Punk on a BBC current affairs TV show (1977)


If only they’d had access to today’s blathering-talking-heads vocabulary…

Punk Guitar Intro:

“Anarchy in the UK; It’s only a Friedman Unit away!”

It’s nice to see that UK home life in 1977 was as bland as it is today.

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These things were thick on the ground in the US too, although slightly later than in the UK. The first sort of big national thing on punk that coincided with the Sex Pistols US tour (starting in Atlanta) just sort of mocked the whole thing:

But later TV reports had a much more ominous tone in the early 80s, such as this more local LA news report on punk with Serena Dank making a special guest appearance (part 1 of 3):

This talk show interviewed Chuck Dukowski from Black Flag, and asked him if he was a neo-nazi–it’s only clips of parts of the interview,I’ve not been able to find the whole thing (I had the name of the show once, but I’m drawing a blank now…) (edited for clarity):

And one more, from an early Showtime program (edited to correct it’s Showtime, not HBO), that treated punk a little more ambiguously (part one of 2):

That doesn’t even begin to get into the popular culture representations of punk in the 80s…

Sorry. I have this knowledge and I got to do something with it!

Edited to add that the clip Pescovitz post is as old as me. What does that say about us all?


There’s a copy of Sniffin’ Glue on eBay right now for $80! http://r.ebay.com/irZYE0

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cool. I always thought the hippie crowd’s reaction to it as embodied by Cheech-n-Chong was pretty funny: “I only know three chords!”

There was also a fad of tv shows having punk-themed episodes to be “topical,” CHiPS, Quincy and what have you.

I came of age a few years later and by then the press had finished reporting on it, which was great because all media representations of punks were in actual punk media. I think it was Arturo Vega that said something in Please Kill Me to the effect of once the Sex Pistols imploded, all the labels realized they weren’t going to make any money off punk. Without their marketing efforts and once the press got through with gawking, punk was completely invisible to the outside world. Meanwhile you could order the Minor Threat discography for eleven bucks postpaid and go to shows and read zines and Love and Rockets comics and it felt like you had an autonomous community. Of course, while I was getting it figured out in high school (88-92), the rug got yanked out from under. As Sonic Youth noted, 1991 was the year punk finally broke.


I totally agree, and actually that was a major argument in my master’s thesis, except with the twist that it was a transnational community of like-minded kids. There was an honest to god alternative (I hate to use that word, but there it is) network of community that kept punk afloat and the majors didn’t have any interest in until the 90s, when they saw how well punk and post-punk (widely defined) had done in the 80s, via their own labels and media outlets (college radio and the numerous zines that sprang up).

I remember in HS (since I lived in a small town in the south) it was slightly after I got out of HS that the alternative craze hit our town widely. Back when I was in HS, it was all the weirdos from around town who would hang out in the downtown area and all the normal kids cruised hamburger row or went to football/basketball games, or whatever. By the time I got out HS in 95, the next year, downtown would have tons of kids, who previously had no interest in underground music, now invading our spaces, cause suddenly, it was all cool. But very similar experiences to yours.

There is a small group of scholars, all of whom are punk rockers, who recently wrote or are writing their dissertations on various aspects of punk. Dewar MacLeod wrote on the LA punk scene and it was recently published as a book–Kids of the Black Hole. Hopefully, Montgomery Wolf will publish hers soon. It was more a generally history of American, spacially speaking. I know there are people writing on LA and Colombia, Germany, and I wrote on LA and Yugoslavia (which wil probably make it into my dissertation somehow). I’d guess most of this is going to start coming out in the next 5 years. Oh, and Alex Ogg, a journalist in the UK who writes on punk and hip-hop helps to publish a punk/post-punk journal, too.


Just watched the first few minutes; one of my initial reactions was that I was so used to seeing that sort of format parodied by Monty Python that I kept mentally substituting John Cleese as the host and other cast members in various parts. The other thing was the young factory worker was so cute; you see her at first with her Siouxie-type eye makeup, and then you see her at home with her Harry Caray-sized glasses.

My first exposure to punk was with a Newsweek article on it, which was mostly on the fashion aspect (I’m not sure if Never Mind the Bollocks had been released by that point–probably not). I think that there was some mention of a nihilistic philosophy and some people finding the punks pretty menacing, but I didn’t pay it much attention because I’d already come to realize that mainstream media tended to portray alternative culture and/or lifestyles either with condescension or as A Threat To Our Very Way Of Life. A couple of years later or so, I actually heard the Sex Pistols, and of course they were great.


When my eyes start to go, I’m totally getting those glasses. :eyeglasses:

I honestly don’t remember my first exposure, but I remember seeing the trailer for Sid and Nancy before a movie, whenever that was, but the funny one was Halloween of 83 I was a “punk rocker.” I had just turned nine. I had the wrap-around headband-style sunglasses and the hairspray that looked like pink hair-dye that my mom bought from the costume shop. Man, I wish I had those photos today!

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Does anybody notice how weird the video looks, like it’s morphing frame by frame? Is this something to do with the encoding?

I’ve never seen anything like that on a digital file. It reminds me of a projection with someone wiggling the screen from behind. Cool effect, but doesn’t match the news-show format at all.

It looks so harmless. I remember the LA scene. It seemed dangerous and really angry. I suppose it is the report here is selective.

I was 20 in 1976. I thought I had already missed it, but became a persistent club goer and loved the groups who did it for music and despised the posers. Of which there were many. I never considered myself a punk.

My crowd were hard core Prog rock fans. A lot of those guys did not follow me into punk. My close friends and I took inspiration from punk and started taking our own noise explorations more seriously and stopped listening to the nay-sayers.

It was a liberating time in music and eventually caused earthquakes in the art world, too. Los Angeles is still dominated by a punk aesthetic (what a ridiculous phrase) and it shows no sign of going away.


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