Tuesday, 20 February 2018
This performance of 'Don't Dictate' takes place at the Electric Circus in Manchester's Collyhurst district, and probably dates from 1976. It is the clip referred to by Liz Naylor during the punk women panel at Stoke Newington Literary Festival in 2016, in that it's definitely the right venue and Pauline Murray is clearly performing amidst a "tsuinami of gob" and, ooh, it looks grim.
Gobbing issues aside, this a great early punk live clip.
I first heard 'Don't Dictate' on one of those punk compilations that were released in the early 1990s' to cash in on the punk revival. A lot of the tracks on said compilations were dreadful, or not really punk, or the arse end of punk. So, not always that useful for those of us just discovering punk and trying to learn more about it. Sometimes though, if you persevered, you could find some real gems amidst the crap. This was one of them.
Monday, 19 February 2018
This was the very first Kleenex song I ever heard (Peel again) and it remains my favourite of their songs.
Much revered by Greil Marcus, Swiss band Kleenex later changed their name to LiliPUT and have, over the years, become something of a cult band.
I have to confess, the time I purchased the Kleenex/LiliPUT best of CD is the only time I've ever impressed one of the staff at Piccadilly Records with my musical taste. I was a bit too stunned at the time to take full advantage of this, and it's never happened since.
Sunday, 18 February 2018
This was the second Raincoats song I ever heard, again, on the Peel show. He played it following Kurt Cobain's OD in Rome in 1994, in a sort of 'get well soon Kurt' kind of way. It does seem a very odd choice in that context but, given Cobain's avowed appreciation of the Raincoats, perhaps not as odd as you might think.
This is probably my favourite Raincoats song.
Saturday, 17 February 2018
This was the first Raincoats song I ever heard and, again, it was thanks to John Peel. He got Hole in for a Peel Session in 1993, and one of their tracks was a cover version of 'The Void' so, a few days ahead of the Hole session going out, he dug out the Raincoats original version, which appears on their debut self titled album from 1979.
I liked it because it sounded so strange and discordant, and slightly mournful, and I liked the slightly skittery nature of it as well. I don't think any of those qualities translated with the Hole version but then, that might have been the point.
Friday, 16 February 2018
This was the very first song I heard by The Slits. It was featured, fleetingly, in a Radio 1 documentary about Peel Sessions in 1992. As with the Banshees early Peel sessions, the first two Slits sessions are considerably rawer and faster than anything they laid down on vinyl.
Both of the Slits Peel Sessions were regularly re-visited by Peel, which was lovely during the Riot Grrrl years as it meant I had a least one mixtape where the Slits 'Vindictive' was sitting next to Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear Peel sessions tracks, and other similarly stroppy punk stuff from across the eras.
The version of 'Love and Romance' that was finally recorded (as part of The Slits debut album, Cut, in 1979) is very different to this version, and while it does work, I still love this version.
Thursday, 15 February 2018
This is a clip from 1978 of the Banshees performing on the Old Grey Whistle Test (or, as my friend Clare Mullady always called it, the Old Grey Bob Test). My hunch is that it probably dates from the the end of the year, around the time their debut album, The Scream, was released.
I have to say, The Scream was more or less ruined for me because it was years and years before I managed to track down a copy and, by then, I'd heard (and loved) the 1977/1978 Peel Sessions LP. If you haven't heard that LP, it's basically the blueprint for The Scream, with most of the songs featuring on that album or else being released as stand alone singles in that period. Only the Peel session versions are both rawer and much, much faster. I couldn't get my head around how slow The Scream felt in relation to the Peel Sessions, and while I do like it, I also still prefer the Peel Sessions.
The Peel Sessions LP was my first punk record. It was bought for me by my sister in about October 1992 after we spotted it in Double Four Records in Stockport. Despite it being purchased as a Christmas present, my sister, very generously, let me have it early. There followed a delightful week in which we played it over and over again very, very loudly while jumping up and down a lot. Mum and dad were less delighted and, after a week of this, mum intervened and the record was taken off me and wrapped up for Christmas. I think she was hoping the novelty would have worn off by the time I got it back in late December: It hadn't.
As to 'Metal Postcard' the song, the version you'll see above is played at the speed it is played on The Scream, enhancing it's brooding menace. The lyrics were inspired by a montage of anti nazi propaganda by the German Dadaist John Heartfield ('Hurrah, die Butter ist all!', Arbiter - Illustrierte - Zeitung (AIZ, Prag) 19.12.1935, S.816. Kat-NR. Z92) which I always thought was a somewhat random choice of inspiration, until I (very recently) discovered, via Jon Savage's chapter in the Linder book, that there had been a big Heartfield exhibition in London at the ICA in 1976, and extrapolating from that, this may well have been the event that introduced a number of the London punk set to Heartfield and to Dada.
Monday, 12 February 2018
Because I missed punk entirely (by virtue of not being born until 1979) I will be posting clips in a personal chronological sequence rather than an actual chronological sequence. Ie, the artists are arranged in the approximate order in which I encountered them and their music, not by order of when the various performances or recordings happened.
I was going to do 'Eighteen songs for 2018' but by the time I'd hit twenty clips I was thinking 'Why stop at 18?' so there's more than that now. About 25 I think.
I've also cast my net beyond the UK and have strayed from the 1975-1978 period. As such, there are French, Swiss, Canadian and US artists coming up as well as artists who would be considered post punk rather than punk. I've tried to ensure that you get a mix of famous and not so famous punk artists as well because I think it's really important not to be lazy when compiling these kind of audio visual lists and, if I can do, introduce you to people you might not have come across before.
As well as giving my inspiration a boost and reminding me why it was I embarked on this whole punk women odyssey in the first place, I think it's necessary to sound a klaxon for women and punk every few years, just to ensure they aren't forgotten about... again...