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from the archive of Dave Smitham

- Page One

The invitation read: “RIVER PARTY. June 7th 1977. Arrive 5.30pm. Boat ‘Queen Elizabeth’ leaves Charing Cross Pier 6.15pm. Return to Charing Cross 11.45pm. To get on board you must present this invitation. It admits one, and one alone. Discretion appreciated.” This was Malcolm’s inspired miscalculation to confront the establishment over the Queen’s Silver Jubilee - just over a week after the release of ‘God Save the Queen’. Assorted journalists, record executives and Sex insiders were invited to witness the Sex Pistols third live UK performance of 1977 during a sail along the River Thames. Not very happy was Johnny … nor the captain when he realized his boat’s guest’s identity: apparently he radioed ahead and soon the good ship was surrounded by a small flotilla of river police boats, forcing it back into dock. Scuffles occurred as Metropolitan Police attempted to clear the boat: eleven of the Pistols closest associates were arrested - but the band were apparently smuggled off a second exit, avoiding arrest. The trials came up later in November: fines and threats of imprisonment were metered out for assault and obstruction. The ‘fascist regime’ had showed its displeasure. Tony Parsons (NME) and Jon Savage (Sounds) record the events below: the event was curiously underplayed by the National press for once. The story is so familiar, but re-reading these cuttings thirty three years after the events, it’s more than shocking to realise how the ‘Authorities’ felt sufficiently threatened by pop culture to intervene in such a heavy handed way. Dave Smitham June 2010
Below: NME June 1977

Jubliee Boat Trip 7th June 1977 Press Cutting

Press cutting submitted by Dave Smitham

God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton / 2010

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God Save the Sex Pistols


God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton /