1976: The Long Hot Summer

In the coming months there are going to be a lot of words written about 1976 and Punk Rock. It’ll be all about London, all about the King’s Road. It wasn’t all about that. Over the coming months I’ll probably be writing a lot of words about 1976. But hey ho I was there so why not…

“Our year in the Lower Sixth ended as Wigan sweltered in a hundred degrees of heat. And we spent that long hot summer holiday cooling down in the same way as we always had: by swimming in Orrell rezzies and drinking pints of lager and lime in the beer garden of the Delph Tavern. Meanwhile two hundred miles south our friends at the NME, Sounds and Melody Maker were monitoring a new musical movement. It was dubbed “Punk Rock” and featured such exotically named bands as The Damned, Vibrators, The Clash and The Sex Pistols. It sounded utterly exhilarating. The photos were magnificent and despite never hearing a note from any of these groups I was a fan. I was a punk rocker. Sod it! And Paul and Andy were with me. Orrell (population 11,000) had it’s own three punks.
John Peel always at the forefront of musical trends started playing The Damned’s ‘New Rose’and every subsequent release. If the inky weekly music press alerted us to the images of these London punk rockers then John Peel gave them their voice. Our voice and it was a snarling wonderful voice. The final year at school saw turntable wars evolving as ‘Anarchy in the UK’ by The Sex Pistols vied with ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ for a few revolutions. We lost the battle but we’d win the war. We were outnumbered by ninety-seven to three but we “didn’t care.” In between dossing around the common room, playing football and falling in love with Patti Smith, Television,The Ramones and Jonathan Richman I had work to do and exams to take. School had been a long and emotional ride. But by the time I got off and entered the real world, the most important thing for me was that there was no longer the smell of patchouli oil in the air and more importantly I was again wearing a decent pair of trousers.”

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