A unique and very first account of the Punk generation of Sheffield and the local region told by the author and over 150 different and varied voices of the era. From the pre - Punk days and all the way through the summer of hate of 1977 Punk and beyond, the story takes in the many classic gigs, the clothes worn and searches for Identity, the groups formed and broken, the fans, the records, the violence and laughs along with many photos, flyers, rare tickets and memorabilia of the era. The books main focal point is the Punk explosion and its effect on the local youth, but also takes in Mod revivalists, 2-tone fans, New Romantics and passing anecdotes from some of the many well known Punk groups who have played at famous local venues such as Doncaster Outlook, Sheffield Limit club, Rotherham Windmill and Sheffield Top Rank. Meetings with some of the most noted Punk generation musicians such as Joe Strummer, Paul Weller and Sid Vicious are also refreshingly told by fans in their own words.
This story is about a time of euphoric excitement and life changing experiences when a proportion of our local youth cast caution to the wind and found themselves in the middle of the most explosive, controversial and influential musical revolution since pop music began...this is Sheffield's experience of that time...the story of 'Our Generation'.
The book is 444 pages and full of many fantastic Rare and exclusive photographs from private collections, along with countless unique memories and experiences from those who were there at the time. Includes words from Charlie Harper (UK Subs), TV Smith (The Adverts), Jo Callis (The Rezillos) and many more musicians, fans, Punk Rockers, Mod Revivalists, New Romantics and Post-Punk fans. No corporations involved.this is a 'Do it yourself' Punk Rock production and the very first of its kind!
Sex Pistols site review:
'It's a gripping piece of research. Most accounts of the UK punk explosion are London-centric for obvious reasons, but the importance and impact of punk elsewhere in the country cannot be understated. In many respects punk meant more to those outside the capital, in the towns and villages where the youth really did have nothing to do.
Our Generation includes recollections of the Sex Pistols at the Black Swan, Sheffield in July '76, the Outlook, Doncaster in September '76 and August '77, and Huddersfield on Christmas Day '77. As with most '76 Pistols gigs, the early shows were sparsely attended unlike the August '77 Outlook show, which was part of the famous SPOTS tour and played under the pseudonym The Tax Exiles.
The recollections in the book are honest, which is a breath of fresh air - no one's trying to rewrite history with the benefit of hindsight. This is evident with the mixed response to the Sex Pistols shows; somewhat surprisingly not everyone who attended rated them highly. The August '77 show hints at the tension now surrounding the band: "the atmosphere was quite heavy," ".. roadie 'Roadent' was throwing and smashing bottles about. I think he was aiming for Nancy.," "The Sex Pistols were awkward that night, and Sid Vicious was a completely nasty piece of work." Contrast this to the Black Swan in July '76 with Rotten clearly on form; "Put your hands up if you bought Patti Smith's Horses album." (pause while people put their hands up) " You've been cheated!" The audience clearly did not know what to make of it and by the end of the show there was about 10 people left.
However, over the next 18 months people did start to grasp what it was all about. The venues themselves were to prove so pivotal to the local punk scene. The previously mentioned Outlook Club in Doncaster, The Windmill in Rotherham, The Limit Club, Top Rank, and later Marples and The Leadmill in Sheffield, all put on shows that changed the lives of many local teenagers.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the book is that it acts as a mirror of the punk years that were being played out, not just in South Yorkshire, but throughout the provincial towns. Punk took a while longer to take off outside London, but the way in which it seeped into the collective consciousness of the UK's youth will seem familiar to many. One contributor believes that 1979 was the year punk really hit its stride, citing all the incredible singles released that year. The Skids' Into The Valley is recalled as one such galvanising record.
The Mod revival and emergence of 2-Tone during the same year is also recalled; many punk rockers were die hard Jam fans themselves and had no real differences with the Mod crowd.
Also fascinating are the many stories of fans meeting the bands themselves, and proving the old punk adage that punk broke down the barriers between bands and their fans. Tales of helping 999 set up equipment, the Buzzcocks getting an underage kid into a show, and touring with Sham 69 are retold alongside many bar side encounters with, amongst others, Paul Weller, Sid Vicious, and Gaye Advert. Gaye, Debbie Harry and Pauline Murray are also remembered fondly by the punk boys for obvious reasons.
The book takes the story right through to 1985. I lived the best part of four years in Sheffield from '82 - '86 and particularly enjoyed reliving this period - some of the gigs I attended are remembered, including one of the all time legendary shows, the Dead Kennedys in November '82 at the Leadmill.
Punk was much more than just the music; it was a way of life, a statement. Perhaps that's the strength of Our Generation. The excitement, the violence (against the punks rather than by the punks), the sheer thrill of belonging to such a breathtaking cause, are brought vividly back to life by those who were affected the most, the kids themselves. It's their story, it was my story, and it may be yours.
It's a tremendous book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. A true punk rock book: honest, vibrant and passionate. I've not enjoyed a music book as much since Sulphate Strip. Highly recommended.'
Review by Phil Singleton (May 2009)
is available from our SHOP section
at £19.99 excl. P&P
note this is a heavy 444 page book)