The second time I saw them was when I booked them for my (now defunct but soon to be rekindled) cabaret show "Dollyremixture" where they both shocked and delighted the audience with a shortened set that left everyone in the place wanting more.
Now by happy accident I discovered they were playing down the road on a rare night off when I had no other plans. The ticket price of eleven quid seemed a bit steep (particularly as they were playing for free the next night in Stevenage) but victim of circumstance as I was, it was then or not at all. Problem: mid-January, big venue, steep entry fee. Would there be an audience?
I needn't have worried - of course there wasn't.
Well, I had bought ticket 61 but I think they must have started at 21 as I never counted more than forty people in the room. I saw the lead singer outside while the support band (The Merk - not bad) were on and he asked how many were in. I said "About forty". he was over the moon. Toby the drummer had told him there was actually no-one there at all. Oh you drummers! Of the forty-ish there, the self-appointed king of the party was a very curiously be-mulletted late 70s New Wave throwback in drainpipe jeans and authentic sneakers who was air-guitar-ing and singing along to the pre-show 70s and 80s alt. rock classics that echoed around the cavernous venue. Never mind, I thought, he'll have calmed down by the time the bands start.
It was actually his vaguely demented twatting about across the whole front third of the dancefloor that had sent me outside in the first place. While The Merk were on a few of the younger members of the audience joined him as they bopped along to their friends/boyfriends brand of quirky modern indie-punk. In the break they withdrew to the safety of strategically placed tables and chairs toward the back of the abyss. He carried on jumping about and mis-calculating the ends of songs with three-seconds early flourishes that left several of us open-mouthed. He sang The Jam's "in The City" in a fat bloke's face. This was when I realised he looked like Bruce Foxton, former Jam bass player and similarly pouty mullet head.
I'm not wanting to project that I wasn't having a great time but the pints of Toby Bitter I was drinking also tasted of line cleaner.
Finally, The Pistols took the stage and I went and stood as close as could be reasonably expected, the lead singer (bedecked quite splendidly as "Country Life Butter" Johnny Rotten)
|Not the same gig, but the same outfit for the would-be Lydon...|
Post-gig I went round the pub with Colin (Steve Tones) and shortly afterwards Paul (Johnny Rotten) came in to tell him he had to give him a lift home to Stevenage as Toby (drummer) had left without him. Punk's not dead.