Fanzines, fever and The Clash in Manchester 1977

Hello…..anyone there? I just thought I’d briefly check in from my cold syrup induced stupour and get a quick post composed. How on earth I catch a stinking cold when it was 105f outside this week I’ll never know. Hope your week is going better than mine and unless you’re in jail or surrounded by members of Coldplay (or both!!) chances are it is.

I’m going to make this a very short post but ideally will be back to something more substantial shortly. (lie…I continued it the next day) You know that video clip of the interview with The Clash where Bernie Rhodes is asleep? That’s how I feel this evening. Speaking of Bernie Rhodes please drop in soon for a chance to get your hands on a very special bit of Bernie related Clash memorabilia, I don’t quite know what the owner is asking for it but I think it will create quite a bit of interest.

joe strummer bw door 446x450 Fanzines, fever and The Clash in Manchester 1977In the meantime I’ve a few good things to share. Put your hand up (with me) if you are old enough to remember fanzines? Before the dawn of the internet and blogging back in my youth fanzines were the journals of the youth when it came to punk music for a while, into the 80’s some bands even had their own (very good) fanzines full of typically 32 pages of xeroxed content stapled together. The content was often good especially for the obsessive fan, special interviews, gig reviews, rumours and opinions. In the same decade fanzines became really popular in the world of football (soccer for some) with loads of excellent choices full of funny and insightful writing. I can remember a time when Arsenal had no fewer than 10 different fanzines being published and sold around the ground or down at Sportspages on Charing Cross Road (is that still there?). Fanzines had a wonderful DIY mentality and still contained lots of excellent writing the like of which wasn’t available elsewhere. When starting this blog creating something akin to a fanzine was always a goal – opinions, ideas and some strange stuff mixed in but essentially focused on a specific topic to be shared with like minded people. How important were fanzines to punk? Hard for me to say because of my age but I think if you look at the idea behind the music that anyone could do it, you didn’t need to be connected and versed to start a band then the fanzines were the written equivalent. I’ve been drawn into that long diatribe by a cool feature currently in The Guardian that looks at the ’50 key events in the history of indie music’ there’s been a number of good features but do go and check this one out which looks at Mark Perry’s (and Danny Baker’s) important contribution to the punk/indie landscape by starting up ‘Sniffin’ Glue’ back in 1977. Worth remembering The Clash were treated like lepers for signing to CBS at the time in the oracle, also worth remembering there was no Rough Trade or Factory Records in 1977 the only proper independent options were Chiswick Records (who signed The Damned), Stiff and arguably Island or Virgin but if memory serves me they were already associated with EMI by that time. I wondered if any of you still have any of those old fanzines? I bet they fetch a tidy sum on eBay now, I’ve got some old Echo and The Bunnymen and Wedding Present ones and a pile of football ones but nothing that predates about 1985. Check out the entire feature ‘A History of Modern Music’ on the Guardian, it will keep you occupied for ages.

The other link which is definitely worth your time is over at Dangerous who look back at The Clash performance at The Elizabethan in Manchester in November, 1977. This makes many lists of great earlier concerts although it helped that Granada TV had cameras there to capture some of the best quality footage of the band that year for ‘So It Goes’. I recommend the article as it’s some of my favourite footage of the band, as if you shook up a bottle of Koka Kola and twisted the lid off….explosive, amazing. A couple of clips are on that page. Thank goodness for Tony Wilson.

I’ll have more soon, perhaps too soon to make up for the gap. I also will probably be adding a forum to the blog next week so you can make friends with each other and play nicely.  Thanks for stopping in and don’t forget to say stop by the comments section or on Facebook and Twitter. You can also have a daily blog fix mailed direct to enjoy with a nice spoonful of cough syrup by subscribing to my RSS Feed here. Cheers – Tim

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2 responses to “Fanzines, fever and The Clash in Manchester 1977”

  1. Hutsville UK says:

    Hi Tim, I couldn’t let this post pass without comment because, possibly at the very same moment you were writing about fanzines, I was buying a curious piece from a place called Snoopers Paradise in Brighton. I pop in there when I have a chance and on this occasion I stumbled on a fanzine from 1981 called The Pacemaker. The Clash and The Jam are on the front cover (at least the rhythm sections are) and inside are interviews with Topper, Paul, Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton. I’ve never seen this fanzine before and that may be because this was the ‘Pilot Issue’ and possibility is it was the first and last. Dont know if any of your readership can help? I snapped it up for a fiver. It would have cost 60p back in ’81! I’ll share some snaps when I get a mo.

    • Tim at The Clash Blog says:

      That sounds great and yes I’d love to see some photos. I’d never heard of the fanzine until now…I’m sure someone else probably has….

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