Siouxsie Sioux photo from Derek Ridgers’ Punk London 1977

Aged 12, in 1976, I was a bit too young to pogo. I also lived in Blackpool. Hardly the epicentre of cool but we did have our own punk band: The Membranes (lead singer John Robb was a local hero). By the time I was 15, I was sneaking into the local fleapit to see the Sex Pistols’ Great Rock & Roll Swindle with a friend of mine (and trying desperately not to be intimidated by an older teenage boy/punk behind, who kept pulling my hair). This was the same friend who had Tippexed her finger nails and written SID RIP on them, in Biro, the year before. We may not have had a strong punk scene but we did have DIY nail art. So. There are a few events and exhibitions going on to celebrate the 40th anniversary of punk – and just like the first time round, I’ve missed out on most of them. Late to the punk party, all over again. Though I do think when you’ve grown up listening to The Clash, Siouxsie and the Pistols that rebellious streak lives on.

Anarchy in the UK. Here’s what’s still on:

Punk 1976-78 exhibition at the British Library until the 2nd October – this is free and worth going to and the pop-up shop, done out like an old record store, is fantastic.

There’s still time to catch the punk season at the BFI (throughout August).

The Buzzcocks and The Damned will be playing gigs in various locations until November (details HERE).

Punk at 40, film season at Home, Manchester (details HERE).

Details of other events at Punk.London.


Photo via Paul Smith

Or maybe stay at home and read all about it. I was looking at Derek Ridgers Punk London 1977 photography book yesterday (available HERE; more about it HERE), and there’s a new Phaidon book on graphics and the visual aspect of punk: Oh So Pretty: Punk by Toby Mott and Rick Poynor (available HERE). Though the best book on punk, ever, is England’s Dreaming by Jon Savage (available HERE).

Punk’s Not Dead:


17 thoughts on “That is MY age: It’s the 40th anniversary of punk

  1. Hope you will report on the “The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined” opening at the Barbican this fall. Apropos of punk, have you see the article (in the same issue of the NY Style Magazine) about The Incroyables, 18th century France’s version of punks?

  2. “PUNK” started down the lower east side @ CBGB’s in 1974. The Future members of The Sex Pistols ( as well as Siouxsie & The Clash ) saw the Ramones in London in ’75 and thought they were a gang from the Bronx ( my hometown).

    1. True, it was Malcolm McLaren who saw the Ramones/Richard Hell/the New York Dolls and came back to London with the idea of forming a band…

  3. Wish I could check out these shows! Spent a year at university in Edinburgh (78-79) and early in the term, the Ramones played at Bristo Square. I was definitely not in Kansas any more…. though having come from San Francisco, never WAS in Kansas. What a year and time to be there….

  4. First gig I ever went to in Edinburgh ( age 14) in 1979 was to see Siouxsie and the banshees with U2 as support. Or was it the other way round ? My younger son recently nicked all my Siouxsie vinyls as well as the The Cure, Dead Kennedys etc and removed them to his cesspit aka bedroom. I naturally accused him of cultural appropriation. I was too young to be a real punk, but I did enjoy the deliberately silent restrained response from my very straight mum and dad when aged 17 I got myself a Mohawk. I still listen to the Banshees. The last age of original music.

  5. I wore my Doc Martens today, thank you for the inspiration!
    Mine are from the 90s. I was too timid the first time around, although I would have been old enough. Some guys I went to college with wrote a senior thesis on Punk, in 1977. All the way from New Jersey:).

  6. I remember queueing up outside the Club Lafayette in Wolverhampton back in the day to see a band called SPOTS – Sex Pistols On Tour!! We got to the front of the queue as my friend knew the bouncer and had a fascinating night amongst all of the safety pins and piercings!

  7. The penny has dropped, reading this post it makes perfect sense that I’ve run back to black jeans and leather jackets in my late 50s. I was 18 in 1976/77 and I’ve still got my razor blade necklace somewhere. I could pretend I was a full on punk like some of my friends but I was too much of a wuss and though I saw most of the bands I was a bit too fond of folk music. Later on I was really into bands like the Selector with the divine Pauline Black. Now there is a mature woman of style you should interview Alyson, still performing to sell out venues and looking amazing!!

  8. I saw the Sex Pistols perform at Manchester University when I was there. I used to love walking down Kings Road in the holidays, wearing ‘far too much eyeliner’, much to my mother’s horror. It’s hard to explain to my children what a cultural shift it was.

  9. I didn’t really get into punk until it morphed into New Wave – I guess I liked my music a little more tame – but what a welcome change from the boring Beach Boys’ sound of the ’60s. The Membranes – great name!

  10. I agree with you, Alyson. For those of us who grew up during the punk & new wave years, the rebellious streak is still there. I was lucky enough to see most of the iconic bands – The Clash, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Siouxsie, to name a few – and the same type of music still gets my stomach fluttering today, including new music from today’s punk-inspired bands. And I’m still hooked on my skinny trousers and toe-crushing pointed shoes!

  11. I am from the states. I was London in June of 1977 at the age of 18. When a couple about age passed me by, the guy had an incredible mohawk died the colors of the Irish flag. I thought it was so cool. I became a sort of punker in the early 80s when “punk” hit the states.

  12. Oh those punk days. I’m a bit flustered that the punk age is 40. I remember seeing the Ramones at CBGB’s and Blondie at Max’s Kansas City back when I lived in NYC. It was a blast. I have to say, though that my favorite rocker of that time, actually more toward 1980 was Adam Ant. I still listen to my Ant Music CD……what can I say????????

  13. I made my friend Kerry a punk birthday card, in one of my earliest card making projects: I folded card, spilt tea on it, burnt holes in it and scrawled ‘Have a bloody lovely birthday’ in my worst handwriting with a leaky, scratchy fountain pen. She loved it

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