Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Saturday 29 July 2023

The T-Shirt That Stopped A Gig Rainbow Theatre 30th January 1977

Having spent some time posting stuff about The Anarchy Tour and the problems that ensued following the Grundy incident I think that it will be interesting to see the impact of the press reaction on other bands. The appearance of the Pistols (as replacements for Queen) in the closing segment of Thames Television's early evening magazine program detonated a bomb and signaled the commencement of a state of open warfare with the combined forces of local authorities and the tabloid press pitched against those bands falling under the ill defined definition of punk.

One can only wonder how frusty political bodies such as the Conservative led Greater London Council of 1977 sussed out which bands were associated with said p**k rock to establish the bands that they needed to censure. I can imagine staff members being posted in the corridors of County Hall on a Thursday morning looking for young staffers carrying this weeks NME only to direct then into councilor's offices to provide the necessary lessons in current musical trends!

One can only wonder why a delegation of suits descended on the Rainbow on a winter's evening in January 1977 to check out the evening's special guests of the Climax Blues Band. Perhaps it was just a case of logistics, the place to absorb all of the unpleasant sights and smells of these new punk rock bands would have been the newly opened Roxy in Covent Garden, a place immediately identifiable of the HQ of the London punk scene, but between Generation X playing on the Saturday night and The Damned playing on the Monday night, there was nothing stirring in that particular basement on the Sunday... so best nip over to Finsbury to see what's afoot at the Rainbow.

So with thanks to the contributors to TheMenInBlackInPrint Facebook page let's take a look at what transpired through the eyes of the music press weeklies of the day.

Melody Maker (5th February 1977)


THE STRANGLERS, one of Britain's leading punk bands, were pulled off stage at London's Rainbow Theatre on Sunday because of a four-letter word on a T-shirt worn by one of the band.

The show, at which the Stranglers were supporting Climax Blues band, was attended by several representatives of the Greater London Council, including Alderman John Brannigan, vice-president of the public services committee.

As the Stranglers began the last number of their set, the stage lights were switched off. Lead guitarist Hugh Cornwell said: "Thank you very much, GLC," and then the sound was cut off as well.

A spokesman for the GLC said there were three officials at the concert and they were there only because they wanted to see what goes on at rock concerts as a matter of interest in public safety. He added that the GLC officials had not stopped the show.

Allen Schaverien, director of Strutworth, the leaseholders of the Rainbow, said "The band had promised they wouldn't wear this T-shirt and that was included in their contract. They were taken off just as they would have been had they broken any other clause.

"I was involved in the decision to stop them playing and I don't feel I made any mistake. They can come back to the Rainbow if they are booked in again as long as they keep within their contract."'

New Musical Express (5th February 1977)

'The t-shirt that stopped a gig by CHRIS SALEWICZ

ALLEGATIONS THAT the GLC is operating a punk rock "blacklist" were being made this week after Sunday's Rainbow gig by The Stranglers was curtailed because one of them wore an "obscene" T-shirt.

Guitarist Hugh Cornwell defied a GLC requirement, written into the Council's licensing deal with the Rainbow management, when he went on stage wearing a T-shirt bearing the word "fuck". As a consequence the group's set was cut short three quarters of the way through when the stage lights were switched off.

NME understands that the Greater London Council's Public Committee had seen The Stranglers perform previously at the Red Deer in Croydon, and had demanded an assurance from the Rainbow that certain words "would not appear on their apparel or over the amplification."

This was written into the contract between the Rainbow and the concert promoters, Beggars Banquet Promotions, and it was the promoters who curtailed the set after being informed that they were in breach of contract. Eight GLC representatives were watching the show.

On Monday NME learned that when Beggars Banquet first wanted to book The Stranglers into the Rainbow, it was intimated to them by informed music business parties that this would be impossible because the band were on "a blacklist", which, it was maintained, the GLC operates. Eventually, after the promoters had agreed to provide 20 extra security men, and after they had given two written assurances to the GLC, the gig went ahead.

Cornwell then went on stage wearing the aforementioned T-shirt, apparently with the logo on the back, took it off when requested to do so 30 minutes into the set, but replaced it 15 minutes later, resulting in the show being stopped.

Onstage Cornwell also swore several times.

Inquiries within the music business on Monday revealed a belief that a GLC "blacklist", official or otherwise, does exist. One leading promoter, after pointing out that the GLC is the licensing authority for London's music venues, told me: "You have to compromise with them. They're civil servants." He claimed that to his knowledge Kiss and Hawkwind had been on a blacklist at various times. He added: "I think they are just giving the Rainbow a hard time. For some reason they don't like it."

According to another source close to the promoters of The Stranglers gig, the GLC men were in attendance because the Rainbow was the first large London venue to book punk rock bands. He claimed all punk bands were on the blacklist.

Alan Schaverin of the Rainbow management told NME that he has experienced no requests by the GLC for similar stipulations in other acts contracts. Nor had The Men From the GLC been to see other band's who'd played at the theatre.

When asked by NME why the Stranglers had been taken off, Mr GM Saxby at the GLC replied that it had been a Rainbow management decision. It was pointed out to him that the management was complying with a GLC stipulation.

"The GLC are interpreters of public opinion," he commented. "We license premises and not entertainment." The paradox in his comment was pointed out to him.

Mr Saxby then stated that the audience had made the decision for themselves anyway; they'd been walking out in droves since the first hints of "bad language".

When asked if there was a blacklist, his reply was somewhat surprising: "Quite erroneous. Every act is considered on its merits. We supported EMI on their stand against the Sex Pistols and we're taking a stand against The Stranglers.'

Sounds (5th February 1977)

'A TEE-SHIRT with the work 'fuck' printed on it led to the premature blacking-out of The Stranglers' set at the Rainbow Theatre on Sunday where they were supporting Climax Blues Band.

The black-out was ordered by theatre director Jamie Bloom because the wearing of the tee-shirt by singer-guitarist Hugh Cornwell broke the group's contract. Cornwell frequently wears the vest at gigs but the promoters of the Rainbow concert, Beggars Banquet, had to give an undertaking to the Rainbow management that it would not be worn at the theatre, under pressure from the GLC.

A spokesman for Beggars Banquet told SOUNDS that the Stranglers were one of a number of punk bands on an alleged GLC blacklist. the promoters therefore made enquiries about the conditions under which the Stranglers might appear at the Rainbow and were told that extra security staff would have to be provided 'to prevent riots'. The audience was, in fact, well behaved but the extra muscle power alone cost the promoters another £200.

Beggars Banquet went ahead with arrangements for the gig but were then obliged to give a written undertaking that Cornwell would not wear the 'obscene' tee-shirt, to which the group agreed.

However, towards the end of the group's set, Cornwell took off his jacket and turned his back on the audience, revealing the offending word on the back of his tee-shirt.

He then took the tee-shirt off, announcing that he had to do so because it was "offending some people". He played bare chested for one number and then - on what is believed to be the group's final song - put the tee-shirt on again, this time with the logo (modelled on the Ford car logo) - facing the audience. Almost immediately the lights were cut. The group applealed over the PA for lighting to be restored but the stage remained in darkness. Members of the audience joined in the pleas but eventually the group gave up and left the stage.

According to the GLC, there were council members in the audience "because the council wants to see what's going on if only from a matter of public safety." Quite how a four-letter word on a tee-shirt affects public safety is not clear at this point, but SOUNDS hopes to talk to the GLC in depth about the extent of controls it appears to be able to impose on musical and artistic creativity.'

Record Mirror (5th February 1977)

'Stranglers strangled

STRANGLERS were faded out at their London Rainbow concert when they supported Climax Blues Band.

It appears that the theatre's management had stipulated that no bad language should be used on stage nor should guitarist Hugh Cornwell wear his T-shirt displaying a certain four-letter word. Cornwell wore the offending T-shirt.

The lights were dimmed and the power cut off during the band's final number, as the band played to the 2,500 audience which included two GLC councillors, one of which was the chairman of the entertainment licensing board, Mr John Brannigan.

A spokesman for the band said: "The band are bemused that something so trivial could stop a show."

So, the gig kicked up a bit of a stink, but what of the music. I can find three reviews for which the Stranglers' relevant parts are extracted...

Record Mirror (5th February 1977)

NO CHANCE of the much favoured Stranglers upstaging the Climax Blues band at the Rainbow. There isn't any substitute for musicianship and the Stranglers are lacking in that department. They play like amateur Status Quos and the mix was bad. The audience in the from three rows disappeared to the bar, apart from a stalwart punk with a nine inch safety pin through his jacket or was it his back?' ROBIN SMITH.

New Musical Express (5th February 1977)
The Stranglers

I THOUGHT that The Stranglers had been reading too much Genet but felt that ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (see page 3 (account of stoppage)) they should be given the benefit of the doubt. Chris Salewicz.

Sounds (5th February 1977)

'Black and Blues

Climax Blues Band/Stranglers

THIS WAS widely predicted to be one of the week's most interesting gigs because of the choice of new wave band The Stranglers as support act. Many predicted it would be a confrontation between the old and the new music, although in the event there was no confrontation of a musical sort.

There was, however, a confrontation between the Stranglers and the GLC, which resulted in the blacking out of their set a little prematurely in a way which was bound to gain them maximum publicity. See news story on page 2 for full details!

The opening of the concert was delayed by technical problems and when the Stranglers finally took the stage, it was obvious that they had not had time to get their sound together. The first number was inaudible except for the drums and a feedback hum which became louder as the number continued.

However, miraculously, it all came right for their second number, a little ditty about beating up your woman called 'Sometimes' and suddenly I was presented with the spectacle of a new band which for me, actually has something to say and the means to say it. I suppose we have to call them 'superior punks' until we get some new labels printed: they're young, loud, aggressive. positive, political and articulate.

Their stage act is not to everyone's taste - a high (or low, depending on your point of view) spot of their act being a song in which singer/guitarist Hugh Cornwell rubs his hands up and down his neck in a symbolic act of masturbation and 'climaxes' by gobbing and inordinately large quantity of phlegm on to the stage. I know it sounds incredibly crass and vulgar and not the kind of thing a chap is expected to do at the Rainbow, but it was relevant to the music and less destructive than smashing up an expensive guitar that some kid would give his eye teeth to own.

Watch out below!
Climax Blues Band were introduced by none other than Ronnie Van Zandt, and ripped into their familiar 'Together And Free' medley intro, punchier and snappier than I remember it from last year and a guaranteed seat riveter. 'Like A Mighty Fire' was followed by a superbly funky 'Running Out Of Time', running into the slow blues 'Good Times Bad Times' in which guitarist Pete Haycock traditionally swop to his little Veleno guitar for some tasty blues soloing.

'You Make Me Sick', a number new to their live set (off the 1972 album 'Rich Man') had Pete, Collin, Derek, John and Richard being joined by a three-man horn section which lifted the ensuing numbers 'Right Now' (another live newie off 'Sense of Direction') and the hit single 'Couldn't Get It Right' to yet a higher plain of slickness and perfection.

Encores galore closed a Rainbow gig, which in its way, had been just as much a gamble for Climax as for The Stranglers.

The only losers were the GLC, whose apparent powers of censorship seem to be quite malevolently dictatorial, only serving to alienate them further from the people they supposedly protect.

So who will protect us from them.


So there is the incident, almost in its entirety as reported in the music press in their editions of 5th February 1977. To rehash the title of Jet's account of the Nice 'riot' it all seems to be 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The accounts differ in some respects e.g. in the number of GLC representatives in attendance but throughout the reportage, as Tony Mitchell points out in his Sounds review, the only losers were the GLC who appear to be petty, vindictive and completely beyond reasonable behaviour in their attempts to dictate the face of entertainment in the capital. Certainly, it would seem that Mr G M Saxby (a great Civil Service name there!) went above and beyond his brief in claiming that the audience were walking out in droves due to the bad language emanating from Mr Cornwell. I would suggest that in accordance with the comment that appeared in the Record Mirror, punters would have been bar rather than exit bound during the support set. Let's face it I have seen similar behaviour time and time again when the first drum beats of The Stranglers biggest hit sound out! I think that a walk out in protest to a support act would highly unlikely when the audience of 2,500 have paid their £1.50 to see a headliner that are worlds apart from The Stranglers. It makes no sense. Mr G M Saxby made a further gaff that must have resulted in a summons to the boss's oak paneled office! He confirmed the fact that the GLC were specifically gunning for The Stranglers!

The Stranglers versus the Greater London Council was a feud that was to continue for the next couple of years with the band effectively banned from playing gigs in the capital. Of course, in what was perhaps the band's final punk act, the band won a victory of sorts with the introduction of the strippers in Battersea Park.

The Stranglers 1 : 0 Sir Horace Cutler (Conservative leader of the GLC 1977 - 1981)

Friday 28 July 2023

The Ombudsmen playing at The Peer Hat Manchester on 4th August 2023

 A bit of a shameless plug this one for the band the Mo is in. Dad cannot attend as he will be some miles up the road in Blackpool.

Friday 4th of August! at The Peer Hat with Ombudsmen, The Kidney Flowers, and FURROWED BROW! 

Should you find yourself in Manchester on the 4th it's an idea...

Tickets can be purchased here:

Electric Circus Manchester 9th December 1976 Revisited


I am indebted to site contributor, Mark, who informed me that there is an inherent speed problem with the previously posted sets from the first Anarchy Electric Circus date (9th December).

He has provided me with speed corrected versions. In addition to that he sent me an mp3 recording of The Heartbreakers set, thus giving a complete record of one of the most discussed/written about gigs in the history of rock 'n' roll. Thanks to Mark and a grateful nod to the recorder back on that distant winter night in 1976 who was prepared to schlep a tape recorder into the Electric Circus to capture the event for posterity.

FLAC (All sets):

Buzzcocks Artwork:

The Clash artwork:

Heartbreakers artwork:

Sex Pistols artwork:

Sunday 23 July 2023

Joey and Dee Dee Ramone Coney Island High NYC 4th July 1997


On waking up to Mo's take on 'Danny Says' I thought that I would dig out a Ramones bootleg featuring the track. However, I can't find any gigs in my collection that include the song in the set. Perhaps the exclusion of such a strong track was something to do with the fact that it is one of their slower numbers and as such did not sit comfortably in the standard high octane Ramones set.

I may be wrong, but you have to essentially look beyond the Ramones to find a live version of the track. Post Ramones, Joey and Dee Dee played a gig at Coney Island High. In preparation for the gig, a fan based poll was conducted to find the fans choice of a song to be included in the set and it seems thta 'Danny Says' was a comfortable winner.

Enjoy this, a late, almost last hurrah for a band that were so instrumental in the creation of the punk scene.



01. Jesse Malin Intro/I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You
02. Babysitter
03. Listen To My Heart
04. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
05. I Want You Around
06. I Am Seeing UFOs
07. Danny Says
08. Rockaway Beach
09. 53rd And 3rd
10. 53rs And 3rd (Continued)
11. Commando
12. I Don't Care
13. I Just Wanna Have Something To Do
14. I Wanna Be Sedated

'Danny Says' A Ramones Cover

My daughter Mo, or in the context of this particular post, her rarely used full title of Ramona, was in the habit of recording and posting short vignettes of songs that took her fancy. Last night, after some persuasion from a few hundred miles away she did another one. Here's a minute or so of 'Danny Says' by Ramones, a ballad that appears on the Phil Spector produced 'End Of The Century' album.

'Danny Says'
Mo (Ramona) Andrews
July 2023

De Montfort University Leicester 30th November 1995


One from the Winter tour of 1995 here. A good one for fans of the 'About Time' album.



01. Genetix
02. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
03. Golden Boy
04. Straighten Out
05. Paradise Row
06. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
07. Money
08. Goodbye Toulouse
09. European Female
10. And The Boat Sails By
11. Princess Of The Street
12. Still Life

01. Laughing At The Rain
02. Sinister
03. 96 Tears
04. Let Me Introduce You To The Family
05. All Day And All Of The Night
06. Duchess
07. Nuclear Device
08. Something Better Change
09. Never To Look Back
10. Hanging Around
11. English Towns
12. No More Heroes

Friday 21 July 2023

2023 Subscription Post...

'Blind Beggar'
Ralph Hedley (1848–1913)
Laing Art Gallery

No, this is not a premonition of my good self on an early Monday morning in August post Rebellion. I am now marking the twelfth year of posting stuff on Aural Sculptors. This year could become the busiest of those twelve years with 116 posts so far in 2023 and we are still in July. The purpose of the site is two fold really. From a purely selfish standpoint it gives me a platform to post bits and pieces (be it music or contemporary music press articles) that relate to the music that I have been listening to since 1979 or thereabouts. On the other hand it goes someway to countering those people who seek to make some easy money from grabbing files from the internet, knocking up a cover (and that's easy) and listing their 'labours' on an auction site. Whilst I appreciate that not everyone has the equipment or capability to download files and burn CDs etc, many have and it pains me to see on Stranglers' fan sites when someone has purchased CDs at a significant cost when a simple search will show that so many are available for nothing. 

Looking at a couple of recent posts I can see that for example the 'Anarchy Tour' recording featuring the Pistols, Buzzcocks and The Clash got no fewer than 285 downloads, whilst closer to home I was very exited in June to post something of a rarity in the form of the second 1978 appearance of The Stranglers in Glasgow, a post that has so far been downloaded 225 times. Given the fact that the site is being visited on average about 1000 times a day and given the extent of the downloads, whilst it pains me, I have over the years asked for some contributions towards the running of the site. To recap, this entails an annual subscription to the current (and happily very reliable) file hosting site 'We Transfer'. The annual fee of £202 has just been paid meaning that the site is good to go for another year until July 2024. 

As always, no pressure, this has never been a 'toys out of the pram' moment. My thanks as always go to the people out there who record stuff and are willing to share, bootleg collectors who are likewise willing to share material to keep the site engaging and relevant and also to anyone who takes the time to respond/comment on posts. On the last point I do understand that commenting on Blogger based sites isn't the easiest so it is appreciated when people do take the time to comment... it makes a change  from receiving post comments from the generic Viagra peddlers!

Should you be inclined to make a contribution, there is a PayPal donation button on the right hand panel of the site (you will need to scroll down a bit). And just to say once again, this site does not make any kind of profit, that's not the idea behind Aural Sculptors at all!

All the best, enjoy the weekend and say hi if you see me in that Blackpool.



Sunday 16 July 2023

The Damned Whisky A Go Go West Hollywood 9th July 1979


One for Algy!

In some ways, 1979 saw the birth of The Damned as we know them now. Of course Brian's Damned came first and did everything first, much to Malcolm and Bernie's chagrin no doubt. For the three original members of The Damned who emerged through the maelstrom of '76-'77, recording 'Machine Gun Etiquette' must have seemed like a second coming. The firsts that The Damned racked up included the first to implode and what followed for the individual musicians was not especially pretty. Dave had a stint with Richard Strange in The Doctors of Madness, Rat became a White Cat and Captain a King. However what these failed solo ventures proved was that 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts' and such was the case for The Damned.

I guess that having experienced at such close quarters just how fickle the music business is, the ambition to make something of a revitalised Damned was strong. Certainly this came across in the shows that the band played throughout 1979!



Elixir Festival Brest 16th July 1983


DomP has done a job on this one to make a good recording a great recording and subsequently one of the better documents of the Feline era. Cheers Dom! Track listing is per artwork to track 16, but I am sure you can live with the artwork as is :).

01. Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)
02. Toiler on the Sea
03. Ships That Pass in the Night
04. It's a Small World
05. No More Heroes
06. Who Wants the World?
07. Never Say Goodbye
08. Golden Brown
09. Midnight Summer Dream
10. European Female
11. Thrown Away
12. Tramp
13. The Raven
14. Duchess
15. London Lady
16. Hugh Talks
17. Down in the Sewer
18. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
19. Genetix

Checking on a list of recordings for possible upload I could see this birthday gig, but couldn't locate it. Resorting to searching through a couple of boxes of unsleeved bootlegs I found it, languishing, unloved, in a pile of duplicates. Having not laid eyes on it for some years I had no idea what it sounded like but it's pretty good actually. A nice addition to a collection. So here are the band at Brest's 'Elixir Festival' on this day an incredible 40 years ago!

01. Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)
02. Toiler on the Sea
03. Ships That Pass in the Night
04. It's a Small World
05. No More Heroes
06. Who Wants the World?
07. Never Say Goodbye
08. Golden Brown
09. Midnight Summer Dream
10. European Female
11. Thrown Away
12. Tramp
13. The Raven
14. Duchess
15. London Lady
16. Down in the Sewer
17. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
18. Genetix

Friday 14 July 2023

'The Black Documentary' by Hugh Cornwell And Jet Black BBc West Bristol 1982


I cannot imagine that this footage isn't familiar to nearly all visitors to the site... but you never know.

Interview With Hugh Cornwell Record Mirror 30th January 1982


OK, so now The Stranglers had a surprise hit on their hands in 'Golden Brown'. As a consequence the UK music weeklies want the gen, what is it all about and where is it taking the band (in fairness to Record Mirror, if there was one music publication that stood in The Stranglers' corner it was them). Here, Hugh talks of the single, the video and a new found interest in TV documentary film making, having just been comissioned by BBC West in Bristol to put something together. That something was the Black Documentary, an exploration of the psychology of the colour black (or more scientifically speaking the lack of colour black) and how this authoritarian hue has been used as a symbol of power for 100's of years, be it by the clergy or judiciary.


Just when you thought the STRANGLERS had been flushed well and truly down the drain, they're back with a vengeance and a big hit single, 'Golden Brown'. DANIELA SOAVE asked Hugh Cornwell how they do it.

THE STRANGLERS are poised on the brink. The sweet flower of success is within their grasp, a flower which, in recent years, has withered at their very touch. All that is changing with the shrugging off of the meninblack cloak and, more largely, the melodic mystery of their most prosperous single for a considerable time, 'Golden Brown'. Suddenly newspaper pages are open to them, as are radio airwaves and television slots. It must be a strange feeling after being "ignored" for so long.

That ignoration has even gone as far as an unofficial censorship of their videos, but that too came to an end last week with the showing of the 'Golden Brown' film on Swap Shop. In keeping with the song's gentle indolence, the video is set in Egypt, with pyramids and Islamic scenes abounding. The video immediately poses two questions: if it was filmed on location where did they find the mammoth budget, and secondly, does the middle east connotation mean the song is about certain illegal substances?

It transpires I'm misled on both counts: Hugh Cornwell elaborates.

The video was filmed on location, but not where you think. It was made in a house in Holland Park which used to belong to the royal portrait painter Leighton, who had a fascination with the middle east and all things Muslim. Whenever friends of his were travelling in that area, he would ask them to bring him back tiles and other bits of houses, and thus he amassed all this stuff, which he puts in a room called the Arab Hall.

“The footage of the pyramids was real as well, so we've cleverly mixed everything together to lead people to believe it was all done in the middle east," Hugh tells me. "Nothing is faked, you're simply not seeing what you think.

"As for the meaning of the single, it's all about the colour brown, about, it gelling into ... Well, Jet and I are making a film about the colour black, how it sometimes links colours and emotions. There have been certain colour tests carried out by scientists which prove that different hues can change your mood, for instance green being tranquil, red making you emotional and brown being the colour of serene calm.

"I'm linked to the colour brown, maybe other people are as well. I'm talking about golden brown, not shit brown, it's a very romantic and gentle colour. Just think about it, when people are sun tanned they're healthy golden brown, very relaxing and romantic. We tried to bring all that across in the video with sun tans and palm trees and sun sets, all beautiful and tranquil.

We co-direct our videos, we don't just go to someone who tells us what to put across because I know what I meant when I was writing the song and I have strong ideas of what we want to do for that particular theme."

THE chance to make a documentary came about through a stroke of luck when the Stranglers were playing the Bristol Granary shortly before Christmas. BBC Bristol were filming the concert , because both Hugh and Jet are local lads, and they were so impressed that they offered the BBC's facilities to them for future ventures.

"They were so knocked out that they asked us if we wanted to make a film," Huh says, "virtually carte blanche. Our minds started working overtime, the possibilities being endless, but then Jet hit on a great idea of the colour black and the way people react to it. People are frightened of it because it's used by superstition and authority, and figures assert themselves with it.

"It started off as an eight minute film, but as we researched it, it got longer and longer and it's ended up as a 20 minute film. We got a Patrick Moore type expert from Bristol University who was just like him to talk about colour, and when I interviewed him he mentioned everything we wanted to include without our prompting him or supplying him with a script. At the time I didn't think I'd got very interesting subject matter, but Jet, who'd been watching it from the control room, said it was fantastic and fitted in perfectly with what we were trying to put across."

I'd have thought that Jet would have jumped at the chance of making a film about his pet subject, UFOs, as it's common knowledge that he is an authority on the subject.

"Ah, but if you ever get the chance to see the film - at the moment it will only be screened by BBC Bristol - you'll see it's all part of the same theme," Hugh points out. "We've got vicars and police and all sorts of things connected with it, and at the end I spent a day in Oxford Circus asking people who came out the tube what they thought of the colour black. It all ties in.

"When you first think of filling eight minutes with subject matter it does seem like a daunting task, but we found that even with 20 minutes, we didn't have enough time. It's much better though to be able to leave things out than be scrabbling around, frantically trying to fill 30 seconds.

"Being in charge of such a venture is a new departure for us," he continues, "and it's suddenly shown me...  I was sure it was true before… that the Stranglers are multi - talented and people haven't realised this yet. We're getting more and more opportunities to demonstrate our talents ."

It's the beginning of a very exciting period for Hugh, Jet, Dave and Jean Jacques. By dis-associating themselves from the dark and evil theme, life has started to go well for them, almost as if in the past they were tempting fate. With the never ending stream of unhappy occurrences, it must have been a tempting thought to pack it all in and forget the music business forever. Hugh agrees.

"Especially with meninblack, it was getting very ominous; very sad occurrences were happening to people around us, we were losing finances, uninsured equipment was being stolen... it was so depressing that we started giving off claustrophobic vibes. Yet as soon as we finished the project everything turned round on its head, which leads me to believe that we were creating a lot of our own bad luck with our depression. Now we're getting the chance to diversify our interests."

By making the conscious decision to shake all that off, how difficult was it to come up with something like 'Golden Brown'; was it a hard, business-minded ploy or was that form of music still akin to the Stranglers?

"Admittedly it is the most different single we've ever released; but it's not out of context for the band," Hugh says.

"If you know the Stranglers' albums, on nearly every LP there's a waltz, so 'Golden Brown' isn't so much of a departure.

"We've always been into different instruments, in this instance Dave is playing the harpsichord, but this is because we don't want to limit ourselves to certain sounds and line-ups. We leave that to other people. It's great to break new ground, for instance, I'm really excited that the single is David Hamilton's record of the week on Radio Two.

"After carrying the yoke of bad publicity for so long and being thought of as mischievous bad boys," he adds, "It's a relief that people are realising we are full of musical talent. That bad image is just one tiny facet of the diamond, dare I say.

"We're still discovering things about ourselves. We're capable of acting out parts, of using other media."

ANOTHER facet of the diamond, another medium used by the Stranglers is their information service. Apart from putting out their own magazine, they have also published two books, because no other publisher would touch them. One was Jet's account of the fiasco at Nice University, 'Much Ado About Nothing’ the other was Hugh's account of his stay in prison.

"Some publishers said it was too short, other publishers wanted it to be a glossy affair with pictures of me standing outside the prison gates - could you imagine that?” he asks with a shudder. "The only sensible thing was, to put it out ourselves, and it's in its second print already.

"We’re very concerned with what we put out. 'Strangled', our bi-monthly magazine, isn't your typical fan mag with glossy pictures. It doesn't tell you what the band had for breakfast... there's articles about UFOs, love, Japanese suicide techniques, plus lots of contributions from readers. We also want it to become an alternative' form for journalists who have their articles rejected and ideas stopped by their editors – perhaps you can give that a plug.

"The most motivated thing being Strangled was the utter misrepresentation we were suffering from the press. We wanted to set it straight ourselves and that's how it came about."

This diversification into the world of print and celluloid isn't to indicate that the Stranglers might jack in the musical side in order to concentrate more fully on the former two.

As Hugh says: "We never think of stopping. We're having such fun creating together that we want to carry on and on. But we don't really know what's ahead of us, we seem to be poised in a period of anticipation. We're waiting to go across to America after we've finished our British tour, but although we can play up to 2000 capacity venues there seems little point in doing that until we can get 'La Folie' released in the States.

"It seems amazing that we still don't have a deal in America, especially with the latest LP and single doing so well here. We fell out with A&M and 'Raven' wasn't released in the US as a result, and although IRS released half of Raven and some ' singles as an album, it's astounding that nobody wants to press and distribute our albums over there, specially when they sell so well on import."

UNLIKE the Stranglers' reaction to their difficulties in finding a book publisher, they have no plans to release 'La Folie' independently, saying it's too large a thing to take on.

"It's so frustrating," Hugh admits. "There's little point in doing America, and on top of that, Europe isn't financially viable to us either. Although we sell well throughout Europe, there's very little point in touring there unless we play concerts in Germany. At the moment there is a huge anti punk backlash going on over there and there is a great deal of trouble at gigs. Some promoters still think we're a punk band and because of this they won't book us in case the halls are damaged, people get hurt etc etc. The result is we can't play Germany and the rest of Europe suffers because we can't afford to tour there without playing Germany too."

Thus, with an album recently released, and a British tour soon to be finished, there doesn't seem that much ahead to occupy the Stranglers. It's miles too soon to think about another LP and tour, yet, with no prospect of American 'or European tours, their schedule is looking decidedly blank. Yet they don't seem to be gloom ridden or disconsolate, more frustrated yet optimistic and convinced that something will come along eventually. It seems maddening that at last, when things seem to be going so well, two very important outlets should be barred to them.

The brink on which they are poised is a very thin line ... a very fine balance which could so easily change their destiny. A tip of the scales could hurl them into a pool of success in the music and film world, or, if nothing happens, they could be plunged once more into obscurity.

And the most frustrating thing about it for the Stranglers is they can do absolutely nothing about it to change their fate.  Just wait.

Norwich University 14th November 1981


I love the 'La Folie' era of the band. I have said it before, but in my opinion 'La Folie' is one of the most overlooked and undervalued of the band's albums. Like a bag of 'Revels' there is real variety here... but without the horrible coffee ones! And it's clever, a concept album built around the theme of love. Love, but not of the boy meets girl kind of way. 'La Folie' takes on those aspects of love that are not immediately apparent. The devotion of a nun to her Holy Order and her God, the familial love that exists within the Mafia that leads to unquestioning acts of violence and a love so intensely twisted that it results in an act of cannibalism! It's hardly Barry White material.

Here are the band on the first leg of the tour that straddled Christmas and the New Year. The band did not know it at this point but a decision by the band to release the very atypical 'Golden Brown' was about to change the band's fortunes for many years to come. This radio friendly waltz (so long as you didn't dwell too long on the subject matter) opened doors that had been closed to the band since the heady days of '77 when the band delighted in annoying all and sundry. Prime time and kid's TV programs were queuing up to have The Stranglers appear. OK, so perhaps not content with this new found acceptability the band attempted a manner of commercial suicide with the release of the album's title track 'La Folie'! A superb album track, a highlight from the album no less, but a choice that would have made cash eager executives within Manchester Square choke on their cappuccinos! As a follow up to their biggest ever hit, 'Tramp' may have kept up the momentum but who would want to change history?

Music aside by 1981, all of the elements that collectively are the essence of The Stranglers were in place... that whole Meninblack thing. As I said I love this period.



01. Non Stop
02. Just Like Nothing On Earth
03. Second Coming
04. Meninblack
05. Threatened
06. Who Wants The World?
07. Baroque Bordello
08. Golden Brown
09. Pin Up
10. Thrown Away
11. Tank
12. I Feel Like A Wog
13. The Man They Love To Hate
14. Let Me Introduce You To The Family
15. Tramp
16. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
17. Bring On The Nubiles
18. Nuclear Device
19. Genetix
20. La Folie

Sunday 9 July 2023

Subway Karlsruhe Germany 17th November 1995


I had a recent request for an upload of the 'About Time' gig at Rock City in Nottingham. I would happily oblige were I to have it. If anyone is happy to send it to me I will be pleased to add it to the site. 

Here's a substitute from Germany.

Whilst searching on line for suitable images to use for artwork purposes I am constantly amused that the arguments of Hugh versus Paul as vocalist or Baz versus Hugh as guitarist/vocalist still have legs!

I would just say all opinions are valid (I am one of the most opinionated people that I know on a multitude of subjects!). My recommendation is to take what you enjoy and appreciate it, at the same time keep the stuff that does not float your particular boat at arms length for the benefit of the appreciators. The career of The Stranglers is a little bit like European history with ample room for Reformations, Renaissances and Enlightenments.... and the occasional Inquisition!

Thanks to Alarmfan, the original Dime uploader.



'I Swear I Was There' Granada TV Documentary Sex Pistols


Following on from the 'Anarchy Tour' post, as mentioned, Manchester hosted two of the seven gigs that the band managed to play throughout December 1976. The Electric Circus put the band on on the 9th and again on 19th, the latter being hastily arranged as the powers that be decimated the original tour schedule. 

The band's relationship with Manchester may have ended at the Collyhurst venue, but it didn't start there. The Pistols played two gigs at the prestigious Lesser Free Trade Hall in the centre of the city. Both gigs were instigated by Pete McNeish and Howard Trafford (soon to be of Buzzcocks under the more familiar monikers of Shelley and Devoto) who had travelled down to London some weeks before expressly to see this emerging phenomenon of Sex Pistols. 

And Slaughter and The Dogs own poster for the same gig.... know your place John!

The story is brilliantly told in this Granada TV documentary which features many of the prime movers in the organisation of these now famous gigs, the bands that played and equally importantly some of those in attendance as punters, whose lives were changed and drastically shaped by the experience of seeing the Pistols in the summer of 1976 at one or other of those two gigs. Many attendees were inspired to buy an instrument and form a band within days of seeing Sex Pistols play. Those people went on to establish the city as one of the most vital and vibrant for music through the remainder of the 1970's and throughout the '80's and '90's. 

The 'I Swear I was There' title of the earlier book and the documentary is a tongue in cheek reference to the exclamations of people who were there, but more tellingly those who were not there but claim that they were.

The documentary also covers the other key event linking Sex Pistols and Manchester and that is the band's first television appearance of the Granada TV magazine programme 'So It Goes' on 28th August 1976 hosted by one Tony Wilson.

Rotten's opening howl of 'Get off your arse!' grabs the attention for sure and what follows is still very powerful when viewed as I write this in 2023. I can only imagine what a rallying call these three something minutes of ensuing chaos was to many who were lucky enough to see it as it went out.

DVD Disc Image:

Friday 7 July 2023

The Anarchy Tour December 1976 - Sex Pistols, The Heartbreakers, The Clash and The Damned... Briefly!


As rock 'n' roll tours go there cannot be many that have had so many column inches devoted to it. The notoriety that built up around these four bands with just a handful of gigs under their belt as they toiled up and down the motorways of Britain says more of British society as it existed in late 1976 than it did of the antics of the bands themselves. 

Looking back upon what actually happened and it is the various pillars of the establishment in the form of the national press (or at least the tabloids), E.M.I. and a host of local councilors and 'dignitaries'  that are reflected in a much less favourable light than the Sex Pistols. 

Johnny Rotten Leeds Polytechnic 6th December 1976.

I have just finished reading a book by Mick O'Shea that provides a blow by blow account of the tour that both broke punk in terms of awareness on a national level and at the same time broke punk, in the sense of its original incarnation as an elusive scene for those that dared to think a little differently. In addition to covering the ill-fated tour, the early chapters in the book set the scene and place the tour into the correct context. The two seminal gigs at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall are covered in detail since these two shows explain the band's relationship with the city and in particular with the 'Electric Circus', Manchester's answer to London's Roxy. Needless to say, the Grundy incident is analysed in great detail since it was the expletive loaded two minutes that occurred moments before the closing credits of Thames TV's 'Today' programme rolled that propelled the four Sex Pistols into position as Public Enemies No. 1!

Of course the British society of 2023 is infinitely more permissive than was the case in 1976. Just look at attitudes towards the monarchy. Lydon and Cook were seriously assaulted for their involvement with a song such as 'God Save The Queen' in the year of her Silver Jubilee. In 2023 we see scenes of demonstration by republican groups on each and every occasion that King Charles III visits a UK town or city.

No, the Anarchy Tour debacle was of it's time, it would not happen today. Reading about the series of events that occurred between 1st December and 22nd December 1976 (the night of the last gig of the tour at Plymouth Woods Centre) has an almost 'Carry On' feel about them, little more than saucy postcard titillation!

Johnny Rotten Leeds Polytechnic 6th December 1976.

But in December 1976 this was deadly serious stuff! Gigs arranged and rearranged were cancelled the next day, it was (cash from) chaos! Up and down the country student unions and/or chancellors put the kibosh on university gigs, councilors  under pressure blocked Town Hall gigs and the top brass of the Top Ranks pulled the plug. It was a farce in a very British sense. 

Given that only seven gigs were played out of a potential twenty four it is quite something that two of them survive in the bootleg record, namely the first of two dates at the Electric Circus in Manchester on the 9th December and Leeds Polytechnic on 6th December (the only date that The Damned played on the tour before being booted off as a result of their 'treacherous ways').

The two Pistols sets are enhanced by sets by The Clash and Buzzcocks from the Circus gig on the 9th. Buzzcocks appearance on the bill was in many ways Malcolm's acknowledgement of the role that Howard and Pete had played in opening Manchester and wider Lancashire and Yorkshire area to the Pistols.

Thanks to the original Dime uploader for this fantastic piece of UK punk history. Recordings also include contemporary new clips as the tour 'progressed' across the country.

Artwork: Included in download file.

Sex Pistols  Electric Circus Manchester 9th December 1976 

01. Anarchy In The UK
02. I Wanna Be Me
03. Seventeen
04. Stepping Stone
05. Satellite
06. Submission
07. Substitute
08. No Feelings
09. Stop Gobbing
10. Liar
11. Pretty Vacant
12. God Save The Queen
13. Problems

The Clash Electric Circus Manchester 9th December 1976

14. White Riot
15. Bored With The USA
16. London's Burning
17. Hate & War
18. Protex Blue
19. Career Opportunities
20. Cheat
21. 48 Hours
22. Janie Jones
23. 1977


Leeds Polytechnic 6th December 1976

02. Derby Statement
03. McLaren Yorkshire Television
04. Dean Of Leeds Polytechnic
05. Anarchy In The UK 
06. I Wanna Be Me 
07. Seventeen 
08. Stepping Stone 
09. God Save The Queen 
10. Substitute 
11. No Feelings 
12. Liar 
13. Pretty Vacant 
14. Problems 
15. Caerphilly segment

The Buzzcocks - Manchester Electric Circus on the 9th December 1976 

16. Orgasm Addict
17. Breakdown
18. Times Up
19. Boredom
20. Tear Me Up
21. Friends Of Mine
22. Love Battery
23. Big Dummy
24. Oh Shit
25. Can`t Control Myself

Sunday 2 July 2023

The Pogues 'Saturday Live' BBC Radio 1 13th April 1985


Feeling inspired this week to post some more material from The Pogues. Shane is undoubtedly one of the greatest artistic talents to have emerged from the London punk scene, and that is no small claim when you consider the luminaries that credit their creative inspiration to that thing we call punk.

This short radio session captures the band between the release of 'Red Roses For Me' and 'Rum, Sodomy & The Lash'.

More Pogues to come. Thanks to Malcolm 769 for this one.



01. Repeal Of The Licensing Laws
02. Interview
03. Streams Of Whiskey
04. A Pair Of Brown Eyes