International Times archives on line


Thanks to Gerard (see comments below) we have Crass link. After the above IT cover came out in February 1977, IT did a brief interview with the Clash in August 1977 – from which came the Mick Jones quote “Whoever said punk is dead is a cunt” which was then recycled by Gee/Crass as image for their song “Punk is Dead” on Feeding the 5000 … so Crass and the Clash were reading IT in 1977.

Now back to 1976…

In the summer of 1976 I spent a week in London. It was very hot. Punk was still an unknown, so instead I wandered round west London in search of any traces of the Hawkwind/Pink Fairies era counterculture. I did not find any such traces.

I did find a copy of it /International Times which had just been re-launched again. The details are vague – but I must have subscribed since I recognised quite a few of the covers/ contents of later issues from this International Times archive.

What the archive shows is that there was at least some continuity of the counterculture from the sixties (IT began in 1966) through the seventies and into the eighties – which included punk.

There is another archive here, which is searchable. I found two articles by Kenneth Grant written for It in 1969. One includes this very strong warning to all dabblers in drugs:

What I wish to emphasize here is, that in the unrestrained
and uncontrolled vision induced by drugs taken without
proper magical knowledge and skill, great danger lies. It is
a danger, not, so much of the drugs themselves as of obsess-
ion by entities which seize upon the magically unprotected
consciousness of the drug taker.

Just a shame all the hippies did not take Mr. Grant’s warning more seriously. If they had there would have been no need for punk…

I also  found something I wrote for a later re-launch in 1986 and – which I had totally forgotten – something I wrote for IT in 1979 as well.


This is a film, seen before
On TV one night, too late
Black and white, old and worn
Sound gone hard to discover
The action, the place, the time,
the players.

A train in steam, a city lit by gas
Hotel room mirrors
White and a maid, she seems Chinese
Arranges flowers, careful decorations

Outside in the centre, old cars,
slow traffic
Skyscrapers ultra new, electric trams
Close up faces sullen heavy
Hungry, empty.
Demonstration in the docks
Anger roused, violence begins
Airship high gleaming silver
Shoots into the crowd,bodies fall
A child cries lost, uniforms,horses
People running.

Factory chimney black smoke
twisting over rooftops
Glistening leaded slates back
to back
Fading into each other crowded close
Gathered below a pyramid of 
slag, smouldering.           
By night a volcano                       
Tattered children playing by a railway                                           
Slow shunter curving lines of trucks                                         
Unemployed vacant staring            
Others picking refuse                     
On a beach collecting coal                  
A grimy sea spills lifeless waves
dying on a barren shore.     

Empty prairie, lines of steel          
Pillar of smoke, a cloud becomes    
an armed train                             
Shooting telegraph poles             
Bloody flag once black                  
Desperate faces, knowledge           
of death.                             

An office steel furnished              
Ticker-tape talking, papers fallen   
on the floor                                
Green/grey useless notes, dying money                                         
In streets below                             
Armed ex-soldiers, machine-gun    
Mounted on a solid tyred truck                           
Frei-Korps hunting the remnants    
of a revolution.                             

ALISTAIR LIVINGSTON International Times 1979
  1. gerard
    August 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Fascinating stuff, cheers AL!

    The cover above provokes Mick Jones (Clash, not LUFC) to respond ‘whoever said punk is dead is a cunt’ in a small interview a few issues later in IT. Which cutting Gee Vaucher uses to illustrate the Crass song of the same name on 5000. Which itself is presumably influenced by this mini-debate.

    Which is funny because Crass seemed to emerge out of a vacuum to my young innocent mind back in the day. But contexts like these make it seem like the goalposts shift to suggest that they (well…. some of them) were trying to steer the ‘counter culture’ away from the new punk and back to the old hippie (for want of a better word) values. Which is a bit shit really.

    Some of the collage stuff gives Gee’s work a lot of context too – especially the IT Queen Is Dead cover (Ooh, another later song reference!) with Elvis’ face on HMs

  2. John Serpico
    John Serpico
    August 5, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Oh thats interesting cos I always thought that the Mick Jones quote of “Whoever said punk is dead is a cunt” was in response to Mark Perry’s assertion that ‘Punk died the day The Clash signed to CBS’.
    Well, well, well.

  3. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    August 5, 2009 at 9:12 am

    You could still be right John. The Clash signed to CBS in January 1977 which would be when Mark P. made his comment. At the time (76/77) IT was based in west London – 1c Chepstow Villas, then 118 Talbot Road and Joly of Better Badges was involved- see this page from March 77 by Joly (check bottom right hand corner) on NY Punk and Sniffin Glue

    So quite possibly it was Joly wot done it – i.e. take Mark P.’s January 77 quote and put it as ‘Punk is Dead’ on cover of February 77 IT. Since the Clash emerged out of the west London pre-punk counterculture they would have know IT well and -as the Aug 77 interview shows – been well annoyed by IT tabloid style re-cycling of Mark P.’s words… re-re-cycled by Crass in ‘Punk is Dead’.

    And according to the most excellent “The Story of Crass”, it ws a Clash gig in Chelmsford 29 May 77 which set the Crass juggernaut in motion.

  4. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    August 5, 2009 at 9:18 am

    HA! Just noticed that on Joly’s March 77 IT punk page, last part reads “meanwhile Patti Smith has cancelled her tour…but John Cale will be here in April… SO MUCH FOR PUNK IS DEAD…

  5. joly
    August 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I’d like to take credit for that cover, and we certainly had a lot of fun selling it off the Better Badges Roundhouse badge stall, but it came from IT’s art director of the time Nigel Cook. The same one who scribbles all over any tidy layouts. I remember he kind of surprised me with it, because he wasn’t that far into punk. I believe he saw it (the cover) as a – if not situationist gesture – DaDaesque prank.

    Whether we/he knew of Mark P.’s pronouncement I can’t say, but we could have discussed it. My story on Sniffin Glue refusing to run Stiff’s sexist ad would have come from Stiff, either Jake or Barney Bubbles.

    I am sure Crass, and Mick Jones, were referring directly to the Mark P. quote.

    I did later get quite close with Sniffin Glue – not with Mark P. but with Harry.

    A month or so ago I went thru the IT archive picking out my bits – I’ll add it in a seperate post.

  6. joly
    August 7, 2009 at 12:49 am

    ==[from my facebook]==
    My career as Music Editor at International Times

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 10:39pm

    Simon Reynolds has taken to introducing me to people as ‘A former music editor’ at International Times..

    Although true I find it a little embarassing as it was 1) only brief, 2) very late in the life of the illustrious UK underground paper, and 3) being the during the punk period I was able to eschew all professional practices and just scribble on my badly pasted up pages.

    I sold the paper at the Better Badges Roundhouse badge stall and our greatest moment, without a doubt, was in Jan 1977, putting out an issue with the screaming headline PUNK IS DEAD! just as most people were catching on.. Apart from that I just used it to plug a few of my hippie pals like the Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, and their offspring like Motorhead and the Lightning Raiders. I’d also give mentions to the punk bands I was making badges of.

    Simon just forwarded me a link to a pretty comprehensive (but not full) archive of the publication and I am thus able to present the actual evidence..

    The server I’m sorry to say is a bit slow!

    My first (anonymous) appearance in IT – this front page story, which occurred in my (mother’s) Morris 1100

    When IT, after a hiatus, was restarted in 76 it didn’t have a music editor. A college pal
    Nigel Cook was art director so I joined in. There was an IBM Selectric but I just scribbled
    most of the copy.

    Jan 77
    Tipi People. Lightning Raiders. Motorhead. Hawkwind. Pink Fairies. Patti Smith. Ramones.

    Feb 77
    The aforementioned “PUNK IS DEAD!” cover
    and here, my contrib to the issue, note more DIY typesetting, inspired by PUNK mag
    w pic of Barbara & Sue Gogan
    and also
    w/pic of Mark P
    The laundro piece got IT banned from a number of left-wing bookstores as the last
    straw in sexism..

    and in Mar 77
    can’t think how I came to add that J.Airplane item
    Censorship at Sniffing Glue shock horror!

    Hippie news
    Punk reviiews w/mashed up layout – Sandy Robertson aboard
    Pete Sinfield interview over my objections and Stable Diet an old it regular
    I take the piss by adding the Hendrix Lives badge, but looking now I see Stable was onto GBH
    years ahead..

    Also in this issue the beginning of the wide awake papers by Hetty & Angus
    I got on with them, an old hippy couple. It was only later that I found out Angus MacLise was
    a founding member of VU..

    May 77
    evidently had my first visit from Gretton hence Slaughter
    ‘Do The Standing Still’ blew me away
    Did John Cale’s band really quit after he snuffed a live chicken at The Greyhound?
    Stable trashed. QUintessence for the hippies. Radio Stars are big!
    Angus & Hetty assimilate punk

    Jun 77
    Twink coins ACID PUNK. I theorise that the Sex Pistols are the new Pink Fairies.
    Stable trashed. 3rd Ear Band revamped. Sandy reviews Chilton. Ongoing Lightning Raiders campaign.

    Jul 77
    Pages 20/21 missing!!
    Better Badges Mail Order & Bizzarre Distro ads

    I’ve got a feeling that the new tight-ass typeset look and style led to me to quit
    during this isuue
    Clash in studio – That’s my headline alright
    typeset Adverts/Johnny Moped – untouched by me by look of things

    Sep-Dec77 are missing

    I write a column. Better Badges ad.

    Mar 78
    Better Badges ad mentions 2p royalty

    This is when I got seriously busy with badges and I believe purchased the
    PMT camera, hence sophisticated layout and screened pix on next piece.

    Apr 78
    I get to do my own typesetting! Usual Twink/Raiders stuff + PVC from Berlin
    Same BB ad

    May 78
    There’s a Sex Pistols interview that si nothing to do with me.
    Same BB AD.

    Jun 78
    New BB ad – you know I was rushed/out of it when I put the DEVO asterisk badge in twice!
    RAF requested by Strummer. I totally don’t recall what Dr Death was about.
    Note Prag-Vec opening at Acklam.

    Jul 78
    same BB ad

    May 79
    BB Ad
    Hard Lines ad – BB side business offering t-shirts/fanzines/DIY cassettes
    also Animal Lib Badges ad

    Jun 79
    Same BB Ad

    jan 80
    Set of badges made for IT

  7. John Serpico
    John Serpico
    August 7, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Regarding Gerard’s comment about Crass seemingly emerging out of a vacuum, I was always quite interested in – contrary to the Punk as Year Zero idea – how punk and in particular The Sex Pistols actually opened up the past and shone a veritable light upon a whole treasure trove of reference points and influences:
    The New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, MC5, Captain Beefheart, Dr Feelgood, The Doors, The Who, Alice Cooper, The Situationists, King Mob, nihilism, the mythology of the Berlin Wall and the Chelsea Hotel, Paris ’68, Dickensian London, amphetamines… heroin. Etc, etc.
    Likewise, Crass too illuminated a plethora of references, ideas, influences and possibilities, many intentionally but others not so:
    John Lennon, Walt Whitman, RD Laing, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Sartre, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, George Orwell, Richard Hamilton, John Heartfield, Wilfred Owen, anarchism, pacifism, feminism, existentialism, pop art, collage, graffiti, CND, black clothes, squatting, free festivals, hashish… LSD. Etc,etc.
    All links in a chain, all important stepping stones to some unknown destination.
    While a lot of the Pistols’ reference points were quite obvious, some of the Crass ones were not and required a bit of digging.
    I find it curious that no-one has ever referenced Jeff Nutall’s classic book/treatise ‘Bomb Culture’ to Crass. Just Google it if anyone has never heard of it before. Published in 1968, it’s a book that I’m pretty sure the older members of Crass would have been very aware of and seemingly very influenced by. Art, the Bomb, CND, anarchism, it’s all there. It’s Crass in book form, years before they came in to being. There is even a whole section about Myra Hindley which is practically ‘Mother Earth’ from ‘Stations’.

  8. gerard
    August 8, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Good point about Bomb Culture John. And, in Jeff Nuttall, another IT connection.

    To that I’d add ‘The Soul Of Man Under Socialism’ by Oscar Wilde (an essay, not a book).

  9. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    August 11, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    When and where did Mark Perry actually say “Punk died the day the Clash signed to CBS”?

    I have just read through a complete set of Sniffin Glue and I can’t see it nowhere. Right up until June 77 Mark was still a Clash fan, and there is nothing in the July or August/ September (last) issue.

  10. Penguin
    August 11, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Was it not said during an interview that was written up by Kris Needs for Zig Zag magazine? Or…maybe…I just made that up? Dunno…I’m complicated you know.

  11. gerard
    August 12, 2009 at 1:34 am

    ” When and where did Mark Perry actually say “Punk died the day the Clash signed to CBS”? *

    And if so, why? Why not when the Pistols signed to EMI?

  12. Nic
    August 12, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Can I quickly cut in and make a suggestion?

    Would it be interesting to have a post / thread on the Acklam Hall?

    This thread (and the ‘bonehead’ references in another thread) got me thinking about how often the Acklam Hall seems to figure as an (albeit miinor?) character in events of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, and it seemed like it might be interesting to get some of the recollections of the old-timers who visit here (for example, Tony D seemed pretty disparaging of the place in Ripped n Torn)…

    There are a lot of crossovers:
    – the proximity to the previous ‘counterculture’ nexus (ie the things and places mentioned in this thread, and events such as the Astrid Proll benefit)…
    – the importance of the venue as an element related to the local community, to Carnival and to the riot…
    – the interaction of patrons with the Notting Hill / Ladbroke Grove Skins (who were involved in altercations at the ‘Rock Against Racism’ concert with Crisis and The Vapors in 1979, and later with The Last Resort in 1981) and the National Front (who firebombed it in 1979)…
    – the link with the emerging ‘Post Punk’ scene (such as The Raincoats, Swell Maps, Scritti Politti, the ‘Bad Music Festival’, even Crass), and how this interacted with the previous ‘counterculture’ scene (such as the Tesco Bombers links with the 101-ers)…
    – the wider links to music (such as the Last Poets playing their first UK concert there)…

    I don’t know: what do you think?

  13. Penguin
    August 12, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Until a dedicated post is set up you may use this old Acklam Hall post possibly to start things off:

    Would like to get several people that I have in mind writing small essays on the following so that the subjects get dedicated posts similar to the Brougham Road / Toxic Grafity / Wapping Autonomy Centre ones:

    Meanwhile Gardens
    Acklam Hall (good idea Nic)
    The Music Machine
    Better Badges
    Rough Trade (Already done waiting on Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony)
    Wau! Mr Modo and Killing Joke management 1978-82
    Small Wonder
    and a few other ideas swimming around in my mind.

    Just got to get it all sorted and ask the relevant folk for help…

  14. Nic
    August 12, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Aha! Always one step ahead, Pengy: nice one!

    I’ll save my questions for Joly until the Better Badges post is up…

    A Centro Iberico post might be interesting as well…

    (PS The Street Level site linked to from the Acklam Hall post is carrying a Trojan virus…It might be worth disabling the link)

  15. Tony Puppy
    Tony Puppy
    August 12, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Here’s a bit toward the Acklam Hall thread:

    The above link contains a wealth of detail on Acklam Hall, based around a skinhead attack on the band Crisis. In amongst the press clippings is a bit about Punk Squatters being attacked – complete with quote from ‘promoter’ Jock MacDonald.

    Stewart Home has written at length about the night of the Crisis gig but I can’t find it at the moment.

  16. Nic
    August 13, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Home’s writing on the Crisis / Vapors / Beggar concert is on his site:

    I’ve got all sorts of bits of ‘factual’ information (which I’ll add to the thread as and when): of course, that’s all ‘secondhand’ (as such), so it’ll be interesting to hear from the people who were in and around London at the time…

    Funnily enough, Tony Wakeford (of Crisis and, later, Death in June) was one of the interviewees on a programme about squatting in London in the 1970’s which was broadcast on BBC 4 about a year ago…

  17. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    August 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Nic – Is this the BBC4 programme about squatting?

    BBC Two: Monday 10 July 7pm-8pm
    The story of Villa Road, a squatted street, during the heyday of squatting in the late 1970s, when all over the country people lived together in politicised communities. These squatters were on the left, and were part of a generation whose views were underwritten by Marxist ideology. They believed that the revolution was coming and the state would be overthrown.

    Villa Road in south London brought together an extraordinary community of over 200 people. Anarchists mixed with hippies and feminists, and homeless single mothers rubbed shoulders with marxist revolutionaries. The core group in Villa Road were white middle-class graduates. These politicised intellectuals with allegiances to various left-wing groups led the Villa Roaders in all their anti-capitalist campaigns.

    In the hot summer of 1976, the Villa Roaders barricaded the street to fend off eviction and demolition. They won a partial victory: half of the street was saved and still stands today. The communist revolution, however, failed to materialise.

    The film also documents London’s most long-standing squatted community, St Agnes Place, a street close to Villa Road. They fought eviction and demolition for over 30 years, and were finally evicted by the council only recently, in December 2005.

  18. Nic
    August 14, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Yes, that’s the one Al…

  19. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    August 14, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks Ian… from the youtube link

    the Tony Wakeford /Crisis segment of the ‘Property is Theft’ / Villa Road squats documentary is at the end of part 5/beginning of part 6 – about 3 minutes worth. Wakeford squatted 15 Villa Road, Brixton between 1977 and 1980. Although Wakeford was in the Socialist Workers Party at the time of Crisis, many of the Villa Road squatters were in the International Marxist Group (like the SWP, a Trotskyist organisation).

    But was there an IMG influence on Crisis? The film doesn’t say, but Stewart Home says Doug Pearce of Crisis was in the IMG. But how could that work? Surely Wakeford and Pearce would have had to keep expelling each other from the group for deviatating from the correct Party line?

  20. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    September 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Well, that was fun! Watching the first part of the Lefties: Property is Theft BBC documentary about the Villa Road, Brixton squats – I heard a bit of background music which started at 1.19. It was a synthesiser sound, like a squelchy ‘bump, bump, bump…’ and it went on for two minutes before fading out just as the ‘chingy’ notes of a guitar came in and before there were any vocals.

    It sounded familiar – but I couldn’t place it. I tried the inro to Talking Heads/ Psychokiller..almost, but not quite. Then Devo/Mongoloid…no. Maybe a Suicide song? Nup. The guitar had a Pink Floyd sound to it, so I tried skipping through their Animals album (inflatable pig over Battersea power station)…then Atom Heart Mother…Wish You Were Here… nothing. Maybe the Who, Baba o’Reilly? Or something off Quadrophenia? Nope.

    Starting to feel a bit desperate…the more I replayed the section, the more I was sure I knew the piece of music. So I tried early Human League – Being Boiled era…and other blank. Ah, must be the Edgar Broughton Band – Tune in Turn On Drop Out Boogie, or Out Demons Out….still nothing. So I tried to get more info on the actual documentary – was there a list of the tracks used as background music anywhere? Zilch. So I gave up.

    Then, a couple of days ago, I followed a random Youtube link to a Sensational Alex Harvey Band track and there it was… : the 2.30 intro to Faith Healer. Off their November 1973 album Next.

    But… would the residents of the Villa Road squats have been listening to the Sensational Alex Harvey Band in the early seventies? It seems a bit unlikely to me.

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