Here and Now vs Sex Pistols 7 June 1977


Here and Now, live 7 June 1977, Bristol Gardens London W9

Available for £7 inc. post and packing from HERE

You can also can get a free download of one of the tracks. Features Twink (Pink Fairies) on synthesiser.

On 7 June 1977 the Sex Pistols took a trip down the Thames, manufacturing much outrage in their wake. .

The same day, Here and Now played a Jubilee Street Party at Bristol Gardens. Bristol Gardens was a squatted street, one of a network of similar squats which had grown up across London as part of the radical counter culture.

Squatting communities grew up all over London: at Bristol Gardens, Charrington Street, Tolmers Village, Finsbury Park, Longfellow Road and many other places. A few similar communities occurred outside the capital, too: Hebden Bridge, Bristol, Brighton etc. Each one was different depending on its size, the conditions of the property, the amount of security, and the people attracted to them. Some were made up of people from predominantly middle class backgrounds; others were almost exclusively working class. Some, like Prince of Wales Crescent, shared a hippy ideology which never truly “adapted to overcome social or political problems.”

And they all invariably changed rapidly, responding to external and internal pressures. But common to most was a sense of identity seldom found in towns. People had a sense of living somewhere special, symbolised by the street carnivals and parties which became a regular feature of squatting life. For some people, albeit only a small minority of squatters, squatting began to be more than simply finding a roof, it became fun, it offered new freedoms, a sense of community . . . almost a way of life in its own right.


Listening to the relaxed atmosphere of Here and Now’s 30 minute long ‘Now’s The Time to Live’ in contrast to the frenetic sounds the Pistols were making that same day brings out the sheer surreal strangeness of it all.

Now we know that Here and Now would tour with ultra punk ATV the next year (1978), and later with our own Mob (and Zounds and Androids of Mu). But then? On 7 June 1977, how far apart were the worlds represented by the two simultaneous events?

Well one was a high profile media spectacle, which has been sampled and repeated to the point of recuperation – a set of sounds and images locked into all subsequent popular reproductions of the Jubilee and thus the Sex Pistols have become part of the mystique of monarchy. As if saying “Here are all these quaintly revolting punks being rude to the Queen but punk has come and gone and she still reigns over us”.

The other … was not. When Here and Now played at Bristol Gardens, the event was so far underground it has taken 31 years to surface. Does this mean Here and Now were (are) more subversive than the Sex Pistols?

If there is a cultural/ political unconscious – see Frederick Jameson: The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act : Methuen: 1981 – the answer is Yes. And although Kenneth Grant (Outer Head of the Typhonian OTO, retired) would substitute subconscious for unconscious; since Grant argues that nothing is truly unconscious, in the unlikely event that he would ever consider such a question, he would also agree.

It is the squatting that makes the difference. As readers of KYPP will no doubt be aware, in Capital Vol. I, Chapter 27 Expropriation of the Agricultural Population from the Land, Marx advocates squatting as the most effective method whereby the urban industrial proletarian descendants of an agricultural workforce driven off the land and into cities by enforced enclosure can overcome the alienation of people from the land and the resulting fetishisation land ownership – still embodied in the figure of the monarch as feudal owner ( by divine right) of all land in the UK.


Here and Now were “based in squats at nearby Latimer Road and Stoneleigh Street in the Ladbroke Grove/ Notting Hills area, and at Grosvenor Road in Twickenham”. Bristol Gardens was a squat. Thus on 7 June 1977 Here and Now and the Bristol Garden party were more actually subversive than the Sex Pistols and their boat trip.

You disagree? Then buy this CD, have a listen to it and post a suitably outraged comment here.

You agree? Than buy this CD and enjoy the music.

AL Puppy

  1. Sam
    August 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    And as a reminder here’s the premise of the thread and the catalyst for the argument:

    “Here and Now were “based in squats at nearby Latimer Road and Stoneleigh Street in the Ladbroke Grove/ Notting Hills area, and at Grosvenor Road in Twickenham”. Bristol Gardens was a squat. Thus on 7 June 1977 Here and Now and the Bristol Garden party were more actually subversive than the Sex Pistols and their boat trip.”

    Do you agree with the above Mr Lion?

  2. Lion
    August 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Sam, I agree with much of your post actually.

    The phony-ness of ‘punk’ is personified by John Lydon, who still tells us that he’s ‘working class’ and that the Pistols were the only ‘real punks’– whilst actually being hugely rich in USA, appearing on all their schmaltzy CNN/Fox chat shows, camping up a ‘cockerneee knees up muvva brahn’ accent, and making cash as an estate agent, a rich man about L.A., married to a rich heiress, Nora, mother of Ari Upp.

    It’s sad. Was punk no more than a ‘dressing up /fancy dress box’ and a tantrum then? It seems so.

    Probably the best punk was made by bands like the Buzzcocks and lots of other ‘lesser lights’ who were not taken that seriously at the time, bands who had no pretentions to being ideological spokesmen, or posing as ‘defining our age’ and didn’t demand to be taken seriously as ‘critiquing our culture.’

    Lydon especially is embarrassing, and seems to have believed all the silly absurd hype about himself, and now makes money playing to IDF soldiers in Tel Aviv. People need to stop playing his music — seriously. I know I won’t play it again. Would you listen to music made by a man who was willing to play in apartheid South Africa to white supremacists and Terre Blanche’s Boer survivalists ? What’s the difference between Terre Blanche’s white power survivialists and Israelis?

    Maybe Johnny Rotten can tell us after his PIL gig in Tel Aviv.

    In fact, these days I tend to think that courageous investigative journalists and outspoken political scientists are far, far more ‘punk rock’ and radical than a lot of the music I grew up with.

    And they don’t sell out to the highest bidder like all the ‘punk bands’ I grew up with did.

  3. Sam
    August 14, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Re-reading this two year old thread (and others), I realise I say the same stuff about the Pistols all the time, including No Fun being a fave rave over the years. Well, at least I’m consistant.

    ‘Punk was a vehicle taking everyone somewhere else’ – Keith Levine. (Used that quote earlier too).

    It seems a bit hard to hold a person accountable to their 19 year old self. If The Heretics had hit the big time I might have people accusing me of no longer hating soul boys or playing music that isn’t ‘fast with lots of drums’. Lydon had a brilliant mind for a 19 year old. As a 55 year old he’s a complete dolt.
    I agree that Lydon’s embarrassing but it doesn’t detract from his earlier output. Not listening to it seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I can seperate art from artists. Edgar Degas was, by all accounts a complete mysogynist but it doesn’t take away from the genius of his paintings. I think Lydon’s politics were always personal and ‘spokesman for a generation’ was something that was foisted on him. Only because we all listened. Does ANYONE still believe that music really changes anything? We live in a very different world. Five years before the Sex Pistols the Stones were still scary to God-fearing folk everywhere.
    Who hasn’t sold out? The dead ones and the ones who are never going to hit the big time. Paul Weller’s just as embarrassing if you ask me but his lyrics from 76-81 were genius. And these people were what – 19 or 20 years old? I’ve come to the conclusion that the best art comes from the gut, from a place of naivete. Everyone becomes too knowing, and in musical terms there’s a fear that you’re going to lose your audience. It is unavoidable. Unless you’re Here and Now and playing to a few hairy punters down the Grove.

  4. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    August 14, 2010 at 8:49 am

    And Here and Now still have no fear of loosing their audience – they are playing Bournemouth on 20 August… And Gong are on tour in September (special guests Nik Turner’s Space Ritual).

    Which makes Here and Now more subversive since they rejected/ exist as a counter culture / not for-profit alternative to the ‘creative-destruction’ of capitalism’s mode of production. To keep going capital has to grow at at least 3% per year (every year, for ever and ever) but every so often the flow of profit gets blocked or restricted – so we get a period of ‘creative -destruction’ – a recession or econmic depression, even a war which uses up/ destroys/ liquidates an old set of productive assets (including people’s lives) so the next wave of capitalists can buy up formerly valuable assets cheap and start the next wave of growth going.

    Punk was a similar process – but utra-modern in that it was ‘cultural’ capital which was liquidated / creatively destroyed, unlike the old-fashioned process of ‘economic crisis’ with which punk over-lapped. As ever – (and this is really what capitalism is all about) a few people made a lot of money/ became ricjh and famous) whilst the many were left witha bitter taste in their mouths “ever had the feeling you’ve been cheated?” as Mr. Lydon said in 1978.

    The alternative is the steady state, the not-for-profit, no growth, renewable, co-operative communualist society – in which no-one ever gets very rich or famous, in which there are no year zeros, in which skills learnt when young are still useful when old. A rather dull and boring world compared with ours, but then one which would not blow itself up or set fire to mountains of coal and oceans of oil just becuase the heat speeds up the re-productive cycle of capital (industrial revolution). A boring old world without global warming or peak oil.

    But then by 1976 it was already too late…

  5. Lion
    August 15, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Sam and Alistair, you make many good points, and I really can’t disagree for the most part.

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