The Punk Diaries I Used For Writing Bombed Out!
Mathew Street in 1980, at the time of Bombed Out! (Inacityliving)
February 1979 was a special month for me. I’d recently turned seventeen and I’d decided to keep a diary, which, all these years later, I still do, although obviously not the same one.
At first there was nothing worth noting in the first boring month of hating school in 1979, although by the time the first entry was written in mid-February, my humdrum year of school-escape and band fantasies had been changed in a way I could never have foreseen, even two weeks earlier.
It might not look like much written down, but it was pretty momentous for me. I’d left school, signed on and played my first gig with Pink Military Stand Alone in Manchester all on the same day, although it was written retrospectively and should have been on Thursday 15th not the 14th (see poster below).
The band I’d joined, Pink Military, had some excellent people in the band, one of whom was the (sadly now deceased) drummer, Paul Hornby, who proved very useful in checking some facts with, as I wrote Bombed Out!
I’d been in Pink Military for a less than a week when we played at the Factory Club in Manchester, and I’d been playing bass for only three months.
How I got into the band, which was then arguably the biggest band in Liverpool, even ahead of Echo and the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes, is detailed in my memoir of the time, Bombed Out!.
After that, for the next nine months in 1979 while I was still in the band, I was also working in and hanging around Eric’s club, as well as the other band haunts in Liverpool city centre: the Grapes, the Armadillo Tea Rooms, Brian’s Cafe and Probe Records, as well as rehearsing, playing gigs and recording, and I kept a detailed diary of the whole period.
I continued keeping them as I joined Pete Burns’ band Nightmares in Wax, early in 1980 (Nightmares in Wax became better known for its later name-change to Dead or Alive).
I felt at the time that I was privileged to be passing through this incredible musical and social landscape of Liverpool, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever, and certainly not for me, which is why I wanted to record as much of it as I could in diaries and notes.
At first it was all one-liners (see above) but my entries gradually became more closely written, like this:
Fast forward a few months, and it was even more densely packed…
By the end of the year my entries were spilling onto A4 paper, and it was obvious I needed a bigger book for 1980, so I used an old, thick A4 schoolbook, and I never looked back.
I had to review and decipher all my microscopic writing from the years 1979-1983 in these diaries, in order to write my memoir of my spent in bands, in Liverpool, in relationships and in Eric’s until it closed. Bombed Out! also chronicles the economic, musical and social landscapes of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and records what happened to me after that fantastic Liverpool music period was over.
Bombed Out! is about that extraordinarily creative period in Liverpool’s cultural and social history, turbo-charged by the economic battering the city was receiving at the hands of the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher.
This period ultimately changed the course of my own life in an unusual way, and in a way I’m convinced could never have happened without being around the people who hung out at Eric’s and with whom I played in the bands.
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