Back in 1977, some friends formed a punk band. It was what you did back then. The Darlex played straight down the line four-great-guys-with-three-great-chords stuff. Their drummer was called Mike Rafone. I think he may have made that up.
At that time there was in Bishop’s Stortford a pub called The Railway, and this had a large music room upstairs where there were occasional gigs. The Darlex landed a support slot to The Amyl Dukes. And of course I went along to add some moral support, and do some pogoing, though I was a wee bit old for that. Never mind eh? Before you ask, no I did not have a pink Mohawk. I had longish hair at the time, but I reckoned if Joey Ramone could get away with it then I could too.
So up we turn. And there’s a problem. The Amyl Dukes, unbeknownst to us had a very strong teddy boy following, and punks and Teds hated each other in a way not seen since the mods and rockers era of the 60s. So the room was divided by an invisible line. To one side spiky hair, safety pins, leather jackets, Anarchy tee shirts, ripped jeans, and studded boots. To the other, quiff that looked like a dead raccoon, long sideboards, white shirts, bootlace ties, drape jackets, drainpipe trousers, and brothel creepers the size of Volkswagens. A fair bit of glowering going on, but no trouble. Not yet. There was however a real sense that things might kick off any minute.
Enter The Darlex. Immediately there was a swirling moshpit of punks, pogoing and gobbing and throwing beer. Again this was socially acceptable behaviour then, and I was in the thick of it, though I did eschew the gobbing. Suddenly the Teds made a move.
‘Here we go,’ I thought. A bar room brawl. Perfect Saturday night entertainment. But I was wrong.
If you have never seen punks and Teds pogoing together, you really haven’t lived. If you’ve never seen punks and Teds greebo dancing and jiving together, as they did for The Amyl Dukes, you really haven’t lived.
And if your ears have never bled, the gig wasn’t loud enough.