Punk. London.1977. Most people blinked and missed it. Many spent a decade trying to catch up. Derek Ridgers stumbled across it by accident, where it was, in the beating filthy heart of the Roxy in middle of a derelict slum called Covent Garden. Stumbling through the moshpits trying to keep hold of a borrowed camera. 1977. Punk London brings you 152 pages of photography featuring the birth of the the most exciting cultural phenomenon in UK history. Currents and vibes, flows and backwash, trends and anti-trends splashing around in the cauldron of youth culture in the city of London, and the lost rebels haunting their suburban bedrooms - jumping the train uptown to get into the legendary Roxy. All converged, for one priceless moment, an outpouring of a truly original, DIY, anarchic, underground scene. Ridgers captured the first wave. Kids in the crowd, never before seen. The punks who made their own clothes because you couldn t buy punk clothes. The punks who got beaten up time and again for making themselves into targets. Rebellion before it got easy. You won t see these kids anywhere in the magazines. They weren t trying to get famous. 1977 will happen again. 1977 is happening somewhere, for someone, right now."
This is a fantastic book of photos from the Roxy and Vortex punk clubs in London in 1977. I was wonderfully surprised by both the number of women in the audience and the number of women on the stages. This has been de-emphasized over the years and seeing Siouxsie, Pauline Murray, Debbie Harry, and Poly Styrene front and center helps reinforce that women were central to punk. These fans still look exciting, sexy, and avant garde in the clothes and make up they created--proving that punk certainly was well ahead of its time. This book, despite its lack of text, takes you there and puts you right in the middle of the pogoing!
Punk London. 1977 is a trip back in time to 1977 - the year of punk in the UK. There is a short introduction by Derek Ridgers and a very well-written piece by Patrick Potter of why 1977 and punk remain so relevant today.
The rest of the book contains photographs by Derek Ridgers from 1977 taken mostly at the Roxy and the Vortex. Some photos show bands like the Damned, Wire, Adverts, Slits and a whole bunch of others performing, but most of the pictures just show the kids who all created punk. The fans are dressed up in home-made punk outfits, they are pogoing with reckless abandon and they are enjoying life to the fullest. The scene and music they created still reverberates across generations of kinds to today and the Damned are actually coming on their 40th anniversary tour.
Most of us didn't make it to the Roxy in 77, but this book is a visual reminder of how much fun punk is no matter what year it is or where we are.
The best part of the book for me is the fact that there are two pictures of Gaye Advert and the worst part is that there are only two pictures of Gaye Advert.