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from the archive of Richard Elliss

Introduction. The Sex Pistols secret tour hit Club Lafayette, Wolverhampton on 19th August 77. Barry Cain was there to report for Record Mirror.
Record Mirror 27th August 1977


Transcript: SPOTS the arch enemies are back

THE FIELD of vision is obscured by 10 morose meatheads. The clarity of sound debased — like a gurgling wino.

Quickgyre kids lash out in the dark. But that was the night rock 'n roll lived and cried.

The night the silk - lined lid of Presley's copper coffin slammed tight forever. Who needs him ... when you've got the Sex Pistols.

Yeah. You heard right The Sex Pistols. 'Cos last Friday night at the little Lafayette club just around the corner from Wolverhampton station The Pistols proved beyond a slithershadow of a doubt that everything you may have tuned into before was a sham.

Forty minutes blowtorched into your brain, leaving scars that will never heal. May the disfigurement burn its way through to your souls.... OK, so you gotta lot of questions to ask. Like why the Lafayette? Why wasn't it publicised? Why was it allowed? Why were they doing it?

The Spots

Lemme-explain. But I've got to admit I don't know all the answers. It appears the band decided they wanted to play in this country again, seeing that the last time was around four months ago and that was a one-off gig.

"They came here late last year and really liked the place. So they contacted us and said they wanted to it again," revealed George Haddocks, manager of the Lafayette. But, the name couldn't be bandied about for obvious reasons. The petition - mongers would have had a field day if they'd known. And the band didn't want to attract outsiders.

The Spots. That's the name they chose. Sex Pistols On This Stage was one local's deciphered version. Make up your own. But secrets ain't kept these days. National press were ringing up a week beforehand for confirmation that the arch enemies were gonna play. A radio station offered one of the owners a free American holiday just for a knowing nod. You know the kinda thing.


The whole town knew about it on the night — but only on the night, although one guy I spoke to said he was told they were playing three weeks back. "Hey. Just think, I'm actually sitting this close to him. I can't believe it. . . " Just take away three bodies from the plastic lounger and she would be sitting next to him. No question.

We're in JB's, an aircraft hangar of a club in Dudley five miles outside Wolverhampton. The band are due on in an hour. Rotten's hunched up on the floor. Vicious is asleep on another chair. He looks quite cute with his eyes closed.

Steve's chatting up a local Richard and Paul's smiling. He seems as much in the ignorant dark as anyone else. "I really dunno what's happening. I dunno if we're supposed to be doing this surprise tour or not." He's referring to the top - secret gigs at selected venues around the blackcountry heavily reported in last week's press.

Rotten looks tired. "I am tired. . Heavy night, as usual." The same sluggish monotones. Johnny Rotten drools. OK. "What about the new album? Don't you read your RECORD MIRROR? It's brilliant That's 'cos it's the Sex Pistols. Anything Sex Pistols is brilliant." Scandinavia? "It was boring." Nervous? "We ain't rehearsed for this. Straight out of record studio to gig. It'll be all right."

To Paul. Is it right Elton John's gonna play Malcolm McLaren in the forthcoming Sex Pistols film? "I dunno. I dunno anything about the film." You get the impression Paul dunno.

Meanwhile their beefy Spartan of a bodyguard is busy vilifying a greasy hip in a trench coat "Can I have your coat? Remember how they all used to wear 'em. They needed 'em, queuing for hours in snow, knee deep, waiting to see Black Sabbath. I betcha did that eh? I betcha did. Mug."

The hip ain't bothered none. But Steve loves it.

Right time to go. Outside a fleet of four motors is waiting to transport the timeless tearaways to the Lafayette.

"Oh what!" Yeah, the queue outside looks endless. And none of them is wearing a trench coat The rain's falling heavily. Dirty Wolverhampton rain that rusts your ears and sends you bald. Dirt The band try to push through to the front entrance. No dice. Nobody recognises them. A guy shouts. "We want Rotten!" and the dope don't know he's standing next to him.

Inside now through a side entrance. Already serried formation is the order of the night. A lot of people are gonna be turned away. But they expected that anyway. Pessimism abounds when the Pistols play. It's natural.

Layout. Tiny stage. Rectangle disco floor stained by Donna Summer whinings. Carpeted smooch skirting that area. A balcony going all the way round. Easier to sort out a bird that way.


Manchester United are playing Birmingham tomorrow at St Andrews. What better way for a lonely United fan to spend a night in the Black Country than at a Pistols gig? Sure they steam into a few local punters. But it ain't nothing bad. Just a few too many pints y'know. Not enough fodder for the nationals. And there's a few of them around too. Lurking in the shadows. Spot 'em by their grey macs and the press card, in their trilbies. Oh what a giveaway!

Hat-trick Macari might nick some kudos from the weekend but it's nothing to what Rotten will do to them.

Well, you better sit back now and listen to this gig. Cos it's a killer.

Unannounced walk on. The crowd realise and surge to the front "At
least you're having fun for a change," says Rotten. DADADA-DADADADADADA "Rliight Naw! lyamanantichrist lyamananarcheest. . ."

And that was the end of everything. Those opening lines to 'Anarchy In The UK' gunned down an era. An era of emptiness. From now on there's no looking back. The silky gestures that have enveloped the band were transmuted into diamond - hard endeavour the minute Rotten opened his mouth.

The kids pressed hard against the stage. The speakers were rocking. The PA was getting fouled up. The sound was chopping.

"I Wanna Be Me' followed. The-words were barely escaping. Then it happened. Ten of them there were. Ten baulking bleep - benders standing washing - line style between the kids and the band. Rotten had only said to the crowd "How can I be a star when you all behave like that?" and these guys just materialised.

OK, granted they had to protect the sound system. But there's always one y'know. The spiv who thinks he's the business. He kept leaving the line and ploughing into flash - without - fist pogo merchants up front.

I reckon it was unnecessary. When The Pistols play you don't protect kids from themselves. And you definitely don't protect the band. And you didn't need a defiant line that long to look after the PA.

As a result you just caught the odd flash of Steve's Union Jack handkerchief nut and Sid's contemptible faceless composure. Paul was lost forever.

'I' m A Lazy Sod' sang Rotten as he climbed on top of a monitor behind the 10. The carbons were out in force. The paranoid limp look is In this winter so long as you don't fall into a crank who's out to strangle you. And there were a couple of guys, 30 and balding and barebacked, who were up there with the best of them.

"What did you say their name was again?"

'Looking For Kicks' heralds the beginning of Rotten's stage schizophrenia,. "This one's called 'EMI. Lower: 'It's not worth it' During the number a feller fainted. "We're the first band in the whole world that's ever had geezers fainting," proclaimed Rotten.

Smile Please

'Holidays In The Sun', a new song from the album. It's amazing. But I've forgotten how it goes. Maybe next time. . .

"Any Wolves' supporters out there?'' asked the funny looking lead singer who's much taller than he looks. Hand over eyes Indian scout stance. Lukewarm reaction. "What about the lads from Manchester?" "YEAH!" "I ain't started off a riot have I?''

Hold on. Is that, no it can't be, yes he is. He's actually SMILING! Johnny Rotten smiles sensation. Maybe he's just ill. Or maybe all that spiel he gave a few about being there only for the fun was true. Perhaps he does enjoy himself. Well, would you credit it. And I thought it was all about pain and depression. Wrong again. Thank goodness.

'No Feelings'. The sensursound, is, like, blinding. There's no better rock guitarist around than Steve Jones. If ever a guy has come on over the past six months he has. All those months of intense rehearsal have certainly paid off. Maybe he’ll apply for that job in Steve Harley's new band after all.

'Problems'. But they ain't got none any more. Everyone loves The Pistols. Them that don't don't love anyway. It's got to the situation now where you can't slag them off cos they're, like, an institution, man, And do we need institutions!


'Pretty Vacant.' There's never been such a crowd. "Its the best show I've ever seen," observed Rotten and that was only after the second number. It's like watching the dance of death. Around and around into the trance pool He can hypnotize them, do you know that? He can actually eye-stab their custom-made minds. And they'll never be the same again.

'God Save The Queen'. Course there's a fewchar. Like we've said before, they're creating one, whether they like it or not I mean, after you've disembowelled an entire industry the only direction left is up. As long as they never let the sacrificial sword fall from their grasp...

Yes. It is as important as that.

'No Fun'. The obvious encore. And a contradiction. It IS funny. In the best possible way. Rotten smiled 'cos he was happy at the reaction the band got that night. Christ, the Pope would've been happy with that.

They left. Forty minutes. The DJ stuck 'Jumping Jack Flash' on the turntable. A leather clad kid yawned.

I wish I was a Sex Pistol. Maybe I could pull birds then.

Report : Barry Cain
Picture: Kevin Cummins

Press cutting submitted and transcribed by Richard Elliss

God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton / 2010

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God Save the Sex Pistols


God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton /