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Get Pissed, Destroy (Or Eat Cake): The Sex Pistols’ Final UK Gigs, Christmas 1977.

Get Pissed, Destroy (Or Eat Cake): The Sex Pistols’ Final UK Gigs, Christmas 1977.

Above Photo: John Lydon sings with Christmas cake plastered all over his head (Screenshot).

On Christmas Day 1977, the Sex Pistols played two shows at Ivanhoe’s nightclub in Huddersfield. At the time they were banned in towns and cities across the UK as their (media) reputation preceded them, but in Huddersfield they’d been welcomed.

This is a great photo. Sid Vicious at the Huddersfield Christmas party gig, with Nancy Spungen.

Low resolution shot of Sid Vicious being out-Punked by kids with Nancy Spungen; taken at at earlier Sex Pistols gig (see comments below).

Incredibly, in the afternoon of Christmas Day, the band played a matinee gig for for the children of striking firemen, laid-off workers and one-parent families. At this gig the Sex Pistols laid on Christmas treats, a huge cake for the children and they gave away T-shirts, badges, Never Mind The Bollocks albums and even skateboards as Christmas presents.

John Lydon at the Huddersfield Children's Christmas party.

Let them eat cake: John Lydon at the Huddersfield Children’s Christmas party.

This childrens’ party gig, and one that night for adults in the same club, were the last Sex Pistols gigs in the UK before they flew to the US for their ill-fated tour, when they spectacularly imploded.

John Lydon onstage at the nighttime Huddersfield gig (c Kevin Cummins)

John Lydon onstage at the night time Huddersfield gig (© Kevin Cummins)

I recently came across a You Tube video, shot by Julian Temple, of these final two gigs, which I have put a link to below. It contains some of the best live footage I’ve ever seen of the Sex Pistols, and the sheer incongruity of them putting on a gig at a Christmas party for kids, interacting with them and clearly enjoying being there is striking.

There was also a massive cake fight, which John Lydon recalls fondly.

'Take Me To Your Leader.'

‘Take Me To Your Leader.’

One of the high spots in the video is some moronic Councillor from Birmingham, called Edward Hanson, personifying the idiotic knee-jerk opposition to the band by small-minded local officials.

 “Sid was there with Nancy, so he was happy…” (Steve Jones)

MIND the Bollocks – “Sid was there with Nancy, so he was happy…” (Steve Jones)

Lydon is interviewed throughout and he makes some cogent comments about the early power of Rupert Murdoch’s press as it went into hysterical overdrive, smearing the band for all kinds of rubbish.

“The bannings and the local council wars against us were pretty damn outrageous really…”

“The bannings and the local council wars against us were pretty damn outrageous really…” (Screenshot)

The video also made me laugh when I saw they were playing ‘Bodies’ to the children (anyone familiar with the lyrics will know why) – although they did change the chorus!

Sid Vicious in what turned out to be his last Sex Pistols appearance in the UK,

Sid Vicious in what turned out to be his last Sex Pistols appearance in the UK,

There are also some great John Lydon quotes. When talking about Sid Vicious: “How can you be tough with a Christmas cake in your face?”

The footage of them playing ‘New York’ is fantastic and gave me a long shiver of Nostalgia as I watched it. There are also great live versions of EMI, Problem and Anarchy in the UK.

Paul Cook and Steve Jones (Screen Capture).

Paul Cook and Steve Jones (Screen Capture).

There are some interesting comments from the other band members who were watching the footage, including very poignant comments from guitarist Steve Jones about his mental state back then as a 21/22 year old: “It might have looked like I was having a good time…but I get glimpses of how unhappy I was back then…I had no tools on how to live, and no education.”

Lydon said about the childrens’ party: “That gig made me feel like I’d actually achieved something.”

Three weeks later, it was all over for the band as they disintegrated on their American tour, but you get no sense of that imminent split from the video of the gigs at all. They are completely on top of their game.

Going in different directions (Screenshot)

Going in different directions – John Lydon and Malcom McLaren (Screenshot)

Julian Temple, who shot the video, said: “The sound with just one camera is raw and searing. I hope kids watching it today will go: ‘Fuck me, bands like that just don’t exist.'”

He’s right.

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

This is the You Tube link with some fantastic footage – musically and historically.

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2 Comments

  1. Paul

    that picture of Sid with the kids isn`t from Huddersfield.It`s a Slits gig in London around souncheck time in August 1977. I Know because I was there .I played in a band called the Prefects and we were there. Just because there are a few kids in the photos everyone thinks it is Huddersfield. Look at what Sid and Nancy are wearing at the Huddersfield gig and you will see the difference.And check out the photographers site.

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