2017 July 29th Omega Tribe, Shatterhand, PAPER CHAMP + The SLM The Loft (above The Kings) Southsea
2017 AUG18 Matilda's Scoundrels,CLT&F,Cyprian Sceptre The Festing Southsea
2017 APR13 Grand Collapse Hack Job Amoured flu unit Napalm Radio SAB Ben
The Festing Southsea
2017 MAR24 Spanner\\Primeval Soup\\Firepit Sessions\\Jonny L The Loft Southsea
2017 FEB24 Virus, Public Order Act, Armoured Flu Unit And Wayne Thepain The Loft Above The Kings (southsea)
2017 FEB19 Chernobilly Boogie\\Mercurius Rising\\Carl Lewis\\Jonny L The Festing Southsea
2016 NOV11 Punk in the Park Arts Lodge & Park Café Portsmouth
2016 SEP23 Culture Shock/Matildas Scoundrels/Atterkop/Carl Lewis Track + Field Birdcage
2016 JUL1 Autonomads, Bandits, Armoured Flu Unit, Ru Dilator The Loft Southsea
2016 APR30 210//The SLM//Second Hand Citizens//Fabian Maddison The Birdcage Southsea
2016 MAR19 Mercurius Rising//51st State//The Bungle Cult The Birdcage, Southsea, Portsmouth
2016 APR4 A Punky Spring Party The Birdcage, Southsea
2015 DEC21 Hard Skin, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, The SLM and Misgivings @ The Barn
2015 NOV28 Punch Winter in the Face Weekender! The Birdcage Southsea
2015 OCT24 The Jack Ratts, Dead by Dawn, Tommy Disfiger & Vs the Tractor
2015 OCT18 Firepit Collective, Second Hand Citizens & Johnny L
2015 OCT10 The Sporadics, Public Order Act, The Migraines, Volatile Idea & Ash Victim The Birdcage Southsea
2015 SEP13 Beats for the Streets Edge of the Wedge
2015 SEP12 Citizen Fish + Black Anchor + Geistfight + The Silhouettes Southsea Social Club
2015 AUG17 FUNDRAISER FOR MAP...Thee Infidels, Grant Sharkey & Will and his stinkin woodstring. The Alma Arms-Eastney Portsmouth
2015 JUN16 SHATTERHAND//BLACK ANCHOR//SECOND HAND CITIZENS
2015 MAY17 Spanner/The Sporadics @ Southsea Social Club
2015 APR19 Grand Collapse, ASBO Retards and Joythief @ Southsea Social Club
2015 APR16 Perkie and The Perkettes plus Rumour @ The Fat Fox 16/04/14 The Fat Fox Southsea
Further thoughts by Nick Haines on 1970's punk bands
AGAIN AGAIN, 1977 Mark Broad drums. Jeff Pountain Guitar, Rob Hutchings Vocals and songwriter, Roger Payne (myself) Bass. Mark Mason guitar!
ATTIC. Pete Coote's keyboard sound and Rob Bartlett's
THE BOASTERS. Fronted by Ade Oakley, Mark aka Cello and two
THE CHIMES. Ade Oakley, and he's not even a musician.
CHURCH DAUBERS. Terry Thurling the singer and his brother Roy Thurling on drums. Blue (RIP Rob Davy
DANCE ATTACK. Nick Haines Jim was a singer
THE FENCE Pete Daynes the drummer vocals, Nigel Hullet, yours truly on cheap guitar. Steve and Pete joined
THE FRAMES. Fronted by Paul Nethercott, Nick Radford on guitar, Muzz Murray on bass and the eccentric Steven Wood on drums.
MALCOM PRACTICE BAND. Dave Pitt on bass and Ross on keyboards,
THE MEDIA. bassist Cello
THE NICE BOYS. Nigel and Steve,
RENALDO & THE LOAF. Brian Poole, Dave Janssen
The Slabs - 1978 to 1979
Spit Like Paint
Pop Art Experience
Here's an A-Z of some of the bands who first flew the punk/indie flag in Portsmouth.
I hope it informs more than it offends!
A five piece from across the Portsmouth area, Again Again weren't strictly punk yet gained the most success and general acclaim of any Pompey 'punk' band, up to and including Emptifish.
Fronted by the tortured figure of Rob Hutchens, a mixture of Lou Reed and John Lydon, Again Again were tight as hell and played a mixture of Velvet Underground covers and self-penned material. Yes they pandered to the punk ethos with tongue in cheek ditties such as Teacher, System and Wrong Again, but were at their most interesting, most astonishing when they became 'themselves' and shook off the 3 chord, three minute straitjacket of punk convention.
The longer, more 'challenging' tracks might well have been seen as self-indulgence had it not been for the tortured vocals of singer Rob and the simply extraordinary lead guitar of Mark Mason.
Age can work both for and against musicians, it's true that Again Again were older than their punk peers but they used this age to great effect. Yes the band's creative element had been influenced by the Velvets and the Dolls but they referenced other sources such as jazz too. Mason's angular lead lines, notes that were just plain wrong became right when he played them and owed as much to Charlie Parker as they did to rock'n'roll.
The band's tightness, great songs and captivating live shows garnered them a strong local following who would traipse across the county and beyond to offer vocal support.
Again Again quickly gained wider recognition. They recorded a John Peel session and were signed by Do It Records. Do It released the Peel session as a 12” single and with unseemly speed dropped the band to focus on their main act Adam and the Ants. Again Again had relocated to London yet loyal fans still travelled up to see them. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, personalities and visions started to clash. There were disagreements over direction and after a brief time ended up playing live with a drum machine. On the basis of a recording I heard of one live performance, the end had most definitely arrived and they thankfully disbanded soon afterwards.
I don't think I'm overstating things when I say that Again Again were the best band Portsmouth ever produced and it's a crying shame that their name isn't more widely revered today.
Attic were the 'intellectuals' of the scene, if only because they had a keyboard and a fondness for odd time signatures. They sounded a little like XTC, perhaps because of Pete Coote's keyboard sound and Rob Bartlett's vocals that were similar to those of XTC's Andy Partridge. Definitely post punk, Attic sadly never achieved their full potential, they released a couple of singles and contributed three tracks to South Specific and attracted positive feedback from those who saw them play. Perhaps Attic's most significant contribution to 'the scene' was their creation of the 'Brain Boosters' label on which South Specific was released. Brain Boosters was an idea rather than an entity but it became a collective belief, a sort of rallying point, albeit briefly.
Perhaps Attic were just a little too clever, too knowing for their own good?
Few bands elicit as much nostalgia and affection as Farlington/Drayton's Boasters.
If punk was simply about getting involved, playing in a band for the sheer fun of it irrespective of niceties such as the ability to play or sing, then The Boasters encapsulated the spirit as well or better than anyone. Fronted by the almost legendary Ade Oakley, the Boasters put enthusiasm ahead of all other considerations. Ade was abetted by Mark aka Cello and two others whose names escape me, (apologies, I'll try to rectify this!). I first encountered the band when they showed up at a Fence rehearsal. We took a break and they asked if they could play a song. We turned our instruments over to them and it soon became obvious that they couldn't.... play a song that is. It was of no importance, they were the embodiment of what punk was all about, the democratisation of music. The band only lasted a short period however.
After splitting, Cello went on to form The Media and Ade refined the Boasters ethos with The Chimes. I don't mean to be patronising when I say “Thanks for the smiles lads.” You guys were serious about the fun and central to the scene.
The Chimes picked up where the Boasters left off. They were musically more proficient, and sounded a little like the Buzzcocks circa Spiral Scratch playing Sham 69 songs.
What carried the day for the Chimes, as it had with the Boasters and later with Red Letter Day was Adrian's enthusiasm and utter dedication to the project. I doubt that there's been a more driven, single minded musician in Portsmouth than Ade Oakley, and he's not even a musician.
He might have got things wrong sometimes, come across as some Jimmy Pursey clone possessed by the ego of U2's Bono and yet.... His passion won audiences' hearts and minds.
Even if you didn't like the music much, you couldn't help but like and respect him and the bands he fronted.
What to say about the Church Daubers that hasn't been mistakenly said about them before?
Never has a Pompey band been so misunderstood, and it was almost entirely by their own design.
If any Portsmouth band ticked every box in the rent-a-punk cliché checklist, it was the Daubers.
They wore leather jackets and ripped t-shirts, dyed their hair and played Heartbreakers and Pistols covers as well as their own material. There were either four or five in the band, it doesn't matter since all eyes were on Terry Thurling the singer and his brother Roy on drums.
(I mean no disrespect to Blue (RIP) or any other band member when I say this.)
Terry's look owed more to Sid than it did to Johnny, he cut a dark, brooding, menacing figure onstage, the perfect counterpoint to Roy's manic drumming and bright orange dyed hair.
The Daubers played up to, revelled in their role as cartoon punks and indulged their burgeoning fan base’s thirst for 'anarchy'. This anarchy in truth only extended to rowdy behaviour that rarely erupted into violence, small time theft and random acts of vandalism.
There were however hints that there was more to the Daubers than many, including myself , thought at the time. For all their devil may care attitude, they rehearsed frequently and diligently enough to become extremely tight and honed their sound to a perfect recreation of the Heartbreakers/Pistols'. Away from the public eye, according to Mark of Again Again (an early member of the Daubers), they were far more experimental or at least adventurous than their public image suggested.
Terry was far from the menacing Sid clone offstage. He was gentle, witty and kept an almost paternal eye over his ever active, mischievous brother.
The Daubers could have been contenders, but fate and their own actions ,and those of their fan base dictated otherwise. The Daubers are legendary, and some of the legend was true.
Me next, my last Pompey band ….I'll endeavour to be fair!
Few bands I reckon have attracted as many backhanded compliments and sneering criticism as Dance Attack. Dismissed by Tim Barrett, the scene's leading arbiter on what was cool and what wasn't, he declared Dance Attack to be; “The Rubettes of the new wave.”
It was a stinging barb yet I suppose contained a grain of truth. I formed Dance Attack with the express intention of forming a pop group, albeit one with an 'edge'..so sue me!
Live, Dance Attack's limitations were too frequently exposed. The boy/girl vocal pair struggled to hear each other and were therefore frequently horribly out of tune. Lesley, the femme of the pair had a liking for singing counterpoint melodies, sometimes slightly off key. These sounded great when set against a solid lead vocal, reminiscent of the B52's, which is what I was aiming for. Unfortunately Jim was a singer of..limited vocal ability and all too often sounded like Arthur Mullard's bastard offspring. Combine that with Lesley's wailings and you have a pretty nasty combination! Add to the mix the band's collective decision to wear matching black jumpsuits for one gig..dear God, the mere thought.. it's too mortifying!
In the studio where everything and everyone can be heard, Dance Attack showed a little of what they could do, and it's heartening to see our contributions to South Specific often selected as one of the album's highlights. Rubettes of the new wave indeed!
I have to declare a personal interest in The Fence too since I was a member.
This won't, I hope prevent me from giving an objective picture of the band.
Again Again and the Church Daubers had one thing in common, they could both 'play'. When they performed they were recognisably 'rock'n'roll and proficient on their instruments.
The Fence weren't and this worked variously to both the advantage and disadvantage of the band.
Actually this isn't strictly true, Pete Daynes the drummer could most definitely play. Soft furnishing salesman by day and Keith Moon by night, the problem the Fence had with Pete was to stop him playing so much, and so bloody loudly. When guitarist, bass and vocals are playing through Woolworth's amplification rated at approximately 15 watts, it can be disconcerting when the drummer is making a racket so loud the rehearsal building begins to crumble.
The band featured a beanpole ex hippy on vocals, Nigel Hullet, a non specific entity with a taste for kipper ties, sleeveless sweaters and major man crush on the Stranglers’ JJ Burnel, Steve McGrath on bass, and yours truly on cheap guitar. The band started out with Nigel and myself, playing along to Velvet Underground, Mott and Neil Young records and making up our own rudimentary songs.
Steve and Pete joined as a result of a poster blitz in Southsea seeking 'punk musicians' and after a few practices we played our first gig at the Portsea Rotary Club.
If the Daubers were the Pistols of the Pompey scene, the Fence were perhaps Wire?
Due to inept tuning, a liking for minor chords and Nigel's ear for a melody the Fence provided a counterpoint to the Daubers' abrasiveness. This was summed up in a poster I created for a Daubers/Fence gig that featured an angelic cherub vomiting over the Daubers' name with the catch line; “Punks vs the Nice Boys' (Nigel nicked the name Nice Boys for a band he formed later on.) We also posed as a disco act to fool the bouncers in Neros into allowing us to play at the Fresher's Ball bash, anarchy in action or a bit sad?.
We only played half a dozen or so gigs and established a small following. Perhaps the pinnacle of our fame was reached when the band's name was seen written in felt tip on a school kid's satchel.
As we became more proficient we were also becoming more predictable and boring.
The songs were getting better, poppier... and blander by the week.
It was time to pull the plug, I know this upset Peter and Steve terribly but it had to happen.
Regrets, I have a few but I could see where the band was headed and I didn't want to go there.
Long running unit comprised of St John's College students, the Frames boasted a loyal fanbase amongst their school friends. Fronted by Paul Nethercott, would be male model and vocally challenged, the band featured Nick Radford on guitar, Muzz Murray on bass and the eccentric Steven Wood on drums. The Frames sound was tinny and the songs only hinted at anything musicaly interesting. Nick, brother of a member of 'The Thought Police' was a creative lead player but was lacking as a rhythm guitarist, he knew the chords but seemed unable to put any passion or energy into them. Muzz was a very basic player but made up for any musical shortcomings by being a thoroughly lovely bloke.
Drummer Woody was, by any definition insane. He would disappear during band meetings, to be found in the kitchen with rubber gloves on cleaning the oven. He would vanish at gigs just a the band went on stage. They would look around for him, and see him waving cheerfully from the audience. He would get hungry during a gig and drum one handed, the other hand clutching a pie.
Only one thing preserved Woody's place in the band, the fact that technically he was probably the best drummer I've ever played with. I joined the Frames after the Fence had split and gigged with them but it wasn't until we went into the recording studio to record the dreadful 'False Accusations' single that I realised just how good Woody was. In the studio, different drums can be recorded separately and listening to Woody play it seemed as if he was able to play every drum simultaneously, each with a different yet complimentary rhythm. It turned out that he was a big jazz fan and his style was based on jazz drummers he admired. Mad and brilliant.
Paul the singer was replaced by Sue Jonas, a pale, Siouxsie-soundalike chanteuse and the band recorded a couple of tracks for the South Specific album. They were later asked to record a session for John Peel's show and, knowing the Frames some incarnation of the band is probably still playing
to devoted ex St John's pupils somewhere in Portsmouth.
MALCOM PRACTICE BAND.
“Too clever by half” is an accusation that could also be lain at the door of Malcom Practice.
Duo Dave Pitt on bass and Ross on keyboards, Malcom Practice were capable of brilliance.
Musically and in terms of vision and getting a whole 'concept' right, Malcom Practice were miles ahead of any other Pompey band. Playing a mixture of Glitter style stomp, electro that predated the Pet Shop Boys and New Order and glam rock, Malcom Practice, along with Again Again were bands that made me question if there was any point in my playing, since they were so far ahead of me in the skill and creativity departments. Their obvious ability was spotted and they signed, possibly unwisely to pop mogul Micky Most's label, where they were promoted as some loveable, goofy boy band. It all rather fizzled out after this and Dave joined Chicory Tip of Son of My Father fame for a tour. Malcom Practice were way ahead of their time and might have been massive had they had formed in the early 80's instead.
One Portsmouth band who rather stood apart was The Media. Formed by bassist Cello after the Boasters, the Media had a collective love of the Clash and were influenced by the Clash's forays into reggae. Whilst being affable chaps on a personal level, as a band they made a conscious decision to separate, if not actually disassociate themselves from the rest of the Portsmouth scene. They declined to participate in the South Specific project, perhaps fearing it might undermine their own quest for a record deal. The band achieved short lived attention when they featured in a local television kid's drama, not in their own right but as 'a' band playing in one scene. The Media came out with some catchy songs, I still sing “Don't sit back' on occasion, it was just a shame that they didn't feel able to join with the rest of us, not that it would probably have made any difference.
THE NICE BOYS.
Formed by two former Fence members, Nigel and Steve, the Nice Boys 'borrowed' their name from a Fence poster and purveyed a high energy, tight brand of power pop that the Fence had threatened to descend into a year earlier. The Nice Boys even covered one Fence song and it features with two other tracks on South Specific. Whilst all other tracks for the South Specific compilation were recorded locally at Telecoms studio, the Nice Boys booked a session in London and you can certainly hear the difference in engineering and production. The Nice Boys tracks leap out of the speakers in a way few of the album's others do. Ironic then that the former Fence track 'This Room' is thus turned into a castrated, melodramatic, overlong slab of cock rock, especially since it was conceived and performed by the Fence as the exact polar opposite. Maybe that's love?
RENALDO & THE LOAF.
Legend has it that this band's creators started making 'music' in the 17th century when, as farm hands they discovered that ducks could be stabbed and pigs stuck to precise musical notes.
They added farming implements as percussion and annoyed the locals to such an extent that they were eventually tried and hanged as witches.
The protagonists' mischievous spirits refused to rest however, and found corporate life anew in the shape of Renaldo & The Loaf. Who knows what goes on in the minds of this pair? Do they know? Do they care? Avant garde musical terrorists or hippy sub-Gong pseuds? Your guess is as good as mine. I felt much the same about San Fransisco nutters the Residents, who ploughed a similarly eccentric furrow. Being the weirdest, least commercial of all the Portsmouth bands, it's perhaps only natural that they became the best known in 'hip circles'. They sent tapes to the Residents who 'dug their vibe' (maaan) and brought them into their fold where they released at least one album for a major minor label.
Renaldo & The Loaf feature on the South Specific album and played a leading role in the album's conception, design and release. They were 'on the scene' at the time, but not part of it. It's questionable if they are actually part of anything other than their own weird world. God bless 'em.
SAFETY IN NUMBERS.
Just as the crowd at Fratton Park were awarded an honoury number 13 jersey in the Pompey squad, so the fanzine Safety In Numbers is given equal status to the bands it so enthusiastically and fairly covered. Written and produced by local music fans Ken Brown and Kev Smith, SIN was not only a good local read, it was the equal of any regional fanzine and better than some of the national music press. The fact that each of the early issues sold out rapidly and one issue reportedly selling for £130 on the internet is testimony to its quality of writing and presentation.
The passion for music in the city exhibited in the fanzine's pages is still evident and in practice today. Ken Brown not only runs a business, he also acts as a promoter of local gigs for Square Roots Productions. Whilst most of us have let our guitars and drumkits gather dust, Safety In Numbers in the the shape of Ken keep going. Ken, and Kev, I salute you.
INDULGE YOUR INDIFFERENCE.
Punk/Indie roots in Portsmouth.
“Punk happened because it needed to happen.” John Lydon asserted, and he was right.
How it happened, how it developed in towns and cities across the country depended on many factors.
It's important to be clear about what I mean by 'punk.'
There have in the years and decades that followed 1976, been myriad bands and fans laying claim to the term but the truth is that punk as a genuinely new, radical, primal scream of anti-fashion, nihilistic anti-everything had died by the autumn of 1977. Perhaps as early as the summer.
Can it really be true, that punk in its purest form lasted less than a year?
Sadly, gladly yes because punk was born out of anger and rejection.
It defiantly proclaimed; “Dunno what I want but I know how to get it, I wanna destroy..”
It was a dead end, we all knew that yet it was still a million times better than the alternative, ie numbing conformity...
“Blind acceptance is a sign, of stupid fools who stand in line.”
Punk ended because the majority of those who originally participated got bored with how swiftly the whole ethos became a caricature of itself, how bands gleefully sold their souls to industry and how rebellion was so readily turned into money. “Oh,bondage trousers £75? Up yours!”
REM's Michael Stipe later summed it up succinctly in 'What's the Frequency?”;
“To walk away in disgust is not the same as apathy.”
Portsmouth 1975, while the rest of the country was embroiled in social unrest and political upheaval Portsmouth continued to function as though it were still 1970.
In 1970, the future for Pompey youth was set in stone, one either had parents with money and/or accrued sufficient primary education to get you into Grammar school, or you dully accept your fate, namely five years mucking about at secondary modern followed by an apprenticeship in the Dockyard or one of the defence contractors dotted around the city and its hinterland.
The new wave of 16 year olds churned out by Portsmouth schools in 1975 encountered a new economic reality however. Old certainties no longer existed; the numbing security of a job for life for instance had begun to disappear. There was still work to be found but nothing that promised any future. The alternatives were to sign on the dole or go to college, the latter option simply a way of delaying the former, and only available to kids who hadn't messed around at secondary school too much and passed a couple of O'levels, and whose parents were willing and able to finance the indulgence.
The 1970's get a lot of stick musically. But it wasn't all bad. True, by 1976 the singles charts that had previously been the natural home of Gary Glitter, Sweet, Slade, Bowie, Roxy Music and T.Rex were now infested by saccharine disco and novelty records and 'rock'n'roll' had become a fat, lumbering parody of itself...but there was still some pretty good stuff to listen to if you could be bothered/knew where to find it, or had a big brother or sister to introduce you to the likes of the Velvet Underground, Iggy or the New York Dolls. There was creativity and an alternative creative bubbling away, but it was a cult thing, with progressive rock overshadowing everything with its massive gut.
The Portsmouth punk scene developed I suppose in much the same way as it happened elsewhere with some very particular difficulties and obstacles to overcome.
Portsmouth isn't a big city but it is amazingly disparate. Local areas have their own manners and lore and it's quite possible to live in one Portsmouth locale for decades and never visit one's neighbouring communities. To many from Southsea, Cosham is as 'up north' as Manchester, Farlington as foreign as France. The city is a conglomeration of small villages living cheek by jowl, mostly in peace and ignorance of each other’s existence. Being a city of contradictions however, it's also the case that Portsmouth is a fantastically nosey place. By dint of its population density, if someone breaks wind in Somers Town, within an hour residents of Paulsgrove will be asking “who's farted?'
It only takes a spark to start a fire, and punk started in Portsmouth as a series of small smouldering compost heaps of dissatisfaction which quickly coalesced into something more coherent.
Not a raging wild fire perhaps, more a bonfire that has got out of control.
There were one or two on the Portsmouth scene who through luck or design been in London during punk's early, halcyon days. They returned to the city and spread the word to their friends, most of whom were distinctly unimpressed at the idea of playing badly, dressing worse and advocating anarchy.
For a working class city, Portsmouth has always been somewhat reactionary in its political outlook.
Home to the Royal Navy, pragmatism and patriotism merged to form an unbreakable loyalty to the rule of Her Majesty, the strength of her fleet and Portsmouth's role in its upkeep.
To wear a t-shirt bearing the message; “F**k the Queen” really was tantamount to treason since it questioned not only something as abstract as the monarchy, but actual jobs and ways of life.
It was one thing to put two fingers up to bankers in London, it was something far more dangerous to do on the streets of Portsmouth.
Being a punk in Portsmouth was a lonely affair and might have been a dispiriting one had it not been for an inner conviction and glorious chance encounters. For the most part, you were a punk at home in your bedroom. You listened to John Peel's show, read the music press avidly and watched more in hope than expectation new tv shows such as So It Goes or Something Else.
You forayed onto the streets at your own risk wearing anything connected to punk, even a homemade badge could get you into trouble. These small details of style however made fellow believers easily identifiable and many friendships and bands were formed on the basis of seeing someone in the street taking similar risks and daring to...talk. It was something you just didn't do before punk, approach a stranger and ask them about themselves.
Punk quickly brought a select few together.
There were few records to buy initially, the first 'proper punk' vinyl I suppose was the Ramones first album on import, that and the suspiciously hippy Patti Smith album. Self-financed singles did start to appear and were played on Peel's show. If you wanted to actually buy them however, it meant a journey up to London's Rough Trade. Few bands toured and those that did mostly avoided Portsmouth, so once again a jaunt up to London was required to see any of the 'happening bands.'
Live music in Portsmouth revolved around the Guildhall, the city's major venue for major groups, the Polytechnic where more edgy, student friendly bands were booked and the innumerable pubs that played host to dreadful blues, rock, progressive and r&b outfits. Punks were welcome in none of these venues and whislt the Poly featured several bands punks wanted to see, actually getting past their door staff was only marginally less demanding than escaping East Berlin on a pogo stick.
Yes, bands did start to come to us, Generation X, The Jam, X-Ray Spex, Cortinas, Jayne County, Sham 69, Cure and the Damned all showed up eventually and it was great but, what about homegrown bands. Where were Pompey's Pistols, Cosham's Clash?
The Portsmouth punk/indie band scene started as what I earlier defined as 'punk' was dying.
It couldn't, by definition have been any other way.
I realise I have left some bands out of the A-Z…. The likes of Chaos featuring at least one offspring of Portsmouth's Gentle Giant were apparantly doing the rounds at the time, yet I never encountered them so can't comment. The same goes for the Thought Police.
Mike Malignant and the Parasites perhaps deserve an entry of their own, if only for their rather good shared ep with Pink Flamingos. Mike and the band were apparantly upset at not being included in the South Specific project. In the project's defence I'd have to say that it was made open to all and at no time did the Parasite collective show any interest in joining until afterwards.
I'm unaware of many gigs played by the Parasites apart from at the Homewell Free Concert and can't, based on the information I have, include them in the greater scheme of things.
If anyone has better information I'll be glad to amend the list.
Toxicomaine and Anna Blum the two 'invited' bands on South Specific were still at an embryonic stage back then and I'm unsure if they ever progressed beyond recording the tracks they contributed.
If they did more, then accept my apologies.
There were of course the 'hangers on' to the scene, bands such as Public Heirs who played fast r&b and flirted with punk imagery (the singer ripped the sleeves from his t-shirt and..well that was about as far as it went) in an effort to attach themselves to the punk scene.
Forgive me if I briefly indulge in a little tragic 'rockism'. When The Fence played their first gig, nervous as hell, we were a lowly support to Public Heirs who took to the stage to an announcement from Roland Woods (club impresario. Sic)..”Now put your hands together for Portsmouth's number one band...Public Heirs!” How vile we agreed, how sad...how very rock'n'roll we sneered.
Life can have a wonderful symmetry sometimes and as chance would have it, our final gig was at the same venue and the other band on that night was Public Heirs. The tables had turned however and they were supporting us. We thrashed through our first song, then Nigel called for quiet and informed the crowd; “What a great privilege it was to be supported by Pompey's number one band!”
How vile, how sad, how very rock'n'roll...how hysterically amusing. I’ll put my claws back in now!
I have a horrible feeling there's at least one major player on the scene who I have left out, no doubt their name will come to me as soon as this is published. If this is the case, a thousand apologies.
One name that comes to mind I suppose is; BONDAGE IN GENERAL, Portsmouth's own punk 'boutique' at the top of Commercial Road. It sold expensive tartan bondage trousers and expensive Sex Pistols and Clash t-shirts, badges and fanzines and became a hub of sorts for the scene, particularly the young ones. To me it rather smacked of opportunism, of trying to milk gullible wannabe punks but from what I know, the owners were sincere and it forms another 'thread in the tapestry'.
NAMES & FACES.
In no particular order,
Rob McQoid (RIP), troubled and troubling. Fashion victim and agent provocateur Rob was a face on the punk scene, and every scene that followed. For every bad tale there is about him, there's one which displays a more decent side.
Mad' Rob, the Grim Reaper of punk, his name alone was sufficient to put ice in your soul. Confusingly, Rob was a dead ringer for Terry from the Daubers. Mistaken identity at a gig almost lead to this author not writing today!
Bernice (?) legendary punk girl. Is it true she got on stage and smacked the singer of Virginia Doesn't in the mouth when the band played a novelty punk song? If not, it should be!
Perry Gobels, Clash fanatic and ever present at gigs.
Andy Lavender, legendary for being legendary. If there was even a hint of punk in the air, Andy could usually be found.
Roland Woods, promoter and alternative accountant, insofar as he could never account for paying bands less than agreed but there was no alternative.
Steve Pescott, savant and serial music fanatic, odd and the better for it.
Terry in HMV Commercial Rd, bearded but can be forgiven since he did his best to supply local punks with the vinyl they craved and...so many others, forgive me for missing you off the list, the above were just a few that came immediately to mind.
In 1980 I moved to Scotland where I continued playing in bands and got involved in the newly founded Cartel indie distribution network. I kept track of events back in Portsmouth and was pleased to see new venues such as Granny's opening and a surge of new bands playing.
I was kinda disappointed that few of these bands who released vinyl, or even cassettes availed themselves of the Cartel's services. The route was there for Pompey bands to make their product available throughout the UK yet they never did. Perhaps it was the Cartel's fault for not advertising our services but since we didn't charge a distribution fee and all worked for low wages, I don't think the blame lay entirely with us.
In the past I have perhaps over emphasised the role the first wave of bands played in the history of Portsmouth punk and indie and I apologise for droning on like a broken record sometimes.
My only excuse was that the period between 76 and 1980 was incredibly important to me, made me who I am today (sadly!) and shaped my outlook when embarking on later projects.
Punk changed because it had to change. You can only negate yourself and the world for so long.
Anger is an energy but anger can only sustain you for a limited period. Unless hope is added to the recipe the 'No Future' diet quickly becomes toxic. Pop will indeed eat itself unless it moves on.
It was one thing to say 'F**k this, f**k that', and really 'Mean it maaan', far more challenging was to find a replacement to all we derided.
It was asking a lot and it all ended in failure...didn't it?
Well no actually, in a hundred sneaky ways punk changed Britain, and Portsmouth forever.
It might lost many battles but did manage to subvert the war.
There's a load more I could say but won't for now. I'd like to thank everyone who was around at the time, and those who are only now discovering who did what and when, I hope some of what I've written helps put 'meat on the bones'.
If you want a more in depth look at the scene, especially the scene that followed on from the one I describe above, check out '20 Missed Beats' by Anthony Rollinson. Part fan, part scholar, Tony's book is as exhaustive and mostly accurate guide to the Pompey scene there has ever been, or likely to be. Now out of print, Portsmouth libraries have half a dozen copies still available for loan.
It's good enough to bother getting/renewing your library card... nothing else to say but...
PLAY UP POMPEY PUNKS.
The Chimes....................or was it the Frames? at a beach party in Eastney on 6th June 1981 where we supported them.
Our band was called Savage Amusement, Andrew Gent bass.
Ian Parminter, was in Rob Mc Quoids Riot squad then became body count, then the Tribe! Nick Haines’ first band!