Written by James Sherry
As we approach the 35th anniversary of the Sex Pistols incendiary and landscape changing ‘Nevermind The Bollocks’ album, expect to see lots of nostalgia and media coverage of what is still to many the most exciting musical and cultural youth explosion to ever detonate across the UK.
We’ve all heard the story before, seen a million documentaries, wheeling in the same talking heads, the same archive footage. Thankfully, the forthcoming three-part documentary ‘Punk Britannia’ digs far deeper than the usual punk programming affair. Part one deals with the pre-punk years of ’74-’76, focusing on the ‘pub rock’ explosion that saw the start of the musical landscape shifting away from the bloated prog years and moving back towards short-sharp three-minute power pop songs – out of the stadiums and back into sweaty red-hot back rooms of pubs, with bands like Joe Strummer’s first band The 101ers, Kilburn And The Highroads, Dr. Feelgood etc and looks set to be possibly the most interesting programme of the three as this is an era that hasn’t been detailed as much and is easily as exciting.
Last night Crossfire was lucky enough to attend a private screening of the second part of the series at Soho House in central London. Rubbing shoulders with such essential punk players as The Damned’s Captain Sensible and Brian James, Gaye Advert from The Adverts, John Cooper Clark and Mark Stewart from The Pop Group, among others, free BBC wine was necked and all the old punks piled into the cinema for youths and memories to be re-lived. And whilst in this second part the story does focus on the already very well-told story of The Pistols, The Clash and The Jam etc, what is refreshing about this show is it does spread its wings further and the equally important likes of Sham 69, UK Subs and Stiff Little Fingers also feature heavily.
The third part, however, charts much previously unexplored (by the BBC at least) territory and focuses on the post-punk years of The Fall, PIL, The Pop Group, Crass, Joy Division etc and looks set to wrap up a very worthy look at all the different aspects of the original punk explosion. Don’t miss it!