“I got no reason it’s all too much,
You’ll always find us out to lunch.”
When I mention my love for Punk, I forget a band that I probably should mention. The thing is, I never really listened to them. I thought the singer was just another loud gobshite with nothing for me to care about. I was wrong. I’ve been wrong for years, and I feel stupid for it. I was told for years by my uncle to listen to the Sex Pistols, and when I was younger (pre-teens) I had a brief encounter with the song Pretty Vacant. I saw the video on Top Of The Pops back in ’92 when it was reissued. I went through a stage of using the hoover as a mic stand, pretending to be in whatever band I loved at the time. I forced the hoover back and forth as I tried to mouth the words and shouting “We’re so pretty oh so pretty…” in a way only a 6-year-old could. I wasn’t aware of the Sex Pistols, I didn’t know how important they were. I was blind to all of this for many many years, and I am so sorry.
Recently all I’ve been listening to is the Sex Pistols. I have become infatuated with Johnny Rotten’s boyish and rebellious voice, the way he pronounces certain words. As if he is (rightfully) mocking the establishment and authority in every line he sings. Sex Pistols stood for things that at the time was deemed as “dangerous.” It’s alright to call the Royal Family out on how corrupt they are, it’s perfectly fine to have no trust in the political system and to speak out about it. It was relevent in the 70s, and it is bloody relevant now. Times have changed, but certain problems are still there. The same things are still corrupt, and we can go back to the Sex Pistols music to point out the shit that is still going on.
I’ve been adamant that Punk is purely New York, and that’s it. To a degree I still stand by that. Give me the Ramones over The Clash any day (I do like The Clash, it’s not a dig.) I guess I just didn’t want to hear Cockney accents over a raucous. Again, I was wrong. I have no problems with admitting I’m wrong.
I can understand why many would have shunned the Sex Pistols. They were obnoxious, they were loud and they didn’t care what YOU thought about them. The thing is, these are the things I have ended up loving about their music. I love that they had a brilliant obnoxious sound that wasn’t accessible to all. They were and still are an acquired taste. They aren’t for those who see no wrong in the world. You can be an angry teen or a displaced adult, you will still find some connection in their songs.
If it wasn’t for the Sex Pistols, would Punk have made it to the UK? How would the UK have created their own Punk scene if it wasn’t for the Sex Pistols? They made it sound more pissed off, agitated and dangerous. For those who didn’t “get” Punk (I feel bad for them) the Sex Pistols were just a bunch of angry kids kicking up a fuss. Read their lyrics and see what was happening in the UK at the time, and it is easy to see why they spoke to an almost blank generation. They were relevant then, and looking at the state of the world now- they still are relevant. The youth are shunned; this causes boredom and the thought of not amounting to much. When your generation is constantly put down and being told there is nothing for them, how on earth do you expect them to react? If they don’t do anything, they are deemed lazy. If they cause a fuss due to the state of things, they are labelled as god knows what. We’ve seen it happen haven’t we. With their callings of “No future” ringing in our ears, it’s fair to say that the Sex Pistols music still holds valuable truth. Seventeen sounded like a self-fulfilling prophecy for many then and now.
I’ve tried to work out why it took me so long to get to this point. To the point of realising just how great the Sex Pistols were, but most things are delayed with me. An immediate reaction isn’t always something I can muster, even if it is to do with music. If it wasn’t for the Sex Pistols a lot of bands would not have formed, you’ve heard the stories. People were there at THAT gig. Some genuinely were, some weren’t. But we all wish we were there. We wish something like this could just happen again. Something that just fucks things up for a while, something to make others think and to DO something. You wish someone could play as furiously as Paul Cook, you wish there was a front-man as bold as Johnny- will it ever happen again? Maybe. Maybe some kid somewhere is listening to Bodies and thinking “I can do that.” Maybe they’ll come and save us all. Do we need saving? Probably not. I’m just being overdramatic.
They turned their noses up at and shunned the things we are “supposed” to love, admire and even respect. They saw the faults and pointed them out in black and white. They pointed out all that was (and probably is) wrong. With just one record they gave the music industry a swift kick up the arse, they woke up lazy teens and pissed off parents. What else could you want from a band?!