Joe Strummer pensiver considers the latest lucrative otter to reform The Clash. . .and.this time. he might accept.
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They could have been bigger than The Vibrators! Who. The Lurkers? Well. perhaps not.but that didn't stop them
retorming in 1987.
I They Must Be Russians! Business at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's shop Sex is booming. and people come from miles around for their pervy gear. However. Sex's manager. Michael Collins. is convinced that the Cambridge Rapist, who carries out his crimes in a hideous bondage-style mask. is one of their customers. He contacts Scotland Yard and is photographed for the papers holding up one of the masks. Westwood is appalled at this terrible publicity. 'I'aley Malcy. on the other hand. insists there‘s no such thing. ‘We have to play up things like this.‘ he tells Westwood. ‘and pretend we really do know the Rapist and that we will protect him at all costs.‘ 'I‘he Daily Mirror. meanwhile. is waging a campaign to have the shop closed down.
I Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue! In the Evening Times of 1‘) August 1976. James Dempsey. Labour M P for Coatbridge. demands the withdrawal ofthe first Ramones LP front shops. reasoning that this song might glamorize and encourage solvent abuse. Joey Ramone retorts that the song is a joke: ‘We know the stuff is dangerous. You always feel sick afterwards.‘
I The Sickest Man In Britain! Nicholas Fairbairn M P blows his top over the COUM 'I‘ransmissions ‘Prostitution‘ show at the ICA in October 1976. Organised by pre-'I‘hrobbing Gristle Genesis P-Orridge. the exhibition features used tampons. framed nude photos of (.‘osey Fan 'I'utti clipped from magazines like White/muse and. perhaps most disturbing of all. an early version of the punk band Chelsea (featuring a young Billy Idol). P-Orridge is glassed by a
' newspaper back who. after a scufﬂe
with police. goes off to write ‘a long vehement slag'. "I‘he Arts Council must be scrapped after this.‘ rages Fairbairn. but to no avail: Chelsea release the first in a long line of dire singles the following year.
I The Foul Mouthed Yobs! screams the Evening Standard. The Night Of The .N'asties. simpe rs the Mirror. After a good sup in the Thames 'I'V hospitality room. Sex Pistols are interviewed on Today by an alarmingly incoherent Bill Grundy. Unwisely. Grundy zooms in on confrontational mode and is rewarded with language never heard before on teatime television. The Pistols weigh in with one ‘shit‘. one ‘bastard'. one ‘fucking‘ and one ‘fucker‘. with Lydon slipping in the delicious non sequilur ‘()h alright Siegfried. As a result. City Councils throughout the nation ban ten of the proposed fifteen dates on the Anarchy 'I‘our. concerned parents and church leaders demonstrate where the band is allowed to play and EMI drop them from its roster.
I Pistols Rock Airport! The tabloids fall upon an unsavoury story in which the Pistols create havoc in. and vomit all over. an airport VIP lounge. Laddish high spirits are owned up to. but attendance by Ralph and I Iughie
A look back at some of those punk lowpoints we’d really rather not remember—oh. allright. since you insist . . .
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is dismissed as entirely apocryphal.
I Rotten Day For Punks! L'nfortunately. not the headline used after the climax of'I'he Clash's \Vhite Riot tour w an orgy of seat-trashing at the London Rainbow (where a Stranglers gig had earlier been stopped by the (iI.(‘ on account of I lugh (‘ornwell‘s ‘Fuek' 'lls‘hirt ) 7- but it might as well have been. ()ycrjoyed to have another furore on their hands. the newspapers whip on Jim Clash. but the consequences ripple outwards. affecting the tour plans of'l‘he Jam. ’I‘he Damned and (again ) 'l’he Stranglers.
I Punk Rock Jubilee Shocker! gasped the Sunday .llirmr. No great leap of the imagination is required to picture the indignation caused by the Pistols‘ release of a savage single called ‘God Save The ()ueen’ in Jubilee year. 'I‘he icing on the cherry. however. is the band's noisy. celebratory cruise up and down the 'I'hamcs in June ’77. 'l‘he River Police board the vessel. arresting seven people. 'I‘hc most fitting protest comes from Sid Vicious. who (by his own acc‘ount) breaks wind and attempts to defecate on an officer who is probing his rectum for concealed drugs.
I Punk Rock Rotten Razored! In June. over a matter ofa few days. Johnny Rotten is attacked twice and slashed in the face. Pistols drummer I’aul (‘ook is beaten with an iron bar outside Shepherds Bush tube station and Gaye Advert and 'I'\' Smith are set upon by a gang of’l‘eds. In weeks to come. both ’I‘he Damned and Bob Geldof will get a pasting. and the wave of violence also engulfs punk graphics genius Jamie Reid and Bollocks producer and engineer Chris 'I‘homas and Bill Price.
I Never Mind The Bollocks! 'I‘he Pistols decide on this dainty title for their LP and a record shop manager in Nottingham. Christopher Scale. is charged under the 18b") Indecent Advertisements Act for displaying the cover. John Mortimer. probably suffering flashbacks from the ()3 trial. defends. but the defendant is acquitted after only three days. Richard Branson: ‘I think it's all rather fun.‘ Johnny Rotten: ‘Bollocks is legal! Bollocks. bollocksl'
I Guns On The Roof! 'l‘he (‘lash write this song as a typically pathetic and grandiose gesture after Inspector Knacker feels their collars for shinning tip a roof to shoot pigeons with air riﬂes. I.oeals freak at the sight. fearing hardened terrorist snipers rather than clowns in bondage gear.
I I Didn‘t Kill Nance! insists Sid through a medium. and the Daily Star considers this astral message a worthy enough quote to head a two—page spread. It is the last word in a sordid and tragic episode that only fools find funny. or ( like Sid xlnd Nancy director Alex Cox) romantic.
The List I I ~ 24 October 1991 9