans we had a chat with rick who was quite willing to chat to this bunch of teenagers which steadily grew in size, I can remember one lad asking where Paul was and his answer was “probably on the dodgems with his dad ” which brought quite a few laughs and giggles from everybody especially ricks mates, where divisions already setting in back in 1981? One of ricks entourage politely declared drummers question time over and everybody went away with a smile on there face. How would the same scenario look here in 2017? Loads of “selfies” fucking Facebook check ins, texting and ringing mates “guess who I’m with?” Tweeting etc, and that’s if you’ve not been told to do one by some self important minion! It was definitely simpler times last century!
From memory there was quite a gathering of excited lads and lasses who charged into Skegness pavilion on that Saturday afternoon when the doors where flung open for the soundcheck, Paul as ever looking the style icon dressed in sky blue trousers, blue bowling shoes, black Fred Perry and a white denim jacket and longer hair,Bruce more casual in jeans and sweatshirt, rick in jeans and tubestation tee shirt, the hundred or so lads and lasses got treated to an hour or so of snippets from the nights set list, that’s all I can remember apart from the band finishing up and signing autographs before floating to the nearest bar or the dodgems.
Somewhere between this point and the gig we got talking to 4 lads from Sheffield who i think had been on our train, over the next couple of years I became best friends with 2 of these characters doing lots of gigs and spending a lot of time on West Street and in particular The limit club, again I’m proud to say I’m still friends with one of these lads, following The Jam back then created many friendships and nearly 40 years on they are still creating new friendships of like minded souls who gladly have a story or two to swap about “the best F**king band in the world ”
The evening started off back in the bar next door to our beds for the night,which again was rammed with Ben Shermans,Fred Perry’s, boating jackets, the odd parka, lads in suits, girls in sixties dresses, the odd punk or two, jam tunes blasting out again amongst a healthy mixture of Mod Revival bands such as purple Hearts and the chords, a great singalong to “Time For Action ” with all the pub shouting “Wankerrrrrrr” as the record faded out ( turn the volume up at the end) some 2 tone sneaked it’s way in between some Small Faces and The Who records, such a great atmatmosphere, that’s what being a teenager was about then, that’s what I miss from those days, I can’t see it happening now, the mobile phone and (anti) Social media killed all that, we are all a bit tipsy by now, at 17 we where still at entry level drinking so we decided to make our way across to the pavilion and catch the support, and that’s about all I can remember of that night! A mixture of alcohol and adolescent excitement wiped the memory banks of that night, I can’t remember the support bands but I can remember at one stage being down the front and soaking wet with sweat bouncing away with teenage adrenaline to Eton Rifles and not giving a fuck actually! Towards the end of the set we made our Way to the back of the hall gasping for breath and needing a drink desperately, what I do remember is as we made our way out into the cool seaside air Andy egging me on about a girl at my side eyeing me up and saying something about her night would be complete if she got to meet a nice mod boy as she stared at me, I never got the hint really and Andy gave me some stick about “how much on a plate do you want it”? I’m not not ashamed even now at 53 to say that I was one nieve teenager, or just an innocent one?
We went back to the pub buzzing and full of ourselves over the concert, the pub filled up quickly with hot and thirsty teenagers downing pints at a rapid pace, everybody going over different parts of the concert with voices raised above the sound of the music being played, soon there was kids dancing on the tables outside and one lad got everybody singing acapella style to Eton Rifles, it was such a fantastic night but it had to end,1981 had licencing hours back then and it was last orders, across the road was a nightclub and a fair few made it over and up the stairs, we swerved it and retired to our B&B exhausted but having again had the time of our lives , I had loads more weekends out like this over the next few years be it concerts, scooter rallies or football, in fact some of the best times in my life.
The next day we dragged our arses out of bed and made our way home, a quick jaunt along the beach and a few photographs and it’s homeward bound changing at Boston for Nottingham for sheffield! We sat around the station with our new mates and other rather subdued lads who had been to the concert, addresses and phone numbers exchanged and “see you Wednesday in Leicester ” and other cities could be heard. Over the next couple of weeks I went to 3 more The Jam concerts, I caught The Teardrop Explodes a couple of times as well during those 2 weeks, I wasnt home much but that’s what being 17 was like during the early 80s there was so much music going around.
Over the years I’ve seen many bands, my memory has never been great recalling the hundreds of concerts I’ve been to, 25 times I’ve seen the jam and there’s not much I remember, mates I’ve been with have filled me in on details, my photographs have added pieces to the jigsaw I form around every concert , we all see things in different ways and interpret them in our own way so there’s never a true account of events. At the start I mentioned our mate Steve betting he could ride a bike to Skegness, setting out on Thursday he made it by Saturday morning! He slept in bushes, fell off a few times and got a lift the last few miles by a van load of mods from Coventry who he ended up drinking with all weekend, we saw him around early evening on Saturday but the next time I saw him was back in Sheffield 4 days later, and to this day i don’t know how he got home!!
And now for something completely different as the pythons would say!! Four days after seeing Moonlandingz at The Leadmill it was Paul Weller time,Sheffield was not included on This spring tour so it threw up a couple of possibilities for our choice of venue, last time around (2015) we picked York barbican and as it had been included again we thought somewhere different, Doncaster Dome was decided as our chosen venue, luckily we got seated tickets mainly due to my better half waiting for a date for an operation which had a recovery time of a couple of months, so the last thing she needed was being knocked about by some fat 50ish “mod” in a 20 quid Harrington jacket clutching his pint of fosters whilst posing for “selfies” and shouting out for jam songs.
Mixed crowd tonight, young and old, couples, father and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters (aunties and uncles,remember that one?) And I’m extremely happy to say a very low Comedy Mod turn out, whether there was a 2 tone tribute act on somewhere or the distinct lack of jam tunes played on the 2015 spring Saturns Pattern tour may have finally given the Austin powers brigade the message. Anyway a capacity crowd awaited the return of Mr Weller along with 2nd in command Steve Cradock, the massively talented Andy Crofts, moving from keyboards to bass guitar, Thomas Van Heel (just needs to play with rick for the full set of ex jam members!) stepping into croftys keyboard duties, Steve pilgrim on drums along with the moons Ben gordelier on percussion completes the line up, the band charge out and launch straight into White Sky, long time and I’m where I should be, from 2015s Saturns Pattern Album, Ghosts from The Gift album made a surprise appearance and a cracking version it was as well! Ever-changing moods was another surprise tune added in, the back catalogue is getting a hammering already and it came across well being played by a band who probably hadn’t been born when this song graced the top 5 last century, back to Saturns Pattern for the title song and paul switching to piano for the excellent single Going My Way, New song time! Woo See Mama from the forthcoming album was an absolute belter and if the rest of the album is as strong as this tune it’s going to be a ten from len. Then we are back in 1980 visiting the Sound Affects album for Man in the Cornershop, the lyrics as relevant in 2017 as they where in 1980, Suzies Room! From heavy soul is given a dust down followed by The Attic from Sonik Kicks more dusting down of old tunes and we have the mighty,no gigantic Ever Had It Blue from TSC days, one of my favourite Council tunes ever, however it didn’t quite cut the mustard for me with it being minus the brass, Friday Street next and back to the debut solo album for Above the Clouds and then we are back rocking , rolling and loud for the debut single Into Tomorrow, is it really all that time ago? Still sounding loud and fresh after all these years.
Long Road and Cranes from the new album are next followed by the riff laden Peacock Suit from 97s Heavy Soul, Dr John’s bluesy Gilded Splinters a song I think weller has made his own is guttsy and dirty blues as anything that’s come out of New Orleans in 30 years, Come on, let’s go is blasted out and it’s over!!!
Not quite, returning to the stage, chairs are laid out and Steve pilgrim joins on acoustic guitar, wildwood starts and flows into Monday being given a excellent acoustic makeover, going into John Lennons Love and then into pauls recent film soundtrack song “the ballad of Jimmy McCabe” my first time of hearing this song and I thought it was very good, Out Of The Sinking finished this 1st encore rather nicely, only moan I had was maybe half of the audience switched off during the acoustic songs which was quite a shame.
Second encore and we had impossible idea and City Streets, again from Saturns Pattern, a great song quite trippy as well, back to The Jam days and Start! Andy Crofts bass playing really stood out, that was something else I noticed, first time in years I’ve heard the bass turned up in the mix, could never hear Andy Lewis,minchellas or Marco nelsons bass lines at all, The night finished with Changingman, pretty apt as well, as Paul is always changing his direction and influences and coming up with fresh music all the time, Another cracking night!!
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
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!
Back in those dark strike bound 3 day working weeks of the mid Seventies, everybody including there grandmother was on strike, the Firemen, the miners, the postmen, car workers went on strike for anything and everything, and not to be outdone towards the end of the decade even gravediggers went on strike, Dead bodies stacked neatly by the roadside patiently waiting for rigor mortis to set in, and of course a good old British strike wouldn’t be complete without the binmen with or without there “cor blimey trousers”the electric went off and we sat in candle light huddled around gas fires, our parents queued for petrol, even the bakers went on strike, there was bread rationing for God’s sake! These days the first sign of a snowflake and grannies are hobbling along and thrashing there mobility scooters to get to the nearest supermarket to buy 27 loaves of bread and 16 bottles of full fat milk, oh and a Victoria sponge as well, just in case they get snowed in for weeks on end” like we did in 1963″
So where was I? Fashion! As teenagers we all wanted to be fashionable, looking back at what I wanted and what I wore is all very very embarrassing, the flares, the platform shoes,those crazy shirts with multiple patterns of birds flying, horses running, huge collars ready to take off in even the slightest puff of wind,and that’s if the miles of material that constituted your flared trousers didn’t kill you or inflict serious injury when they got caught in your Raleigh Chopper bike chain,or caught on the top of fences whilst Hedge Hopping or Apple Scromping,the skills you learnt avoiding these occupational hazards are now forgotten, filed away with barrel making and pyramid building. the epicentre of all things flared was of course a shop called Harringtons in the castle market,back in the 70s this was a bustling market, If you couldn’t buy it in here then it wasn’t worth having, this was where the fashion conscious youth of Sheffield flocked in great numbers to look and try on and buy or steal the latest fashions. As with every new fashion it had its leaders and followers, by the time the followers had caught on to what the leaders were wearing, those leaders had moved on to something else, it started with 2 buttons on the waistband, 26 inch flares, single button on the side pockets and gradually got to a point where waist bands where chest high and trouser bottoms had enough material in them to make a couple of tents. My first fashionable Birmingham bags came from Harringtons and I wore them to school, school uniform didn’t really exist as such, it wasn’t enforced really,obviously all new starters wore the job lot which didn’t last long once the rest of the school had picked on you.
Harringtons took up 3/4 units with the front covered with hundreds of different colours and styles of trousers hanging there ,once you stepped inside there was shirts, jeans,trousers, jumpers, those dreadful lumberjack coats and the more stylish trench macs where also a popular item, I went with my mum (totally uncool) and as usual it was a battle of wits I’m wanting the Birminghams and my mums wanting me to have the normal flares, ” oh mum everyone will laugh at me they are old fashioned ” luckily for me enter stage right one of the assistants who’s seen this parent and adolescent teenage stand off a million times and sweet talks my mum into letting me have what I want, he fetches out various colours to show her and she gradually crumbles and gives in to my way of thinking, I’ve got 3 pairs of flares to try on and I’m shown to a ladder,yes a ladder which disappeared up in to the nether regions of the castle market or really an upstairs stock room with it’s floor space covered in boxes of clothes and piles of trousers and shirts,I climb the ladder with an array of trousers under one arm whilst I hold on with the other, there’s other lads up there trying stuff on,so I find a place to change, I’ve got 3 pairs and they all look and fit well, I’m superfly guy until I hear my mum calling me to come down as she wants to have a look to see if they are suitable “oh jesus ” I groaned, now I’ve got to climb down and then back up to change “they are fine mum” I shout down only for the other kids up there to laugh at me,I put my old jeans on and go back down handing them to my mum who examines them before passing over some hard earned money.
Let me explain, many thousands of young lads over the years climbed the ladders in Harringtons to try clothes on, there was no Health and safety laws as such in 1976 so it was the norm, can you just imagine it now? It would be a definite no no totally against health and safety laws, imagine the claims going in against Harringtons? Shop assistants would recoil in horror if they had to direct customers to climb a ladder to try clothes on, there was always huge advertisements in the Sheffield Star with the owners picture beaming out at you with his stylish mid 70s centre parting hair and equally fashionable shirt which obviously came from his own shop, these adverts told the story of changing fashions and gradually the flares got narrower until they where thankfully consigned to history and BBC TV programmes featuring Z list “celebs” who hadn’t even been born waxing lyrically about how great the 70s where. Never one to miss a trick towards the end of the decade we had a massive Mod revival and Harringtons cornered the market again, this time with 2 tone jackets and trousers, button down shirts and God forbid those dreadful German army parkas and imitation fishtail parkas, it was all naff rubbish clothing, sort of entry level mod, or plastic mods as a mate called them,at one stage they had a huge run on everything black and white, kids everywhere dressed like chessboards and they even did there own pork pie hats,you could get the entire uniform in one foul swoop. Today Harringtons and the castle market are no more, I’m not really sure what happened to Harringtons and how long it stopped open,it would do a roaring trade now with the mod and 2 tone gear as the plastic mods are all back now trying to relive there youth by trying to squeeze into those fashions that fitted 30 Years ago and they were at least 5 stone less nowadays they are known as “ken dodds”. Me??? Well once punk came along in 1977 I ditched the flares,or rather my mum took them in and made them narrower and when mod came along I bought mail order from the Carnaby Cavern in London or I got incredibly brave and ventured up to the park Hill shops and bought drain pipe trousers from the Teddy Boy shop.
The Eagle eyed readers will be asking themselves why I mentioned “buy or steal ” the upstairs changing room was just to much of a dangling carrot for the light fingered youths of Sheffield, with loads of stock upstairs lads would try stuff on and then roll the legs up or sleeves and then put there own clothes back on over what they where trying out, then pick up something and calmly climb back down and hand said items to an assistant saying they didn’t like them and walk out with a shirt and jeans worn under there own clothes to sell on asap or sooner, I knew a lad who was at this all the time ,in fact he probably had more jeans and trousers and shirts to sell then Harringtons did,he would walk out with 3/4 pairs of trousers underneath his own and this was sometimes twice a day he would do it, over time the shop caught on and installed state of the art CCTV upstairs,scenarios spring to mind of old ex staff getting dragged in by South Yorkshires finest crew (police ) on historic charges of viewing young teenagers stripping off etc etc,this move worked for a while until the light fingered youths swerved the cameras and carried on business as usual!!
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
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?