Sunday, 29 December 2013

Never mind the baubles


I've just seen 'Never mind the baubles' a documentary about the Sex Pistols last ever UK gig on Christmas Day 1977 in Huddersfield at Ivanhoes (the facade is to the rear of Lidl on Manchester Road). The gig was a benefit in aid of the hard pressed families of firemen ( they were all men then ) who had been on strike for weeks. I'd love to be able to say I was there but the truth is that I would have been half a mile up the road in Edgerton at the family home at Imperial Road being 13 and all. What I do remember about punk was that it was a part of growing up for me and others around me a few years later. I was in a band called the Criminal Minds in 1981. There was a lot of gratuitous swearing involved and we did a few gigs, a barn in Sowood, the Venn Street Arts Centre and once at our school spring to mind. All good fun and I still have a cassette of our 'music'. Punk is anti establishment and our song 'F***the Government' was.definitely on message.

There was a good punk scene in Huddersfield which carried on a good few years after the Pistols departed. I always remember Punk as not just anti establishment but also pro people and anti fascist. (There were exceptions such as the Neo Nazi band  Screwdriver' who were offensive but they were the exception not the rule). This pro people aspect came across listening to Johnny Rotten speaking about the Huddersfield gig and their motivations for doing it. It wasn't a big prestigious gig but doing it was right for the band that was finding it difficult to get gigs due to a hysterical media and for the striking firefighters who were going through hard times. It was authentic and demonstrated the humanity of the   Pistols in choosing to do this benefit gig. 

Something I take from the punk years is a healthy disrespect for authority and institutions and a dislike of deference to people, titles and positions. Is this contradictory as I've been elected to Kirklees Council five times now? Maybe a little, but I still feel slightly uncomfortable when people address me as 'Councillor' and recognise that power and authority is something that should be used carefully and sparingly.  

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