There's still a couple of days left on BBC IPlayer to watch 'Never Mind the Baubles: Xmas '77 with the Sex Pistols', Julien Temple's remarkable documentary about the Pistols last gigs in the UK. In 1977, firefighters were on all out strike over pay, walking out on 14 November for a 30% pay claim. The government mobilised the army to operate a strikebreaking fire service, and as Christmas approached firefighters and their families were facing great hardship. The Sex Pistols meanwhile were being banned from venues all over the country.
|Huddersfield, December 25 1977|
On Christmas Day 1977, the Pistols played two gigs in Ivanhoe's nightclub, Huddersfield. The first was a party for the striking firefighters' families, with the band handing out Xmas presents including t-shirts, albums and skateboards. The gig ended up with a cake fight and kids pogoing in their 'Never Mind the Bollocks' t-shirts. In the evening the band played a regular gig for adults. Temple was there on the day and filmed both sets, their last on British soil before heading off to the USA where they split up in January 1978.
The Pistols weren't the only band to play a benefit gig. The picture below is of popular pub rock band The Pirates at Hammersmith Fire Station in 1977, who also played for the strikers. Drummer Frank Farley's dad had been station officer at Hammersmith.
|picture by 'Mick' at flickr|
Strange how these iconic moments in the history of punk and its aftermath coincided with these waves of firefighters' struggles.