Sniffin’ Glue
Mark P pension fund
Sniffin’ Glue – “The Essential Punk Accessory” (Sanctuary Music).

Mark P may still stand behind his much quoted theory that Punk Rock died the day The Clash signed to CBS - but Punk Rock actually died the day Alternative TV signed to Deptford Fun City – and it died of boredom.

“Sniffin’ Glue: The Essential Punk Accessory” first appeared in book form a couple of years ago. It collated reproductions of every original issue of Punk’s own fanzine along with extensive new material from both Mark P & Danny Baker. It now has an aural companion in the shape of this here CD:

Compiled by Mark P himself, “Sniffin’ Glue: The Essential Punk Accessory” is a 24 track trawl through the muddied waters of that 1st incisive wave.

Opening with The Ramones’ “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” is not just an attempt at retrogressive poetic licence – there would have been no fanzine without The Ramones. The superb sleeve notes leave you in no doubt that without import copies of “The Ramones” & the Roundhouse shows of July 1976 UK Punk Rock could have been a very different place. The Ramones were THE catalyst.

Eddie & The Hot Rods chip in with a spirited run through “Wooly Bully” – yes, that old “Wooly Bully” - & mighty scary it is too. The Hot Rods caused a storm on the pub rock scene with their explosive “Live At The Marquee EP” & although they were never really a Punk band in the true spirit of the word, they certainly weren’t Dr Feelgood either. The Hot Rods would score success later with the anthemic “Do Anything You Wanna Do” & the “Life On The Line” LP.

The Damned, as we all know by heart by now, were the first Punks to make it to the pressing plant - & “New Rose” was amongst the finest fair they ever produced. Ushered in by Vanian’s incredulous question, “Is she really going out with him!” – the song is then pummelled to within an inch of its life by Rat’s insistent kit & the godlike guitar sound of Brian James. The Damned led & others followed – until they fell over.

The Gorillas were known as The Hammersmith Gorillas immediately prior to Punk & shortened their name to “blend in”. Group leader, Jesse Hector, had done time in Crushed Butler (the UK’s original proto-metal band) in the late 60s/early 70s but was destined to miss the boat & remain on the island of lost souls indefinitely.

The Clash were some of the quickest bandwagon jumpers on the block & within days of seeing the Pistols had cut their hair & stencilled their fatigues accordingly. More of a rock n roll group than a Punk band, The Clash single-handedly turned the anger & polemic of Punk in their own general direction & set the controls for the heart of the USA. “White Riot” still remains from the days when they ‘meant it man’ - & even though Punk had technically died before they’d even recorded it - it remains a colossus in Punk’s opening salvo of 45 rpm mayhem.

The Saints were so Punk without trying that it near made everyone else want to give up. Raised in isolation in Aus & brought up on “Funhouse” & beer, The Saints were harder than a phalanx of Sids on speed & twice as fast. “I’m Stranded” was by nowhere near their finest hour & all 3 studio LPs are essential. The Saints, like The Ramones, were Punk.

The inclusion of a demo of the Pistol’s “Anarchy” tells you 3 things:

1/ Virgin wouldn’t sanction the use of a cut from “Bollocks”.

2/ The Pistols owe an awful lot to Chris Thomas.

3/ You couldn’t really leave them off.

Nuff said.

Subway Sect’s “Nobody’s Scared” is a real Punk Rock record. Vic Goddard was one of the first young kids to form a band after seeing the Pistols & this is his finest hour: “Everyone is a prostitute singing a song in prison”.

Richard Hell got ripped off something chronic by Punk Rock: it stole his haircut & ripped t-shirt & covered him in gob on The Clash tour. Absolutely no way to treat a genius – but that’s the way the shit cookie crumbles in the world of Punk Rock. “Blank Generation” says it all & considerably more in just under 3 minutes.

Buzzcocks also suffer from record company intransigence shuffle, chipping in with a live run through “Breakdown” from the “Live At The Roxy” series. Buzzcocks were one of the best Punk Rock groups ever & you should own: “Times Up”, “Another Music In Another Kitchen” & their 1st 6 or 7 45 rpm discs.

Generation X’s “Your Generation” still rattles along with Modtastic intent. An answer record to The Who’s “Your Generation”, it would be followed by a mighty fine debut LP that carried more than it’s fair share of roughly hewn pop gems wrapped in Punk sus.

Chelsea’s “Right To Work” is a Punk nugget – this is what it should have all been about. Mark P’s Step Forward label took more risks in its 1st 10 x 45s than CBS took in half a century. Chelsea have never sounded so good since – even after the arrival of Roman’s Millions. A diamond from the r(o)ubble.

The Adverts were Punk Rock then & Tim Smith is still Punk Rock now. Saw through any of his limbs & you can quite plainly make out the words Punk & Rock. For Tim Punk Rock has been a lifestyle not an accessory & you can still catch him flogging himself to death at a venue near you today. “One Chord Wonders” says it all: eloquently, intelligently & amusingly – how many ways do you want it?

The Jam were never Punks, obviously, & Paul Weller turned out to be a bigger twat than the cunts we were trying to get rid of originally - but that doesn’t stop “In The City” being any less exciting & awe inspiring than it still is.

The Heartbreakers flew into the UK in late 76 & a new junkie was christened every 2 hours. Some nights Johnny was so “strung out” he had to be propped up before he could “play” guitar. “Born To Loose” proved to be as prophetic as it was anthemic - ooh how we swooned - & mostly still do.

The Cortinas were from Bristol & one of them eventually ended up in The Clash - MK 3. Trivia aside, “Fascist Dictator” proved that everyone in UK Punk could have their 15 minutes – or in The Cortinas case, 2 minutes 34 seconds.

Johnny Moped once featured Captain Sensible & any thoughts he may have had about making the wrong career move are ably banished by “Incendiary Device”. Johnny Moped remain a cult group to this day & their lead singer is still insane.

Sham 69’s “I Don’t Wanna” is a real Punk Rock record made by a real Punk Rock group. The art school wankers hated them & they were eventually compromised by their own image. It’s a thin line between short hair & Swastikas – as Jimmy & the boys learnt some time later.

ATV = 3 points in time. Mark P’s own mob pioneered the fanzine bound flexi-disc with “Love Lies Limp” – a song about erectile ‘issues’ – given away free with the last issue of Sniffin’ Glue. ATV eventually recorded the superb “Image Has Cracked” LP before slowly disappearing up Perry’s own bum-hole along with Here & Now & half of Throbbing Gristle.

Penetration may have come from the frozen North but that didn’t stop Pauline Murray melting the hearts of many a provincial lad down at their local Loccarno. “Don’t Dictate” was a moment in time they never bettered but that didn’t stop them becoming the 1st Punk Rock group to release an LP on luminous vinyl.

X-Ray Spex were a wonderful cartoon of a Punk group. Fronted by the now sadly very mad Poly Styrene (not her real name), their particular brand of sax infused 1234 rammalamma was always fraught with enjoyment & twice as celebratory. “I’m A Poseur” caught the mood perfectly – we were ALL poseurs & we simply didn’t care. So there.

The Lurkers have often been referred to as a “proper” Punk Rock group in these pages – that’s because they were. Starting with The Ramones & veering off in the direction of The Saints, The Lurkers were the purists purists. “Shadow” was there finest 3 minutes in 1977 & it remains resolutely so to this day. I don’t need to tell you they were all super fellas – indeed.

“Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers was another one of those cuts that “started it all”. Iggy Pop obsessive, Jonathon Richman, used to be so scared of his own voice that he’d hide below the mixing desk consul when recording vocal takes – with the lights out. Now - how strange is that?

“Sniffin’ Glue” closes with “12XU” by Wire - & why shouldn’t it? Wire were there at the Roxy despite being slightly old enough to know better (well, some of them anyway) & rather more talented than they’d care to admit at the time. Still, I saw you in a mag smoking a fag - & I guess that’s gonna have to do.

And there we have it – quite literally – 24 songs, 64.13 minutes. Just over an hour that changed the world forever. Which subsequent generation can make such a pompous claim?

Marquee Smith – tMx11 – 08/03


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