Published on August 28th, 2017 | by LTWF


Eyewitness Punk Power: the Spirit of 76 and beyond

Eyewitness Punk Power: the Spirit of 76 and beyond

When punk first broke in the UK in 1976, music journalist John Ingham was on hand to document the very heart of the scene. Struck by the music, fashion and sheer iconoclasm of a little-known outfit called the Sex Pistols, Ingham conducted the first interview with the band, partied with its members and even bailed Sid Vicious out of jail; he also witnessed and documented the group’s evolution at legendary gigs shared with other pioneering punk bands in their earliest days, including the Damned, the Clash, Subway Sect and more. The result is Spirit of 76: London Punk Eyewitness, a revelatory collection of photography and fly-on-the-wall reportage showcasing the punk movement from its most raucous, bewildering beginnings. Containing the only color photos from British punk’s first wave alongside Ingham’s inimitable prose, this volume constitutes a rare from-the-trenches report on the UK punk explosion from one of its original participants. Here is the story of a year made up as it happened, lived with excitement and the belief that you could make the future whatever you wanted it to be.Mick O’Shea’s ‘Anarchy in the UK’ is a partially fictionalised account of The Sex Pistols ill-fated 1978 British tour of the same name. Mick is the perfect person to tell this intriguing story as he was actually there with them! He also has the wit, humour and imagination to visualise and express the aspects of the band’s lifestyles and antics that he was not personally privy to and, as we’re talking about arguably the most controversial and outrageous rock band of all time, there’s a fair bit for him to visualise and express.

On June 4, 1976, four young men took the stage of the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester and, in front of a handful of people, played one of the most important live sets of all time. Alongside Woodstock and Live Aid, the Sex Pistols’ performance has been named by critics as one of the most pivotal performances in music history…not necessarily because of the quality of the music – but because of the effect the music had on the audience. The crowd were mesmerized by the power and possibilities of punk – and it inspired them to create their own music that would shape the sound of rock music for decades to come. Members of Joy Division and New Order, the Smiths, the Fall and Buzzcocks were there that night as well as Tony Wilson, a key player in the story of Factory records, the Hacienda, Madchester and beyond. This was truly a gig that changed the world. The truth behind that gig – plus the Pistols’ repeat performance six weeks later and their first ever TV appearance – has been shrouded in mystery for forty years. Until now, everyone’s been happy to print the legend. In this excellent account, David Nolan, for the first time, outlines the truth. Featuring previously unpublished photos, interviews with key players and audience members, David Nolan’s “I Swear I Was There” brings pop culture to life forty years after the Summer of Punk.


Join John, Mick and David for conversation, insights, anecdotes and images from those who really can swear they were there…


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