Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rare Sex Pistols Footage Shared in New Artwork; Rare Film Footage from the Birth of Punk Has Inspired Artist Graham Dolphin. DAVID WHETSTONE Finds out How

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rare Sex Pistols Footage Shared in New Artwork; Rare Film Footage from the Birth of Punk Has Inspired Artist Graham Dolphin. DAVID WHETSTONE Finds out How

Article excerpt

ARIBBON of Super 8 film, just 161ft long, bears testimony to a pair of famous gigs which took place in the summer of 1976.

They were by The Sex Pistols and they took place at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester - the equivalent of Newcastle City Hall until it was closed 20 years ago to become a hotel.

Actually, they took place in the Lesser Free Trade Hall - "basically a bar upstairs," according to artist Graham Dolphin.

"The first gig was in June 1976 and it became this ridiculously iconic moment," recalls Graham at the Tyneside Cinema, where his homage to both those gigs can be seen.

He explains how Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto, who would later form Buzzcocks, went to London to find The Sex Pistols, the noisy new kids on the block, and invite them to Manchester "They came up and played these two gigs. I think there were only about 40 people present at the first but everyone in the room became someone, whether a member of a famous group or a manager.

"Mark E Smith, who went on to form The Fall, was there and Ian Curtis from Joy Division. Mick Hucknall was in the room, and Morrissey. "Mark E Smith said they were rubbish and Peter Hook (Joy Division) said it sounded atrocious, but it was good to hear something atrocious after all that prog rock stuff. It was more about the attitude than what was being played. It was all about this confrontational attitude which Johnny Rotten had towards his audience."

A second gig followed in July when local band Slaughter and the Dogs shared the billing, and many more people were present to see what the fuss was about.

From there, The Sex Pistols took off. Sid Vicious replaced Glen Matlock as bassist and it was only a matter of time before the self-destruct button was pressed (Vicious died of a drug overdose in 1979, by which time The Sex Pistols was history).

But the band really is history - the most famous name in a brief moment of musical anarchy which put over-elaborate prog rock on the back foot and ushered in New Wave, New Romantics and all that followed.

And there is that film. A guy called Mark Roberts, in the audience at both Lesser Free Trade Hall gigs as a friend of Shelley and Devoto, was handed a Super 8 camera and captured some of the action.

Mark, according to Graham Dolphin, now lives in Bishop Auckland, where he is a carer.

Graham got access to the film - about 10 and a half minutes of actual footage - and says: "It was sitting in a studio for a year and I didn't know what to do with it.

"It had such a cultural weight on its own that I almost felt I didn't need to do anything to it." But it was inevitable that something would spring into such a creative and innovative mind.

Graham, who lives near Consett and came to the North East when his partner got a job at the newly opened Baltic, is one of the region's most celebrated and accessible artists. …

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