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PUNK TIMES
Reviewed by Cardinal Cox


Write Dope on Pnuk part 33

On May 13, 2007, 'The Sunday Times' gave away the first part of a set of free compilation CDs celebrating 30 years of Punk. This isn’t the first time a Sunday paper has attempted to gain some street cred’ in such a fashion. I’ve got CDs from 'The Mail On Sunday' of both Blondie and The Stranglers and a Jam/Paul Weller double CD from that most reactionary of papers 'The Sunday Express'. For 'The Times' to try this though, perhaps shows how ingrained and acceptable the spirit of 1977 now is.

The CD includes a demo version of 'Anarchy In The UK' plus live tracks from Blondie, The Stranglers, (those two, I suspect, previously on the earlier freebies that I mentioned above), The Buzzcocks and The Adverts. Amongst the more unusual choices of the ten tracks are Jonathan Richman’s 'Roadrunner' and Wreckless Eric’s 'Whole Wide World', both excellent, but often overlooked, classics.

To accompany the first disk, the Culture supplement included a two-page spread looking back at the mid nineteen seventies. This includes a quote from John Lydon in which he sees his musical antecedents as that of the music hall. Amongst the opinions sought to round off the piece were the singers from Enter Shikari and The Horrors (the latter at least crediting Leadbelly as much as The Ramones). In 'The Sunday Times Magazine' of the same date there was an article looking at the response in Spain to the discoveries of mass graves dating from the Civil War, and from purges immediately afterwards. Something probably more important than a warmed-over argument of whether or not Elvis Costello or The Police were, or weren’t, beholden to punk’s activities.

The following week’s CD followed in much the same theme as the first; demo of 'Sound Of The Suburbs' (by The Members), plus live tracks from Ian Dury & the Blockheads, UK Subs and The Dickies. Again there was a couple of curiosities, Spizz Energi’s 'Where’s Captain Kirk?' And Stiff Little Fingers 'Beirut Moon' (most of you should have heard my Terry Waite’s story by now, so I won’t repeat that).

In that week’s Culture supplement there was an article on The Only Ones ('Another Girl, Another Planet') reforming for some small gigs. Plus they used the title ‘Pretty Vacant’ for a review of Debussy’s opera 'Pelleas Et Melisande'. Hidden away there was a snide review of Julian Temple’s documentary 'Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten' and, in the book section, there was also a review of a biography of the Italian revolutionary Garibaldi (by Lucy Riall). Of obtuse association, the Style section carried a tribute to Isabella Blow (Dark Romantic fashionista) who died the previous week.

So are these two CDs an attempt by a newspaper to appear trendy? Well, there are no bonus tracks by current emerging acts. So this was purely a nostalgic tip of the hat towards those readers in the mid forties/mid fifties bracket who were first time punks and now live comfortably and have room at the kitchen table to spread 'The Times' between the toast and marmalade.

 

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